- Contemporary Galician Cultural Studies. Between the Local and the Global ed. by Kirsty Hooper and Manuel Puga Moruxa
Galician Studies have become increasingly relevant in the Anglophone academy since prominent scholars John Rutherford (founder of the first Centre for Galician Studies in the UK at the Queen’s College, Oxford in 1991) and Xoán González-Millán (pioneer in the introduction of Galician Studies in the United States, who passed away prematurely in 2002) established the foundations for the internationalization of the discipline. Contemporary Galician Cultural Studies. Between the Local and the Global is dedicated to these two key figures of Galician Studies, and shows the success of their initiative. The volume connects the work of Anglophone researchers (Kirsty Hooper, Jane Beswick, Eugenia R. Romero, John Patrick Thomson, Timothy McGovern) with that of Galician/Spanish academics settled outside their country (José Colmeiro, Silvia Bermúdez, Joseba Gabilondo, Laura López Fernández), Anglophone lecturers living in Galicia (Burghard Baltrush), and consolidated scholars of the Galician academy (María Reimóndez, Marta Pérez Pereiro, Lourenzo Fernández Prieto, María do Cebreiro Rábade Villar, Antón Figueroa). This constellation of experts in Galician culture working both within and outside Galicia reflects the spirit of the volume, which aims at highlighting the dynamism of and hence the possibilities for Galician culture in the era of globalization. The book is structured in three parts, “Histories,” “Identities” and “Cultural Practices.” As the title announces, the contributions are characterized by their interdisciplinarity and therefore cover a number of areas ranging from literary theory to linguistics, cinema and television, through the prism of the tensions generated by the transition of Galicianness from a local to a global identity.
The first section includes Figueroas’s well-known application of Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of “field” to the study of Galician literature, together with a new reading of Rosalía de Castro’s often neglected narrative in Spanish by Joseba Gabilondo. In tune with his previous work on postnationalism (Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, Special Issue: Critical Approaches to the Nation in Galician Studies, 2009), Gabilondo proposes “a feminist, postnationalist alternative” to “the limitations of a [End Page 234] national understanding of Galician literature” (79), and touches on the often conflicting parameters provided by the so-called “criterio filolóxico” which limits Galician literature solely to texts written in Galician. The conflictive nature of Galician culture is also exposed by Rábade Villar, who examines the wounds created by the peripheral position of Galician language and literature within the Spanish state, and the tensions provoked by the relationship between culture and power. For his part, Fernández Prieto challenges some deeply rooted stereotypes that have characterized Galicia as an economically and industrially backward region crippled by mass emigration since the nineteenth century, and brings a new approach in which “the story of Galician emigration … in fact demonstrates Galicia’s integration into modernity” (34).
Emigration is also the focus of Eugenia R. Romero’s contribution, which opens the second section of the volume about “Identity.” As she has developed extensively in her monograph, Contemporary Galician Culture in a Global Context: Movable Identities (Lexington Books, 2011), Romero argues that Galician identity is a concept “in constant tension and movement” due to the home/away dichotomy caused by the essential role of the diaspora in Galician history (105), and explores literary representations of a globalized concept of Galicianness in the narrative of key writers Antón Risco and Manuel Rivas. Indeed, emigration to South America and Europe has opened the possibility of new ways of understanding Galicianness that often combine Galician and Spanish identity with that of the host country. In her essay, Jane Bestwick explores the possibility of a Galician-Spanish-British identity by examining the life of Galicians living in Guildford (Surrey). Far from showing an idealized view of the benefits of hybridity and globalization, Bestwick’s study illustrates the complexities involved in the negotiation of multiple identities, especially in the case of...