Papers dealing with mutual influences between historiography and literature, and examining the multifaceted linguistic contextualization of this reception in the multi-ethnic empires of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the Maghreb are also welcome.
Contributions are also sought that explore the dynamic of mutual influence in the use of imagery pertaining to al-Andalus and Sepharad among Jews in Eastern and Western Europe, as well as among Jews and non-Jews. We welcome papers which draw on historical, literary and ethnographic studies in their discussion of these multiple 'visions'.
For further information:
Michal Friedman, Columbia University.
Carsten Schapkow, Simon Dubnow Institute.
In his seminal essay, The Myth of Sephardic Supremacy (1989), Ismar Schorsch explored the place of Iberian-Sephardic culture and history in the imaginary of nineteenth-century German-Jewish intellectuals; he conceptualized this interest in the Sephardic past as a 'Sephardic Mystique'. Schorsch illustrates how German-speaking Jews interpreted Iberian-Sephardic culture as a process of (inter)cultural mediation from a core of Jewish culture into the non-Jewish culture. In this panel we widen the application of a 'Sephardic Mystique' beyond the exclusive province of intellectuals and historiographical debate, and beyond the confines of German-speaking Jewry, to embrace an exploration of the place of 'Sepharad' in the emergence and transformation of modern Jewish identities in multiple Jewish diasporic communities. Thus, in a departure from the dichotomies of 'East' and 'West' and 'European' and 'non-European', we illustrate the place of 'Sepharad' in Jewish communities, ranging from nineteenth-century Eastern Europe, Germany and North Africa, to twentieth-century Salonika, Spain and Latin America. We wish to examine how these divergent Jewish modern experiences shaped the ways both Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews conceptualized and made claims on Spain or 'Sepharad' as well as the place of 'Sepharad' in shaping these experiences. Moreover, we wish to illustrate how 'Sepharad' as a subject of historiography, memory, literature and political discourse, may have provided a forum for Jewish communities to engage in internal, as well as external dialogue and struggle with the broader non-Jewish societies, over questions of religious, political, and national identity. In the framework of the conference, a two-part panel will be organized dealing with different geographical spaces in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and with special interest in those regions that have to date been under-explored in studies of the reception of Ibero-Sephardic culture and history. Prospective papers might deal with the following topics, among others: - How were visions of Sepharad or Spain constructed in diverse places during the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries? - To what extent did the Jewish reception and 'recovery' of Iberian-Sephardic culture and history intersect with discussion of Sephardic history by non-Jews? - How did Jewish scholars understand the Sephardic past and put it to use in understanding their present situations? How were visions of Sepharad transformed in the Jewish historiography and literature of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries?