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Border Interrogations

Border Interrogations: Questioning Spanish Frontiers

Benita Sampedro Vizcaya
Simon Doubleday
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 278
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  • Book Info
    Border Interrogations
    Book Description:

    Under the current cartographies of globalism, where frontiers mutate, vacillate, and mark the contiguity of discourse, questioning the Spanish border seems a particularly urgent task. The volume engages a wide spectrum of ambivalent regions-subjects that currently are, or have been seen in the past, as spaces of negotiation and contestation. However, they converge in their perception of the "Spanish" nation-space as a historical and ideological construct that is perpetually going through transformations and reformations. This volume advocates the position that intellectual responsibility must lead us to engage openly in the issues underlying current social and political tensions.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-035-7
    Subjects: Sociology, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)
    Benita Sampedro Vizcaya and Simon Doubleday

    On one of the double perimeter fences at Melilla hang odd shoes and torn gloves, the ragged vestiges of an attempt by hundreds of sub-Saharan migrants to scale the walls of Fortress Europe. Many, but not all, have made it across into the legal limbo of this North African enclave. Six migrants have been shot and killed by Moroccan security forces, trigger-happy racism perhaps combining with the effects of pressure from the Spanish government and the European Union. Others who have made the journey across the great desert will be summarily returned and left to their fate, without food or...

  5. Chapter 1 Europe’s “Last” Wall: Contiguity, Exchange, and Heterotopia in Ceuta, the Confluence of Spain and North Africa
    (pp. 15-41)
    Parvati Nair

    Ceuta, or Sebta as it is known in Morocco, is one of two Spanish enclaves in North Africa. A small port of no more than 18.5 square kilometers and a perimeter of 28 kilometers, it is surrounded to the north by the waters of the Straits of Gibraltar, themselves the line of slippage between the Mediterranean sea and the Atlantic ocean. The land around it belongs to Morocco and the nearest town is Tetuán. The physical location of Ceuta, both a part of Spain and separated from it, is weighted with geopolitical significance: at once a bastion of European presence...

  6. Chapter 2 Migration, Gender, and Desire in Contemporary Spanish Cinema
    (pp. 42-64)
    H. Rosi Song

    It is widely recognized that the notion of Spanish sociocultural uniformity enforced under Francisco Franco (1939–1975), already undercut by the transition to democracy, has faced new challenges in a wave of immigration that has given added urgency to debates concerning national, regional, and cultural identities as well as geographical borders.¹ While successive governments have attempted to negotiate legal and social parameters to this immigration, the media continually report the attempts ofpateras[rafts]—often tragically unsuccessful—to reach the Canary Islands or the peninsula. There are, nonetheless, major discrepancies between popular perceptions and new patterns of immigration. One concerns...

  7. Chapter 3 State Narcissism: Racism, Neoimperialism, and Spanish Opposition to Multiculturalism (On Mikel Azurmendi)
    (pp. 65-89)
    Joseba Gabilondo

    At the turn of this millennium, a new globalized form of liberalism (neoliberalism) is being upheld in Europe and the United States as the only valid political future and as the sole prospect of salvation from “barbarism” (Fukuyama 1992, Sartori 2000). At the opposite end of the spectrum, post-Marxism is emphasizing capitalism’s internal contradictions as the only other alternative to this barbarism, which, according to its theorists (Hardt and Negri 2000, Zizek 2001), is being generated by capitalism itself. Ultimately, the First World’s difficult relationship with history and difference is at stake and, as I will argue below, this tension...

  8. Chapter 4 Constructing Convivencia: Miquel Barceló, José Luis Guerín, and Spanish-African Solidarity
    (pp. 90-104)
    Susan Martin-Márquez

    In Spanish bookstores, on movie screens, and in art galleries, a surprising number of cultural texts now focus on the human interactions that result from journeys between Africa and Spain. Many enumerate the pressing economic, political, and social problems that may motivate some Africans to leave their homes in an attempt to better their situation in Europe, only to trace the tragic fate that awaits those immigrants who fail to survive passage across the Straits of Gibraltar, or who arrive at the borders of a Spain that is represented as violently opposed to signs of difference. But it is possible...

  9. Chapter 5 Galicia Beyond Galicia: “A man dos paíños” and the Ends of Territoriality
    (pp. 105-119)
    Cristina Moreiras-Menor

    The words of Bhabha and Balibar encourage reflection on the space “in between,” and on frontier space, the limit of contact and separation, as a locus of decentered origins, constantly in the making and unmaking, from which we can approach the difficult theme of national cultures on the periphery. Such cultures, on the margins of the nation-state, have been obliged to establish a tense and traumatic relationship with the culture that exerts hegemony and reserves all possibilities of identity for itself. I am referring to thoseothernational cultures that are required to engage in constant negotiation with discourses proposed and...

