What's in a name? The classical Greek and Jewish diasporas and implications for the present

Online webinar

This seminar will take the form of a dialogue between Robin Cohen and Manolis Pratsinakis, chaired by Renée Hirschon. The story starts with an obscure scholarly debate about whether the expression ‘the Greek Diaspora’ can be applied to the early colonies in southern Italy and Sicily (Magna Graecia) or (for example) the settlements around the Black Sea. A ‘war of the footnotes’ emerged as the use of this denotation was vigorously contested by religious scholars and those interested in historical semantics. Were these settlements more like the Jewish diaspora than first thought and was the early Jewish diaspora also mischaracterized? Ultimately, the debate turns on two axes — the mix of voluntary and involuntary migration and the how much or how little the movement was directed and organized. What are the implications for present-day diasporas and the current Greek and Jewish diasporas?