The quiet conversion of a ‘Jewish’ woman in eighteenth-century Spain
in Conversions
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The conversion of Jews to Christianity in late medieval and early modern times was often accompanied by acrimony, and in several cases by violence. Less acrimonious conversions of Jews from the same periods have tended to escape scholarly attention because of their relatively quotidian and private nature, and because the converts in such cases have often been women, and thus were not expected to assume significant public roles as Christians, let alone to lead campaigns against Judaism. This chapter explores one such ‘quiet’ conversion, that of Carlota Liot, a Jewish woman and a merchant from Hesse-Kassel who resided in Consuegra (in Castile-La Mancha) and was baptized in Toledo in 1791 after voluntarily submitting to inquisitorial scrutiny. By comparing her case with those of other Jewish transients, the chapter assesses the degree to which gender shaped the manner and substance of these Jews’ socio-religious transformation in Spain, and shed a fuller light on the history of Jews’ Christianization. This chapter traces Liot's journeys and relocations in detail, to understand the connections between acts of border-crossing and settlement, and the performance of gender as a passport to social and community identity.

Conversions

Gender and religious change in early modern Europe

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