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Journal Article

Port Jews or a People of the Diaspora? A Critique of the Port Jew Concept

C. S. Monaco
Jewish Social Studies
Vol. 15, No. 2 (Winter 2009), pp. 137-166
Published by: Indiana University Press
DOI: 10.2979/jss.2009.15.2.137
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/jss.2009.15.2.137
Page Count: 30
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Port Jews or a People of the Diaspora? A Critique of the Port Jew Concept
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Abstract

Abstract This article offers a critical examination of the port Jew concept that was first introduced in the late 1990s. The port Jew “social type” has been construed as an alternate path to modernity, a phenomenon that was distinct from the European Haskalah and intrinsic to the supposedly liberal environment of port towns and cities. Drawing on a body of historical evidence (primarily from the Dutch and British Caribbean), this article questions key characteristics of the port Jew thesis and argues that a diaspora framework is better suited for conceptualizing the Jewish Atlantic world.

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