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"'A Very Peculiar People:' Sephardic Migrants in Mexico"

A Workshop for Faculty and Graduate Students by

Devi Mays

Friday, February 1, 2013
12 noon
Ballantine Hall 004

This paper will discuss the complex trajectories of Sephardic migrants as they moved within and between Mexico, the United States, Cuba, France, the Ottoman Empire and its successor states. It argues that Sephardic Jews adopted, performed, and discarded identities and nationalities in order to bypass evolving migratory restrictions that excluded them. To facilitate both their geographic and social mobility, they drew on transnational Sephardic networks of kinship, commerce, and affect. In doing so, they subtly subverted state power, underscoring the extent to which migrants challenge both the physical borders of the state and imagined boundaries of the nation.