Of Treasure Maps and Dictionaries

Searching for Home in Carlota Fainberg, Bilbao-New York-Bilbao and L’últim Patriarca

Authored by: Laura Lonsdale

The Routledge Companion to Iberian Studies

Print publication date:  March  2017
Online publication date:  March  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415722834
eBook ISBN: 9781315709895
Adobe ISBN:


 Download Chapter



Iberian Studies is born of a frustration with what Joan Ramón Resina describes as “Hispanism’s cosy monolingualism” (2013, 2), in a move at once disciplinary and political that seeks to assert the multilingual diversity of the Iberian Peninsula and of Spain in particular. This assertion of plurality and multilingualism speaks, of course, to Spain’s polemical constitution (and Constitution) as a “nation of nations, or a nation of nations and regions” (Balfour and Quiroga 2007, 2), but it may also be considered a response to globalisation and the challenges and opportunities it offers to the articulation of local identities. As Daniele Conversi argues:

On the one hand, the changed [globalised] context has provided novel opportunities for minority nations to advance differentialist claims that are no longer based on the homogeneous concept of the nation-state. On the other hand, the erosion of representative political institutions as a consequence of globalization has contributed to a potential backlash against cultural difference and a desire to revert to past notions of homogeneity – and these are inevitably bound to affect indigenous minorities as well.

(2014, 36) Iberian Studies is particularly concerned with the “indigenous minorities” of Spain and establishing greater dialogue between its cultural and linguistic traditions; but if we consider the claims of Iberian Studies as a response not just to the tension between nationalism and nation-statism (Conversi 2014, 29, 40), but as a wider manifestation of the problem of articulating local identities in a globalised context, it casts a somewhat different light on the ways in which authors choose to articulate their sense of belonging in relation to both territory and language. If our present era is defined by travel, migration and globalisation, what function does language play in our sense of who we are? How can local identities be maintained or assumed in a multilingual and transnational reality? These are evidently significant questions for writers in minority languages, though they also have broader implications in a world dominated by English and the United States.

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.