Territoriality, Language, and Power in the 18th-19th c. Iberian World (MLA 2022

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    Allison Margaret Bigelow

    Dear colleagues,

    If you\’re thinking of attending MLA 2022, please consider applying for this panel and/or spreading the word to interested colleagues. Thanks!

    Nobel Prize winner and 20th-century poet Czeslaw Milosz famously wrote that “language is the only homeland.” In the 18th-19th century Iberian world, a world made by European imperialism and colonialism in Africa, Asia, and the Americas, language had a complex relationship to home and homeland. It both forged community for people who found themselves far from their birthplaces and excluded from that community the overwhelming majority of Black and Brown women, men, and children who lived in Iberian colonies.

    This panel invites papers that interrogate the relationship between language, power, and territoriality in the lands governed by Spain and Portugal in the long 18th century, including Indigenous, bozal, and hybrid/creole languages spoken in Iberia, Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the United States.

    Papers might ask how Spanish operated as an imperial language and a marginalized language community at different times and in different spaces, how language enclaves like Catalonia operated within emerging national frameworks in Europe and the Iberian Peninsula, and how language reinforced and challenged emerging notions of sovereignty, possession, place, and belonging in the diverse, multilingual spaces of Iberian governance in the 18th-19th century Atlantic and Pacific worlds.

    Presenters will be asked to deliver ten-minute papers in a roundtable format, leaving ample time for discussion. Please send a 200-word abstract and brief CV to Allison Bigelow (amb8fk@virginia.edu) and Catherine Jaffe (cj10@txstate.edu) by March 15, 2021. This panel is co-sponsored by the Comparative 18th Century Forum and the 18th-19th Century Spanish and Iberian Forum.

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