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The Spanish Empire: Identity and Diversity in the Early Global Age
COL 391
Spring 2011 not offered
Crosslisting: HIST 391, IBST 391

Philip II, king of Spain from 1556 to 1598, used the motto "Non sufficit orbis" to express the idea behind the Spanish Empire: "The world is not enough." As the motto shows, the Spanish Empire consciously imagined itself as a planetary power, stretching across four continents and beyond. Practice, however, was a different issue, and the rulers of the Spanish Empire soon found themselves experiencing serious problems when trying to unify different European and non-European local populations under a single universal (and transcendental) agenda.

As the history of the Spanish Empire shows, the tension between the local and the global that we call "globalization," and that we consider a quintessentially modern phenomenon, is not as unprecedented as we could think. A historical approach to globalization can thus offer us some analytical guidelines and insights for rethinking today's pressing political challenges.

The aim of this course is to explore the problems faced by the rulers and subjects of the Spanish Empire as typical of an early age of globalization. Due to the impossibility of imposing power from its center in any systematic manner, authorities relied on regulated local self-governance. Thus, the universal agenda had to negotiate with local interests, networks, customs, and imaginaries, and vice versa. How was identity defined in such conditions? How could the different populations remain local and at the same time relate to the universal? How did new historical identities emerge? How were power and contestation constructed from a cultural point of view?

Essential Capabilities: None
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS COL
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Student Option
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (COL)(HIST-MN)(HIST)

Last Updated on APR-13-2024
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