CFP: Representations of the ‘Port Jew’, University of Southampton, 22-23 May 2017

shylock_filmRepresentations of the ‘Port Jew’ is a conference organised by the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish relations, University of Southampton and the Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies and Research at the University of Cape Town.

The concept of the ‘Port Jew’ was developed in the late 1990s by Lois Dubin and David Sorkin to describe the identity and activities of an elite group of Sephardi traders which emerged in the early modern era. Working in the relative freedom and space of cosmopolitan trading centres, their success was compared to the restraints operating on the better studied ‘Court Jews’.

Under the leadership of David Cesarani, the Parkes Institute at the University of Southampton and its partner, the Kaplan Centre at the University of Cape Town, organised a series of conferences on the theme of the ‘Port Jew’. These important gatherings and their subsequent prize winning publications opened up further the concept in both time and space.

In this conference, a tribute to the life and work of the late David Cesarani, the aim is to revisit the ‘Port Jew’ with the focus on how the figure has been represented in literature, historiography, and other cultural, intellectual and artistic forms. The keynote lecture will be given by Professor Bryan Cheyette (University of Reading), on ‘Venice’.

Proposals are welcome from those working in all disciplines, geographies and chronologies. Proposals should be 100-200 words and be sent to Professor Tony Kushner, University of Southampton by email ( by 15 December 2016.

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