Associate Professor of Spanish and Catalan Studies
Department of Romance Languages and Literatures
The Landscape in the Background:
Envisioning Territory in Contemporary Catalonia
This project explores the intersection of literary, cultural, political, and environmental discourses about water in Catalonia. Water’s presence on the landscape is a prominent feature in Catalan cultural production, which, in turn, is a significant medium for the articulation of what it means to be Catalan. Is it impossible to ignore the idealization of the rural, the romanticization of landscape, and the nostalgia for a way of life that foments a sense of connectedness to place, which inform representations of the Catalan territory in contemporary media. One might read this as an obvious political gesture for this Stateless nation, especially given the very recent discussions of Catalonia’s secession from Spain. However those who take a sentimentalized approach to the landscape are missing something, for while they celebrate the territory, they leave out the tourists and the trash. The sense of territorial identity that underlies nostalgic evocations of charming rural traditions and images of postcard ready landscapes meets with compelling responses, in the arts and in environmental care, from on-the-ground approaches that have little patience for sentiment.