Iberian Working Group



Ancient Iberian Statue

"Iberia" is synonymous with mobility and crossings, its sites full of stories about people who come and go, leave and then return, from pre-Roman territories, peoples and trading, to confluences of Jewish, Islamic and Asian cultures; from Portugal's Oceanic and African slaving and trading ventures, to Galician emigrations across the Atlantic; from Mediterranean trading from Cataluña and the Balearic Islands, to contemporary conflicts over autonomous regional languages.  

Thus Iberia presents something of a paradox: while a nationalist model does not and cannot do justice to the peninsula's multidimensional scope of issues,  nonetheless the confluence of such vast cultural differences seems to invite conceptualization of an Iberian "identity" distinctive from those developing in the rest of Europe. The field of Iberian Studies opens the possibility of pursuing a broader articulation of issues that were never and are not confined to a particular national culture or national history.

In this two-year working group, we will explore numerous questions and propose curricular innovations, with regard to Iberian Studies.  Initial questions include: is Iberian Studies just a different name for traditional comparatism between different Iberian literatures and cultures, or does it require a more profound epistemological reconfiguration, one that brings us away from nationalist models such as Hispanism or Luso-Brazilianism? Can Iberian Studies borrow profitably from the methodologies of other area studies such as Mediterranean Studies, in particular the application of a long durée theory of cultural exchange? With a mind toward generating questions and directions for research, what might Iberian Studies take from postcolonial, transoceanic, and globalization frameworks of analysis? What are the methodological and conceptual overlaps among Iberian Studies and study areas such as Latin American Studies, Transatlantic Studies, Oceanic Studies, Mediterranean Studies, Latino Studies or Borderlands Studies?

The Iberian Working Group represents a chance for a substantial increment in epistemological rigor in studies of the literatures, cultures, languages and peoples of the diverse areas of the globe that share a not always consensual Iberian legacy. This working group is coordinated by Rebecca Haidt (Spanish and Portuguese), Carolina Lopez-Ruiz (Classics), and Pedro Pereira (Spanish and Portuguese)