  10. Chapter 6 Foreignness and Vengeance: On Rizal’s El Filibusterismo
    (pp. 120-146)
    Vicente L. Rafael

    In nearly all towns in the Philippines today, one finds monuments to the country’s national hero, José Rizal (1861–1896). Most of these are smaller variations of the main monument, located in Manila. Erected in 1912 under the United States colonial regime, this monument contains the hero’s remains and stands close to the site where he was executed in 1896 by the Spaniards for the crime of fomenting revolution. What is worth noting about the monument is its foreignness. It was designed and built by the Swiss sculptor Richard Kissling, who had won an international competition sponsored by a committee...

  11. Chapter 7 Through the Eyes of Strangers: Building Nation and Political Legitimacy in Eighteenth-Century Spain
    (pp. 147-164)
    Alberto Medina

    Spain enjoyed a very particular kind of exemplarity in eighteenth-century Europe. It was the model against which any modern idea or development needed to define itself. For the new “enlightened” Europe, Spain was the radical outside, its last frontier, an anachronistic space—untouched by modernity—whose superstition, ignorance, religious fanaticism, disdain for labor and lack of scientific research made it necessary to isolate it in preventive otherness to avoid contagion. This cultural quarantine should be understood in the context of growing political isolation. Philip V (ruled 1700–1746), the first Bourbon king of Spain, would never quite resign himself to...

  12. Chapter 8 On Imperial Archives and the Insular Vanishing Point: The Canary Islands in Viera y Clavijo’s Noticias
    (pp. 165-187)
    Francisco-J. Hernández Adrián

    In recent critical accounts of “the Atlantic world,” there is often a puzzling absence of any serious reflection on how islands are configured as a specific category in the vast field of Atlantic studies. The emergence of a critical discourse on insularity is precisely what occupies me in this piece on an eighteenth-century historian from the Canary Islands named Joseph (or José) de Viera y Clavijo, born in 1731 in El Realejo Alto, not far from the then important Puerto de La Orotava, on the island of Tenerife. Viera studied at the convent of Santo Domingo in La Orotava. As...

  13. Chapter 9 Manso de Contreras’ Relación of the Tehuantepec Rebellion (1660–1661): Violence, Counter-Insurgency Prose, and the Frontiers of Colonial Justice
    (pp. 188-203)
    David Rojinsky

    It is around noon on Easter Monday, 22 March 1660: there is mayhem in the town of Guadalcázar, Tehuantepec Province, in the diocese of Antequera, New Spain. A mob has surrounded theCasas Realesof the town; the nearby stables are going up in flames and black smoke is billowing up high into the air. The desperate neighing of the animals trapped inside is only just audible amidst the cries of the rioters and the thunderous clatter of rocks and stones of all shapes and sizes that are being showered upon the buildings. Suddenly, the apparently impregnable doors of the...

  14. Chapter 10 (The) Patria Besieged: Border-Crossing Paradoxes of National Identity in Cervantes’s Numancia
    (pp. 204-227)
    Michael Armstrong-Roche

    Cervantes’sLa destruición de Numancia(ca. 1581–1585)¹ is a play about a heroic last stand waged by the Celtiberian Numantines against Rome. Numancia—capital of thearevaci,near today’s Soria in northern Castile—was indeed destroyed by Scipio Aemilianus in 133 B.C. but won an enduring reputation for courage.² Only a few years before Cervantes wrote Numancia, Philip II’s chronicler Ambrosio de Morales celebrated this Celtiberian legacy as a decisive moment in Spanish history (in theCorónica general de España,1574), although ancient Numancia and Habsburg Spain shared little more than the accident of geography and a reputation for warrior audacity...

  15. Chapter 11 Border Crossing and Identity Consciousness in the Jews of Medieval Spain
    (pp. 228-245)
    Mariano Gómez Aranda

    Border crossing plays a uniquely fundamental role in the historical consciousness of the Jewish people. God’s command to Abraham, “Go forth from your native land and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you” (Genesis 12: 1), signifies the departure of Abraham from Haran to Canaan and in this sense, the beginning of Jewish history. It was after the exodus from Egypt and the crossing of the Red Sea that Moses is said to have received God’s revelation, thus marking the inception of the Jewish religion. Equally, it was after having experienced the Babylonian exile, and...

  16. Chapter 12 Seven Theses against Hispanism
    (pp. 246-259)
    Eduardo Subirats

    Hispanic, Hispanism, Hispanist:equivocal words. Once upon a time, the termHispaniaembraced a plurality of peninsular cultures and languages, subject to the linguistic and civilizing influence of imperial Rome. But from the sixteenth century, thisHispaniahas been reduced through a dark history of crusading and ethnic cleansing, first against the Jewish and Muslim communities and then, on the back of that wounded past, in the colonial expansion of themonarquía hispánica.The reduction of the Hispanic to its “Spanish” element, the spinal column of the repressive discourse of Hispanic identity, has been accompanied by a series of violent...

  17. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 260-263)
  18. Index
    (pp. 264-268)