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Spanish in a global key

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This essay explores the possibilities and potential pitfalls of the Global Hispanophone by placing this emergent category in dialogue with recent developments in Hispanic studies and with ongoing debates in comparative literature about the status of the globe (or the world) as an analytic framework. Drawing on these debates, the essay examines the politics, hermeneutics and aesthetics of multilingual hip-hop, focusing on Khaled, a Spanish rapper of Moroccan descent, whose work weaves between languages (most notably, Spanish and Moroccan Arabic) and musical idioms. Khaled's multilingual performances challenge hegemonic positions of race, class, religion and place of origin. They also highlight transnational networks of solidarity between marginalized groups in Europe and the United States. Using Khaled's music as an illustrative example, this essay outlines a tentative vision of the Global Hispanophone, one that focuses on language practices rather than on geography. In what follows, the Global Hispanophone describes the tension between Spanish as a language of imperial power and Spanish as a language that spawns creative responses to power, often through nonstandard uses that throw into question the borders (geographic, cultural and even linguistic) of the language.
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Keywords: Global Hispanophone; Khaled; Morocco; hip-hop; multilingual

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Program in Comparative and World Literature, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA

Publication date: April 3, 2019

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