Recalcitrant Modernities: Spain, Cultural Difference and the Location of Modernism L.

Elena Delgado, Jordana Mendelson, and Oscar E. Vázquez, Guest Editors

How might the scholarly investigation of modernism, with its traditional allegiances to national identities and colonial economies, benefit from a discussion of cultural difference? How might the very concept of difference, so central to interdisciplinary approaches be used to think about the practices, styles, economies, and technologies of modernity? With such an approach, how might meanings and identities that are constituted and contested as “different” be thought of beyond the dichotomy of presence and absence? What useful coordinates might create alternative thoroughfares into the specific subjects and challenges posed by Spanish modernity? These are some of the questions that we posed when planning an interdisciplinary conference on “Recalcitrant Modernities: Spain, Cultural Difference and the Construction of European Modernism” that was held at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Invited participants were asked to consider the historical conditions and functions of the construction of Spanish modernism and modernity as exceptions outside of, or as unique cases within, paradigms of European modernity.1 The terms modernism and modernity have seen a dramatic reassessment over the last two decades within many disciplines of the humanities. Because of our own location within a North American public University, our attention has been drawn to the rhetoric used to describe these terms within Western European and American academic contexts.2 Although largely the domain of literature and history, some of the most dynamic new approaches to modernism and its primary actors have been drawn from such interdisciplinary fields as postcolonial studies, feminist theory, Latin-American cultural studies and art history. Marginality, alterity, and periphery have become terms that signal a position of critical, and

sometimes empowering distance with respect to modernism’s centers, even while these same terms continue to be reevaluated by scholars.3 London and Paris long have occupied a privileged position from which a singular European modernism has been written. In the past, academic disciplinary frameworks reinforced that exclusive location. However, more recently, and with the rise of Global Studies and increased interdisciplinary work on modernism (which has brought with it a greater appreciation for difference within modernist studies), scholars have looked far beyond these sites for their case studies. Nonetheless, few publications or conferences dealing with European modernism and modernity have turned a critical eye to Spain. And yet with its complex geopolitical and historical situation (both within and outside Europe), Spain presents itself to twenty-first century scholars as a fertile terrain for analysis. While Spain’s “exceptional” location was somehow an unavoidable point of departure, our goal was precisely to go beyond the rhetorical dialectic of sameness and difference. As Carlos Alonso aptly puts it ‘the way to a thorough understanding of the experience of modernity in the Hispanic context does not lie in the careful overturning or the rigorous denial of received notions […] however indispensable that step might be. It requires a radical reconsideration of that experience and its historical determinants’ (1998, p.25). Or, as Andrew Ginger argues in his essay for this collection, we should think about modernity beyond an emphasis on national cultural differences in order to consider it as ‘part of a series of worldwide interactions and interrelationships’. In his examination of early nineteenthcentury Spanish cultural production, and the intellectual debates around it, Ginger urges us to understand Spain’s ‘local factors’ as contributing to, but not solely responsible for, the ways we conceptualize Spanish history and its relation to modernity. As Ginger demonstrates, when examined closely and carefully, the story of Spanish modernity is more complex, and consistent with that of other nations, than has been acknowledged. Questioning the critical


The legacy that Ginger addresses and to which this collection responds is one brimming with contradiction and stereotype. Ginger’s call for a critical reassessment of nineteenth-century Spanish cultural history is inseparable from a theoretical questioning of the master narrative of modernity. Thus. the thousands of pages devoted to determining which of the two perspectives (imperial or colonial) represents more accurately the “true” Spain. even at the height of its imperial power the country was already economically dependent on foreign bankers and manufactured goods imported from other European regions. Indeed. a deeply contentious subject. was. While Spain represents the beginning of coloniality outside of Europe. open to change. Voltaire remarked unequivocally that Spain was a country ‘with which we are no better acquainted than with the most savage parts of Africa.commonplace of a Spanish elite entrenched in their opposition to modernity. pp. particularly hostile to Spanish culture.69). in De Salvio 1924. Spain occupies a peculiar position in the history of the modern/colonial world. Such a statement should not merely be attributed to the idiosyncrasies of an individual (French) author. by the eighteenth century. Moreover. it symbolizes Spain’s cultural and political shift in location to the fringes of . then as now. one that placed North Western Europe and the dominance of national and class characteristics at its center. Indeed.24. and part of urban and international networks that make untenable long-standing assumptions about Spain’s difference. p. Ginger reframes the question to show that the Spanish elite was adaptable. p. a position characterized by the simultaneity of its imperial and colonial difference (2000. 2005). the very basis of perceived cultural difference.360-361. and which does not deserve the trouble of being known’ (Voltaire 1883-85. qtd. he reminds us that the very definition of (Spanish) national culture. particularly the Protestant North. have only served to reify an essentialist and unproductive dichotomy that obfuscates the complexities of all national histories and the always conflicting elements that contribute to their construction. On the contrary. as Walter Mignolo reminds us.

