The Afterlife of al-Andalus: Muslim Iberia in Contemporary Arab and Hispanic Narratives

SUNY Press
Free sample

 The first study to undertake a wide-ranging comparison of invocations of al-Andalus across the Arab and Hispanic worlds.
Around the globe, concerns about interfaith relations have led to efforts to find earlier models in Muslim Iberia (al-Andalus). This book examines how Muslim Iberia operates as an icon or symbol of identity in twentieth and twenty-first century narrative, drama, television, and film from the Arab world, Spain, and Argentina. Christina Civantos demonstrates how cultural agents in the present ascribe importance to the past and how dominant accounts of this importance are contested. Civantos’s analysis reveals that, alongside established narratives that use al-Andalus to create exclusionary, imperial identities, there are alternate discourses about the legacy of al-Andalus that rewrite the traditional narratives. In the process, these discourses critique their imperial and gendered dimensions and pursue intercultural translation.
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About the author

 Christina Civantos is Associate Professor of Languages and Literatures at the University of Miami and the author of Between Argentines and Arabs: Argentine Orientalism, Arab Immigrants, and the Writing of Identity, also published by SUNY Press.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Nov 21, 2017
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Pages
378
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ISBN
9781438466712
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / European / Spanish & Portuguese
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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For centuries, Spain and the South have stood out as the exceptional "other" within U.S. and European nationalisms. During Franco's regime and the Jim Crow era both violently asserted a haunting brand of national "selfhood." Both areas shared a loss of splendor and a fraught relation with modernization, and they retained a sense of defeat. Brittany Powell Kennedy explores this paradox not simply to compare two apparently similar cultures but to reveal how we construct difference around this self/other dichotomy. She charts a transatlantic link between two cultures whose performances of "otherness" as assertions of "selfhood" enact and subvert their claims to exceptionality. Perhaps the greatest example of this transatlantic link remains the War of 1898, when the South tried to extract itself from but was implicated in U.S. imperial expansion and nation-building. Simultaneously, the South participated in the end of Spain as an imperial power.

Given the War of 1898 as a climactic moment, Kennedy explores the writings of those who come directly after this period and who attempted to "regenerate" what was perceived as "traditional" in an agrarian past. That desire recurs over the century in novels from writers as diverse as William Faulkner, Camilo José Cela, Walker Percy, Eudora Welty, Federico García Lorca, and Ralph Ellison. As these writers wrestle with ideas of Spain and the South, they also engage questions of how national identity is affirmed and contested.

Kennedy compares these cultures across the twentieth century to show the ways in which they express national authenticity. Thus she explores not only Francoism and Jim Crow, but varied attempts to define nationhood via exceptionalism, suggesting a model of performativity that relates to other "exceptional" geographies.
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