Organisers: Dr Maite Usoz de la Fuente (University of Leicester); Prof. Helena Miguélez-Carballeira (Bangor University)

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 15 September 2021

Conference date: 1 April 2022

Confirmed keynote speakers: Dr David Becerra Mayor (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid); Dr Helena Buffery (University College Cork)

The relationship between culture, crisis and the political imaginaries of the State has undergone a series of important transformations in post-2008 Spain, which are ripe for critical analysis by the discipline of peninsular Hispanic/Iberian studies. In particular, three historical-cultural developments have been determining in this regard:

  1. the irruption of the theme of the España vaciada (emptied rural spaces) in the Spanish public sphere after the 2008 financial crisis; its political articulation in Spanish depopulated rural areas (Teruel Existe; Soria Ya) and the exacerbation of urban-rural tensions with the Covid-19 pandemic
  2. Basque separatist group ETA’s ceasefire in 2011 and the ensuing memory battles over the legacies of violence
  3. The Catalan Referendum of Independence of October 2017, whose violent and judicialized repression has sparked questions about the ‘fullness’ of Spanish post-Francoist democracy

The aim of this interdisciplinary one-day research event is, therefore, to consider how recent experiences of crisis and conflict in Spain have been culturally framed within the Spanish public sphere. A working premise is that the discourses of Spanish nationalism and unionism, intensified by the arrival into parliamentary politics of far-right parties, provide one such cultural frame (to use Butler’s term) for what is sayable. Focusing on works published from 2010 onwards, we will consider the way in which cultural texts from the Peninsula have reflected crises and conflicts over the past decade; as well as which narratives have been promoted, celebrated and institutionalised, and which have been disavowed, ignored or silenced. The topics that could be explored in the conference include (but are not limited to):

  1. Literary, visual or media representations of España vaciada
  2. Narratives of neo-ruralismo and/or neo-casticismo
  3. Cultural and media representations of the Basque conflict
  4. Cultural and media representations of the Catalan independence referendum and the ensuing political crisis in Spain
  5. Comparative approaches to conflicting narratives and discourses on any of the topics above

Paper abstracts of ca. 250 words should be sent to Maite Usoz de la Fuente ( by 15 September 2021. This event is funded by the Regional Conference Grant of the Institute of Modern Languages Research (IMLR). Four travel bursaries of up to £100 each will be made available to postgraduate or early career participants – if you wish to apply for a bursary, please indicate so in your abstract, and send a copy of your CV as well as your abstract.