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When the Mediterranean Moved West: Pathways of Catalan Emigration in the Americas

Lecture by Professor Thomas Harrington (Trinity College, Hartford, USA)

Thomas Harrington is Professor of Hispanic Studies at Trinity College in Hartford (USA), where he offers classes on contemporary Iberian literature, cinema, and cultural history. His main lines of research are recent Peninsular movements of national identity, Iberianism, Contemporary Catalan culture, cultural theory (especially Polysystems Theory), and the migrations between the so-called peripheral cultures of the Peninsula and the societies of the Caribbean and the Southern Cone. He is the recipient of two Fulbright scholarships, and the Batista i Roca prize for his work in disseminating Catalan culture in the world. In addition to his academic work in Hispanic Studies, he is a frequent commentator on politics and culture in the US press and a number of Spanish- and Catalan-language media outlets.

Event details


Despite laudable attempts in recent decades to call attention to their distorting effects, our understanding of the past is, in many realms, still heavily inflected by the continuing presence of statist historiographies. Nowhere, perhaps, is this more true than in available accounts of the “Spanish Atlantic” in the late 18th and 19th centuries. Well known are the effects of the Bourbon reforms in promoting transatlantic commerce during the early part of his period. Much less well studied and understood are the ways in which Catalan traders and immigrants, adhering to recognisably Catalan forms of commerce and social organisation forged during their long experience in the Mediterranean, catalysed important social changes in the societies of the Caribbean and the Southern Cone during this period.


Amory A128