Seminars 2014-15

Thursday 22 January, 4pm
Arts and Humanities Conference Room (B03), Basement Floor, Callaghan Building

‘Different perspectives on Spanish Imperialism’

Dr Flavio Sanza (Swansea University)

This presentation compares and contrasts two classical texts regarding the conquest of South America by the Spaniards and two authors who wrote about this same topic: the priest Bartolomé de Las Casas and the conquistador Bernal Díaz del Castillo.

Bartolomé de Las Casas (1484-1566) produced probably the most famous book of the entire Spanish colonial period, Brevísima relación de la destrucción de las Indias (Brief Account of the Destruction of the Indies), printed in 1552. Las Casas managed to persuade the Crown to abolish the encomienda, a South American farming system where Native Americans worked as slaves for the Spaniards. Las Casas’ language in the Brevísima relación is shockingly visual because he needed to demonstrate the different kinds of violence the conquistadores committed against the Indians. The main point in Las Casas’ masterpiece was to condemn Spanish imperialism as the worst evil on Earth.

In contrast, Díaz del Castillo (ca. 1495-1584) wrote his Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva España (True History of the Conquest of the New Spain) between 1550 and 1584 (published in 1632). He was a soldier in Cortes’ army so he directly participated in the conquest. His mission was to describe feelings, dangers, adventures and ideas the Spaniards had during their military operations. Díaz thought Las Casas’ tale was an exaggeration because soldiers had to defend themselves from Indian attacks. If they had committed abuses, it was only to protect their own lives. So Díaz justified Spanish imperialism as a necessary instrument to subjugate the Native Americans.   

Flavio Sanza is an Italian historian. He has an MA in Roman Military History and a PhD in Strategic Sciences from Turin University, Italy. He was visiting researcher in Radboud University (Nijmegen, Holland), Ghent University (Belgium) and UCD's School of Classics. At present he is a visiting Post Doc Researcher in the Callaghan Centre for War Studies at Swansea University.

His main fields of research are Imperialism, Leadership and Strategy.

He has published two books: L'assedio di Alesia. Giulio Cesare alla conquista delle Gallie, Seneca Editore, Torino, 2009 and Imperium. La cultura del potere nella Roma dei Cesari, Seneca Editore, Torino, 2009.

This seminar is open to all, and everyone is welcome – undergraduate and postgraduate students, University staff, visitors, guests…

Please contact Rocio Perez-Tattam at R.S.Perez-Tattam@swansea.ac.uk, if you have any queries.

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Thursday 27 November 2014: 4.00 pm:  **APOLOGIES, LECTURE CANCELLED**

Arts and Humanities Conference Room, Basement Floor, Callaghan Building

‘Courts, Human Rights and Sexual Orientation in Chile’

Dr Penny Miles, School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol

Abstract

In May 2004, the Chilean Supreme Court overruled two lower court decisions to deny Karen Atala, a judge and mother, custody of her three children on the basis of her sexual orientation. Later that year, the case was presented before the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR). In 2011, Atala Riffo and Daughters vs Chile became the first case dealing with sexual orientation rights as human rights to be heard before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR). The following year, the IACtHR ruled that the Chilean state had violated Ms Atala’s and her daughters’ human rights, including their rights to equality and non-discrimination, to a fair trial and to judicial protection.

This presentation explores the intersections of law, politics and society in relation to human rights and sexual orientation in Chile, and further afield within Latin America. Firstly, I explore the lack of opportunities within the legislative arena that have historically impeded the expansion and protection of sexual and gender rights in Chile. Whilst more progressive governments across the continent begin to approve same sex-marriage and adoption, and gender recognition for transgender people, the Chilean state’s reluctance to even pass anti-discrimination legislation to protect (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) LGBTI people is clear. The sluggish uptake by the Chilean political classes is also mirrored by a slow expansion of the human rights discourse from associations with dictatorship-perpetrated abuses to encompass diversity-related issues. Given the historical political inaction vis-à-vis LGBTI rights, the work presented here turns to the courts as a potential avenue for such rights to be upheld and advanced. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted in the late 2000s, it examines incipient legal mobilisation strategies targeting the Chilean judicial system in the quest for legal and social change pertaining to LGBTI issues. I then examine the implications of this research to respond to the aforementioned IACtHR ruling and its recommendations for the Chilean judiciary. The Court ordered the Chilean state to implement training on human rights, sexual orientation and non-discrimination, with particular emphasis placed on training all members of the judiciary.


All welcome. Admission free.

Co-ordinator: Dr Rocío Pérez-Tattam
(r.s.perez-tattam@swansea.ac.uk)

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Thursday 26 February 2015: 4pm

Arts and Humanities Conference Room, Basement Floor, Callaghan Building

'Who Invented Latin American Literature?'

Professor Philip Swanson,University of Sheffield

Many cultural critics are loath to admit that the advent of ‘Latin American Literature’ as an international phenomenon owes almost everything to the creation of the so-called Boom of in and around the 1960s. The Catalan setting of a number of examples of the Latin American nueva narrativa probably reveals an awareness of the importance of Barcelona in the promotion and eventual fragmentation of the so-called Boom. For example, the role of Seix Barral’s Biblioteca Breve Prize in the projection of the Latin American New Narrative was crucial, alongside the various promotional initiatives of the propaganda machine of publisher Carlos Barral. In many ways, the Latin American Boom took place in the Barcelona of the 1960s, a receptive space for vicariously subversive Spanish-language fiction at a time when Francoism had strangled much of the potential of homegrown narrative. There is even suspicion of a Catalan conspiracy to promote the Latin American novel at the expense of the Spanish novel. At the same time, US responses to the Cuban Revolution in a Cold War context could equally be seen as key to the promotion not only of the Latin American New Novel and the Boom but also of the discipline of Latin American Studies within Hispanism which developed on the back of the success of the New Narrative. The split within Seix Barral and the Heberto Padilla case in Cuba are often seen as effectively marking the end of the Boom. Events and interests in Europe and the USA will, then, be explored in order to examine the ways in which perceptions of Latin American literature were shaped from outside the subcontinent from which it was assumed to hail.

 

Philip Swanson is Hughes Professor of Spanish at the University of Sheffield, UK. He has published extensively on Latin American literature, including books on the New Novel, José Donoso, Gabriel García Márquez and other aspects of Latin American literature and culture. He has also published on North American representations of Latin America in film and fiction, and on the cinema of Spain. Professor Swanson is a member of various editorial boards and specialist professional advisory bodies, as well as former President of the Association of Hispanists of Great Britain and Ireland. He has taught in a number of universities in Europe and the USA.

All welcome. Admission free.

Co-ordinator: Dr Rocío Pérez-Tattam
(r.s.perez-tattam@swansea.ac.uk)

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Thursday 26 March 2015: 4pm

Arts and Humanities Conference Room, Basement Floor, Callaghan Building

‘Courts, Human Rights and Sexual Orientation in Chile’

Dr Penny Miles, University of Bristol

 

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Thursday 23 April 2015: 4pm

Arts and Humanities Conference Room, Basement Floor, Callaghan Building

‘Human Rights During Pinochet’s Chile (1973-1990)’

 Mr José Cifuentes , Gower College Swansea

 

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Thursday 14 May 2015: 4pm

Arts and Humanities Conference Room, Basement Floor, Callaghan Building

‘Realism or Idealism? Glamorising the Guerrilla in modern Argentine Testimonio ‘

 

Ms Laura Webb, Swansea University