Iberian diasporities in Baroque Rome

MONDAY 9 MARCH 18.00–19.30

James W. Nelson Novoa (BSR; Ottawa)

Research on the presence of Iberians in early modern Rome has tended to concentrate on elites, diplomats, curial officials, ceremonial and self-representation, art patronage and national churches. Much less work has been done on the Spanish and Portuguese on the ground and their interactions with Roman society. My lecture will deal with one group in particular within the Iberian community in the Eternal City: those of Jewish origin called New Christians or conversos. In an era of Post-Tridentine confessionalisation, public affirmation of faith and ostentation of piety was all important, especially in Baroque Rome. By presenting some case studies of members of this diasporic group during a period which saw important urban and social transformations in Rome and in the Iberian world with the independence of Portugal from Spain in 1640 and its aftermath, I will present some of the various strategies for social insertion and mobility for a group which was doubly other: as members of the foreign nationeswho lived in the city and among their fellow Spanish and Portuguese as well, as a discriminated minority.

James W. Nelson Novoa is Associate Professor in the department of Modern Languages and Literatures and Medieval and Renaissance studies at the University of Ottawa (Canada). He received his doctorate in Spanish philology from the University of Valencia in Spain in 2003 under the direction of Professor Julio Alonso Asenjo, with a European thesis co-directed by Professor Michele Luzzati of the University of Pisa. He was a postdoctoral fellow of the Foundation for Science and Technology of Portugal (2006-2010) and (2011-2014). Between 2014 and 2015 he was a researcher in the research project funded by the European Research Council and led by Professor Yosef Kaplan at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem: a transitional diaspora: cultural and religious changes in the Sephardic western communities during the period Modern, Faculty of Humanities, Hebrew University. He is the author of the book Being the Nação in the Eternal City: Portuguese New Christian Lives in Sixteenth Century Rome,Peterborough: Baywolf Press, 2014, of more than 30 peer-reviewed articles and 25 book chapters. Among his areas of academic interest are Italo-Iberian cultural relations in the modern period and the New Christian diaspora in Italy in the 16th and 17th centuries.