Prehistoria Patria: National identities and europeanisation in the construction of prehistoric archaeology in Spain (1860–1936)
Title: Prehistoria Patria: National identities and europeanisation in the construction of prehistoric archaeology in Spain (1860–1936)
Author: LANZAROTE GUIRAL, José María
Series/Report no.: EUI PhD theses; Department of History and Civilization
This thesis analyses the construction of prehistoric archaeology in Spain from a transnational perspective. Drawing influence from several historiographical fields, such as history of science and nationalism studies, I argue that the constitution of prehistory as a fully institutionalised discipline can only be acceptably explained as a social and cultural history of entangled scientific practices. This focus on the personal agency is firstly used to overcome the limitations of traditional histories of archaeology, understood as pure history of ideas and discovery accounts, and secondly to articulate a research project, in which several trends of analysis converge. While dealing with the birth of prehistory in the 19th century, crucial questions pertaining to history of science are studied, such as Darwinism and the conflict between religious and scientific interpretations on the origins of humanity. These subjects, which are analysed in light of the complex process of secularisation of European societies in modernity, have been considered with regard to the Spanish case but from a transnational perspective; the construction of prehistory is marked by the tensions created within an international scientific community in formation, that of the prehistorians, by the nation-state building process. Presented as the first chapter of national histories, prehistory became enmeshed, especially in the first half of the 20th century, in the cultural construction of national identities in Europe. For these reasons, this histoire croisée of prehistory has paid particular attention to the role of cultural and scientific transfers across European borders in the shaping of the discipline. By so doing, I set out to deconstruct nationalist narratives, such as the alleged “Spanish scientific backwardness” and the “colonial archaeology” of the French and German scholars in Spain. Summing up, this research is not about Spanish protagonism or particularism, but about Spain’s participation in a cultural and scientific phenomenon that, animated by either emulation or competition, was essentially transnational.
Defence date: 23 January 2012; Examining Board: Prof. Antonella Romano (EUI) - Supervisor; Prof. Bartolomé Yun Casalilla (EUI); Prof. Michael Werner (École des hautes études en sciences sociales); Prof. José Álvarez Junco (Universidad Complutense de Madrid).
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