History 3390: Jews in Latin America
Dr. Sandra McGee Deutsch
We will study Jews of diverse backgrounds and their varied experiences in Latin America, beginning with the expulsion of Jews from Spain and Portugal (Iberia) and the Iberian conquest of Latin America. The emphasis will be on the years after 1880. We will examine how Jews have inserted themselves in political, cultural, and economic life in Latin America, as well as into its gender and racial hierarchies. We will also compare these Jews to those in other regions and to other immigrants and minorities in Latin America, as well as examine Jewish Latinos in the U.S. We will seek answers to the following questions: To what extent have Latin American societies accepted Jews? How have Jews tied their destinies to those of the Latin American countries in which they reside? What kinds of hybrid identities have these Jewish women and men created? Are the majority best described as “Jewish Latin Americans,” meaning their Latin American identities are paramount, or “Latin American Jews,” meaning their Jewish identities are paramount? How can we compare the experiences of Jews in Latin America with those of Jewish Latinos in the U.S.? The course will develop understanding of key terms such as diaspora, race, ethnicity, hybridity, borders, and memory. These questions and terms are applicable to the study of all minority and marginalized groups.
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