Spain was not considered modern because of its (essential) cultural difference and.217). By the end of the nineteenth century. Thus. somewhat exotic. This understanding of cultural difference was rationalized as the reason why Spain had failed to follow the “normal” path to European modernity and exhibited instead what has been labeled an “uneven”. Puerto Rico and the Philippines to the United States in 1898 became the official. during that century the country experienced both the force of military occupation (French invasion) and the burden of economic dependency on “developed” Europe.103). between calls for modernization and Europeanization 4 . “incomplete”. It is at this point that the issue of Spain’s cultural and political identity and the possibility of a regeneration of its economic. Indeed. and even well into the first half of the twentieth.6 The reactions toward this fundamental “lack” on the part of the Spanish intelligentsia oscillated between self-loathing and self-defensiveness. Moreover. cultural and even imperial status. as Sebastian Balfour has noted. by the nineteenth century. p.4 The losses of Cuba. The fact that these losses occurred at the very moment when the rest of Europe was experiencing heightened colonial expansion.the West. political and cultural markers of that shift in location. in a circular argument. the country was perceived by its Northern European neighbors (and even by Spanish intellectuals) as a territory where the lines distinguishing the West and the Orient became blurred (Zea 1986. p. quoted in McDermott 2000. p. in the eyes of dominant European nations (namely England. and definitely marginal Other.5 Thus. or “failed” modernity.49. turned into a prolonged intellectual debate at the national level. only heightened the country’s political humiliation (Balfour 1997. Spain’s divergence from the parameters set by hegemonic European nations was understood not as the consequence of specific political and economic circumstances but rather as the cause of such circumstances. was considered different because it had never been modern. France and Germany) Spain’s cultural location was that of a feminized. a moment when. the possession of empire was considered a national virility symbol.

diverse field of modernist studies. Related to Spain’s position within the political and economic contexts of modernity is the misperception of the participation of the country’s artists and writers in the formation of cultural modernism. ‘marginal’. metaphysical anguish. as Marshall Berman has shown.231-232). Hall et al. both because of its incorporation into Western European institutions and simultaneously because of its isolation and its exceptionality from them. 1996.24-30). pp..8 Thus. pp. characteristic of modernism in nondominant nations: a modernism that ‘whips itself into frenzies of self-loathing. Such debate is marked by the rhetoric of lack. such as Modernism: An Anthology of Sources and Documents (edited by Kolocotroni et al. and preserves itself only through vast reserves of self. As Mary Lee Bretz remarks. This. Spanish writers and artists have been included in publications that have been used to signal a larger.(seen as the only path to civilization) and a staunchly narcissistic defense of isolationism and traditionalism (seen as the only way to maintain a distinct national identity). Occasionally. 1998). or discussed in relation to the problems of linguistic cognates such as modernismo (Jameson 2002). but they are surrounded by Eurocentric modern geographies that only reify the model of Spain as unique or as an exception. Spain has been ignored in global discussions of modernism. Hispanic modernism (or modernismo) has often been relegated to a footnote. In describing the forms of modernity that do not conform to the Northern European paradigm. 1995.7 Having been pushed out of European modernity. (Featherstone et al. some . as it is considered literally ‘alien’ to critical paradigms (2001. far from being a uniquely Spanish mode of self-representation (or even cultural navel-gazing.irony’ (Berman 1982. scholars have used terms like ‘alternative’. Levenson 1999). More often than not. Gaonkar 2001). and ‘peripheral’. scholars failed to examine Spain both because it is and is not Europe. Nicholls 1995. as has often been argued) is. and irony. Spanish modernisms have been equally excluded from reassessments of modernisms from the colonial perspective (for example.

