“Return,” by Dr. Charles McDonald

In 1492, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella forced those Iberian Jews who had not already converted to Christianity to “choose” between doing so or being expelled from the Iberian lands known in Hebrew as Sepharad. Five centuries later, another king, Juan Carlos, commemorated the Expulsion by donning a kipa in Madrid’s Bet Yaacov synagogue and delivering a speech in which he spoke of “the return to Sepharad.” What can historical anthropology do with an ethnographic object like Sepharad? What can it tell us about what it takes to “return” to a people, place, or time?

Read the rest of this reflection by Charles McDonald, Samuel W. and Goldye Marian Spain Postdoctoral Fellow in the Program in Jewish Studies, on the website of the Society for Cultural Anthropology.

Leave a Reply