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An Iconography of Diaspora: The illustrated Ketubah in British India

This talk will examine the illustrated ketubot, or marriage certificates, of Mizrahi Jews in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Calcutta as visual texts that offer a window onto the Jewish history of the Raj. Known as the Baghdadi Jews of India, this community was established at the turn of the nineteenth century and grew to encompass Jews from Iraq, Syria, and across the Middle East. I argue that the Baghdadi Jews of Calcutta developed a fluid visual iconography that allowed them to articulate a religious, cultural, and ethnic identity as Arab Indian Jews living under the British Raj—an identity that was fundamentally hybrid, intersectional, and emplaced in diaspora.

Dr Amanda Shubert, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Wednesday, 1 May 2024, 4:00pm-6:00pm

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