within the context of Europe. linguistic. and cultural contexts within Spain so as to better understand the conditions for the use of this term in the plural. Both in English and Spanish. clinging to an opinion or behavior’. we wanted to avoid the above-mentioned qualifiers. then. yet we did not want to completely erase the traces of the “difference” that had marked so much of the intellectual debates around Spain’s cultural identity. ‘stubborn. of modern nations? The defensive. recalcitrante means ‘terco. that should be obeyed’. We chose the word “recalcitrant” as a productive compromise. in that the term implied a position of active resistance to dominant structures. reincidente. aferrado a una opinión o conducta’. or thing. the terms recalcitrant and recalcitrante capture not just the conflictive relationship between modernity and Spain. obstinado. therefore. According to the Oxford English Dictionary. obstinately disobedient or refractory’. On the one hand. reactive and undeniably recalcitrant posturing against modernity that can be found in the writings of so many end-of-the-nineteenth century Spanish intellectuals can 6 . reacio. recidivist. Our position was to explore the protean nature of modernity in different geopolitical. the very adjectives used to describe these non-hegemonic modernities often reified the very paradigm (centerperiphery) that was supposedly being questioned. In Spanish. recalcitrar means to ‘retroceder’ (draw or turn back) but also ‘resistir con tenacidad a quien se debe obedecer’ or ‘to resist with tenacity someone. but more importantly the type of questions that we hoped the conference would attempt to explore: When is resistance merely ‘obstinate’? When is it creative? Who determines the nature of that resistance? Is not ‘kicking against restriction’ one of the traits of modern art. created new spaces of inquiry. and indeed. reluctant. As a verb. At the same time. according to the Diccionario de la Real Academia. that is. scholars have posed important questions about the limits of modernist studies and. obstinate. Through such analysis. recalcitrant means ‘“kicking” against constraint or restriction. others within the framework of globalization and colonialism.

‘[t]o deconstruct Europe is to deconstruct modernity. exclusive to Spain. indeed fundamental. and Serrano and Salaün (2006). as Jan Pietersee affirms. Nelson Orringer (2002).9 While all of these scholars have paved the way for our own analytical intervention.certainly be described as a manifestation of cultural self-absorption. This phenomenon was not. Epps (2004). It is. it is also possible to invert these terms: . or behind. and Larson and Woods (2005). a situation characteristic of many of the so-called “peripheries” that have been discursively and politically excluded from definitions of modern Europe. also have introduced audiences to particular examples of the vanguard and marginality in the construction of Spanish modernism. Geist and Monleón (1999). Johnson (2003). Kirpatrick (2004). More recent works.126). In their groundbreaking study Graham and Labanyi (1995) were concerned with establishing Spanish cultural studies as a new field of academic inquiry and questioned the meaning of modernity as understood in exclusively Anglo-Saxon frameworks.114). Within the field of Hispanism. A few publications have fruitfully repositioned Spanish modernism in an international context. Pao and Hernández (2002). p.10 If. issues regarding the challenges of writing interdisciplinary histories of modernity. Particularly noteworthy in this respect are the contributions by Mary Lee Bretz (2001). our emphasis is on a critical examination of the very terms of the debate. of course. rather. The contributors to this volume question not just the very existence of a homogeneous “Spanish” identity but also the issue of an equally debatable singular “European cultural modernity”. scholars have turned to the question of Spanish modernisms to raise some of the most critical. focusing especially on how difference functions. the dominant paradigm (Delgado 2003. and resentment over the fact that this very modernity condemns the members of a second-rank nation strongly marked by its Semitic heritage to remain outside of. p. its leading self definition’ (1994. But it can also be the expression of a legitimate conflict: the split between a desire for modernity. Harrison and Hoyle (2000). such as Harris (1995).

who was the only one among his peers to insist on offering a diagnosis and prognosis of the European condition during World War I. The issues of isolationism and failure are considered in their philosophical and historical dimensions in José Luis Villacañas’ ‘Ortega y el monopolio de la modernidad’. That is to say. Villacañas takes as his subject the Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset. Ortega’s Eurocentric 8 . Ortega’s gestures were aimed at spurring a reactivation of European modernity at a time when the classical forms of culture were in crisis. In his essay. received or resisted. p. philosophical. noting there was a tremendous gulf between Ortega’s philosophical positions and his grandiose self-representation and promotion as radical reformer. or cinematic) to the immersion in distinct cultural forms that are rooted in local context. Each of the authors included in this collection has tackled the specific ways in which difference has been constituted. Villacañas’ essay situates Ortega’s examination of problems of Spain’s national identity within the philosopher’s own political and philosophical projects for Spain in 1914-1915. and in his explorations of Ortega’s construction of Spain (particularly Southern Spain) and modernity from a Northern European perspective. from admiration for and interaction with the international community (artistic. he is also (to this day) one of the only Spanish intellectual figures to be recognized beyond the disciplinary boundaries of Hispanism. The question would then be: What is the basis for Ortega’s sustained prestige beyond Hispanic studies? What is it in his theories or rhetoric that is recognized by experts in other fields as a valid theorization of modernism and modernity? A partial answer is to be found in Luis Fernández-Cifuentes’ article.19). from the fierce sense of disappointment and isolation to the problems of translation and deconstruct modernity is to deconstruct ‘the belief that there were metropolitan foci out of which the modern emanated and which by means of a rippled and delayed expansion through time and space would eventually transform the material and cultural orders of those societies that languished in the outer confines of the system’ (Alonso 1998. literary.

