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3 Introduction Looping the Loop On a chilly spring morning in the mid-​ 1990s, the best-​ selling author Antonio Gala addressed a crowd of restless teens and their patient teachers in the schoolyard of a small-​ town high school near Cordoba, Spain. The school, which bears the writer’s name, was celebrating its twenty-​ fifth anniversary. At age fifteen, I listened intently to his rousing words. He insisted that we, the Andalusians of the future, are the heirs of a rich cultural tradition stretching back to Spain’s medieval Muslim past. What makes us a distinct community within the Iberian Peninsula, he kept repeating, is our strong spiritual link to the lost Islamic world of al-​ Andalus (711–­ 1492), Andalusia’s golden age. Catalans, Basques, and Galicians may have their own languages, but we Andalusians have the Moors, a source of pride, not embarrassment. If we are modern and civilized, it is due, in part, to our Islamic legacy. Gala’s remarks reinforced the notion that I was not only Spanish but also—­ and most importantly—­Andalusian.1 In the heady post-​ dictatorship period, regionalist patriotism, which had been repressed during the Franco era (1939–­ 75), was running high. We felt more Andalusian than ever, and the feeling was there to stay. The new feeling thrived on old stories. The myth of Moorish Andalusia that Gala summarized for me and my classmates is a foreign import from the early nineteenth century. Romantic writers from Théophile Gautier to Lord Byron turned Andalusia into Spain’s orient, a characterization that Spaniards themselves saw alternatively and contradictorily as a marker of identity and a despised self-​ image. During the nineteenth century, the country ’s Afro-​ Moorish past, which was inextricable from Romantic perceptions, was both an alibi for Spanish colonial intervention in Morocco and a facet of national history that hindered Spain’s integration in Europe. Al-​ Andalus and, by extension, Andalusia sustained an ambivalent Spanish identity where European self and oriental other melded in Möbius strip relations, to use Susan Martin-​ Márquez’s accurate description in her landmark book Disorientations (2008), a study of Spanish colonialism in Africa. “Spain,” she writes, “is a nation that is at once Orientalized and Orientalizing. The dynamic resembles a Möbius strip, calling into question the possibility of 4 Introduction any location ‘outside’ Orientalist discourse.”2 Whereas Edward Said defines orientalism in terms of colonial opposition, as a “Western style for dominating , restructuring, and having authority over the Orient” (North Africa, East Asia, and South Asia), Martin-​ Márquez addresses Spain’s in-​ between status, an aspect that Said left largely unexplored.3 In this book I examine Spain’s shifting engagements with oriental otherness , but instead of looking beyond and across national, ethnic, and racial borders, I focus on a territory that is part of the Spanish nation-​ state while symbolically caught between inclusion and abjection. To do so, I shift the scale and scope of Said’s discourse. Here, orientalism, a transnational phenomenon resulting from European colonialism in Africa and Asia, evolves and manifests intra-​ nationally, as Spaniards engage in self-​ orientalism and the orientalization of Andalusians. Through the analysis of verbal, visual, musical, and architectural representations, I trace the twists and turns of this intra-​ national Möbius strip from the nineteenth century to the early twenty-​ first century. The loop stretches far and wide. You will find orientalized Andalusia not only in literature and the arts, but also in popular songs, films, television programs, and world fairs. It manifests in the thinker José Ortega y Gasset’s erudite writings as well as the performer Lola Flores’s songs and movies; in Juan Ramón Jiménez’s sophisticated poetry as well as the kitschy Andalusian pavilion at Seville’s Expo ’92; in art galleries and exhibits as well as prime-​ time television shows. Amid the mixture of poems and pavilions, philosophers and folklóricas, museums and the media, one central concern emerges: how in diverse, often conflicting ways, Andalusia is seen at once as the essence of Spanishness and its exotic other. In considering this ambivalence, I challenge unitary notions of Spanish culture centered upon the linguistic, cultural, and political hegemony of the central region of Castile. The new academic field of Iberian studies has decisively disrupted, as one critic put it, “Hispanism’s cozy monolingualism ,” which “condemned non-​ Castilian cultures to outer darkness.”4 But the remedy—­ placing Castilian “in relation rather than in opposition to other languages...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780810137318
Related ISBN
9780810137301
MARC Record
OCLC
1039691376
Pages
248
Launched on MUSE
2018-06-13
Language
English
Open Access
No
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