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  • Critical Exchange: Iberia, Theory, and the Future of Medieval Studies

This critical exchange addresses the role that theory, Iberian studies, and evolving scholarship on nation-state formation, periodization, and geography currently play in the field formerly known as “medieval Spain,” but which is today often referred to variously as “medieval Iberian studies” or sometimes “Andalusi studies.” The exchange that follows is organized into two parts. It begins with a review-and-response between S. J. Pearce and Jean Dangler. This exchange concerns professor Dangler’s recently published book Edging Toward Iberia (University of Toronto Press, 2017).

The second part of the exchange consists of essays by Henry Berlin, Clara Pascual-Argente, and Michelle Hamilton. The journal asked these scholars to reflect on the exchange between Pearce and Dangler as a way of taking stock of current shifts in the field highlighted by both the exchange and the book in question. Some of the questions MLN proposed for their consideration included: To what extent can network theory, world-systems theory, and other global theoretical approaches describe the transformations taking place in the Iberian Peninsula before the sixteenth century? Where do other theoretical approaches, such as critical race studies, translation theory, and studies of identity, fit into renewed accounts of medieval Iberia? What do these and other theoretical paradigms ultimately miss about medieval Iberia?

We hope that this rigorous exchange of ideas serves to highlight the current conjuncture of medieval Iberian studies. We have made every effort to include a representative swath of the filed in this exchange, including the invitation of emerging as well as established scholars in the field. By having leading scholars at different stages in their careers synthesize some of the most pressing questions in the field, this critical exchange may, importantly, point to a number of fruitful future trajectories the field may take.

—The Editors [End Page 460]



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