Remembering Sepharad: History, Memory, Politics

Dr. Julia Phillips Cohen
Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN)

In 2015, the Spanish government passed legislation granting citizenship to the descendants of Jews expelled from Spain in 1492, citing—among other reasons—Sephardi Jews’ continued “fidelity and special ties to Spain.” How did such ideas come about? Using contemporary developments as a point of departure, Cohen’s talk probes the evolution of Sephardic Jews’ ties to Spain in the centuries following their expulsion.


Julia Phillips Cohen is Associate Professor of History and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University. She is the author of two award-winning books, Becoming Ottomans: Sephardi Jews and Imperial Citizenship in the Modern Era (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014) and Sephardi Lives: A Documentary History, 1700-1950 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2014.