The Hispanic-Anglosphere: transnational networks, global communities (late 18th to early 20th centuries)

Description

The Hispanic and Anglo worlds are often portrayed as the Cain and Abel of the Western culture, antagonistic and alien to each other. Our project challenges this view by developing a new critical conceptual framework – the ‘Hispanic-Anglosphere’ – to study individuals, networks and communities that made of the British Isles a crucial hub for the global Hispanic world and a bridge between Spanish Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas during the late eighteenth to early twentieth centuries, a period marked by the dislocation of global polities, nation-state building and the rise of nationalism.

Direct contact between women and men of the British Isles and those of the Spanish-speaking world increased exponentially from the 1760s. Trade between Britain and Spanish America rose by about 300 to 400 per cent long before South American independence in the 1820s. A good number of companies involved in this trade had branches in different locations of the British Isles, the Americas, the Philippines, in the Canary Islands, and were run by English, Scottish and Irish families based in Spain. Contact further increased in the 1780s with the arrival to these shores of Spanish American revolutionaries. The Napoleonic wars not only took tens of thousands of Britons to fight in Iberia, also encouraged a few to join regular e irregular forces in Spain and later in Spanish America, thus starting a trend of British personal involvement in Hispanic conflicts long before the International Brigades made its name in the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). Many of these expats either died or decided to settle abroad. A few returned home, bringing wives and children, as well as foreign goods, manners and customs which they helped to popularize. Similarly, hundreds of Spanish refugees flocked to the British Isles after the restoration of Bourbon absolutism in 1814, often crossing paths with Spanish American leaders in search for assistance in the delicate business of new-nation state building.

Scholars have studied some of these cases, but mainly from national perspectives or in terms of either ‘Spanish-British’ or ‘Latin American-British’ relations, often reducing the British experience to the confines of London, thus leaving little room for the study of persons, issues and undertakings that operated in wider areas and both through and beyond national and regional boundaries.

In this project, historians from the UK, Ireland, continental Europe, the Americas and Russia, jointly with scholars from other disciplines and non-academic partners are studying those people who in the British Isles were closely engaged with the Hispanic world, regardless of their birth, religion or political allegiance as well as those who came from the Hispanic world to any point of the British Isles as visitors, exiles and/or migrants. A key question we are addressing is how these individuals and networks worked with and/or counteracted growing restrictions imposed on the movement of people, ideas, goods and capital.

The network is currently working in partnership with the National Trust Tyntesfield, the stately home founded by the Madrid-born merchant William Gibbs who built much of his fortune on the importation of Spanish wine and Peruvian guano. Scholarly discussions have been held in the context of the estate’s rich collection of material culture with the intention of contributing to improving and extending their interpretation. Expert knowledge is being tested and disseminated through discrete scheduled meetings with the general public and through mass and social media, thus encouraging dialogue with wider audiences outside academic circles. The project operates through this online interactive platform that serves to host scholars’ exchanges and to showcase peer-reviewed material generated as a result of the networks’ research such as working papers and an online exhibition (see Individuals, Networks and Communities, Public History).

Layman's description

'The Hispanic-Anglosphere: transnational networks, global communities (late 18th-20th centuries)’ is an international research network funded by the AHRC and the University of Winchester in partnership with the National Trust Tyntesfield We challenge old assumptions of enmity and isolation to develop a new critical conceptual framework – the ‘Hispanic-Anglosphere’ – to study individuals, networks and communities that made of the British Isles a crucial hub for the global Hispanic world and a bridge between Spanish Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas at a period that, perhaps not unlike today, was marked by natural disasters, the dislocation of global polities, nation-state building and the rise of nationalism (late 18th to early 20th centuries). Read more about our rationale at http://hispanic-anglosphere.com

Key findings

The network’s principal objective is to develop a new critical conceptual framework – the Hispanic-Anglosphere – for the study of individuals, networks and communities that made of the British Isles a crucial hub for the global Hispanic world and a bridge between Spanish Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas during a period marked by the dissolution of polities, nation-state building and the rise of nationalism (late eighteenth to early twentieth centuries). It has undertaken the chore objective through the following interrelated tasks, some still on-going:
1.establishing a network of scholars and non-academic partners around the world whose work explores the intersections of the Hispanic and Anglo spheres in the British Isles during the late eighteenth to early twentieth centuries.
2.hosting two workshops and an online interactive platform in which network members explore and test ways of thinking about the British Isles as a hub for the global Hispanic world and a bridge between Spanish Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas at a time of great political, social and cultural uncertainty; participants have already offered relevant case studies for scholarly research and analysis and sought input from the general public for the formulation of short and longer-term research agendas.
3.engaging in wider and deeper public debates about the Hispanic-Anglosphere through partnership with the National Trust Tyntesfield (historical home of the Gibbs family, strongly involved in the Hispanic-Anglosphere), its collections and programmes of events. The network fosters the exchange of ideas and perspectives between academics and curators of other heritage sites with the intention of both shaping and bringing cutting-edge research to non-specialist audiences. It is hoped that discussions may inform public policy-making in relation to wider topics of increasing political, economic and socio-cultural salience such as social integration, diasporas, the dislocation of global and supranational polities, globalization, nation-building and inter-imperiality by establishing connections between academia, governmental and non-governmental organizations and the public at large.
4.initiating the systematic identification of individuals and communities in the British Isles who were closely engaged with the Hispanic world, regardless of their birth, religion or political allegiance as well as of those who came from the Hispanic world to the British Isles as visitors, exiles and/or migrants.
5.thematically mapping and studying the activities of relevant individuals and communities from an interdisciplinary, transnational and global perspective.
6.collecting the resulting information with the aim of preparing working papers on case studies that are currently being included in a multi-authored book under contract with Routledge and for populating thematic and prosopographical webpages hosted by the network’s online platform; contributing to the updating, enhancement and enrichment of existing databases and other digital scholarly resources which offer material relevant to the Hispanic-Anglosphere.
7.developing an online presence (http://hispanic-anglosphere.com) that encourages the interpretation of a wide range of archival, audio-visual and material evidence relating to the Hispanic-Anglosphere and that brings them, and the network’s discussions, to a wider audience (through, for example, online exhibitions), seeking for the implementation of the latter the cooperation of other mass media (ex. radio, television).
8.providing a springboard for future collaborations between historians, other scholars in the humanities, scientists, social scientists and heritage curators through the preparation of other relevant research projects that will ensure the long-term sustainability of the network’s community of scholars and exploring the possibility of providing expert assistance to the wider public on issues relating to the Hispanic-Anglosphere through specific consultancy schemes.
Short titleThe Hispanic-Anglosphere
StatusActive
Effective start/end date2/10/171/10/24