critical gaze and his (mis)recognition of the absences that anchored Spanish cultural production firmly in the location of the “not-modern” are precisely what secured his place in Anglo-American literary theory. critics and patrons were guided by perceptions of Spanish art formulated in response to the Galerie Espagnole. Lahuerta reveals the differences and similarities between foreign and national attitudes regarding the Galerie Espagnole. Instead of understanding Spanish painting as something that emerged within Spain with any kind of independent authority. As such. namely Picasso and Juan Gris. The reexamination of specific events and critical reappraisal of key moments in Spanish art history in relation to the constitution of Spanish identities is also addressed by Juan José Lahuerta in his essay ‘La Galería española’ in this volume. . many of the opinions about modern Spanish painting voiced by artists. As he points out. were seen to be dependent upon a critical tradition already extant in the exhibition of earlier Spanish artists in Louis Philippe’s Galerie Espagnole at the Louvre. in turn. and others. He analyzes how works of early twentieth-century Spanish artists. Lahuerta recounts the impact of the nineteenth-century Galerie Espagnole and the display of its collection in Paris on the continuation of ‘lo español’ as a manner of positioning twentieth-century art within the same stereotypes that had occupied the modern French imagination since Romanticism. Lahuerta reminds us that Parisian-based writers like Gertrude Stein famously remarked that ‘painting didn’t exist’ outside of Paris. André Masson. “Lo español”. became part of what Lahuerta terms the dark side of the avant-garde in the work of artists like Francis Picabia. French and Spanish definitions of “Spanishness” that derived from works displayed in the Galerie Espagnole were central to later understandings of French visual modernity. even though the contents of the Galerie Espagnole had come originally from Spain.

and case studies used to describe modernism and modernity within Spain. Tomás reflects on the two diametrically opposed artistic tastes 10 . methodologies. Andalusia. languages. The historical context of what has been called “noventayochismo” and the question of Spain’s complex cultural identity constitute the framework for Facundo Tomás’ ‘La invención estética de España’. and generational differences. the Basque Country. That is to say. The autonomous communities of Catalonia. and canonization of modernist forms. All of the writers assembled in this volume have distinct voices: some write evocatively about the artists and writers under study. hinting at categories of historical knowledge. To be aware of how different discursive styles inflect narratives of European modernism differently is also to acknowledge the role of different institutional traditions in (re)inscribing geographic. reception. Valencia (among others) with their differing historical traditions. we must consider the different languages.11 The problems of translation and transposition are critical in this respect and certainly deserve further study. and artistic expressions constitute internal fissures that prevent even the notion of Spanish modernity from being written in the singular form. Our aim here has been to raise awareness of (instead of ignore) these differences and point to multiple frames that might be used to explore and understand Spain’s role as a case in testing our assumptions about the production. disciplinary. Galicia. while others depend upon the critical apparatus of the (Anglo-American) academy to evaluate the scholarly value of secondary texts. we inevitably have to think also about the plurality of Spain itself.By focusing our attention on the different ways modernism in literature and the arts in Spain have been constructed as exceptional cases apart from dominant theories of modernism as a whole. The competition among different modernist and nationalist projects within Spain disallows the interpretation of Spanish modernisms as a unified program or even as a competition between Castilian (or Castilianized) noventayochistas and Catalan modernists.

