Not long after Muslims had conquered most of the Iberian Peninsula in 711, the Spanish Christians declared their intent to reconquer the land for Christianity. With the fall of Granada in 1492 and the subsequent repression of Jews and Muslims, the reconquest was finally complete. However, the many centuries of coexistence and mutual influence meant that the art and architecture of Spain irreversibly displayed clear Islamic and Jewish elements which, even today, are intrinsic to our—and Spaniards’—perception of what is to be celebrated as “Spanish.” What allowed for a hybridized culture in Spain? How was the Islamic cultural heritage received (or rejected) in different historical periods? How did it fit in with Spain’s national narrative and “unified” identity? What are the attitudes toward Islamic art in Spain today? While Spain is our main focus, it will also be our point of departure for studying other regions with similar composite cultural making. How is history constructed and written in these shared environments? How do we study and write the history of art produced in hybrid settings and regions of permeable and dynamic cultural frontiers?
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