Everyday the news has been jam-packed with stories about impending transformation – call it Brexit, the twilight of the modern Elizabethan era with the possibility of a male regency, the end of the fossil economy and the rapid growth of the so-called industries of the future (virtual reality, driverless cars, etc.). Change brings both challenges and opportunities. The history of the British Isles and the global Hispanic world is full of good and bad examples of how to get through periods of transition. Five leading scholars from around the world were invited to share through a round-table discussion a few tips and ideas about various experiences, particularly from the late eighteenth to early twentieth centuries, a period marked by the dislocation of global polities, the rise and fall of monarchies, empires and republics, nation-state building, the rise of nationalism as well as by technological and biological innovations that altered landscape and infrastructures forever. Here you can find a full audio and video record accompanied by brief reports of that public conversation entitled ‘Transition: tips and ideas from the Hispanic-Anglosphere (late 18th – early 20th centuries’ that we held on Saturday 11th May 2019 at the Wessex Center, a contemporary venue nestled in the beautiful inner close of the Winchester Cathedral. The event was organized by the Modern History Research Centre of the University of Winchester and our international research network The Hispanic-Anglosphere: transnational networks, global communities.
Speakers: Dr Andrés Baeza Ruz (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile), Dr Helen Cowie (University of York), Prof. Eduardo Posada-Carbó (University of Oxford), Prof. Natalia Sobrevilla Perea (University of Kent); chaired by Dr Graciela Iglesias-Rogers (University of Winchester).
Click HERE to listen to the full Podcast and for Notes on the Speakers.
Filming and video reports (below) by Charles Ball (WRAP, University of Winchester).
Part 1 –
Watch here Dr Graciela Iglesias-Rogers explaining the rationale behind the organization of the event, its relation with the Hispanic-Anglosphere project and introducing the rest of the members of the panel. Also in this extract you will hear about definitions of transitions from historical and present-day perspectives, including Professor Eduardo Posada-Carbó´s assessment of the concept through political science lens and the so-called theory of abnormality.
Professor Eduardo Posada-Carbó continues here his critical analysis of the approach taken by political scientists (ex. O’Donnell, G., P.C. Schmitter, and L. Whitehead. Transitions from Authoritarian Rule: Comparative Perspectives. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986) and encourages reflexion about the impact that changes in technology had on the press. Dr Natalia Sobrevilla Perea tells us about the crisis of legitimacy amid the disruption of the wars of independence in Spanish America in the early nineteenth century to touch on topics that resonate much today such as issues relating to sovereignty, identity and the impact of globalization; and Dr Helen Cowie outlines here her talk about transitions in science and natural history in the Hispanic world in the long nineteenth century.
Dr Helen Cowie adds here more details about different scientific expeditions and assesses the impact of the wars of independence; she also tells us about the rise of national museums, the influx of northern European naturalists, natural resources turned into global commodities mainly by British entrepreneurs (ex. vicuña, quinine) and cases of biopiracy. Dr Andrés Baeza Rus opens his talk acknowledging that in a Chilean context the concept is usually associated with the post-dictatorship period that began on 11 March 1990 in order to offer a comparison with the first process of political and cultural transition experienced in the 1820s when the very notion of experiencing a process towards a new, more inclusive order was similarly questioned and contested. He then focuses briefly on the case of the introduction of the British Monitorial system of education (also known as the Lancastrian system) in order to highlight important changes in community engagement and State policy that took place within a wider process of political experimentation; he finally reminds us that educational reform has also remained one of most heated topics of discussion in Chile since the end of the Pinochet regime. Drawing on this point and on earlier remarks about the unpredictable nature of most transitions, Dr Iglesias-Rogers asked all speakers to consider whether there is any way of preparing effectively to undergo a period of transition. You´ll find here the reply by Dr Baeza Rus and initial comments by Prof. Posada-Carbó.
Prof. Posada-Carbó expands here his analysis drawing our attention towards the existence of “moments” rather than continuous periods of transition which could perhaps be recognized through the identification of clear goals or destinations. Prof. Sobrevilla Perea picks up on the same topic to argue in favour of a view of smaller moments of rupture in the history of the process of independence in Spanish America. Dr Iglesias-Rogers then asks whether transitions can ever be managed – watch here the replies by all the speakers and the start of the wider conversation that ensued with members of the public.
Watch here the rest of the conversation with members of the public on a range of issues relating to transition, such as the role of translations, the construction of national identities, moves towards gender equality both during the nineteenth century and more recently, including backlashes against those who advanced LGBTQ rights, reactions against instances of biopiracy, different approaches to voting rights and the need to move away from notions of “post-truth” to build narratives based on empirical evidence.
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