Al-Andalus: History, Memory and Meaning
February 8 2013 – 5-8 pm – Room C 197, CUNY Graduate Center, 365 5th Avenue, NY, NY
Al-Andalus was a rare example where Muslims, Christians and Jews largely, if uneasily, co-existed and where, as a result of this intermingling, exceptional art, architecture and literature developed over the course of nearly 800 years. Visited by tourists and scholars, the Alhambra is a lasting testament to an era whose art and literature drew upon the artistic traditions of Islam and Christianity. In some historical narratives, this remarkable structure has come to symbolize an idealized environment that allowed peoples of multiple faiths to flourish. This two-part colloquium will delve into the multiple tensions that characterized the field in which not only the Alhambra, but also other remarkable objets d’art, architecture and literature were created. We aim to better understand the multi-religious and multi-cultural world of Al-Andalus as well as its operation within Spain’s contemporary exercises in cultural memory.
This colloquium explores these issues in two panels of papers by leading academics in the fields of history, literature and material culture.
The first panel, Cultural Practices, Religion and Politics in Al-Andalus, focuses on history and material culture in order to assess the co-existence of Muslims, Christians and Jews through their artistic, architectural and literary practices and productions. This theme is approached from a multi-confessional perspective, considering not only the experience of ruling Muslims, but also that of minorities, such as Jews and mozarabes, who were subjected to Muslim rule.
The second panel, Memories of Al-Andalus: A Reflexive Take on Current Historiography, focuses on the place that contemporary Spain has assigned to its Islamic heritage. It will examine the dialectic relation between current debates about ethnicity, religion, and language in Europe, and Spain’s strategies of institutional recognition and discursive processing of its Islamic history and material culture.
Jane Gerber, The Graduate Center, CUNY
Cynthia Robinson, Cornell University
Alexander Elinson, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, CUNY
Eric Calderwood, The University of Michigan
Closing Remarks: Anna Akasoy, Ruhr-Universität Bochum and Hunter College, CUNY
Organized by Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis and José del Valle, the Graduate Center, CUNY