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JMF: Dr. Judith Cohen, NYC, Oct 20


October 20, 2006 10:30AM-12PM
Music and Memory among Crypto-Jews in Portuguese Border Villages
Dr. Judith Cohen, York University
Dr. Cohen's ethnographic fieldwork of extant musical traditions in the area or northeastern Portugal is the focus of her presentation. Her findings are perhaps unprecedented, owing to the private nature of practices in this region. Cohen will discuss the ways in which music has preserved elements of post-cultural memory among descendants of the crypto-Jews who remained in the Spanish and Portuguese communities of Belmonte and Tras-os-Montes from the time of the Inquisitions.

With careful consideration for their privacy and the trust placed in her by her study subjects, Dr. Cohen will share with us the historical and ethnographic contexts of the communities discussed, the perceptions and myths that inspire the music in their lives, and the nature of assumptions made by others about what constitutes musical memory among members of these communities. Cohen also looks at how the performance of this music utilizes older memories, shared memories, and more recent memories in the construction of a regained Jewish identity.

The respondent will be Dr. Jane Gerber, an internationally-acclaimed expert on the history of Jews in the Iberian Peninsula and pioneer in the field of Sephardic studies.

This presentation is co-sponsored by the American Sephardi Federation ; New York's Center for Jewish History; and the CUNY Graduate Center's Jewish Studies program.

All seminars take place at 10:30 a.m. at the Center for Jewish History
15 West 16th Street, NYC

Event is free and open to the public.

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