Labanyi, “Thinking outside the national/global binary from the
talk will attempt a reconsideration of certain aspects of Spanish
cultural history (literary and visual) from the standpoint of
contemporary globalization theory. In particular, it will argue that the
tendency to see the “national” as the opposite of the “global” has been
particularly unhelpful, encouraging the notion that Spanish texts that
form part of transnational cultural circuits are somehow anti-national.
In practice, as globalization theory makes us aware, the two concepts
are interdependent, and both are constitutive of modernity. It should
also be remembered that the national-global relationship works in two
directions: while earlier debates stressed the import of foreign ideas
into Spain, globalization also permits the export of Spanish culture –
something that is not entirely new today. Why should the
foreign cultural tendencies be decried, while the export of national
cultural tendencies is hailed as a sign of “universality”?
talk will additionally consider the importance of getting beyond the
national/global binary by thinking in terms of multiple localities:
multiple localities within Spain, frequently bypassing the national; and
multiple localities within a planetary context, thus rendering obsolete
claims to “universality.” At the same time, the concept of the “local”
produces tensions with those forms of non-state nationalism that lay
claim to national sovereignty: what happens when the “national” works
its way back into the discussion of “local” cultures? Is it a problem
that the “local,” like the “global,” obviates notions of sovereignty? Is
sovereignty a useful concept when thinking about culture? The term
“cosmopolitanism” has recently enjoyed something of a revival, as a way
of avoiding the term “transnationalism,” which preserves the national
intact as the basic unit of production and reception. What is
and what is lost by thinking about cosmopolitanism rather than
transnationalism in a Spanish
is the Director of the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center at New York
University, and Professor of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and
Literatures at NYU. She specializes in modern Spanish literature and
culture, film, gender studies, popular culture, and memory studies. She
is Founding Editor of the Journal of Spanish Cultural
Her select publications
Literature. Very Short Introduction series. Oxford UP.
The Politics of
Memory in Contemporary Spain. Monographic issue of Journal
of Spanish Cultural Studies 9.2. 2008.
Constructing Identity in Contemporary
Spain: Theoretical Debates and Cultural Practice. Oxford
Modernization in the Spanish Realist Novel. Oxford UP.
2000. Spanish translation: Cátedra. 2011.
Spanish Cultural Studies: An
Introduction. The Struggle for Modernity, co-edited with
Helen Graham. Oxford UP. 1995.