RL/HS 372 - Memory and Identity of Sephardic Jews

This course is a historical, literary, sociological and anthropologic approach to the Jews of Iberian/Spanish origin, who were expelled from the Iberian Peninsula at the end of the Middle Ages.

The course is organized around 5 main central topics:

  • TOPIC I. Jews in Spain before 1492: The Jews’ presence in the Iberian Peninsula and the history, preliminary events and contexts that determined a key moment in the History of Spain: the expulsion of Jews dictated by the Catholic Monarchs in their 1492 Edict.
  • TOPIC II. Sephardic Jews and the Sephardi diaspora (15th to 19thcenturies): The Sephardic Diaspora: dates, routes and main settlements. How the Jewish identity is constructed during the diaspora and how this identity changes and becomes increasingly complex over centuries. The Jewish-Spanish language as a constituent element of the Sephardic identity.
  • TOPIC III. 20th century. Sephardic Jews in their traditional settlements and the second diaspora. The second Diaspora: causes for the new migratory flow during the 19th century, where the Sephardic moved from their traditional geographical settlements to younger countries (United States, Mexico, Argentina, Israel) and to Western Europe countries.
  • TOPIC IV. Sephardic Jews in Europe and the Shoá. History and Memory of the Sephardic Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust: in this course we will approach this topic from two perspectives: a) how the Nazi genocide completely destroys the European Sephardic settlements and their Jewish quarters, and how it nearly causes the extinction of their language and traditions; b) the role played by Spain in the conflict regarding their Jews (the Jews with a Hispanic origin who lived in the European occupied territories).
  • TOPIC V. Spain and the Sephardic Jews in the last century. The Sephardic Jews’ return to the country they were expelled from more than 500 years ago: the reunion of the Spanish people with the Sephardic Jews coming from the Balkan and Mediterranean communities at the end of the 19th century and the Bill Granting the Spanish Citizenship to Sephardic Jews (2015).

Course Information


Religious Studies

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