Fridays on the Patio: Jewish Sephardic Diaspora in Spain

Friday, October 14, 2022, 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
KJCC, 53 Washington Square South, NY 10012

The KJCC welcomes scholars Charles McDonald (NYU), Dalia Kandiyoti (CUNY), and Robert Lubar Messeri (NYU) for an informal discussion about recent Spanish and Portuguese laws that have enabled the descendants of Sephardi Jews, who were expelled from Iberia, to apply for citizenship. They will discuss some of the background on these laws, how and why they were passed, what the process of applying has been like, and the various ways that Sephardi Jews around the world have responded to them. After a short chat between the panelists, we will open the event up for a Q & A and enjoy light refreshments.

Charles McDonald is the 2022-2023 Scholar-in-Residence at the KJCC. He received his Ph.D. in Anthropology and Historical Studies from the New School for Social Research in 2019, where he continues to serve as the Managing Director of the Institute for Critical Social Inquiry (ICSI). Before joining NYU, McDonald was a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University and Rice University. His most recent article, “Rancor: Sephardi Jews, Spanish Citizenship, and the Politics of Sentiment,” was published last year in Comparative Studies in Society and History. He is finishing his first book, Return to Sepharad: Citizenship, Conversion, and the Politics of Repair, which is an experimental ethnography of the return of Jews and Judaism in contemporary Spain. His second book project, Queer Nightlife Ecologies, explores how underground nightlife workers and communities have responded to COVID and its aftermath.

Professor Lubar-Messeri teaches modern art at the Institute of Fine Arts at NYU. A specialist in modern French and Spanish art, he has published widely on Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, and Salvador Dalí. Between 2014 and 2019, Professor Lubar-Messeri served as Director of NYU Madrid. For the past eight years, he has been a Trustee of the Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona, and he is currently the Joan Miró Collections Curator at the Museu Serralves in Porto, Portugal. Professor Lubar-Messeri is a dual American and Spanish citizen.

Dalia Kandiyoti is a professor of English at the City University of New York, College of Staten Island, and the author of the books The Converso’s Return: Conversion and Sephardi History in Contemporary Literature and Culture (Stanford University Press, 2020) and Migrant Sites: America, Place, and Diaspora Literatures (Dartmouth College/University Press of New England, 2009) and of numerous articles on contemporary Sephardi, Latinx, and migration/diaspora literatures. With Dr. Rina Benmayor, she has conducted an oral history project of Sephardi descendants applying for Spanish or Portuguese citizenship and received support from the National Endowment for the Humanities for a part of this work. She and Dr. Benmayor have co-edited a volume entitled _Reparative Citizenship for Sephardi Descendants: Returning to the Jewish Past in Spain and Portugal (_forthcoming Berghahn 2023) and have also developed an archive of the interviews, which will be available at the University of Washington in 2023.