CMENAS Mini-Conference. "Intimate Strangers: Latin America, Spain, and the Middle East"
This conference examines issues in the relations of the Iberian world with the Middle East. It considers issues in the historical memory of Arab Spain or Andalusia, in Arab emigration to Brazil and Costa Rica, and in diplomatic relations between the two regions. South-South interactions are often slighted in area studies, and this conference is intended to shed light on a web of inter-relatedness that is growing in importance with the rise of the BRICS states and a more multipolar globe.
Conference Schedule and Presenters:
1 - 1:50 PM :: From Family Heritage to Public Ethnicity: The “Revival” of Arab/Syrian-Lebanese Identities in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Paulo G. Pinto, Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the Universidade Federal Fluminense, Brazil
Response: Sueann Caulfield, Department of History, University of Michigan
2 - 2:50 PM :: Central America and the Middle East: separated by distance, connected by history
Sergio Moya Mena, Universidad de Costa Rica, School of Political Science
Response: Javier Sanjinés, Romance, Languages & Literatures, University of Michigan
Although separated by thousands of miles, there are important historical links between these regions. Since the end of the Ottoman Empire, Arab immigrants settled in Central America and established economically prosperous and politically influential communities. Later, during the Cold War, a number of relevant linkages and partnerships were developed between the two regions. In recent years, there is a mutual interest in strengthening cultural and political ties and creating new opportunities for economic and diplomatic cooperation.
This presentation discusses the development of relations between Central America and the Middle East, highlighting political and cultural aspects and posing a future projection of these links.
3:30 - 4:20 PM :: The Invention of al-Andalus: Uses of the Past in Modern Spanish and Arabic Culture
Eric Calderwood, Assistant Professor of Spanish, University of Michigan
Response: Karla Mallette, Italian and Near Eastern Studies, University of Michigan
Over the past two centuries, the historical memory of al-Andalus (medieval Muslim Iberia) has been put to the service of diverse and contradictory projects in a variety of different national contexts. My talk will explore the representation of al-Andalus in modern Arabic and Spanish culture and will show some of the ways in which contemporary Mediterranean discourses about al-Andalus emerge from nineteenth- and twentieth-century colonial discourses.
4:30-5 PM :: Q & A