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DISSIDENCES Josiah Blackmore University of Toronto "Dissidences" as the conceptual center of my present remarks is also the term I would use to characterize the divide between literary scholars and some historians that emerged in the first published reviews oíQueerIberia. It's not necessary to repeat the particulars ofthose reviews, since they're available to all; rather, I'd like simply to take one key idea from them as a springboard to consider the overall project of the volume, as evidenced both in the collective work of the original contributors and in the provocative, forward-looking research trajectories presented by our new contributors here this weekend. It has to do with how we conceive of heterogeneity as a way to reconstruct, redirect , and push forward the critical historiography of the Iberian past. That one point, voiced by a pair of reviewers, is that Queer Iberh revives a debate that saw its heydey years ago: the Castro/SánchezAlbornoz polemic. While of course that polemic must be accounted for in any contemporary reading of the Iberian (especially Spanish) past, to see the collective project of the anthology as merely a resuscitation of this debate in its original terms is to overlook the problematic introduction of the new terms of sexuality, gender, and fluid notions of difference into the mix of historical, literary, and cultural accounts of medieval and early modern Iberia. This perhaps seems almost too self-evident to mention, but the politics ofdisciplinary studies evident in some reviews and discussions at conferences since the volume's publication require us to pose again this question: what kind of history are we attempting to trace, to expose? How might we encourage a program of productive dissidences among scholars and students as we rethink the boundaries and possibilities of our collective field of academic inquiry? Especially in the case of Iberian Studies, one of the "histories" documented in Queer Iberia is the still-emerging interactive arena of La corónica 30.1 (Fall, 2001): 248-51 Return to Queer Iberia249 the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries in which we are witnessing a dialogue among a plurality of formal academic disciplines. This interdisciplinary, or cross-disciplinary, methodology is particularly apt and welcome for the study of Iberian letters, culture, and history, whether we're speaking about the passions of St. Pelagius or the most recent novel by Catalán writer Lluis Fernandez. While the Iberians of earlier epochs may have had contact with the intellectual, artistic, or political currents of northern Europe, and while there may have been much travel between countries and exchange of ideas with an implementation of northern European models of learning and exchange in southern Europe, we still maintain that Iberia is singular because of its heterogeneous sociological and cultural landscape, however we might choose to define the tenor of interaction between Christians, Muslims, and Jews, or the extent to which a monolithic Latinity operated as a historical and cultural determinant. And this leads me to engage "histories" on the level that primarily motivated Queer Iberia s very existence: how do the complementary and conflictive interactions of culture, gender, sexuality, race and difference in Iberia require us to think metacritically -or meta-historiographically, ifyou prefer- about codifying, interpreting, or exploring the Iberian past and present, or indeed, any past or present? In this regard, the analysis of Iberia might serve as an exemplum of how to reinvigorate critical positionalities in their most dissident, and therefore productive, possibilities. If we do nothing more than gesture toward a modified critical path, toward a new continuum of influence between categories of historical experience and exegetical practice, then we've done ourjob. On such a continuum, for example, even a broad, multifaceted term such as "culture" might enjoy new life. Iberian queerness -wherever we might identify or locate instantiations of this concept, with whatever discursive or textual examples - is part of Iberian culture and its criticism in the ecumenical and vital sense oí process, of mobilizing and shaping identities, both personal and collective. The work oíQueer Iberh (including the thoughts presented by contributors , respondents, and symposium participants this weekend) demonstrates that "culture" must be released from its moorings as a...


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pp. 248-251
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