As part of the project ‘The Invention of the Refugee’, I will focus on the use of the Jewish exile identity within communities in Early Modern Europe. Jewish Diasporic Studies have provided much insight into the differences in Jewish identity between various Jewish diasporic communities throughout Europe. However, historians tend to overlook how Jewish diasporic communities also made distinctions between those who lived in exile and those who did not. It is important to investigate the use of this exile identity as it could function as a useful agent to negotiate the Jewish migrants’ position in society. After all, it was one of the few identities that Jews shared with different [non] Jewish groups in the Early Modern Period.
My dissertation will use discourse analysis to investigate the usage of the exile identity by the Portuguese Jewish communities and their networks to negotiate their own position and their charity towards [eventual] arriving migrants during four specific periods of high influxes of migrants. By using Amsterdam as a prism, it will study the ways in which the Portuguese Jewish community negotiated and expressed the exile identities of themselves and of others and why they did so.
Researcher: Hans Wallage
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