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    Sephardi politics in the Balkans 1900–1940

    Oparnica, Zeljka (2022) Sephardi politics in the Balkans 1900–1940. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    This thesis historicises Sephardi politics in the Balkans and examines why and how the idea of Sephardi diaspora became a political vehicle in the twentieth century. The Sephardim stem from the Jewish refugees expelled from the Iberian Peninsula in the late fifteenth century, who settled across the Mediterranean and remained connected through a common set of religious practices, mercantile networks, and language(s). For most of this diasporic history, the Sephardim shared culture but did not have the capacity to make political claims. My research focuses on the Balkans, where the ruptures of modern history mobilised the Sephardi diaspora as a political body for the first time between the 1900s and the late 1930s. Within this context, I analyse how this Sephardi-centred politics presented significant challenges not only to empires and nation-states but also to the Jewish national movement and, finally, how the movement itself shaped these larger actors. The thesis explains how Sephardim gained political significance in local contexts during the 1910s and 1920s when Jewish and European politics were intertwined and mutually dependent. The politicisation of the Sephardi diaspora influenced greater political outcomes in two crucial moments for the Balkans just before and after the First World War. Moreover, the spokesmen of Sephardi politics had ardent and distinct responses to the most movements of modern Jewish history: emancipation, Zionism and, socialism. I explore how the Sephardi-centred politics challenged the substance and direction of Jewish intellectual debates. I emphasise how Sephardi politics opened space for minority politics within the Jewish national politics, but also within multinational, multi-ethnic societies, and specifically within the Austro-Hungarian empire and interwar Yugoslavia. In all of these ways, my work sheds light on minority movements as agents of social change and their unintended influences.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2022 09:53
    Last Modified: 01 Nov 2023 15:47


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