THE HISPANIC-ANGLOSPHERE: TRANSNATIONAL NETWORKS AND GLOBAL COMMUNITIES (18TH - 20TH CENTURIES)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Winchester
Department Name: History

Abstract

The Hispanic and Anglo worlds are often portrayed as the Cain and Abel of the Western culture, antagonistic and alien to each other. This project will challenge this view by developing a new critical conceptual framework - the 'Hispanic-Anglosphere' - to study individuals, networks and communities that made of the British Isles a crucial hub for the global Hispanic world and a bridge between Spanish Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas during the late eighteenth to early twentieth centuries, a period marked by the dislocation of global polities, nation-state building and the rise of nationalism.
Direct contact between women and men of the British Isles and those of the Spanish-speaking world increased exponentially from the 1760s. Trade between Britain and Spanish America rose by about 300 to 400 per cent long before South American independence in the 1820s. A good number of companies involved in this trade had branches in different locations of the British Isles, the Americas, the Philippines, in the Canary Islands, and were run by English, Scottish and Irish families based in Spain. Contact further increased in the 1780s with the arrival to these shores of Spanish American revolutionaries. The Napoleonic wars not only took tens of thousands of Britons to fight in Iberia, also encouraged a few to join regular e irregular forces in Spain and later in Spanish America, thus starting a trend of British personal involvement in Hispanic conflicts long before the International Brigades made its name in the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). Many of these expats either died or decided to settle abroad. A few returned home, bringing wives and children, as well as foreign goods, manners and customs which they helped to popularize. Similarly, hundreds of Spanish refugees flocked to the British Isles after the restoration of Bourbon absolutism in 1814, often crossing paths with Spanish American leaders in search for assistance in the delicate business of new-nation state building. Scholars have studied some of these cases, but mainly from national perspectives or in terms of either 'Spanish-British' or 'Latin American-British' relations, often reducing the British experience to the confines of London, thus leaving little room for the study of persons, issues and undertakings that operated in wider areas and both through and beyond national and regional boundaries.
In this project, historians from the UK, Ireland, continental Europe, the Americas and Russia, jointly with scholars from other disciplines and non-academic partners, will study those people who in the British Isles were closely engaged with the Hispanic world, regardless of their birth, religion or political allegiance as well as of those who came from the Hispanic world to any point of the British Isles as visitors, exiles and/or migrants. A key question to be addressed is how these individuals and networks worked with and/or counteracted growing restrictions imposed on the movement of people, ideas, goods and capital.
The network will work in partnership with the National Trust Tyntesfield, the stately home founded by the Madrid-born merchant William Gibbs who built much of his fortune on the importation of Spanish wine and Peruvian guano. Scholarly discussions will be held in the context of the estate's rich collection of material culture with the intention of contributing to improving and extending their interpretation. The project will operate through an online interactive platform that will serve to host scholars' exchanges and to showcase peer-reviewed material generated as a result of the networks' research such as working papers and an online exhibition. Two three-day workshops are planned to take place in Winchester and in NT Tyntesfield. Expert knowledge will be tested and disseminated through discrete scheduled meetings with the general public and through mass and social media, thus encouraging dialogue with wider audiences outside academic circles.

Planned Impact

The network aims to widen and deepen public understandings of the Hispanic-Anglosphere early on in the project by seeking public participation in discussions relating to the use of this term as a new critical conceptual framework for the study of the individuals, networks and communities who made of a British Isles a hub for the global Hispanic world in a period of intense social, cultural and political change (late eighteenth to early twentieth centuries).
It is also hoped that discussions may inform public policy-making in relation to wider topics of increasing political, economic and socio-cultural salience such as social integration, diasporas, the dislocation of global and supranational polities, globalization, nation-building and inter-imperiality by establishing connections between academia, governmental and non-governmental organizations and the public at large.
In this respect, our partnership with the National Trust Tyntesfield is of pivotal importance. During two planned workshops, expert knowledge will be tested and disseminated through discrete scheduled meetings of scholars with the general public and through mass and social media, thus encouraging dialogue with wider audiences outside academic circles. Questions from the public will be either answered on the spot or collected to inform further academic research. This session may be broadcasted through the network's online presence (ex. Webinar) and/or radio and TV stations. Selected extracts will be recorded and disseminated as podcasts through the network's website. Throughout the project, network members will be encouraged to post archival and visual findings, to blog and to use Twitter (using a hashtag that will be common across the two workshops) to raise awareness of our work.
Network members from different disciplines will be asked to engage directly with the National Trust-Tyntesfield's rich collection relating to the Hispanic-Anglosphere (printed, visual and material culture) with a view to produce interpretations that will be showcased on the network's own website as well as in the NT Tyntesfield's webpages which have over a million annual visitors and reach a vast, national and international readership. Material from case studies may be incorporated into learning activities, such as field trips, designed for students at various educational levels.
The network's own website will provide a forum for academic and non-academic discussions as well as host peer-reviewed working papers, an online exhibition and thematic and prosopographical webpages under open access criteria. Findings may also contribute to the updating and enrichment of existing digital scholarly resources which may already offer material relevant to the Hispanic-Anglosphere. Impact in this area will be measured through quantification of specific online hits, downloads and meaningful comments posted online.
The involvement of curators and researchers based at other heritage institutions means that a fresh historical perspective will be extended and deployed in a variety of disciplinary and institutional contexts in matters relating to the interaction of the Bristish Isles with the global Hispanic world.
While seeking the cooperation of selected mass media outlets for engaging the general public in the project, the network will endeavour to build with them a creative relationship that may result in the production of one or more relevant radio programmes and/or TV documentaries based around the concept of the Hispanic-Anglosphere and/or case-studies from a projected multi-authored book.
Impact will be also measured through custom-made feedback forms (online and in paper) during and after workshops, correspondence with non-academic institutions and record of instances of significant presence of the project in mass media outputs (ex. newspaper articles, radio interviews, etc.).

Publications


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