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Markets, Power, and Backwardness in Spain, 1650-1800
Spain's development from a premodern society into a modern unified nation-state with an integrated economy was painfully slow and varied widely by region. Economic historians have long argued that high internal transportation costs limited domestic market integration, while at the same time the Castilian capital city of Madrid drew resources from surrounding Spanish regions as it pursued its quest for centralization. According to this view, powerful Madrid thwarted trade over large geographic distances by destroying an integrated network of manufacturing towns in the Spanish interior.
Challenging this long-held view, Regina Grafe argues that decentralization, not a strong and powerful Madrid, is to blame for Spain's slow march to modernity. Through a groundbreaking analysis of the market for bacalao--dried and salted codfish that was a transatlantic commodity and staple food during this period--Grafe shows how peripheral historic territories and powerful interior towns obstructed Spain's economic development through jurisdictional obstacles to trade, which exacerbated already high transport costs. She reveals how the early phases of globalization made these regions much more externally focused, and how coastal elites that were engaged in trade outside Spain sought to sustain their positions of power in relation to Madrid.
Distant Tyranny offers a needed reassessment of the haphazard and regionally diverse process of state formation and market integration in early modern Spain, showing how local and regional agency paradoxically led to legitimate governance but economic backwardness.
Natural-Law Ethics in Spanish Golden Age Theater
Spanish Golden Age drama as an expression of morality falls between the extremes of art-for-art's-sake and utilitarianism. According to Spanish literary critics of the 16th and 17th centuries, drama imitated reality, the subject and domain of philosophy. The integration of drama and scholastic moral philosophy was an important aspect of the critical theory of this era, which held that art should both teach and delight.
Through close textual analysis of representative plays, this book examines the artistic fusion of natural-law philosophy and drama. It demonstrates the relationship between ethics and the central ideological themes of these works, illustrating that an awareness of the doctrines of natural law ethics is crucial to an enriched comprehension of the drama of Golden Age Spain.
Female Spiritualities, Contested Orthodoxies, and English Religious Cultures, 1350-1700
In The Embodied Word: Female Spiritualities, Contested Orthodoxies, and English Religious Cultures, 1350–1700, Nancy Bradley Warren expands on the topic of female spirituality, first explored in her book Women of God and Arms, to encompass broad issues of religion, gender, and historical periodization. Through her analyses of the variety of ways in which medieval spirituality was deliberately and actively carried forward to the early modern period, Warren underscores both continuities and revisions that challenge conventional distinctions between medieval and early modern culture. The early modern writings of Julian of Norwich are an illustrative starting point for Warren’s challenge to established views of English religious cultures. In a single chapter, Warren follows the textual and devotional practices of Julian as they influence two English Benedictine nuns in exile, and then Grace Mildmay, a seventeenth-century Protestant gentry woman, “to shed light on the ways in which individual encounters of the divine, especially gendered bodily encounters expressed textually, signify for others both personally and socio-historically.” In subsequent chapters, Warren discusses St. Birgitta of Sweden’s imitatio Christi in the context of the importance of Spain and Spanish women in shaping a distinctive form of early modern Englishness strongly aligned with medieval religious culture; juxtaposes the fifteenth-century mystic Margery Kempe with the life and writings of Anna Trapnel, a seventeenth-century Baptist; and treats Catherine of Siena together with the Protestant Anne Askew and Lollard and Recusant women. In the final chapters she focuses on the interplay of gender and textuality in women’s textual representations of themselves and in works written by men who used the traditions of female spirituality in the service of competing orthodoxies.
Spain's Retreat, Europe's Eclipse, America's Decline
Throughout four millennia of recorded history there has been no end to empire, but instead an endless succession of empires. After five centuries of sustained expansion, the half-dozen European powers that ruled half of humanity collapsed with stunning speed after World War II, creating a hundred emerging nations in Asia and Africa. Amid this imperial transition, the United States became the new global hegemon, dominating this world order with an array of power that closely resembled that of its European predecessors. As Brazil, Russia, India, China, and the European Union now rise in global influence, twenty leading historians from four continents take a timely look backward and forward to discover patterns of eclipse in past empires that are already shaping a decline in U.S. global power, including:• erosion of economic and fiscal strength needed for military power on a global scale• misuse of military power through micro-military misadventures• breakdown of alliances among major powers• weakened controls over the subordinate elites critical for any empire’s exercise of global power• insufficient technological innovation to sustain global force projection.
