The Memory Work of Sepharad: New Inheritances for Twenty-first Century Spain


ACLS Fellowship Program


Hispanic Languages and Literature


This project studies the long-ranging implications of the current “re-discovery” of Spain’s Jewish past. Since the mid 1980s, many cultural and political initiatives have engaged with the memory of Jewish Spain. Today, all things “Sepharad” – the mythical name given by Spanish Jews to the Iberian Peninsula – are widely marketed throughout Spain, from historical novels, travel guides, music and cookbooks, to recently excavated and restored medieval synagogues and Jewish quarters. The wide public circulation of new narratives that are putting Spanish Jews at their center are producing profound transformations in the way Spaniards see themselves. The project explores the ways in which this recent memory of Sepharad has allowed Spaniards to rethink long-established notions of national, regional, local, and personal identities.