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Lecture Series

27, 29 April, and 4, 6, 11 May 2010
Image of the Lecture

The participants summarise their talks

  • The Inquisition facing History. Apology and criticism of the Holy Office
    Ricardo García Cárcel

    The Holy Office has been historically one of the topics that more as tormented the conflictive memory of the Spaniards, as it opened a separation pit between the persecuted and persecutors which has left sequels in the civil war tendency of our country. The Inquisition starts becoming history even before it was ended. In the framework of the political debate for the future, in the Courts of Cadiz along 1811, already the historians discussed the controversy of the past history of the Inquisition. Llorente and Puigblanc played rough with different arguments against the Inquisition; Vélez and Alvarado declared themselves totally in favor of the continuation of the Holy Office based on its past merits. The abolition of the Inquisition was swift and Fernando VII  reinstalled it in 1814. The dialectics of the historians in regards to the Inquisition before its final suppression in 1834, will be conditioned by the beginning of the Carlist wars. Until the Restoration, the historiographic debate on the Inquisition will become the great controversy about the religious tolerance in Spain. The historian will be divided into positions of the catholic-conservative canon and the liberal. National Catholicism and Anticlericalism face to face.

    But beyond the division of ideologies, it will also become quite visible a historical memory that will be contaminate the ideological canonical archetypes of one an other shore. The thoughts of Modesto Lafuente in this sense are very significant. In this conference we will follow the trajectory of the historians' positions in regards to the Inquisition: its defenders, its critics, and the third path that punishes the Inquisition from timidly liberal catholicism.

  • The controversy of Spanish science. Menéndez Pelayo against the Institución Libre de Enseñanza
    José Luis Peset
    At the beginning of the canovist Restoration there is an energetic confrontation between Marcelino Menéndez y Pelayo and some of the people in the Institución Libre de Enseñanza. It is in the moment when this institution is inaugurated and begins to disseminate in the Spanish society new culture and values. This is also the time when university is consolidated after many years of change during the reign of Isabel II, and sciences start to be considered a key component of our culture. The adversaries would consider that there was no Spanish scientific tradition, and that it was necessary to open up to foreign countries. On the contrary, Menéndez Pelayo wanted to prove that there had been an important cultivation of scientific knowledge among us. Thus, in the discussion two different points of view of the Spanish history were handled, as well as the cultural significance science has. Also, it is clear that the different individual and political actions needed to support Science in the canovist Spain were also in discussion. All Europe is becoming aware of this necessity, but the positions upon this need in our case is, if not antagonistic, at least are very specific to each of the groups participating in the discussion. This is very well observed in the position that is shown in the case of Vives and the Spanish humanist movement. Certainly, the role of the Inquisition with science and, in a wider and more interesting consideration, the relation of science and religion, are always very present along the controversy. A confrontation that precedes the ones happening later in the 20th century, and that we still experience today. 
  • Where do we come from? The Christian, Muslim and Jewish assessment
    Antonio Morales Moya

    Two illustrious figures of the Spanish culture, traumatized by civil war, Américo Castro –La realidad histórica de España (1954), preceded by España en su historia. Cristianos, moros y judíos (1948)- and Claudio Sánchez Albornoz –España, un enigma histórico (1956)– formulated their interpretation of the Spanish History, basing the in-adaptation of Spain to the modern world in the existence of a national character. These works of great erudition, based on different literary and documental sources, are now seen as complementary and caused probably the greatest controversy of our modern historiographic history. Other historians and philologists also participated more or less direcly in this controversy –Menéndez Pidal, Leo Spitzer, Marcel Bataillon, Lapesa, Dámaso Alonso, Lida de Malkiel, García Gómez–, and Goméz-Martínez has taken good note of this controversy. At one point, Vicens Vives considered the controversy useful, and he specially insisted in resolving it by eliminating the topics and clichés, and proposing the basic factors of the history of the Peninsula: man, misery and hunger, epidemic and death, territorial property, lord-vassal relations, from civil servant to civilian, from monarch to subject..., factors not too different from those that have been experimented by the neighboring Mediterranean countries. The Catalonian historian had doubts about Spain being a "historical enigma" or a "living by renouncing". He concluded that there was too much Unamunian anguish for a Mediterranean community with specific and periodical problems: "attempting to provide with a modest but worthy pass to thirty million habitants". Today we are more than forty-six millions and it has been a long time since our livelihood is solved. Yet..., old problems arise again and it is difficult not to feel the current tensions and insecurities that, in words of Castro, have always characterized our history.

