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International Conference : Colonial History - Sephardic Perspectives (16-19th Centuries). Potsdam, 27-29 October 2015

Le 26 octobre 2015 à 23h32

Colonial History – Sephardic Perspectives (16-19th Centuries)
International Conference at the Institute for Jewish and Religious Studies
Convener : Prof. Dr. Sina Rauschenbach (University of Potsdam)
University of Potsdam, Am Neuen Palais 10
Haus 8, Raum 0.60/61 (Foyer), 14469 Potsdam
October 27-October 29, 2015

"Over the last decades, new approaches to colonial history have remarkably enriched our understanding of entanglements between early modern European and non-European worlds. Power relationships have been reconsidered from a variety of different perspectives. Multidirectional approaches have been introduced into the analysis of transfers of cultures and knowledge. Binary categories such as colonizers and colonized, white and black, civilized and primitive, have been put into question and been supplanted by more sophisticated and less clear-cut patterns.
Scholars of Jewish history have responded quickly, contributing and proposing new fields of research with regard to Jews and conversos in colonial societies, Jewish history and Atlantic history as well as “forgotten Diasporas” (Mark, da Silva Horta, The Forgotten Diaspora, Cambridge 2013 [2011]) such as Africa and Asia. However, the study of early modern Judaism outside Europe is still in its infancy, and few books touch upon the experiences, cultures, and thoughts of Jewish merchants, settlers, smugglers or indentured workers in and between different European colonies and countries.
The conference “Colonial History – Sephardic Perspectives”, to be held at the University of Potsdam in October 2015, is aimed at contributing to a nascent field of research while fostering Sephardic Studies in German universities."

Participants were invited to present papers dealing with the intersection between early modern colonial and Sephardic history, and to help open fresh perspectives from whence new interests and discussions might arise. Due to the importance of conversos and Sephardim in early modern colonial contexts, the conference will put particular focus on “Sephardic perspectives”, which is to be read as either “perspectives of Sephardim” or “perspectives on Sephardim.” However, participants were also encouraged not to view Sephardic histories and cultures as isolated phenomena, and to place their discussions in more general contexts of Jewish (and hence also Ashkenazic) and non-Jewish experiences.

The conference will close with a visit to “Verfolgt und verbrannt – Mexikos geheime Juden”, a concert and a joint project of the Universities of Potsdam and Konstanz, initiated by Sina Rauschenbach (Potsdam) and Héctor Pérez-Brignoli (San José, Costa Rica). It will take place at Schinkelhalle, Potsdam, on Thursday, October 29, at 8 pm.
Tickets can be purchased at
The conference is open to the public and free of charge.
Attendees are kindly requested to register with Maria Seidel (

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