North Carolina Jewish Studies Consortium

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NCJS Annual Meeting at UNC-Chapel Hill (Oct. 7)

 The 2018 meeting of the North Carolina Jewish Studies Consortium will take place on October 7 at UNC Chapel Hill. Our guest and keynote speaker will be Professor Miriam Bodian from UT Austin. 

We will meet at 12:00 to discuss "Teaching Jewish Studies in the Bible Belt." Lunch will be served.

This will be followed at 3:00 by a lecture by Prof. Bodian: 

The “Sephardim:" An Imagined Diaspora?

There is a widespread belief that from the medieval period onward, the great majority of Jews belonged to one of two ethnic sub-groups - the Sephardim and the Ashkenazim - that developed in parallel fashion and are thus somehow comparable. But the structures of these two diasporas are profoundly different. While it is possible to describe an “Ashkenazi culture” (at least up to the nineteenth century) with continuities of language, style, geography, ancestry, and religious environment, the profound disjunctions of Sephardi history make any such description impossible. How, then, has “Sephardi” identity survived? What meanings has it assumed?   

Miriam Bodian is Professor of History and Director of the Institute for Historical Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She has written extensively on the judeo-conversos and Portuguese Jews, including two books, Hebrews of the Portuguese Nation: Conversos and Community in Early Modern Amsterdam and Dying in the Law of Moses: Crypto-Jewish Martyrdom in Iberian Lands. She is currently writing a book on the eventful life and innovative thinking of the Portuguese Jew Isaac de Castro Tartas, based on his lengthy Inquisition trial. 

The meeting is organized by UNC Chapel Hill and co-sponsored by Appalachian State University, Duke University, UNC Wilmington and Wake Forest University.

To RSVP, please contact Dr. Flora Cassen, Associate Professor of History, at