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Conformity and Clandestinity in Iberian Literatures, 16th-21st c.

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Organizer: Molly Borowitz

Co-Organizer: Holly Jackson

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This seminar explores literary responses to exclusionary gestures of the State and state-like institutions on the Iberian Peninsula from early modernity to the contemporary period. How does Iberian literature resist or circumvent the classifications that institutional Iberia (not only the Spanish and Portuguese States, but also stateless governing bodies like that of Catalonia as well as the Catholic Church, the religious orders, and so on) imposes upon its subjects? How do these tactics inflect imperial, national, and imagined communities, and how and why do they evolve over time? How do non-conforming or dissenting individuals address or evade Iberian institutions’ attempts to exclude, suppress, define, or erase them?
To address these questions, our seminar will examine textual and theatrical performances of resistance and dissent both clandestine and overt. We invite papers on institutional exclusion and/or classification in the literature of any Iberian region or nation and in any historical period from the sixteenth century forward. Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

encoded language
underground circulation of texts or ideas
revolutionary action
gestures of solidarity
engaged theater, art, and literature

…and/or anything that might help us to trace the evolution not only of literary representations of major Iberian institutions, but also of their subjects and their tactical engagements and disengagements with institutional and/or State narratives and structures, including those of the so-called peripheral nations.
Our intention is to initiate a transtemporal dialogue about practices of resistance to the Iberian States’ consolidation of a collective subject identity that is specifically Catholic, centralized, and/or nationalized, illuminating the continuity of certain figures of resistance across historical periods and political regimes, from the emergence of the modern State through the rise of republicanism, fascist dictatorships, and contentious democracies. We hope to explore the role of literature in accessing, articulating, constituting, and questioning subjects on the Iberian Peninsula, and to raise questions about what is resistance or resistant in the context of Iberia’s multiple nationalisms, how advocacy and solidarity manifest during political and economic crises, and the extent to which interior or subtle acts of dissent undermine, inform, or inhere in institutional Iberia.

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