Carlotta Ferrara degli Uberti – The Jews of Italy from emancipation to Fascism

Event Date: Sunday 26 September 2010
Imperial War Museum, London

Racism, war, atrocity, and its aftermath in Italy, 1938-2010

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Carlotta Ferrara degli Uberti (University of Pisa)
The Jews of Italy from emancipation to Fascism

Over the last thirty years there has been a considerable expansion in Italian history writing on topics of Jewish history. For a long time — until the 1990s — the integration of Italian Jews was described by historians as a process unshadowed by problems. The way the process unfolded at various levels is now being studied to understand both the reasons for the apparent ease of integration and the less evident grey areas. After emancipation, the increasing integration and ongoing secularization transformed Jewishness into a private matter, mainly consisting in an affective bond with family traditions, susceptible of all manner of individual definitions and multiple interactions with other dimensions of identity. The analysis of the changing modes of self-representation of the Italian-Jewish religious and intellectual élites in the time period running from the 1860s to the first World War — through sources such as Jewish periodicals, sermons, catechisms etc. — can show us how the endless search for a balance between assimilation and defence of “otherness” worked.

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