Mapping Hispanic Modernity. Cross-border Literary Networks and Cultural Mediators (1908-1939)

This project sets the grounds for a new approach exploring transnational processes of cultural transformation. To do so, we propose an innovative investigation in modernist studies: the impact of Hispanic cultural mediators in international modernity during the first half of the twentieth century. Our aim is to amend the fact that literature on aesthetic modernity tends to overlook Hispanic modernism and keeps locating it on the peripheries. However, from the 1900s onwards, Hispanic mediators participated in the cultural arena and took an active part in intercultural and multilingual networks. This project argues that these networks enabled Hispanic mediators to play a prominent role in the international scene, helping them revitalize both Europe and their local milieu. This project understands cultural mediators as agents who meet at least two main parameters: multilingualism, on the one hand, and the performance of numerous activities and roles across linguistic, artistic, and geographical borders on the other.

This project proposes an innovative method that pursues two goals in particular: to initiate a shift in our thinking about the relevant role of Hispanic mediators in international modernism and to contribute to a new field of study by providing a pilot project for further research on cultural mediators and their complex relations and overlapping roles across historical periods and disciplines. These groundbreaking aspects will be explored by means of the following specific objectives:

  1. To set up a preliminary open-access database of one hundred Hispanic mediators providing a data source for quantitative and qualitative analysis on transnational cultural transformation processes.
  2. To classify and map Hispanic mediators transnational networks (a network is understood here as a group of persons among whom informal or institutionalized exchanges exist) through which Spanish and Latin American mediators impacted international modernism, took on prominent roles and exerted agency.
  3. To present a new theoretical and methodological reflection on mediation, circulation, networks and the use of geo-spatial data applied to the analysis of transnational cultural transformation processes.
  4. To analyze the multiform inter-artistic activities of mediators ―art promoters, directors of art galleries, music academies…― within a cultural history approach (Meylaerts, Sanz Roig, Gonne, Lobes, forthcoming).
  5. To establish lasting collaborations with other research groups throughout the world (e.g. the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis at Stanford University, the ChicagoTextLab, the Institut für Kartographie, in Zurich, Artl@s in l’École Normale Supérieure, the txtLab, at McGill University, in Montreal or the Digital Humanities programme, a joint initiative from the Oxford e-Research Centre and TORCH- the Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities, at Oxford University, with participation from other units.

An interdisciplinary and international team of 11 researchers, one postdoctoral fellow and the contribution of the Dutch Lab1100 will apply computational methods, cartography and social networks analyses to the study of literary and cultural history, art history, women and media studies.


KEY WORDS: cultural mediators, literary networks, Hispanic Modernism, entangled history, Digital Humanities