    In any case, many contributions by Castro and Sánchez Albornoz still maintain their suggestive value. In the same way, the current attempt to construct a global vision of the Spanish History and its proposal of contributing to a harmonious Spain, also remains valid.

  • The question of historical rights. The Spanish liberalism against nationalism
    Juan Pablo Fusi

    The Spanish liberal revolution was a long process that spanned until 1840, including two long wars (the War of Independence in 1808-1814 and the Carlist War in 1833-1839), and an alternation of constitutional attempts (the Courts of Cadiz in 1810, the Constitutional Triennium in 1820-1823) with counterrevolutionary experiences: the restoration of Fernando VII in 1814, the end of the constitutional regime in 1823 -following the incursion of a French army of 65.000 men-, the absolutist decade in 1823-1833, and the Carlist insurrection in 1833. In the Basque Country this process had its own specific manifestations.

    Between 1808 and 1840 -a period in which Spain also lost all of its empire- the war of independence, the loss of America, the misgovernment of Fernando VII, and the Carlist war basically prevented Spain from having a proper State. Between 1803 and 1840 the country suffered a real administrative chaos. And precisely due to this, the largest problem of Spain in the 19th century, and part of the 20th century, was to articulate the country in way that it would become a real national State. The problem for the Basque Country (and Navarra) in this famework was to see if the national Constitution and the regional Fueros (i.e, the constitutional unity and the foral regional regimes) were compatible or not.

    Carlism and the Carlist wars were of great importance for the Basque Country, although the later were not "national" Basque wars as the posterior nationalism has tried to make believe. These were, without doubt, historical happenings of great complexity. Carlism -which the liberal propaganda denounced as a legitimist and ultra-catholic uprising supported by the Church and with strong rural roots- was a political and social movement with a traditionalist and anti-liberal ideology, in defense of the traditional and Catholic Monarchy, and supported not only by the rural world and the clergy, but also by nobility groups and medium artisanal classes from semi-urban or semi-rural cities and towns. The two Carlist wars (1833-1839 and 1872-1876) finished with the victory of the liberal armies, and became key events for the establishment of liberalism in Spain. The wars produced thousands of deaths and meant the end of the Basque foral regime. Initially it was heavily modified, but later due to a law of July 21st 1876 the foral regime was completely abolished. Liberals may have won the wars, but Carlism and the Fueros capitalized all the legends, memories and myths. The Carlist wars fixed the Basque stereotype of ancient and noble people, settled in the mountains, proud of their ancient traditions and language, as well as tenacious fighters for their Fueros and freedom.

    Carlism was a Spanish and Catholic movement: even the Basque Carlism agreed to a Basque-Navarran personality that was an essential part of the traditional Catholic concept of Spain. Following the first Carlist war, Fuerism, which strictly speaking was fostered by the moderate liberal Basques and Navarrans -and not by Carlism-, came to be a sort of political "constitution" of the Basque and Navarra provinces in the 19th century that did not argue with the unity of Spain. As a matter of fact it was the other way around, the Fueros were presented from their perspective as the big contribution of the Basque people to the history of Spain.

  • History and memory of the Republic and the Civil War: a conflictive relationship
    Santos Juliá
    In exile and in the interior, in the generations of its protagonists, of their sons and grandsons, in literature and cinema, in essays and research, the Republic and the civil war have been a constant presence marking the life of the Spaniards. Being obliged to account for all, to not leaving any area of the past in the shade, history is sometimes confronted with the memory, which is aimed principally at honoring and recognizing what makes sense for those who remembers, individually or as a part of an entire community. The question guiding the reflexion in this conference is easy to pose but has a difficult answer: When referring to an event that divides and segregates society, is it possible to have a relation that is mutually enriching between history and the plurality of memories?
Fundación Juan March
Castelló, 77 – 28006 MADRID – Spain
+34 91 435 42 40 – Fax: +34 91 576 34 20