Call for Papers

The 15th International Symposium on the History and Culture of the Jews in the Netherlands, Amsterdam, June 1st-2nd 2021.

The Imperial Turn in Dutch Jewish History

The 15th Symposium of the History and Culture of the Jews in the Netherlands will be devoted to the way research and awareness of the imperial and colonial past affects our perspective on Dutch Jewish History

Asking Kalmar and Penslar’s question: Were “Jews, as a group, objectively irrelevant to imperialism?” this conference will focus on the under-studied Dutch empire and its legacy. Ranging from the Antilles to the Indonesian archipelago, the empire brought together Jews from a number of different backgrounds and ethnicities, and practices. Beyond the well-covered economic focus of the three main settlement empires of the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands, the lasting impact of Dutch Jews on European empires and colonies as well as the impact of Empires on the Dutch Jews remains elusive. This conference will bring these histories together by looking for overarching themes such as enslavement, slave ownership and trade, race, geopolitics, philanthropy, political and social belonging, gender, inter and intra ethnic relationships, and the contemporary legacies of the colonial encounters. The conference will thus encompass a broad chronology ranging from the 17th-the present day in order to get at the larger issues surrounding the intersections of Dutch Jews, colonialism, and empire.

Scholars interested to participate are invited to submit a 100-word abstract of a proposed 20 minute paper and 100-word bio to before November 15st 2020.

There is a limited budget for travel expenses available for scholars from outside the Netherlands, who cannot receive a travel budget from their institution. Please state if you would like to apply for this. The organizing committee will need to be selective in distributing these grants. Scholars unable to visit Amsterdam will also be given the opportunity to present their paper online.

The conference will be convened under the auspices of the Menasseh ben Israel Institute Committee for the History and Culture of Jews in the Netherlands. The organizing committee exists of Yehonatan Elazar-DeMota, Dienke Hondius, Jessica Roitman and David Wertheim