Rather than being properties of the individual self, emotions are socially produced and deployed in specific cultural contexts, as this collection documents with unusual richness. All the essays show emotions to be a form of thought and knowledge, and a major component of social life—including in the nineteenth century, which attempted to relegate them to a feminine intimate sphere.
The collection ranges across topics such as eighteenth-century sensibility, nineteenth-century concerns with the transmission of emotions, early twentieth-century cinematic affect, and the contemporary mobilization of political emotions including those regarding nonstate national identities. The complexities and effects of emotions are explored in a variety of forms—political rhetoric, literature, personal letters, medical writing, cinema, graphic art, soap opera, journalism, popular music, digital media—with attention paid to broader European and transatlantic implications.
Early modern Spanish literature is remarkably rich in erotic texts that conventionally chaste critical traditions have willfully disregarded or repudiated as inferior or unworthy of study. Nonetheless, eroticism is a lightning rod for defining mentalities and social, intellectual, and literary history within the nascent field that the author calls erotic philology. An Erotic Philology of Golden Age Spain takes sexuality and eroticism out of the historical closet, placing them at the forefront of early modern humanistic studies.
By utilizing theories of deviance, sexuality, and gender; the rhetoric of eroticism; and textual criticism, An Erotic Philology of Golden Age Spain historicizes and analyzes the particular ways in which classical Spanish writers assign symbolic meaning to non-normative sexual practices and their practitioners. It shows how prostitutes, homosexuals, transvestites, women warriors, and female tricksters were stigmatized and marginalized as part of an ordering principle in the law, society, and in literature. It is against these sexual outlaws that early modern orthodoxy establishes and identifies itself during the Golden Age of Spanish letters.
These eroticized figures are recurring objects of contemplation and fascination for Spain's most canonical as well as lesser known writers of the period, in a variety of poetic, prose and dramatic genres. They ultimately reveal attitudes towards sexual behavior that are far more complex than was previously thought. An Erotic Philology of Golden Age Spain thoughtfully anatomizes the interdisciplinary systems at the heart of the varied sexual behaviors depicted in early modern Spanish literature.
Contemporary Iberian Debates
The contributors ask the following questions:
• What are the different rhetorical strategies employed by writers, artists, filmmakers, and activists to react to the degradation of life and climate change?
• How are urban movements using environmental issues to resist corporate privatization of the commons?
• What is the shape of Spanish debates on reproductive rights and biotechnology?
• What is the symbolic significance of the bullfighting debate and other human/animal issues in today's political turmoil in Spain?
Hispanic Issues Series
Nicholas Spadaccini, Editor-in-Chief
Hispanic Issues Online
Time, Knowledge, and Subjectivity in the Twentieth-Century Iberian and Latin American Newspaper Chronicle
Rethinks the concepts of nation, imperialism, and globalization by examining the everyday writing of the newspaper chronicle and blog in Spain and Latin America.
Print Culture and Collective Identity in the Rio de la Plata, 1780-1910
Starting in the late nineteenth century, the region of South America known as the Río de la Plata (containing modern-day Uruguay and Argentina) boasted the highest literacy rates in Latin America. In Everyday Reading, William Acree explores the history, events, and culture that gave rise to the region’s remarkable progress. With a specific focus on its print culture, in the form of newspapers, political advertisements and documents, schoolbooks, and even stamps and currency, Acree creates a portrait of a literary culture that permeated every aspect of life. Everyday Reading argues that the introduction of the printing press into the Río de la Plata in the 1780s hastened the collapse of Spanish imperial control and played a major role in the transition to independence some thirty years later. After independence, print culture nurtured a new identity and helped sustain the region through the tumult of civil war in the mid-1800s. Acree concludes by examining the role of reading in formal education, which had grown exponentially by the early twentieth century as schoolchildren were taught to fulfill traditional roles in society. Ultimately, Everyday Reading humanizes literary culture, demonstrating its unrecognized and unexpected influence in everyday lives.