• Creating Sepharad: Expulsion, Migration, and the Limits of Diaspora

    The expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 represents one of the most significant diasporic moments in Jewish history. However, a shared diasporic consciousness among the exiles, what we might call the diasporic “stance” of the Sephardic world, was neither automatic nor universal. Rather, the interconnected challenges of migration, resettlement, and the re-formation of local and translocal communities was a process that endured for much of the sixteenth century, affecting the exiles and their descendants in different ways. This article traces the emergence of the Sephardic diaspora—both as a form of social organization and as a cultural concept—and explores the limits of Sephardic community and identity. My intention is to highlight the strengths and the limits of the diaspora model as a means of understanding the nature and development of Sephardic society in its formative phase.

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  • Theology of Migration: Toward a Comparative Conceptualization

    This article introduces the concept of “theology of migration” in a comparative analysis of texts by religious leaderships that portray migration as the fulfillment of a religious call. Based on a reading of primary sources and field studies, five cases are examined: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem, the Islamic wasati approach, the Jewish Hasidic Chabad movement, and African Independent Churches built by labor migrants in Israel. The article distinguishes between “proactive-adaptive” and “retrospective-adaptive” theologies of migration. The former constitute repeatedly modified theological calls for religious communities to move from one land to another, while the latter constitute legitimizations of already existing migrations that were motivated by temporal considerations and that challenged religious norms. Analysis reveals theologies to be dynamic, evolving corpuses and suggests that the potential of migrating religious groups to endure physical setbacks and moral challenges is dependent on the ability of their leaderships to accommodate their theological narratives to changing circumstances.

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  • The Transnationalism of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tawahedo Church (EOTC) in the Holy Land

    The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of transnationalism on the Ethiopian Orthodox Tawahedo Church (EOTC) in the Holy Land. It demonstrates that the EOTC is a transnational organization in a number of senses. First and most obviously, the church in the Holy Land is part of the wider network of Ethiopian churches found not only in Ethiopia but also in North America and Europe. In addition, like many other churches in the Holy Land, the EOTC serves as a seasonal hub for pilgrims who visit the holy sites, particularly on Easter. Moreover, virtually all its resources are imported from abroad. Not only the clergy (none of whom are trained at the monasteries in Jerusalem) but also religious objects, literature, and significant funds reach the EOTC from overseas. Perhaps most interestingly, during the twentieth century the transnationalism of the EOTC was not merely the result of the movement of people or objects across national borders. The redrawing of national borders in both the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia and Eritrea) and the Middle East (Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority) created yet another dimension of the church’s transnationalism.

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  • Terrorist and Refugee in the Mediterranean—A European Dilemma

    The migration crisis in Europe that coincided with a wave of terrorist attacks attributed to ISIS has exacerbated the dilemma between the desire of states to secure their territory and the European tradition of open borders and inclusion. European states have redefined both their migration policies and security measures in a climate of crisis and emergency that does not accurately reflect either the issues that have contributed to the current instability or the long-term nature of the terrorist threat. Instead, a systematic conflation is created between terrorism and migration by a number of states in the Mediterranean region. The aim here is to identify this conflation and show how it is manifested in the juxtaposition of exclusion and crisis narratives and the adoption of legal measures that overlap both security and migration. The article introduces preliminary findings on the topic and forms the basis for further research that might provide answers for states and for the EU as an organization that will address security agendas and migration policies within the framework of the European human rights tradition. Focusing on counterterrorism and migration measures and using policies and official statements by government officials, the article examines the links and influences between them.

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