yet he simultaneously reclaims a transatlantic ideal of hispanidad based on a common (Castilian) language and lineage. He examines how southern Spain (approximately from Toledo downward) constituted one of the . and. Yet he was excoriated by some of his contemporaries (particularly Unamuno) for his lack of style and “narrow” focus on Valencian issues. colorful one represented by Valencian artists Joaquín Sorolla and Vicente Blasco Ibáñez. and Ignacio Zuloaga. The latter argument has been consistently used to label Blasco a “regionalist” writer. rather than in terms of content. the austere and somber country envisioned by Basques Miguel de Unamuno. The issue of national differences within Spain is also explored in Luis Fernández Cifuentes’ essay ‘Southern Exposure: Early Tourism and Spanish National Identity’. Tomás’ analysis of Valencian artists and their rejection of the predominant identification of Spanish culture with ‘Castilian culture’ helps to illuminate the contradictory location of Spanish artists and intellectuals. Vicente Blasco Ibáñez’s work and progressive political positions negate the idea of a homogenous “Spanish” identity within Spain. the vibrant. he wrote his work entirely in Castilian. including the debates about the local and the universal (both in literary and linguistic terms) are as heated today as they were a century ago. Tomás’ article rightly points out the political and cultural debates which are at the root of purportedly aesthetic disputes. It is also interesting to note that most of those disputes. this in spite of being the only Spanish author of his time widely known outside of Spain and the only one who earned a fortune with the translation of his works into other languages.which correspond to radically different conceptions of Spain’s artistic identity: on the one hand. The traditional historical dispute between España negra (dark Spain) and España blanca (light Spain) is refocused in Tómas’ analysis through the problems of formal organization in the works of art. Pío Baroja. on the other. Blasco’s defense of monolingualism and cultural unity is indeed ironic: the son of Aragonese immigrants to Valencia.

one that included Burke. and specific 12 . Fernández Cifuentes analyzes the vision that these tourists (and the organizers of their trips) had of Spain. since his conceptual framework was already familiar to specialized readers. Nonetheless.12 In translating modernism to and from Spain. at least until World War I. then research that pays as much attention to questions of absences as to the materiality of events that constituted Spain’s modernities should be welcomed. By doing so. The Rebellion of the Masses) situates him in a very recognizable Anglo-Saxon intellectual genealogy.frequent destinations in the ‘grand tours’ begun in the 1840s. who he always envisioned to be his audience. or as pre-figurations of the postmodern. Ortega’s discursive location (particularly as represented by his best known work. as we already pointed out. if the train of the Enlightenment’s universalized historicism is derailed by investigations of relational differences. The explorations in this volume open doors to the dynamic relations. This image of Spain as constructed by foreigners (and Spaniards) coincides with the period of greatest intensity in the formation of modern nationalities. Further. and more generally the economy and imaginary of early tourism. he translated “difference” into something familiar for the European public. Fernández Cifuentes’ exploration of Ortega y Gasset’s construction of Andalusia as the most ‘primitive’ and ‘Oriental(ist)’ part of Spain is significant because as the only Spanish modernist recognized as such in the Anglo-Saxon academic world.and early twentieth-century Spanish representations as yet one more example of the fragmented traces of a homogenized. Ortega’s English translators had a relatively easy task. Tocqueville and Durkheim. with the marks of identity that the Spaniards chose (or accepted) to represent themselves. transnational modernism. he attempts to determine the relation of that vision. conditions. Ortega y Gasset is precisely the one intellectual who visualized Spanish modernity according to Northern European paradigms.” there is a danger of describing nineteenth. even becoming a kind of ‘poor man’s Orient’. and thinking about the problems that arise “in translation. In that sense.

one artist or one writer as metonymic or paradigmatic of Spain’s modernism(s) since any definition of modernism is bound up and constituted through a multitude of differences. Many of the . and railway industries among others). whereby a lagging industrial framework is reified through faulty or ‘backwards’ ideological or artistic representation. and photography) as well as capital production (textile. race and class. Likewise. It is. argues against the use of one region. or capital—demonstrates that Spanish artists. maritime. which surfaced in an array of fixed and ephemeral media. postcards and mechanical devices like bicycles were enlisted by artists. cinema. sexuality. By the phrase technologies of modernity we refer to both those of representation (paintings. writers. especially in relation to the international community. Both older and newer apparatuses and social customs. prints. These differences included those of region and nation. as we have already mentioned.identities of Iberian modernisms. as well as of gender. Indeed. the complexities of Spanish modernity. however. artistic. acceptance of early-twentieth-century modernization theory. images. including easel paintings. literary essays. therefore. and their audiences were active consumers of the foreign coming from abroad as well as producers of the exotic for exportation. and performers in the constitution and manipulation of sexuality. the reaction to foreign imports—whether they be in the form of ideas. and social that artists and writers articulated varied symbolic and economic values and. as many of the papers in this anthology show. the relations between types of production and their local or national audiences in the construction of varied nationalisms or of gender and ethnic identities were often manifest in non-academic and popular forms. This anthology has taken as one of its sub-themes the relation between discussions of difference and the technologies and spaces of modernity that have been central to the construction of national and disciplinary identities. Much of the previous scholarship on the relation between these two categories indicates a problematic. as such. writers. if unacknowledged. at the interstices of the technological. The collection of essays.

