Francisco de Aldana: ¿el divino capitán? – Paul Joseph Lennon (University of Cambridge)

Captura de pantalla 2013-03-08 a la(s) 16.56.40

Francisco de Aldana, also known by the monicker el divino capitán for his religious poetry, has been called a forgotten poet of Spain’s Golden Age. His relative obscurity is perhaps the result of a poetic corpus that continues to frustrate attempts at definition and categorisation. This paper addresses one of the longer fragments from Aldana’s love poetry (‘Gracia particular, que el alto cielo’) with respect to the difficulties that arise from the tension between sensual and erotic elements juxtaposed against the Neo-Platonic and Petrarchan tones that are clearly present. Aldana shall be shown to focus upon physicality, reshaping common tropes to produce a hybrid text that seemingly acts as a means to pass off material perhaps considered too risqué by the reader. These aims are supported by the use of techniques that engender distance, such as linguistic play and humour, which function as a cushion between the reader and erotic content. The result is the presentation of an uncanonical and alternate vision of love by Aldana that sits in opposition to the ideals of the courtly love lyric of the era.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

‘Dine with the Opposition? No, gracias! Hispanism versus Iberian Studies in the United Kingdom and Ireland.


The study of the languages and cultures of Iberia in Great Britain and Ireland has been rich and varied. The scholarship of the founding fathers of the discipline – Fitzmaurice Kelly, Allison Peers, Entwistle, Bell, Trend and González Llubera – displayed an awareness of the interactive complexity of the ethno-linguistic mosaic of the Peninsula.

In effect, the manner in which they conducted their investigation coincides clearly with the sentiments aired in a famously dissonant celebration of the tensions between rival cultures and languages in a plurinational state elaborated in 1948 by T S Eliot (1888-1965). Notes Towards a Definition of Culture – an inclusive, interactive and thoroughly democratic vision of cultural cohabitation between Ireland and the various nations of the United Kingdom – stands out in stark contrast to the intractable univocality which typified the ‘national’ outlook of the contemporary generation of Spanish intellectuals: Unamuno, Ortega, Madariaga, Sánchez Albornoz, etc.

This paper will offer a consideration of these approaches up until the present day wherein the emergence of Cultural Studies has brought back into prominence the preference for the plurinational and polyglossic approach exemplified by the Iberianist credentials of the foudning fathers.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

CANCELLED: Worker Rights and the NAFTA Labour Institutions – Prof. Kevin Middlebrook

Wednesday 30th January, 4-5pmCANCELLED
This research project analyzes different strategies for safeguarding workers’ rights in the context of global trade liberalization. It focuses empirically on the special labour institutions created in association with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), systematically evaluating the performance of these institutions and exploring the domestic and international factors that have shaped their capacity to address labour rights violations in Canada, Mexico and the United States. The project also assesses the effectiveness of trade agreement-linked institutional arrangements in comparison with such alternative rights-protection strategies as corporate social responsibility campaigns.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

‘Otra vez la madre España. Intelectuales hispanoamericanos ante la guerra civil española’ – Niall Bins

madres 3

WEDNESDAY 6TH FEBRUARY 4-5pm – UCL Foster Court Room 307 –

La caída de la monarquía española en 1931 significó para muchos intelectuales de Hispanoamérica la oportunidad para relacionarse con España en términos fraternales, y sin las tensiones y los prejuicios que habían lastrado las relaciones transatlánticas desde la época de la Independencia. Este reencuentro se viviría con intensa pasión durante los años de la guerra civil y el tópico de la “Madre España” -hasta entonces tabú para intelectuales hispanoamericanos progresistas- volvería a acuñarse en una guerra que se representaría insistentemente, a través de la imagen y de la palabra, en torno a la figura de la madre.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

‘A Kind of Private Joke? A Study of Allusion in Borges’ Fiction’ – Evelyn Fishburn

In this talk I shall argue that allusion is possibly the principal trope or literary device used by Borges in his creative writing. Traditionally held as a site of refuge, his allusions operate at a dual level, re-enforcing the canon while also becoming the springboard from which new possibilities of reading arise.
Central to my discussion is the belief that whether ‘private jokes’ or not, allusions in Borges are never simply gratuitous or ornamental.
(Though not essential, some familiarity with the concept of the ‘hrön’ may prove advantageous.)
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Phantom Limb: Lameness and Disability in Spanish Civil War Narratives – Dr. Anindya Raychaudhuri

Wednesday 12th December, 4-5pm, UCL Foster Court, Room 314

In this paper, I will examine a set of symbols that recurs through much of the cultural representation of the Spanish Civil War, namely, instances of missing limbs or lameness. Tracing the trajectory of this symbolism through the works of filmmakers such as Luis Buñuel, Carlos Saura, Guillermo del Toro and others, I will demonstrate how the disability is almost always spectralised. Borrowing from the works of Jacques Derrida, I will examine the consequences of this hauntology of missing limbs – a motif that is so common that it extends not just to narrative texts but also to theoretical and academic ones. Theories of disability focus, rightly, on the way whole bodies are used as a normative against which disabled, disfigured or incomplete bodies are compared. Thus, disability almost always signifies abnormality or monstrosity. In the case of the Spanish Civil War, however, the picture is arguably more complicated than that.  I shall survey the variety of different meanings invested in the symbol of the missing limb – from the trauma of the war, to the pain of the Republican loss, to the many silenced voices during and after the war, to the recent partial recuperation of those silenced voices through the Law of Historical Memory and the consequent excavation of mass graves. The discursive body of material on or about the Spanish Civil War is, to borrow a metaphor used by Tabea Alexa Linhard, always haunted by many spectral, missing limbs.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The ‘Urban Mapuche’: A Question of Authenticity – Gonzalo Ceron García

Wednesday 5th December, 4-5pm, UCL Foster Court, Room 307

The movement of the Mapuche from rural communities into the city, generally due to the loss of land or the search for better prospects, is commonly seen as an abandonment of cultural identity; a loss of an idealised notion of purity. This view is not only an external winka (people of European descent) projection, but has also been internalised by the Mapuche, causing some tensions between the rural communities and the urban Mapuche.

This paper will examine the ways in which the urban Mapuche seek to authenticate their cultural identities on their own terms, looking back in time as well as into their communities in order to revitalise the ‘experience’ of being Mapuche. I will argue that this experience is not merely possible in the city, but continually evolving and politically necessary to their struggles of rights reclamations.  In order to do this, the paper will claim that a new understanding of the city is needed, countering the colonial rhetoric behind the concept of the urban as representative of European modernity and progress, excluding the Mapuche as anachronistic or backward. This binary leads us again to a doctrine of purity, which whether integrationist or exclusive as a result, does not deal with the contemporary political reality of the Mapuche people.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment