This past October Potsdam University in Germany hosted a conference of interest to the history of the Western Sephardim . The title of the conference was ‘Colonial History – Sephardic Perspectives.’ The presentations looked at subjects relating to Conversos and Jews during the New World colonial era. A major focus on the conference was the question of slavery and the role of Jews and Jewish descendants in it. While I didn’t attend, I enjoyed reading the conference review available here.
I found this sentence most thought provoking: The issue of Sephardic involvement in slave trade becomes painful, or even that unbearable that it has to be denied altogether, only when historians take their personal assumptions and preferences or their institution’s bias into their research. For more, read the entire review!
Thomas Brechenmacher (Potsdam), Sina Rauschenbach (Potsdam): Inauguration and Introduction
Jonathan Schorsch (Potsdam): New Christian Slave-Trading: Ideology and the Formation of Scholarship
Max Sebastián Hering Torres (Bogotá): Exclusion in Transfer: “Jewish Blood” and “Black Blood” in the 17th and 18th Centuries
Chairs: Michael Heinzmann (Potsdam), Klaus Weber (Frankfurt/Oder), Christoph Schulte (Potsdam), Nicole Waller (Potsdam)
José Alberto Tavim (Lisbon): Galut and Empire: In the Way of a Final Redemption
Peter Mark (Middletown, CT), José da Silva Horta (Lisbon): Senegambian Sephardic Communites in the 17th Century and the Connections with their United Provinces Bases: Was ‘’Racial’’ Thought an Issue?
Micha Brumlik (Berlin): Sephardim in the American Southern States: Attitudes Towards Slavery
Ineke Phaf-Rheinberger (Berlin): Barlaeus In-Between Africa and America
Tirtsah Levie-Bernfeld (Amsterdam /Berlin): The Migration Policy of the Amsterdam Portuguese Community
Jessica Roitman (Leiden): In Between the Intermediaries: Jews, Amerindians, and Enslaved People in the Mediation of Colonial Authority
Jan Jansen (Washington): Imperial Freemasonry and the Sephardic Jews in the Caribbean (18th — 19th Centuries)
Chair: Liliana Ruth Feierstein (Berlin)
Iris Idelson-Shein (Frankfurt am Main): Mimicry and “Masa” in the Jewish Haskalah
Ana Sobral (Zürich): Jamaican Jews: History and Memory
Boris Barth (Konstanz): Final Discussion