It emphasizes the complex circumstances during those years through which Spain negotiated pornography. For Zubiaurre. popular and mass culture accepted through erotic material what ‘high’ culture only reluctantly acknowledges. but also museum catalogues and exhibitions: in general. and as Alberto Mira rightly points out. process to take place: the ‘inevitable’ Europeanization of Spain. film. This ‘lower’ form of cultural and sexual production. but as part of discursive and literary strategies (2004. Thus. it is in those texts at that particular time where homosexuality surfaces not just as object of representation. in contrast to the stark denial of both found in the so-called “noventayochistas” (Delgado 2003. popular prints. Along these lines. have looked to forms of the nineteenth through early twentieth century that have become increasingly popular in Spanish cultural studies of the past decade. therefore. Her ‘Velocipedismo sicalíptico: Erotismo visual. It is in those texts where a different side of Spanish cultural modernity can be found: one in which we find an unabashed exploration of sexuality and pleasure. 14 . and through that acceptance allowed for another. p. all forms of communication or display that are public in intention. Maite Zubiaurre’s piece in this collection explores precisely part of that archive. recalcitrant. such as postcards.27). constitutes a major cultural bridge with Europe and one of the technological paths through which European modernism enters the peninsula. Fernández 2002). a crucial archive that deserves further study is constituted by the very under-studied (though widely popular in its time. also called at the time sicalipsis. Moreover.) pulp fiction written in the first quarter of the twentieth century. there existed an ‘uncomfortable tension’ among the elements of national identity. which depended to a great extent on imported foreign forms.contributors. bicicletas y sexualidad importada en la España finisecular’ analyzes the production and consumption of visual and erotic material (especially photography and postcards) in the first third of the twentieth century in Spain. one that is related to the new and more popular forms of technological modernity.

offered women a vehicle for economic and artistic self-empowerment. Pepa Anastasio focuses on the relation of women to the production of both popular and mass culture by looking to the female singers of the cuplé. While Zubiaurre and Anastasio explore the mobility of gender in print culture and performance. Paying special attention to the performance of cuplé in Barcelona in the early twentieth century. Jo Labanyi tackles the representation of gender and history in cinema. materializes certain contemporary phobias such as the suffragette movement.Europeanization. 1950) and De mujer a mujer (Luis . and normative practices in music and literature. Studying the lives of the cuplé performers. Using the films La duquesa de Benamejí (Luis Lucía. In her essay ‘Negotiating Modernity through the Past: Costume Films of the Early Franco Period’. and (technological) modernization in the symbol and object of the bicycle or velocipede. as a foreign invention and as sexualized form. Anastasio argues for a complex reading of popular song as a subversive practice that because. their location in the music halls of Spain’s main urban areas. and Pequeñeces (Juan de Orduña. not in spite. but also established notions of what type of cultural manifestations should be representative of the nation (in this case Catalonia). 1952). of their supposedly frivolous character and apparent compliance with a male entertainment system. Anastasio addresses the way in which this gendered form of communication not only countered normative sexual expectations. both set in the first half of the nineteenth century. In ‘¿Género ínfimo?: El cuplé y la cupletista como desafío’. 1949) and Estrella de Sierra Morena (Ramón Torrado. The bicycle. in order to understand the role of this increasingly commercialized musical form as one means for women to enter the public sphere. but as a form of conservative modernity. Labanyi studies four costume films produced in Spain between 1949 and 1952 in order to argue that early Francoism should be seen not as an attempt to return Spain to the past. social mobility. and the democratization and adoption of foreign social customs in Spain.

