Lessons Learned from 'Imagining the Passion': Imagining a Devotional Landscape for Nasrid and Morisco Granada

Monday 6 June 2016, 5.00PM

Speaker: Cynthia Robinson (Cornell)

The story of Granada’s conquest in 1492 by “The Catholic Kings” Fernando and Isabel is well known, as is its subsequent incorporation into an ostentatiously “Christian” Spain’s possessions. So well known, in fact, are these stories that it is often a surprise, even to scholars and specialists in the field, how little concrete knowledge we actually possess about the specific devotions and devotional practices that characterized the Nasrid Sultanate of Granada prior to its surrender and the ensuing process of conversion. In addition to sparse documentation, this dearth of knowledge is owed to the deeply ingrained truisms and prejudices that govern the study and perception of the Nasrid kingdom. It is also exacerbated by a failure of imagination in the interpretation of the evidence we do have, as well as by scholarly reluctance to judiciously extrapolate from other bodies of evidence: those pertaining to the religious life of Spain’s moriscos, for example, or to the alumbrado controversy, especially during the first half of the sixteenth century.

In light of the complex syncretism suggested for Castilian Christianity by my most recent monograph, Imagining the Passion: Christ, the Virgin, Images and Devotion in a Multi-Confessional Castile, my working hypothesis is that the Islam(s) practised in the Nasrid kingdom Granada were also deeply affected over the longue durée by close contact with Iberian Judaism and Islam. This paper will explore some of the paths we might take toward reconstructing this history

Professor Cynthia Robinson presents this lecture in collaboration with the Centre for Medieval Literature, Universities of York and Southern Denmark.

Location: The Bowland Auditorium