Atlantic Diasporas: Jews, Conversos, and Crypto-Jews in the Age of Mercantilism, 1500-1800

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Overview

This wide-ranging narrative explores the role that Jews, Conversos, and Crypto-Jews played in settling and building the Atlantic world between 1500 and 1800. Through the interwoven themes of markets, politics, religion, culture, and identity, the essays here demonstrate that the world of Atlantic Jewry, most often typified by Port Jews involved in mercantile pursuits, was more complex than commonly depicted.

The first section discusses the diaspora in relation to maritime systems, commerce, and culture on the Atlantic and includes an overview of Jewish history on both sides of the ocean. The second section provides an in-depth look at Jewish mercantilism, from settlements in Dutch America to involvement in building British, Portuguese, and other trading cultures to the dispersal of Sephardic merchants. In the third section, the chapter authors assess the roles of identity and religion in settling the Atlantic, looking closely at religious conversion; slavery; relationships among Jews, Christians, and Muslims; and the legacy of the lost tribes of Israel. A concluding commentary elucidates the fluidity of identity and boundaries in the formation of the Atlantic world.

Featuring chapters by Jonathan Israel, Natalie Zemon Davis, Aviva Ben-Ur, Holly Snyder, and other prominent Jewish historians, this collection opens new avenues of inquiry into the Jewish diaspora and integrates Jewish trade and settlements into the broader narrative of Atlantic exploration.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Renaissance Quarterly
These authors provide a window onto a diverse and fascinating world that challenges a host of popular notions.
New York Review of Books
This volume includes pieces by such scholars as Jonathan Israel and Daviken Studnick-Gizbert, who have made outstanding contributions to our knowledge of the international activities, and the social and mental worlds, of the Marrano mercantile community.
Journal of Interdisciplinary History
This volume offers an excellent rebuttal to those who think that either Jews or the Atlantic stand apart from nation and empire.

— David Hancock

American Jewish History
A major contribution... Sophisticated analyses of culture and excellent archival research, integrating both with the burgeoning field of Atlantic Studies.

— David Graizbord

New West Indian Guide
Atlantic Diasporas will inform even experts in a diversity of fields.

— Jonathan Schorsch

Journal of American Ethnic History
Refashioned the very concept of diaspora and made it into a viable model by which to examine the history of migration and ethnicity.

— Rachel Kranson

Journal of World History
This volume is a very important contribution to our understanding of a very complex diaspora that defies simplistic generalizations.

— Ana Schaposchnik

H-Net Reviews

Atlantic Diasporas is well organized, fascinating, groundbreaking, and extremely useful both as a platform to promote further research and as an assigned text.

Journal of Interdisciplinary History - David Hancock
This volume offers an excellent rebuttal to those who think that either Jews or the Atlantic stand apart from nation and empire.
American Jewish History - David Graizbord
A major contribution... Sophisticated analyses of culture and excellent archival research, integrating both with the burgeoning field of Atlantic Studies.
New West Indian Guide - Jonathan Schorsch
Atlantic Diasporas will inform even experts in a diversity of fields.
Journal of World History - Ana Schaposchnik
This volume is a very important contribution to our understanding of a very complex diaspora that defies simplistic generalizations.
Journal of American Ethnic History - Rachel Kranson
Refashioned the very concept of diaspora and made it into a viable model by which to examine the history of migration and ethnicity.
H-LatAm, H-Net Reviews - Stanley Mirvis
Atlantic Diasporas is well organized, fascinating, groundbreaking, and extremely useful both as a platform to promote further research and as an assigned text.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801890352
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 12/2/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 328
  • Sales rank: 1,228,453
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard L. Kagan is a professor of history at the Johns Hopkins University and the translator and editor, with Abigail Dyer, of Inquisitorial Inquiries: Brief Lives of Secret Jews and Other Heretics, also published by Johns Hopkins. Philip D. Morgan is the Harry C. Black Professor of History at the Johns Hopkins University and author of the award-winning book Slave Counterpoint: Black Culture in the Eighteenth-Century Chesapeake and Lowcountry.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Preface vii

Part I Contexts

1 Jews and Crypto-Jews in the Atlantic World Systems, 1500-1800 Jonathan Israel 3

2 Jewish History in an Age of Atlanticism Adam Sutcliffe 18

Part II Mercantilism

3 Networks of Colonial Entrepreneurs: The Founders of the Jewish Settlements in Dutch America, 1650s and 1660s Wim Klooster 33

4 English Markets, Jewish Merchants, and Atlantic Endeavors: Jews and the Making of British Transatlantic Commercial Culture, 1650-1800 Holly Snyder 50

5 La Nacion among the Nations: Portuguese and Other Maritime Trading Diasporas in the Atlantic, Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries Daviken Studnicki-Gizbert 75

6 Sephardic Merchants in the Early Modern Atlantic and Beyond: Toward a Comparative Historical Approach to Business Cooperation Francesca Trivellato 99

Part III Identity and Religion

7 Jews and New Christians in Dutch Brazil, 1630-1654 Bruno Feitler 123

8 A Matriarchal Matter: Slavery, Conversion, and Upward Mobility in Suriname's Jewish Community Aviva Ben-Ur 152

9 Catholics, Jews, and Muslims in Early Seventeenth-Century Guine Peter Mark Jose da Silva Horta 170

10 "These Indians Are Jews!" Lost Tribes, Crypto-Jews, and Jewish Self-Fashioning in Antonio de Montezino's Relacion of 1644 Ronnie Perelis 195

Epilogue Natalie Zemon Davis 213

Notes 219

List of Contributors 295

Index 299

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