while it may have been the film’s female spectators who had lost the most as a result of the forced rupture of Franco’s dictatorship with the reforms of the Second Republic. while perhaps abandoned with regret by the film’s viewers. Given the production of books and journals that have been published within the growing field of cultural studies. 1950). what might even be perceived as ‘otherness’. the film framed non-traditional gender relations as old fashioned: orthodoxy became modernity. This collection of essays brings together scholars from multiple fields within the arts and humanities who practice in different geographic locations and are guided by a variety of critical paradigms and discursive traditions. The unorthodox gender behavior in these films was associated with the past and highlighted by the use of period costumes to ensure that this past. but rather a reconsideration of Spain’s difference in terms of the interrelations among constructed notions of European modernities at specific historical periods. Respecting such plurality. It is precisely for this reason that we have made a conscious decision not to homogenize the style and discursive markers of these papers in order to follow the customary Anglo-Saxon model of critical analysis. there can be no true 16 . She further argues that these films staged a past that allowed a degree of latitude in gender relations. Labanyi shows how the use of costume frequently worked against conventional plot structure. Thus.Lucía. As Walter Mignolo reminds us. nor of the types of pressures the field will exert (Chabram-Dernersesian 1999). which the characters—and with them the spectators—had to learn to leave behind. was seen as history. complicating the representation of masculinity and femininity. was crucial to our own critical position. It is hoped that one of the pressures that will be produced by this anthology will be a reexamination of modernisms not simply in terms of a greater inclusion of plurality. we are aware that no such field can be created without an understanding of the stakes and political conditions from which it arose. The characters—and spectators—thus internalized the injunction to break with the past that was the defining feature of modernity.

interdisciplinary research without a de-centering of theoretical practices and a true dialogue between different languages and cultures of scholarship (2000. The ways that a particular city. and its formal. circumstances. Part of the problem of “locating” a project that investigates any construct that may be called Spanish visual. Cultural difference constituted our object of analysis in this anthology. any such project today can hardly be determined strictly by geographic criteria. we pose the location of modernity as a problem through which artists. As such it was located. paintings. it was quite often visibly. However. the modernist geographies that emerged in the essays. it is also the differences among our contributors’ varied conceptualizations of this concept in relational. if imprecisely. Moreover. or “locatable” in specific sites even while subjects negotiated and navigated through the spaces of differing modernities (Vázquez 2007).222). The idea that Spain as a singular identity challenges hegemonic ideas about Euro-American modernism is contested implicitly by the essays published here. The essays in this special issue argue against exclusive definitions of location. often embattled and even contradictory articulations. that also characterizes what we argue to be the principal issue in constructions of Spanish modernities today. yet culturally and historically specific. geography itself can become contested territory. community or nation is represented and recognized (in Spain but also in relation to the rest of the world) is inextricably tied to a broad spectrum of ideological positions. postcards. Instead. rather. However. Modernity was not solely a construction of subjects in relation to time and space. because. complex form of modernism. p. identifiable in relation to any number of categories and physical markers. and philosophers articulated their ideas about a relational. writers. as these essays prove. material or modernist cultures is found in lingering connections to older definitions that essentialize ethno-racial nationalisms. and travels of the subjects .

and how that construction is based on an often contradictory amalgam of political. both within and outside Spain.described in this volume intersected with other categories of location. we hope to have suggested a different framework that will allow further exploration of the multiplicity of practices that accompany specific sites of modernism. objects and literary works within the historical past. literary and aesthetic arguments articulated from very specific ideological and institutional locations. sexuality and gender. Our goal here has been not just to offer a glimpse into the diversity of functions of images. status. This collection shows how “cultural differences” are constructed. those that defined class. 18 . Rather.

David O’Brien. President of the Excecutive Board of the Consortium of Museums of the Comunidad Valenciana. Andrew Ginger. Brad Epps. Education and Sports and United States’ Universities. and Maite Zubiaurre were selected at a later date because they dealt with issues directly related to our discussion. some of the papers presented at the conference could not be included in this collection. Facundo Tomás. and political issue— was the founding of the Modernist Studies Association in 1998 and the journal Modernism/modernity. the Program for Cultural Coooperation between Spain’s Ministry of Culture. pp. the Program in Comparative Literature. the Krannert Art Museum. the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences ‘State of the Art’ Program. Lou Charnon-Deutsch. Robert Lubar. but certainly not least. and Eva Woods. the School of Architecture. cultural. 3 See Susan Friedman (2001. . the School of Art and Design. Jo Labanyi. and John Wilcox. We thank colleagues from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and other universities for their contributions as moderators and respondents to the conference: Dara Goldman.Notes 1 The conference took place in 2003. We thank the Sorolla Museum and its director. the Center for Advanced Study/MillerComm. The participants were Luis Fernández Cifuentes. the College of Fine and Applied Arts Dean’s Special Grant. Joyce Tolliver. For different reasons. Generous support for the conference and this publication were provided by: the Department of Spanish. Eric Graf. the Chancellor’s Initiative ‘Humanities in a Globalizing World’. the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities. Mr. which pre-dated the Association but is now included as a benefit of membership. the Foreign Languages Building Executive Officers’ Funds. Mariselle Meléndez. Last. Italian. The papers by Pepa Anastasio. and Portuguese. Cary Nelson. Eva-Lynn Jagoe. Susan Larson. Nil Santiáñez-Tió. Joan Ramon Resina. and the Instituto Cervantes (Chicago). the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory. Florencio de Santa Ana. 2 One of the key results (and instigators) of the broadening of modernism and modernity studies —that now include greater attention to a range of historical. for permission to reproduce the image ¡Y aún dicen que el pescado es caro! We also acknowledge Ms. for permission to reproduce the Galerie Continentale’s form included in the book Cartas de Sorolla a GilMoreno de Mora.493-513). José Luis Villacañas. Geoff Pingree. Juan José Lahuerta. we thank Marcos Campillo for his meticulous copy-editing work and editorial suggestions. a Hewlett International Conference Grant from International Programs and Studies. Concepción Gómez Ocaña.

