Convivencia Discourse in 19th- and 20th-century Spain

Completed Project

My research focuses on the Kulturkritik of “convivencia”

The intellectual reconstructions of “convivencia” played a political and cultural role in Spanish law and society between 1869 and 1939. References to an idealized peaceful living-together in the Middle Ages were used by the Liberals to legitimize a liberal order respecting religious and intellectual freedom. The references to Sephardic Jews were very important within these “convivencia” discourses. Although there were almost no Jews in Spain, the idealized references about the Sephardim affected Spanish nation-building.

These discourses entered into conflict with the discourse on “hispanidad” which found its model, not in the pluralism of medieval “convivencia” but in the imperial past of Spain after 1492.

These discourses are reflected in Spanish laws and parliamentarian debates until today: the 2015 Law of Naturalization of Sephardic Jews contains many of these hundred years old intellectual constructions.

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