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Intersecting Diaspora Boundaries

Portuguese Contexts

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Edited By Irene Maria F. Blayer and Dulce Maria Scott

This collection of essays provides both critical and interdisciplinary means for thinking across diasporic travels within the Portuguese experience and its intersection with other peoples and cultures. The chapters are organized into four sections and offer rich, diverse, and insightful studies that provide a conceptualization of the Portuguese diaspora with special attention to the importance of cross-cultural interferences and influences. Within this framework, and from a variety of perspectives, some of the chapters depict identity-formation paths among Portuguese Jews and Luso-Indians in Australia, as well as the historical, cultural, and literary interplay among Portuguese and other diasporas in Goa, the West Indies, and Brazil. Other chapters analyze Portuguese-American literature and poetry, whereby the intersection of memory, dual identity, and place are meticulously explored. The last section of the book addresses Portuguese writers and poets who lived through (in)voluntary exile or were dislocated to Europe and Asia, and how their diasporic conditions interface with their textualized narratives. Place and memory as means of reconstructing a fragmented existence, in the writings of exiled writers, are also explored. The volume closes with a chapter on Portuguese illegal migration to France. The studies herein open new lines of inquiry into diaspora studies.
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Chapter Two: The Evolution of Portuguese Identity in the Post-Fifteenth-Century Jewish Diaspora

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CHAPTER  TWO

The Evolution OF Portuguese Identity IN THE Post-Fifteenth-Century Jewish Diaspora

BARRY L. STIEFEL

 

What was the state of Portuguese identity amongst Jews after 1500? This is especially significant when we consider that Jews were expelled or forced to convert to Catholicism across Iberia over the course of the previous decade. Since Spain’s expulsion edict occurred first, in 1492, many Jews moved to Portugal, only to encounter another expulsion edict less than five years later. This was subsequently changed into a compulsory conversion edict, both exposing and entrapping many Spanish Jews to Portuguese culture and language. Wherever expatriate Iberian Jews found refuge off the peninsula, those of Portuguese and Spanish extraction often lived side-by-side in organized communities. So, there has been cross- pollination between the two demographic origins, causing a blurring of identities. Additionally, more than five centuries have passed since the cataclysmic event for Portuguese Jews, creating multiple manifestations of Portuguese identity in diaspora form that must be considered. Thus the premise of this chapter is to what extent was Portuguese culture and language the identity of Jews in the post- fifteenth-century diaspora? Furthermore, considering the contemporary diasporic nature of Lusophone culture outside of Iberia—spread across the mid-Atlantic islands, parts of South America, Africa, Asia, as well as expatriate communities beyond the Lusophone world—are there other manifestations of Portuguese identity amongst Jews that should be considered? Are Portuguese Jews necessarily all Sephardic—that is...

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