Geographically separated only by the narrow Strait of Gibraltar—and closely linked politically, religiously, culturally and economically for centuries—North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula have long been regarded as “worlds apart” by most scholars. Thanks to a promising new scholarly organization launched by Assistant Professor of History Yuen-Gen Liang and a group of colleagues, the many important links between the two regions are being re-established in the classroom, in scholarship and across academia.
Liang, founder and executive director of the new initiative known as the Spain-North Africa Project (SNAP), says the endeavor has bloomed from intellectual seeds planted during discussions among 11 American scholars attending the 2010 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute in Barcelona, Spain.
“It was intellectually rewarding to encounter other scholars who are interested in bridging the divide that has separated the region for so long,” Liang explains. “We came to realize that we shared an interest in exploring Iberia and North Africa as a single geographic region.” [Read more...]