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Lorry I. Lokey Lecture: Prof. Deena Aranoff on "Conversas and Continuity"
Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - 7:00pm

WHAT: The mysterious and little-known Conversas is the topic of this year’s Lorry I. Lokey Lecture, to be presented by Deena Aranoff, assistant professor of Medieval Jewish studies at UC – Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union. 

The talk – presented by the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies at Portland State University – will include a Q&A with the professor. 

Aranoff‘s talk, “Conversas and Continuity: How women’s history unlocks the mystery of Marranism,” will examine Inquisitional accounts of conversa practices, and it will argue that the mystery of the persistence of Marranism through the centuries is partially resolved when Jewish identity is expanded to include women's history, domestic practice, and Jewish social life. 

The professor also will explore her belief that questions asked by the historians of the previous generation, and even some of their answers, are strengthened by the inclusion of women's history and social history more generally.

Marranism is the secret practice of Judaism by Marranos, Jews forcibly converted to Catholicism during the Spanish Inquisition in the 15th century but who maintained their Jewish identities via secret observance and ritual practice.

Aranoff teaches courses on Jewish society and culture in the medieval and early-modern European context. Her interests include rabbinic literature, medieval patterns of Jewish thought and the broader question of continuity and change in Jewish history. She is particularly interested in linguistic speculation as a means by which Jewish scholars articulated cultural affinities and boundaries in ancient, medieval and modern times. She received her Ph.D. in 2006 from Columbia University’s Department of History. 

Since 2009, the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies at Portland State University has hosted an annual Lorry I. Lokey Lecture in Jewish history. The lecture series is named in honor of Mr. Lokey, a Bay Area philanthropist whose support has helped grow and shape PSU’s Judaic Studies program.

WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19

WHERE: Smith Memorial Student Union, room 294, Portland State University

COST: Free and open to the public