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Institute Symposium: Sephardic Identities, Medieval and Early Modern

Wednesday, March 27, 2019
8:45 AM-6:45 PM
Assembly Hall Rackham Graduate School (Horace H.) Map
March 27
8:45 a.m. - Opening Remarks

9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Session 1: Tradition and Innovation in Twelfth-Century al-Andalus
Chair: Samer Ali
Marc Herman, "The Oral Torah as Ideology in al-Andalus"
Ehud Krinis, "Galut and Ghurba: Existential and Historical Exile in the Thought of Bahya ibn Paqūda and Judah Halevi"

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Session 2: Andalusi Self-Fashioning
Chair: Elliot Ginsburg
Ross Brann, "Judah al-Ḥarizi: A Self-Styled Andalusi Arabist-Hebraist from Late Twelfth–Early Thirteenth-Century Christian Toledo"
Moshe Yagur, "To Be or Not to Be a Sephardi: the Case of Rabbi Isaac ben Samuel"

1:45 p.m. ‒ 4:00 p.m.
Session 3: Identity through the Lens of Polemic
Chair: Hussein Fancy
Ryan Szpiech: "Jews Forcing Jews: The Legend of the Qaraites on the Eve of 1391"
Mònica Colominas Aparicio: "Sephardic Exceptionalism in Muslim anti-Jewish Polemics from Christian Iberia"
Harvey J. Hames, "Lost Identities? Conversions from Profiat Duran to Anselm Turmeda"

4:15 p.m. ‒ 5:45 p.m.
Plenary Lecture
Miriam Bodian, "The ‘Sephardim': An Imagined Diaspora?"

Sephardic music concert: “Nochada”
Performed by Leahaliza Lee and ensemble
March 27, 8:15 p.m.
Kerrytown Concert House, 415 N Fourth Ave

March 28
9:00 a.m. ‒ 11:15 a.m.
Session 5: Social Networks of Sephardi Life
Chair: Ryan Szpiech
Maya Soifer Irish, "The Identity of Jewish Elites in Christian Andalusia and Toledo (13th & 14th centuries)"
Ilil Baum, "Jewish Identity in Late Medieval Crown of Aragon: between Arabic and Catalan Cultures"
Mark Meyerson, "The Rocky Road to Assimilation: Converso-Old Christian Intermarriage in the Late 15th Century"

11:30 a.m. ‒ 1:00 p.m.
Session 6: Medieval Myths and Modern Nationalism
Chair: Bryan Roby
Devi Mays, "Marking Elite Status: Sephardi Opium Dealers in the Late Ottoman World"
S.J. Pearce, "More Spanish than Cervantes: Hayim Nahman Bialik, Sephardic Identity, and the Fate of a Hebrew Quixote."

2:00 p.m. ‒ 4:15 p.m.
Session 7: Historiography and Communal Memory
Chair: Kenneth Mills
Vasileios Syros, "Fate and Political Decline in Sephardic and Byzantine Historiography"
Martin Jacobs, "Sephardi Identity and the Rhetorical Conquest of the Americas: Joseph ha-Kohen’s Subversive Readings of Gómara"
Brian Hamm, "Rebuilding out of the Ashes: Sephardic Connections to Colonial Spanish America, 1650‒1750"

4:30 p.m. ‒ 6:00 p.m.
Session 8: Concluding Plenary Session: Exile and Belief
Chair: Jeffrey Veidlinger
Matthew Goldish, "Some Aspects of Sephardi Identity Reflected in Post-Expulsion Rabbinic Responsa"
Jonathan Ray, "Did the Sephardim Believe their Myths? Social History and the Limits of Medieval Sephardic Culture."

6:00 p.m. – Closing Remarks

Before the contemporary period, the Jews of Sepharad (Iberia) were regularly depicted—and regularly depicted themselves—as part of a unique and exclusive group, more distinguished than the Jews of other lands. What are the origins of this traditional claim to Sephardic exceptionalism? How were traditional claims enhanced or altered by the decline in Jewish-Christian relations in the Christian kingdoms of Iberia in the later Middle Ages and by the eventual expulsion of the Sephardim, first from the Spanish kingdoms in 1492 and then from Portugal in 1496? “Sephardic Identities: Medieval and Early Modern” looks at Sephardic myths of identity from a diachronic perspective, bringing together papers both on the origins of Sephardic exceptionalism within medieval Sephardic communities themselves and on the evolution of such notions under pressure from forced conversion and inquisition, expulsion and diaspora, and ghettoization and emancipation.

The front entrance of Rackham, located on East Washington, is accessible by stairs and ramp. There are elevators on both the east and wends ends of the lobby. The assembly hall is on the fourth floor.
If you have a disability that requires an accommodation, contact the Judaic Studies office at or 734-763-9047.
Building: Rackham Graduate School (Horace H.)
Event Type: Conference / Symposium
Tags: Jewish Studies
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Judaic Studies
Upcoming Dates:
Wednesday, March 27, 2019 8:45 AM-6:45 PM