our words make worlds


Whereas the ‘Travelling Concepts’ of Al-Andalus and Sepharad foreground relations between Christianity, Islam and Judaism, research into ‘Iberia’ allows for another set of perspectives. While interfaith relations still play a role, ‘Iberia’ examines how the Iberian Peninsula is imagined as a place of distinct yet intertwined nation states, with shared yet competing imperial destinies. Using Iberia as a focus point, we explore not only the ways in which Spaniards and Portuguese think and write about their historical ties, but also how the Peninsula is imagined from outside. Research into the ways in which the Empire ‘writes back’, so to speak, is complemented into the ways other European nations construct Spain and Portugal as boundary zones between East and West, and between Europe and the New World. Themes include Ibero-American identities, the so-called ‘Black Legend’ (Inquisitorial intolerance, imperial brutality, economic backwardness) or the legends of Charlemagne, which from the Middle Ages through Romanticism, transformed Iberia into Europe’s ‘Orient’.

Projects within the 'Travelling Concepts' strand that address some of the above issues include: