David A. Wacks deposited Sepharadim/conversos and premodern Global Hispanism in the group Medieval and Early Modern Jewish History, Literature, and Culture on AJS Commons 3 years, 1 month ago
Sepharadim participated in the Hispanic vernacular culture of the Iberian Peninsula. Even in the time of al-Andalus many spoke Hispano-Romance, and even their Hebrew literature belies a deep familiarity with and love of their native Hispano-Romance languages. However, since the early sixteenth century the vast majority of Sepharadim have never lived in the Hispanic world. Sepharadim lived not in Spanish colonies defined by Spanish conquest, but in a network of Mediterranean Jewish communities defined by diasporic values and institutions.
By contrast, the conversos, those Sepharadim who converted to Catholicism, whether in Spain or later in Portugal, Italy, or the New World, lived mostly in Spanish Imperial lands, were officially Catholic, and spoke normative Castilian. Their connections, both real and imagined, with Sephardic cultural practice put them at risk of social marginalization, incarceration, even death. Some were devout Catholics whose heritage and family history doomed them to these outcomes. Not surprisingly, many Spanish and Portugese conversos sought refuge in lands outside of Spanish control where they might live openly as Jews.
This exodus (1600s) from the lands formerly known as Sefarad led to a parallel Sephardic community of what conversos who re-embraced Judaism in Amsterdam and Italy by a generation of conversos trained in Spanish universities. The Sephardic/Converso cultural complex exceeds the boundaries of Spanish imperial geography, confuses Spanish, Portuguese, Catholic, and Jewish subjectivities, and defies traditional categories practiced in Hispanic studies, and are a unique example of the Global Hispanophone.