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No Memory, No Future: Memoirs of Sephardic Women Published in the Past Twenty Years

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Author(s): Romeu Ferré, Pilar

Journal: Revista de Dialectología y Tradiciones Populares
ISSN 0034-7981

Volume: 63;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 101;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: Sephardim | Women | Ottoman Empire | Construction of Memory | Transnationalism | Autobiography | Ethnic Minorities | Westernization | Sephardic Literature | Sefardíes | Mujeres | Imperio Otomano | Construcción de la Memoria | Transnacionalismo | Autobiografía | Minorías Étnicas | Occidentalización | Literatura Sefardí

ABSTRACT
Throughout the 20th century, as well as in these early years of the 21th, several memoirs, autobiographical novels and orally-transmitted testimonies by Sephardic Jews have been published. These people knew the traditional community lifestyle of the Ottoman Empire before living through the social, cultural and political changes around the turn of the 20th century which brought about the decomposition of their Sephardic communities. Later they recreate —often in the new countries where they settled— this world that disappeared. The author analyzes here more than a dozen of such works, published by Sephardic women between 1987 and 2006. She calls attention to the way these women reconstruct their past and their identity in evoking the lifestyle, manners and customs of their original communities. Their testimonies differ significantly from those of the men, especially with regard to subjects such as family and social relationships.A lo largo del siglo XX y en lo que va del XXI se han publicado muchos libros de memorias, novelas autobiográficas y testimonios de historia oral de judíos sefardíes. Son gentes que conocieron la vida tradicional de las comunidades del antiguo imperio otomano, experimentaron los cambios sociales, culturales y políticos del paso de los siglos XIX al XX y la descomposición de las comunidades. Hoy recrean —la mayor parte de las veces, desde los nuevos países de emigración— ese mundo ya desaparecido. En este artículo la autora analiza una docena larga de este tipo de obras, publicadas por mujeres sefardíes entre 1987 y 2006. Enfatiza cómo estas mujeres reconstruyen su pasado y su identidad, evocando la vida, los usos y las costumbres de sus comunidades. Sus descripciones difieren sustancialmente de las de los hombres, en especial en lo que atañe a las relaciones familiares y sociales.
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