Keynote Speaker Topics

Below are upcoming highlights of our 2010 conference.

Pure Selves/Impure Bodies

Taking the predicament of Moors and Moriscos in post-Reconquest Iberia, Anouar Majid argues why the traditional building blocks of communities and nations—religion, language, race—have long become obsolete and their continuing existence today is only adding to humanity’s store of perils. Regardless of the various ills it has engendered, globalization is now an irrefutable reminder that we are made up of different strains and connected to one another in a multitude of changing ways. But how do we forge a community out of the cultural confusion swirling around us? This is the challenge that bedeviled Iberia in 1609 and challenges us in New Mexico four hundred years later.

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The Fall of Muslim Granada
and the Expulsion of the Jews

This presentation explores how the most important historical events of the fifteenth century, the Fall of Muslim Granada and the Expulsion of the Jews were narrated by non-Christian witnesses. Scholars of Spanish Studies rely almost entirely on the official histories of these events, the official chronicles of Castilian historians such as Andrés Bernaldez and Fernando del Pulgar, and much less frequently the official chronicles of the Muslim tradition, including al-Maqqari’s . These official historiographical traditions derive from and reflect well-established models for narrating conquest and defeat, whereas the accounts of what today we would consider stateless (transnational?) authors such as the morisco, the Mancebo de Arevalo, and the Sephardic Jew Eliyahu Capsali reflect a different sensibility. In the unofficial accounts by both these writers coming out of the Iberian tradition, but who are distinctly not “Spanish,” we find the adoption of literary and folkloric motifs as part of their hermeneutical strategy to make sense of and narrate tragedy and defeat. Central in these narratives is a portrayal of the most important of Christian Spanish historical figures, including the last Visigothic king, Rodrigo and the Catholic Monarchs, Fernando e Isabel, whose lives become fictionalized in order to locate them in discourses that convey their symbolic evil and that explain the impending harm they will wreak on “Spain,” which, much to the contrary of official Spanish histories, was how both this Muslim and Jewish author depict the Conquest of Granada and the Expulsion of the Jews. Also striking in these historical narratives is the treatment of fellow marginalized subjects, the Jew or the Muslim. For the Mancebo de Arevalo a sympathetic Toledan Jew is a repository of knowledge and learning, a fellow crypto-believer and persecuted subject. For Capsali the fate of the Jews is intimately tied to that of the Muslims; both are attacked and sacrificed by the evil Catholic Monarchs. In both accounts morisco and Sephardic author recognize in the plight of the other elements of their own tragedy.

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More information about our speakers' topics will be available soon. Be sure to also see the symposium program page.

Please return to this page as the conference date approaches.