Spain represents a unique and fertile context in which to explore attitudes to the art and culture of the Islamic world. Spain was routinely ‘orientalised’ by northern European cultures in the 19th century, as foreign visitors indulged in oriental reveries when reflecting on Spain’s Islamic past (711–1492) and admiring its ‘Moorish’ remains at the Alhambra palace in Granada, the mosque/cathedral in Cordoba, or the Giralda in Seville. For the Spaniard, however, this Islamic heritage raised potentially disorientating questions about cultural roots and national identity. Spanish attitudes to the Islamic past were further complicated by Spain’s ambivalent relations with the Islamic present in Morocco, ranging from war and conflict (1859–60) to Franco’s recruitment of Moroccans at the start of the Spanish Civil War.
This session builds on recent research by historians of art, literature and culture, whose work has revealed that the European discourse on the Islamic world is much more polyphonic than traditional postcolonial theory assumed. The session invites papers that examine 19th- and 20-century visual responses to Spain’s Islamic past and Spain’s nearest ‘Orient’, Morocco, by both Spanish and non-Spanish artists across all media (architecture, fine art, illustrated books, photography, film, fashion etc.). How did artists translate Spain’s Islamic world into visual formats? How was such imagery produced, viewed, and marketed? What were the artistic, ideological, political, and social positions on which visual responses were grounded? How important were they in the formation of broader attitudes to the Islamic world?
Email proposals for papers to the convenors Claudia Hopkins and Anna McSweeney by 9 November 2015. You can download a paper proposal form at http://www.aah.org.uk/annual-conference/sessions2016/session21