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Between Ethnicity, Commerce, Religion, and Race: The Elusive Definition of an Early Modern Jewish Atlantic

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Chapter Summary

Responding to academics' fascination with the role of the nação in the Iberian Atlantic, this chapter provides an overview of a few key problems inherent in the definition of the Judeo-Portuguese and Judeo-Spanish Nation as an object of inquiry within the rubric of Atlantic Studies. While acknowledging the usefulness of the paradigm of Atlantic Community in describing aspects of the nação's character and functioning as a group, the author's discussion concentrates on ways in which the variable interplay of ethnicity, religion, the construct of race, and economic behaviour in the lives of "Men of the Nation" challenges totalising models of these subjects' Jewishness and "Ibero-Atlanticity" and argues for a more nuanced approach to Jewish and judeoconverso identity, and hence, to the notion of a "Jewish Ibero-Atlantic", that students of Atlantic and Jewish Studies have only recently begun to chart.

Keywords: ethnicity; Jewish Ibero-Atlantic; judeoconverso; Men of the Nation; nação; religion



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