University at Albany, SUNY
Primo Levi Fellowship

Research Topic

Cosmopolitan Intimacy: Jewish Spaces as Crossroads for Multi-Religious Communities in Early Modern Italy


Federica Francesconi is assistant professor of history and director of the Judaic studies program at the University at Albany, SUNY. She researches the history of Jews in early modern Italy, focusing on the politics and dynamics of ghetto life. While at the Katz Center, she will analyze Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and sub-Saharan women in early modern Venice and Livorno with an emphasis on the ways that spatial contexts defined the lives of mistresses, servants, and slaves of that period.

Francesconi received her PhD from the University of Haifa and has previously held fellowships at the Katz Center, the University of Oxford, and UCLA. She is the associate editor and book review editor of the journal Jewish History.

Selected publications

  • Invisible Enlighteners: Modenese Jewry from Renaissance to Emancipation (University of Pennsylvania Press, forthcoming)
  • with Stanley Mirvis and Brian Smollett, From Catalonia to the Caribbean: The Sephardic Orbit from Medieval to Modern Times (Brill, 2018)



Devoted to the home, and seeking to advance research that will shed light on this most formative and intimate of contexts for Jewish life. 


Examining the boundary between Judaism and other religions with a concurrent study of parallel social and religious phenomena and historical contexts.


Studying all facets of the Jewish book—treating it as a historical agent in Jewish culture and as a medium of exchange within the larger cultures in which Jews have lived.