History | The Judeo-Spanish Diaspora and the Jews of the Middle East
H620 | 28351 | Lehmann

A portion of the above class reserved for majors
Above class open to graduates only

From the medieval to the modern periods, Sephardic Jews inhabited
the frontier between the Christian and Islamic worlds, between
Europe and the Middle East, between “West” and “East.” This course
will explore the history of the Mediterranean Diaspora of Judeo-
Spanish communities that emerged in the wake of the Spanish
expulsion in 1492, with a special focus on the Judeo-Spanish
(Sephardic) communities in the Middle East and in North Africa. The
course will span the period from 1492 to the twentieth century, with
a focus on the modern era. Topics explored will include Sephardic
responses to the trauma of expulsion, the fate of the Spanish and
Portuguese Jews converted to Christianity (the “Conversos”
or “Marranos”), the rise of Ottoman Jewry, the transformation of
Sephardic communities in the age of nationalism and European
colonialism, the destruction of the Sephardic heartland in World War
II, and the encounter of Sephardic Jews with Zionism and the State
of Israel. Students will write short book reviews, give in-class
presentations, and will write a final paper.