On March 27th at 6:30pm in New England, room 105, guest lecturer Jonathan Schorsch will be speaking on, “Exploring a 1658 Sephardic Settlement Venture to the Dutch ‘Wild Coast’: Identity, Colonization, Decolonialism and Messianism.” This talk focuses on a rare Portuguese "ego document," the Copy of the Relation that Jeosua Nunez Netto and Joseph Pereira Sentfrom the Bank of the Pauroma River on the Wild Coast, which illuminates the mentalité of Portuguese Jewish colonists in the middle of the 17th century. A close contextual reading of the Relation reveals its authors wavering between commercialism and salvation, Portuguese and Dutch identity. Agents of mimetic transfer from one empire to another, willing and optimistic colonists, the authors help us reconsider several facets of the diaspora of Portuguese Jews within and beyond Portugal. Prof. Schorsch situates the authors, their text and world between Portuguese saudade and Jewish aspirations, difference and mimesis, hatred and longing, internal colonization and a decolonial existence.
Jonathan Schorsch holds the Chair in Jewish Religious and Intellectual History at the University of Potsdam (Germany). He earned his PhD in History from the University of California-Berkeley in 2000.
This lecture, which has been made possible by the Gomez Mill House Foundation, which named Prof. Schorsch the 2018–19 Gomez Mill House Scholar, is sponsored by the Program of Jewish Studies, and co-sponsored by the Department of History, the Department of Hispanic Studies, and the Program of Africana Studies.
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