Northwestern Events Calendar


Forging Ties, Forging Passports: Migration and the Modern Sephardi Diaspora (Devi Mays)

When: Monday, November 11, 2019
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM CT

Where: Kresge Hall, Room 1-515 (The Forum), 1880 Campus Drive , Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: Free

Contact: Danny Postel  

Group: Middle East and North African Studies

Co-Sponsor: The Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies
Keyman Modern Turkish Studies (Northwestern Buffett)

Category: Lectures & Meetings


Devi Mays is Assistant Professor of Judaic Studies at the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies, University of Michigan, where she is also affiliated with the Mediterranean Perspective on Global History and Culture cluster. Before that she was Post-Doctoral Fellow in Modern Jewish Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Her research focuses on transnational Jewish networks in the Mediterranean and global contexts, with a focus on Sephardic Jews.

Her dissertation, “Transplanting Cosmopolitans: The Migrations of Sephardic Jews to Mexico, 1900-1934,” deals with Sephardic migrants between the Ottoman Empire, its successor states, and Mexico, studying the transnational identities, networks, and citizenships which they cultivated to circumvent restrictions imposed by the Ottoman, Mexican, and Turkish states. She shows that exploiting commercial and familial networks between formerly Ottoman lands, France, the United States, Cuba, and Mexico ensured for Sephardic migrants a geographic and social mobility that challenged the physical borders of the state and the conceptual boundaries of the nation.

Her second project explores the Ottoman capital of Constantinople as a central stage upon which Jewish subtonic and imperial affiliations collided and coalesced, a lynch-pin between the Jewish Black Sea and the Jewish Mediterranean. Her publications include, among others, “‘I Killed Her Because I Loved Her Too Much’: Gender and Violence in the 20th-Century Sephardi Diaspora” (Mashriq & Mahjar: Journal of Middle East Migration Studies, 2014), and numerous translations from Ladino, Spanish, and French in Sephardi Lives: A Documentary History, 1700-1950 (Stanford University Press, 2014).

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