Professor Edward Baker will explore the legacy of Spanish historian Américo Castro's theory of late medieval convivencia as developed in Castro's most influential work, La realidad histórica de España.
Edward Baker (New York, 1942) is an independent scholar of Spanish literature and cultural history who has taught in universities on both sides of the Atlantic, including the University of Florida, UCSD, and the Universidad Complutense in Madrid. He has written on topics ranging from Cervantes—La biblioteca de don Quijote (1997)—to the inter-war period, including essays and books on Madrid such as Materiales para escribir Madrid (1998), and Madrid cosmopolita: La Gran Vía, 1910-1936 (2009)
Américo Castro: In La realidad histórica de España (1954 and subsequent editions) Américo Castro (1885-1972) argued that Spain as a nation is the outcome of the interaction in the Middle Ages of three ethno-religious castes, Christians, Muslims and Jews. In Castro´s view, these three castes lived in relative harmony--convivencia--until the later stages of the Middle Ages, when Christians dominated and forced the other two castes either to convert or be expelled. The Jews were expelled in 1492 and there were several decrees of expulsion of the Moriscos, the definitive one coming in 1609. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, converted Jews and Moriscos lived a shadowy existence, constantly suspected of heretical religious practices and victims of statutes of purity of blood. Castro´s theses on Spain´s history were especially well received in the United States, where he lived and taught from the early 1940´s to the late 1960´s.