The Sephardic World: 1492 to the Present


This course explores the history and culture of the Sephardic diaspora from the expulsion of Spanish and Portuguese Jewry at the end of the fifteenth century to the present. We will start with a brief introduction into the history of Iberian Jews prior to 1492, asking how this experience created a distinct subethnic Jewish group: the Sephardim. We will then follow their migratory path to North Africa, Italy, the Ottoman Empire, the Netherlands, and the Americas. The questions we will explore include: in what sense did Jews of Iberian heritage form a transnational community? How did they use their religious, cultural, and linguistic ties to advance their commercial interests? How did they transmit and transform aspects of Spanish culture and create a vibrant Ladino literature? How did the Sephardim interact with Ashkenazi, Greek, North African, and other Jewish, Muslim, and Christian communities? How did Jewish emigres from Spain and Portugal become intermediaries between Christian Europe and the Ottoman Empire? What was the role of Sephardim in Europe's transatlantic expansion? How did conversos (converts to Christianity) return to Judaism and continue to grapple with their ambiguous religious identity? How did Ottoman and North African Jews respond to European cultural trends and colonialism and create their own unique forms of modern culture? How did the Holocaust impact Sephardic Jewry? The course will end with a discussion of the Sephardic experience in America and Israel today. Please Note: L75 566 is intended for Graduate Students only.
Course Attributes: EN H; AS HUM; AS LCD; FA HUM; AR HUM

Section 01

The Sephardic World: 1492 to the Present - 01
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