The aim of this article is to give an account of the main uses of the concept of Civilization in Spain, in political and intellectual debates, from its origins in the mid-eighteenth century to the present. In the Spanish case, the evolution of this notion is initially marked by the special circumstances of a country relatively backward in comparison with some of the principal "enlightened" European countries, but at the same time an Imperial monarchy, possessing very extensive territories inhabited by people considered as yet "uncivilized". Furthermore, the long struggles in the medieval Iberian peninsula between Christians and Muslims also had a strong influence on certain characteristics of the political uses of the concept of civilization in modern Spain. Recently, the impact of the supposed "Clash of Civilizations" has added a new twist to the range of meanings of the word, employed more and more frequently in a cultural-religious sense. So, between the Enlightenment and post-modernity, the notion of civilization would have moved away from the sphere of Progress to a very different conceptual space: that of Identity.
From Progress to Identify
Javier Fernández Sebastián
Theo Jung and Javier Fernández Sebastián
Matthias Kroß and Rüdiger Zill, eds., Metapherngeschichten. Perspektiven einer Theorie der Unbegrifflichkeit [Histories of Metaphor: Perspectives of a Theory of Nonconceptuality] (Berlin: Parerga Verlag, 2011), 259 pp.
Discovering the Future in the Hispanic World
Translator : Mark Hounsell
This article provides an outline of the crystallization of the concept of future in the Iberian worlds in a period extending from the end of the eighteenth century until the second half of the nineteenth century. By tracking and analyzing the vocabularies referring to the three dimensions of time—past, present, and future—in a broad corpus of documentary sources (books, journals, memoirs, pamphlets, parliamentary minutes, and so on), and particularly in the debates and speculation with regard to el porvenir, the article shows that, not only in Spain and Portugal, but in much of Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking America, the profound impact of progressive philosophies of history on political and social discourse resulted in a clear politicization of time, parallel to the temporalization of political concepts.
An Interview with Quentin Skinner
Javier Fernández Sebastián and Quentin Skinner
Quentin Skinner was interviewed by Javier Fernández Sebastián (Universidad del País Vasco, Spain) at the Centro de Estudios Políticos y Constitucionales, Madrid, on March 29, 2006. This interview has appeared in Spanish translation in Historia y Política 16: 237-258 (2006).
Experiences of Time in the Ibero-American World, Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
Javier Fernández-Sebastián and Fabio Wasserman
In this introductory article, the authors argue that major changes in the way we conceive of time and temporality that are taking place today justify the increase of studies, both theoretical and empirical, on shift s in cultural constructions of time. In this context, the authors present four articles written by members of the network Iberconceptos, where a number of time experiences in the Ibero-American world (Latin America, Spain, and Portugal) during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are discussed from a conceptual perspective.
An Example of Conceptual History
Javier Fernández Sebastián and Gonzalo Capellan de Miguel
This article provides an account of the concepts of modernidad and modernismo in the Spanish language, chiefly in Spain, from the end of the eighteenth century to the beginning of the twentieth century. This account also reflects the peculiarities of how conceptual history is being conducted in Spain, which resulted in the recently published Diccionario de Conceptos Políticos y Sociales del Siglo xix Español. The authors conclude that an examination of these two terms reveals that the emphasis upon Spanish singularity has been exaggerated and that, despite the presumed historical backwardness of the country, Spain played an outstanding role in the creation of the language of modernity and postmodernity.
An Interview with Reinhart Koselleck
Javiér Fernández Sebastián, Juan Francisco Fuentes and Reinhart Koselleck
Among the many subjects you have worked on throughout your career, we would like to concentrate on those related to the methodology of intellectual history, especially conceptual history. We will then go on to make you a few questions about your recent work on memory and identity.