The Artistic Heritage of al-Andalus and National Identity

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, October 27 – 28, 2017
Deadline: Feb 28, 2017

The distinction between own and foreign culture plays a pivotal role in the making of religious, ethnic, and national identities. This was
demonstrated by Bernd Roeck in his 2007 introduction to the forth volume in the series Cultural Exchange in Early Modern Europe. Forging
European Identities, 1400-1700. Only the resurgence of a majority society and its demarcation against a minority society enables the
forming of identity. But what happens in a multi-confessional and multi-ethnic society like the one that existed on the Iberian Peninsula
until 1614? Can the foreign repertoire be distinguished clearly from the own at all, or has it not rather become part of a mutual cultural
reality?

The history of Spain is defined by phases of cultural opening and seclusion. Whereas Alfonso X and Pedro I furthered the integration of
al-Andalus’ art and architecture into the national narrative through their pro-Islamic cultural policy, the staging of a unified Catholic
culture became the central topic of painting, sculpture and architecture during the Counter-Reformation. Only from the 18th
century, a re-valorisation of the Islamic heritage in al-Andalus took place. Its part in forming a Spanish national identity was subject to
controversial discussion on the background of changing historic and political necessities in the 19th and 20th centuries. Simultaneously,
architects of the time advertised the Moorish Revival and helped Ibero-Islamic architecture to gain global centre stage. The Alhambrismo
not only became one of the most favoured interior styles of the 19th century, but also dominated the Great Exhibitions which regularly took
place after 1851. Besides Spain, Prussia (1867), Brazil (1876), or Mexico (1884) presented themselves with a Neo-Moorish exhibition
pavilion.

This year’s annual conference of the Carl Justi Association aims to examine selectively the importance of al-Andalus for the forming of
national identity from the Middle Ages to the present age. Papers on the following thematic emphases are requested:

– Exchange and confrontation during the Reconquista (1085-1492) – Stating of a unified Catholic culture during Counterreformation
– Re-valorisation and historiographic debate in the 18th/19th centuries – Franquismo and national renewal in the 20th/21st centuries

Presentations will have a duration of 20 mins. Languages of the conference are German, Spanish, English. Please send your abstract of
max. 300 words and a short curriculum vitae to:
conference@transculturalstudies.ch

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