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Research The Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG) Research Research centres Research Centre for Historical Studies (CHS)

CHS guest lecture - YARON AYALON (College of Charleston): 'Ottoman Jewry: A New History'

When:We 01-05-2024 16:00 - 17:30
Where:Room 1313.0342, Harmonie building

Guest lecture at the Centre for Historical Studies


In this talk, Dr. Ayalon will present key findings from his forthcoming book, Ottoman Jews: Leadership, Charity, and Literacy, a book that offers a new approach to the history of Jews in the Ottoman Empire from the early sixteenth to the early nineteenth century. Dr. Ayalon offers a new historical framework to examine social, global, and environmental challenges that have hitherto not been considered part of the Ottoman-Jewish story. His study contextualizes some known episodes and dismisses others as ahistorical. It also argues that rabbis played a less prominent role as communal and spiritual leaders than we have thought; and that shifts in charitable and educational communal practices show that as more Jews preferred to avoid the scrutiny of rabbis and other communal leaders, private initiatives in both areas proliferated throughout the empire, undermining rabbinical and lay authority.

About the speaker

Yaron Ayalon is the Director of the Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program and Associate Professor of Jewish and Middle Eastern Studies at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. He is a historian of Sephardic Jews, the Ottoman Empire, and the Middle East, and the author of Natural Disasters in the Ottoman Empire: Plague, Famine, and Other Misfortunes (Cambridge University Press, 2014) and over 20 articles. His next book, Ottoman Jewry: Leadership, Charity, and Literacy is forthcoming with Brill. Yaron earned his PhD from Princeton University in 2009.

Moderator: Sasha Goldstein