"Taxing identities": The Impact of 'Pardon Taxes' on Converso Identity
Claude Stuczynski, Bar-Ilan University
This lecture will reassess Converso-Sephardi identities, especially in early modern Portugal. Stuczynski will explore the archeology of the term "men of the nation," as the Portuguese New Christians or Conversos were named, by searching its chronological appearance, function, and semantic field. He will also discuss the extant lists of Converso "pardon tax payers" and those who tried to prove their non-inclusion in these lists through dispensations in order to be dissociated from the "men of the nation" group. This lecture will analyze these sources in a way that attempts to change the way we perceive Converso identity. Instead of depicting it in passive terms of imposed and/or inherited ethnicity, or in loose terms of Converso memory, an analysis of the lists of tax pardon payers and documents of pardon dispensations implies an engaging construction of Converso identities Stuczynski calls: "negotiations of belonging."
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