Culture is probably the most used and abused term in the humanities and/or liberal arts in the last two-to-three decades. Bites: to take hold, sometimes with the teeth & to come to grips, to take effect sometimes with unpleasant consequences. The noun in the plural form: all dictionary meanings apply. I will come to terms with some of these meanings engaging “cultural studies.” This is the beginning of a critique or interrogation of a catastrophe. Again, catastrophe: event causing damage and pain, resolution of a drama, etc. Let us keep all these meanings alive in relation to the functioning of the Spanish language inside the institutionality of the modern foreign languages in the British University. With “Spanish,” other labels are inevitably summoned (Hispanic, Latin American, transatlantic, Spanish and Portuguese, Latin American and Iberian cultures, etc.). Labels matter. I will address some of these. It is not of course only about the well-being of the said “foreign language” inside programs or courses of study inside the “sector.” It is about the persistent and pernicious ideology of Anglo monolingualism finding impetus and self-affirmation in its insularity. It is also about the softening of the humanities inside University enclaves chasing the tail down of the puzzling role of “education” in the global conjuncture caught up among consumerism, bureaucratisation and managerialism. Brexit Britain is always already exacerbating endemic tendencies and situations, complex processes and possible transformations not necessarily for the better. Connections will be made between the U.K. and the U.S. within the Anglo zone.

Dr. Fernando G. Herrero is 2018-2019 CILAVS Associate Research Fellow. He holds a BA and MA from the Universidad de Salamanca and a PhD from Duke University. He has held faculty and research posts at Duke, Stanford, Pittsburgh, Oberlin, Harvard U, Boston C, UMass, Boston). He currently teaches in Modern Languages (Hispanic Studies) at the U of Birmingham. Amongst other recent publications,  he is the author of “Francisco de Vitoria in Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s On the of Nations” in Norteamérica y España: una historia de encuentros y desencuentros (Instituto Franklin-UAH, 2019), Good Places and Non-Places in Colonial Mexico: Vasco de Quiroga (1470-1565)(University Press of America & Edition Reichenberger, 2001), “Hacer Acopio del Legado de los Estudios Culturales: Garcia Canclini,” Revista de Critica Literaria Latinoamericana (Año XLIII, N. 86, Lima-Boston, 2o semestre de 2017): pp. 345-356, and “Sobre la crisis oficial de la política exterior estadounidense en las primeras décadas del nuevo siglo” (Nuevo Texto Crítico, 2010, Vol. XXIII, No. 45/46): 25 pp.


Tuesday 28 May, 6-7:30

GOR 106

School of Arts

Birkbeck, University of London

43 Gordon Square

London WC1H 0PD



All welcome but booking here necessary.