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Dina Danon (Binghamton University) will discuss her new book, “The Jews of Ottoman Izmir: A Modern History.”

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About this talk

The Jews of Ottoman Izmir coverAcross Europe at the turn of the twentieth century, Jews were often confronted with the notion that their religious and cultural distinctiveness was somehow incompatible with the modern age. Yet the view from Ottoman Izmir, a Mediterranean port city, invites a different approach: what happens when Jewish difference is totally unremarkable? What happens when there is no “Jewish Question?”

Drawing extensively on a rich body of previously untapped Ladino archival material, Danon will offer a new read on Jewish modernity. Through the voices of beggars on the street and mercantile elites, shoe-shiners and newspaper editors, rabbis and housewives, this talk will underscore how it was new attitudes to poverty and social class, not Judaism, that most significantly framed this Sepharadi community’s encounter with the modern age.

About the speakers

Portrait of Dina Danon smiling, wearing a blouse, with a wide window in the backgroundDina Danon is associate professor of Judaic Studies at Binghamton University. She holds a doctorate in History from Stanford University. She was recently a fellow at the Katz Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where she began work on new project on the marketplace of matchmaking, marriage, and divorce in the eastern Sepharadi diaspora.



Devin E. Naar is the Isaac Alhadeff Professor in Sephardic Studies, Associate Professor of History, and faculty at the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies in the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington. He received his Ph.D. in History at Stanford University and has also served as a Fulbright fellow to Greece. His first book, Jewish Salonica: Between the Ottoman Empire and Modern Greece, was published by Stanford University Press in 2016. The book won the 2016 National Jewish Book Award in the category of Research Based on Archival Material and was named a finalist in Sephardic Culture. It also won the 2017 Edmund Keeley Prize for best book in Modern Greek Studies awarded by the Modern Greek Studies Association.

Presented in partnership with Congregation Ezra Bessaroth, the Seattle Sephardic Network, Sephardic Bikur Holim Congregation, and the Turkish American Cultural Association of Washington; the department of History, and the Middle East Center.