whose explicit goal is to see continental modernism in a new light. 8 An exception would be the contributions by Latin American scholars. an analysis that would go beyond the dialectics of originality and imitation. only discusses in passim the Spanish Civil War (particularly in relation to its impact on the work of American journalist Martha Gellhorn). Complex Interactions edited by Bonnie K. in passim.4 For example. 1996). even though the focus of her analysis is Spanish cultural production. who were participants at the University of Illinois conference. starting with the objects and practices of mass culture that interact or comment upon the production and consumption of 20 . 5 This might explain the fin-de-siècle’s persistent metaphorical association between the recovery of an essential (productive) national identity with a potent and reproductive virility. as part of their general focus on specific Latin American processes and social realities. 1998). 9 In their introduction to Visualizing Spanish Modernity. some of their insights have greatly influenced our general approach. 6 Our views on Spanish modernity have been greatly influenced by Carlos Alonso’s analysis of Latin American modernity in his important book The Burden of Modernity where he also discusses. also tackles this issue. the train—the symbol of modernity par excellence—demanded tremendous investments of capital. 7 Indeed. Scott. even the very recent volume Gender in Modernism. Nevertheless. p. As Raymond Carr has explained. focus on ‘the relationship between the visual and modernity in Spain. in two insightful articles (1997. Particularly relevant are his insights on the discursive models of modernity that Latin American scholars evoke and the notion of modernity as both ideal and curse. Larson and Wood. Mary Lee Bretz. Luis Fernández Cifuentes. Néstor García Canclini (1990). The difficulty of sustaining the high cost of these investments caused Spanish liberals of the mid-nineteenth century to transfer the exploitation of the railways and mines to foreign investors. Nelly Richard (1993). in her important study on Spanish Modernism. converting Spain into an economy based on exports and which supplied materials to the rest of a more ‘advanced’ Europe even while the decisions were made and the profits returned to Glasgow or Cardiff (1982. They certainly address the issue of Spain’s conflictive relationship to modernity. this created a series of foreign enclaves which acted almost like sovereign states. in Spain. New Geographies. Enrique Dussel (1992. seven times that of other industries. Of particular interest are the works by Leopoldo Zea (1986). and Julio Ramos (1989). Such a line of analysis has already been initiated by one of the contributors to this issue. but they do so (naturally).27). Spain. A crucial task to be undertaken would be an analysis of the interconnections between Latin American and Spanish artists regarding their positions vis-a-vis modernity.

as well as Michel Foucault’s and Martin Jay’s examination of the role of discipline and violence. . the very difference between the amount of critical interventions available regarding the competition between Castilianized noventayhochistas and Catalan modernists. Chakrabarty (2000). Rattansi and Westwood (eds) (1994). problematic in its relation to different cultural notions of contemporaneity.2). their readings of cultural production and visual consumption through reproduction seek to demonstrate how such technologies were crucial elements in the construction of Spain’s modernisms (2005. 11 The editors acknowledge that the present collection would have benefited from a discussion of other models of modernism and modernity within Spain. 12 We thank José Luis Villacañas for his insightful comments on this topic. is in itself relevant to our discussion. historically determined construction. however. technological and artistic development. and Robins (1996). vis-a vis other culturally specific areas. The absence of those areas from our discussion was due to factors outside our control. See among others. In addition. two areas with very characteristic cultural markers.images’. 10 There is. in particular (but not exclusively) those represented by Galicia and the Basque country. p. Borrowing from Jonathan Crary’s notions of new ‘techniques’ of vision. a line of research that attempts to understand European modernity as complex.

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