Thematic Area 1 : Iberian and Latin American Theatres

Rather than a thematic area, this is a geographical and cultural theatre, a vast one, which brings together three teams - Al Andalus-Hispaniae (Team 6), Lemso (Team 7) and Construction des Nations - Nation Building (Team 8). This geographical area, now extended to Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking America, corresponds to one of the founding interests of the Framespa laboratory.

The Iberian Peninsula and and the Middle Ages are both represented in the Al Andalus-Hispaniae and Lemso teams.

Framespa Team 6, Al Andalus-Hispaniae, comprises several teacher-researchers and doctoral students of the Universities of Toulouse, Pau and Bordeaux, all of whom are working on the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages. Members of the team collaborate closely with various Catalan and Spanish researchers at the Universities of Barcelona, Zaragoza and Valencia : they also have a program of collaboration with members of the Casa de Velazquez in Madrid. The team encourages the study of medieval Hispanic societies (Christian, Jewish and Moslem) using a multi-disciplinary approach - Archeologists, Historians and Literary researchers all work together, particularly on the themes of Islamization, Tri-cultural Spain,  plus the demographic/ ethnic/border question. These considerations are regularly examined during scientific colloquia such as the Villa Series, the Iberian Studies Seminar and the Al-Andalus workshop.

Team 7 - LEMSO - "Littérature Espagnole Médiévale du Siècle d'Or"/Spanish Literature of the Middle Ages and the Siglo D'Oro"

comprises researchers in civilisation and literature. Their objective is to study how values, customs and knowledge are passed on, and how such values originated in the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages and the Siglo D'Oro; disciplines involved - literature, civilisation, cultural history and the history of ideas - time/place frame: Iberian Peninsula, XIIIth and XIVth centuries. Members study the transmission of religious values, including both licit and illicit knowledge; poetic transmission (notably rhyme-based); dramatic composition (the comedia during the Siglo d'Oro); popular culture (proverbs, orally transmitted folk tales); and customs and prerogatives (monastery foundation texts). To do so, members of the laboratory rely on a wide range of sources: literature, chronicals, gnomic texts, archives, iconography - the list is not exhaustive - demonstrating the interest that a team of literary researchers can find when working in a laboratory mainly composed of historians. The notion of Transmission is defined as the transfer of meaning rather than content, as the transfer of information through time, rather than through space, this being the means by which a society constitutes itself and reorganizes its own past. Related themes are: creation myths, genealogies and etiological narratives - all of which constitute cultural matrices intended to provide an "answer" to the nagging question of roots posed by every culture.

Team 8: "Nation-Building: identities and conflicts in Latin America", is the third pillar of this thematic area.

From the 1980s onwards it was clear that the traditional model of the Latin American Nation State, which had arisen at the time of independence and aimed at assimilation, was in deep crisis. This crisis was certainly the reason why researchers in the social sciences began to focus increasingly on certain "regressive" approaches to nation building and national identities in the Latin American area. The objective of this multi-disciplinary team is to effect a re-reading of what constitutes the "nation" and "the national". Four major axes have been defined.

- "Nation manufacturing in Latin America". The premise is that national identities are not given but that they are constructs. With regard to these constructs in the Latin American area, we have decided to concentrate on two major aspects. The first concerns the past and present role of Catholicism as an identity marker within the republics which, until recently, claimed to be "Catholic nations".  The second aspect concerns the relationships between historiographical work and the construction of national identities.

- Nationalisms, ethnicities and conflicts. The studies which come under this heading are mainly centred on the present phase of the hyper-liberal world economy in its interactions with various socio-political movements: MAS (Bolivia), the Piqueteros (Argentina), the Pachakutik (Ecuador), Ethnocacerism (Peru), the Bolivarist Movement (Venezuela), and others. The claims and conflicts in this area, which tend to put in question a certain idea of the Nation, tend, in their turn, to redraw the boundaries of the subject.

- Europe and Latin America - Mutual Observation. This axis takes as its source the highly varied travel narratives of the XIXth century, which are used as a means of understanding national identities. Travel narratives can be used to approach  and to reconstruct the archaeology and the representational logics to which such documents testify and which, in their own right, may be part of the nation- and identity-forming matrix. At the same time, travel narratives allow us to have an understanding of the way the nation-building process in the Americas reflects back onto the European travellers certain images of themselves which they might have difficulty in accepting.

- The Writing of Identities" - the objective is to approach the construction of Latin American identities via discourse, the types of discourse to be found on the borders of contemporary politics and poetics. The material consists in forms of discourse, all of which are gradually facilitating the conditions for social and literary reception of some highly varied models, often considered as innovative or, at the very least, as reformulating the notion of identity.