Memory and acculturation in the late medieval and early modern frontier ballad
Abstract:In this study the frontier ballads are approached as highly malleable, dynamic cultural forms whose representations of cultural encounter, as suggested by historian Angus MacKay, register 'a process of acculturation'. Particular emphasis is placed on how differences in extant versions of the ballad of Abenámar record changing attitudes towards cross-cultural contact, encompassing not only Castilian variants but also those in the Sephardic tradition, where the depiction of the exchange between King John II, Abenámar and the personified city of Granada offers a testament to the ballads' ideological flexibility and their capacity to create a space for diversity within the collective identity. Using the notion of 'cultural memory' as a methodological tool, the article studies Abenámar's evolving reconstructions of the past as a means of coming to terms with the present, valued not because they are historically accurate but because they are meaningful to the specific groups they address.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: December 1, 2004
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- Journal of Romance Studies promotes innovative critical work in the areas of linguistics, literature, performing and visual arts, media, material culture, intellectual and cultural history, critical and cultural theory, psychoanalysis, gender studies, social sciences, and anthropology. The primary focus is on those parts of the world that speak, or have spoken, French, Italian, Spanish or Portuguese, but work on other cultures may be included. Issues cross national and disciplinary boundaries in order to stimulate new ways of thinking about cultural history and practice.
Published in Association with the Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London.
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