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.
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).
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.