Sepharad: A Travelling Concept

Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies
Thursday June 7th, 11.15am -6.30pm

All are welcome but pre-registration, by 2 June is essential. Please

This workshop is a partnership between OCHJS and the AHRC funded project entitled ‘Language Acts and Worldmaking’. This project is a collaboration between King’s College London, Queen Mary London, The Open University, and Westminster University. It is part of the AHRC’s Open World Research Initiative (OWRI), whose aim is to promote and transform research and teaching of Modern Languages in the UK. ‘Language Acts and Worldmaking’ explores ways in which language, as a material and historical force, acts as the means whereby individuals construct their personal, local, transnational and spiritual identities. The focus of the research is on Iberia, its global empires and contact zones, stretching across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas.

One strand in the research—‘Travelling Concepts’—examines how Jews, Muslims and Christians conceptualised Sepharad as a historical and cultural reference point following the expulsion of Jews from Iberia in the final decade of the fifteenth century. In line with the aims of OWRI, our focus is the word, both written and spoken. We examine the formative role played by literary and historical texts and oral forms in preserving or recreating religious, political and cultural identity for Sephardic Jews in exile (or in hiding) in Christian and Islamic territories. Our geographical scope includes Spain and Portugal, Italy, northern Europe, the Ottoman empire, and the Hispanic and Lusophone Americas. What books, vocabularies, and discourses were deployed—by Jews, Christian or Muslims—in order to assign exiled Sephardic Jews or crypto-Jews a place in the world and in history?

LAW/OWRI Conference Programme (download here)

LAW/OWRI Workshop poster (download here)