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This book explores from a new perspective the fraught processes of Spaniards' efforts to formulate a national identity, from the Enlightenment to the present day. Focusing on the nation's Islamic-African legacy, Susan Martin-Marquez disputes received wisdom that Spain has consistently rejected its historical relationship to Muslims and Africans. Instead, she argues, Spaniards have sometimes denied and sometimes embraced this legacy, and that vacillation has served to destabilize presumably fixed borders between Europe and the Muslim world and between Europe and Africa. Martin-Marquez analyzes a wealth of texts produced by Spaniards as well as by Africans and Afro-Spaniards from the early nineteenth century forward. She illuminates the complexities and disorientations of Spanish identity and shows how its evolution has important implications for current debates t only in Spanish culture but also in other countries involved in negotiating a modern identity.
Susan Martin-Marquez is associate professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, and director, Cinema Studies Program, Rutgers University.