Lectura y cultura escrita (Spanish Edition)
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Admittedly, a smaller cohort is at work here, but its adepts make up for their leaner numbers with energy and enthusiasm. An especially important, indeed, arguably the central concern of their endeavors is the role overseas empire played in the transformation of scientific and medical knowledge in early modern Spain. On the one hand, religion is receiving more attention than it has in the past, and there are many monographic studies of impressively high quality. On the other, religious history continues to be largely confessional in character.
By choice or omission, it remains in the hands of the clergy and their followers. Scholars who are not members of that coterie tend to concentrate on a very narrow range of issues, the Inquisition being by far the most popular.
Partly as a consequence of this relegation, religious history, especially that of the Catholic mainstream, tends to be largely institutional in character. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, for example, the work of Bill Christian, an American scholar who resides in Spain.
Still, the overall result is a narrow focus, and one that offers a dramatic contrast with recent contributions to the history of spirituality in, say, early modern Italy. In short, it is hard to avoid the impression that early modern Spanish religious history is in need of a conceptual and methodological aggiornamento. The unquestionable importance of the subject suggests that until this takes place, Spanish cultural history as a whole will — despite the many advances taking place — continue to lag behind developments elsewhere.
Here we run into the question of some of the obstacles Spanish academia has placed in the path of cultural history. Early Modern Spanish Cultural History that much if not most of the cultural history of early modern Spain is not written by historians. Rather, it continues to be the preserve of historians of art, literature, language, music, science, and the like — all disciplinary fields of their own within the university system, and thus endowed with the sort of strong corporate identity, not to say territoriality, that the system nurtures.
One consequence is that many historians shy away from dealing with literature, art, what have you, as belonging more properly to the purview of others within a division of scientific labor that erects high walls even between adjoining disciplines. Second, many if not most historians see cultural history as a lesser, even minor branch on the disciplinary trunk.
Or to shift metaphors, it strikes many as a sort of icing on the cake, the cake itself being political and institutional history, or for the dwindling number of Marxists social and economic history. This seems especially true where teaching is concerned.
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It is no accident that in the department where I work — an early modern history department in a large, metropolitan research university — cultural history occupies a rather modest berth in our curriculum. Of the 55 undergraduate courses offered during the —06 academic year, only 12 are devoted principally to cultural topics.
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That these 12 are all optional rather than compulsory for students further illustrates that in regard to teaching, culture continues to take a back seat to other topics in early modern history. Now, I do not wish to paint this picture as bleaker than it is. Student interest is not a problem; enrollments in courses in cultural history actually tend to be consistently high.
Over the years it has served as a forum for presenting research in progress that has brought together Spanish and foreign scholars with a shared interest in cultural history ranging from graduate student to senior levels. Which brings up a final issue: the state of early modern Spanish cultural history outside Spanish academia. There are two dimensions to this question.
The first involves the profile, so to speak, of cultural history among the broader, non-professional reading public. Here matters are not too encouraging. Virtually all the advances I have referred to have taken place at the level of what could be called basic research. Very little of this new research has trickled down outside the university. Another way to put this is that Spanish cultural history has not produced a Cheese and the Worms or Montaillou-type book that by galvanizing the reading public draws attention to new topics, methods, and protagonists in history. One thus gets the impression that those readers interested in early modern history — a fairly large number of people, by the way — do not yet know that there exists an alternative to the dreary procession of biographies of kings, queens, generals, and other pooh-bahs that continue to roll off the presses.
The answer is, I fear, very little. The fundamental reason for this is that relatively little of this new history been translated into foreign languages, especially English. When at conferences and meetings in the rest of Europe, I perceive a strong interest in matters Spanish, along with recognition that Spanish historiography is in the throes of change.
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Yet one also perceives a certain level of frustration with the lack of English-language publications, a situation that ensures that the recognition of change rarely surpasses the level of vague intuition. I hope that this unabashedly impressionistic note has conveyed more a sense of achievement than its opposite.
My feelings of hope in regard to the cultural history of early modern Spain will doubtless not be shared by certain readers. Fans of Cultural Studies would surely be disappointed by the strong documentary empiricism and scant attention to theory that rules the Spanish roost. That there are obvious gaps in coverage is something no one can deny. If someone had asked about the cultural history of early modern Spain a mere generation ago, he or she would have been treated at best to a litany of stale generalities.
That this is no longer the case is news. Very good news, in fact. He is, of course, exempted from responsibility for the results. As for the various journals with which he is involved, of special importance is Cultura escrita y sociedad, the first issue of which was published in The Institute recently began publication of a new journal, Syntagma. The ongoing schedule of the seminar is posted at www. That gender history in Spain tends to lag behind its counterparts elsewhere is not hard to understand, especially when one considers the degree of indifference, not to mention hostility, to it within the historiographic mainstream there.
That this history has not taken the same sort of cultural turn away from its original anchorage in social and political history as has happened elsewhere seems harder to explain. The paradox is intriguing, to say the least. Bibliography Bouza, F. Chartier Madrid,Akal, Bouza, F. Agnew, foreword by R. Chartier Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, Gil [Pujol], X. The spine may show signs of wear. Pages can include limited notes and highlighting, and the copy can include previous owner inscriptions.
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Book is in Used-Good condition. Pages and cover are clean and intact. Used items may not include supplementary materials such as CDs or access codes. May show signs of minor shelf wear and contain limited notes and highlighting. Brand new Book. Heritage Spanish speakers looking to enhance their ability to converse in the language will find just what they need in this text.
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