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From the current President of the association...

Here is a short ouline of how cultural studies in Spain relates the Iberian Association of Cultural Studies (IBACS). I have just referred to ‘cultural studies’ in Spain, however, before 1995 cultural studies in Spanish universities was, to put it in Hand Hand and Cornut-Gentille’s words, ‘a kind of non-area’ (Hand & Cornut-Gentille, 1995: acknowledgements page). Prior to 1995 this ‘non-area’ was limited to a small group of scholars who were trying to get the area off the ground. Meetings in the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia in Madrid and the successive organizers of, and contributors to, the (then) annual (but now biannual) Culture and Power conferences (and the Cultural Studies panel for the annual Asociación Española de Estudios Anglo-Norteamericanos conferences), have all helped to create a cultural studies’ group identity among those working in English departments in Spanish universities (which have been the main breeding grounds of cultural studies in Spain – see Walton, 2002). Thus, there are no departments of cultural studies in Spain at the present time although, in some universities, like my own (the University of Murcia) there are now a series of related courses all dedicated to the teaching of cultural studies as a recognizable area.

The area has been give greater stimulus by the Iberian Association of Cultural Studies which was mooted in 1999 and which was officially founded in 2001 (see IBACS aims). While IBACS is now the official body that promotes cultural studies in Spain it still reflects its origins in the Culture and Power group by continuing to prefix its conferences and publications with that term. At the time of writing (in early 2012) more than twelve volumes ‘Culture and Power’ publications have appeared since the first conference in 1995 and we expect at least two more this year. It ought to be stated that IBACS is not the only site for analysis and debate in Spain (other associations like the Sociedad Española de Estudios de Cultura Popular (SELICUP) should not be overlooked (Estévez-Saá & Arriaga Flórez, 2005: 18), but there is a good argument for insisting on the particular importance of the Culture and Power group to the development and promotion of cultural studies in Spain.

So, despite what Cornut-Gentille has seen as ‘downright hostility’ against the area (Hand & Cornut-Gentille, 1995: 40) we have managed to maintain a sense of continuity and hope to be able to continue to collaborate academics working both within the Iberian Peninsular and beyond.

References

Estévez-Saá, José Manuel & Arriaga Flórez, Mercedes (eds) (2005) Literatura y cultura popular. Sevilla: Arcibel Editores.

Hand, Felicity & Cornut-Gentille, Chantal (eds) (1995) Culture and Power. Barcelona: Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

Walton, David (2002) Culture and Power: Ac(unofficial)knowledging Cultural Studies in Spain. Bern: Peter Lang).

Further Reading

Cornut-Gentille D’Arcy, Chantal (ed) (1999a) Culture and Power IV: Cultural Confrontations. Zaragoza: Universidad de Zaragoza.

Cornut-Gentille D’Arcy, Chantal (ed) (1999b) ‘Cultural Studies or the 

Study of British Culture(s): The personal, the Political and the 

Academic’. Journal for the Study of British Cultures, 6(1):61-84.

Jordon, Glenn (2000) ‘Where is Cultural Studies Today?’ Aedean (noviembre), Madrid: Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia.

Martín, Sara (2001) ‘Cultural Studies and English departments in Spain: margins and centres’. Links & Letters, nº 8.

Walton, David (2010) 'Prefacio' in, Cornut-Gentille D’Arcy, Chantal (ed) Lawrence Grossberg: Estudios Culturales: Teoría, Política y Práctica. Valencia: Letra Capital.

The current President is David Walton (Universidad de Murcia, Spain) All enquires should be addressed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Aims and Scope of IBACS


The Iberian Association for Cultural Studies (IBACS) was founded in Alcalá de Henares, in 2001, on the occasion of the 7th International ‘Culture and Power’ Conference

Clauses 1.2 and 1.3 of the Rules of IBACS explain why it was founded:

1.2. In the Iberian higher education and cultural institutions and systems, due to specific historical causes which have affected the relationships between political and intellectual elites and their classes or class fractions, culture and education have functioned predominantly from above as extensions of authoritarian nation-state configurations and their hegemonic national programmes. In such national contexts, significant cultural and educational movements, practices and forms have originated from below in oppositional or alternative democratic projects of subordinated classes, class fractions or groups. As a fully democratic intellectual practice, cultural studies, in all its diversity of origins, locations and theoretical orientations, is committed to the critique of all hegemonic power-knowledge regimes and to developing and imagining alternatives to the existing configurations of power.

1.3. In the Iberian nations, for reasons which are closely tied to the specific processes of their formation, to the power structures and relations which promoted or blocked them, and to the historical development of their higher education systems, disciplinary traditions and institutions, cultural studies not only has not been given academic status, but is also actively and passively, deliberately and routinely denied as a legitimate scholarly, academic and intellectual pursuit. The foundation of IBACS aims at changing those institutional contexts of denial and unrecognition by setting up an organisation of scholars and workers committed to the intellectual practice and pursuit of cultural studies and to demonstrating its knowledge-producing power.

Clauses 3.1 and 3.2 define some of main objectives of IBACS:

3.1. IBACS will promote and represent cultural studies as an intellectual practice of work constitutive of a legitimate scholarly, academic and cultural pursuit aimed at a practical transformation of existing social and political relations. By providing a broad structure for a plurality of approaches constitutive of cultural studies, IBACS will promote public understanding of the goals, agendas and traditions of cultural studies. Whenever cultural studies, or particular programmes and scholars are under attack, IBACS will speak in their defence.

3.2. IBACS will help establish knowledge of and links among the diverse scholars and groups and communities of cultural studies scholars and workers in the Iberian Peninsula, its nations and regions. IBACS will help establish, strengthen and maintain contacts between cultural studies scholars and workers across different disciplines, in this way enabling those scholars and groups to find out about work being done on particular topics, and to take advantage of and develop the possibilities of collaborative work. IBACS will encourage collective and collaborative projects among cultural studies scholars and groups and communities. IBAC S will encourage and facilitate, in the ways made possible by its means, the work of formal and/or informal national, regional and local cultural studies groups, and provide an opportunity for them to be linked in ways that enable their cooperation.