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Syllabus for BASQ 220:
Basque Cultural Studies
(Crosslisted as ANTH 220 / FLL 220 / PSC 220)


Instructor: Dr. Joseba Zulaika
Office: Center for Basque Studies (GL 281)
Phone: 784.4854

Course Description and Goals

By taking into account the perspectives of a rapidly changing Basque society in the new European Union as well as the globalization of hegemonic American culture, the course examines how Basques fare worldwide in the representations of the media, the arts, scholarship, international politics, and the Internet. From these Basque perspectives, the course also allows non-Basques a very concrete and specific perspective on global culture, so that the course avoids generalizations and simplifications on such a complex issue.

Here, “culture” is understood as a set of lived practices and performances in constantly renegotiated and contested sites of power. The course studies how tourist and museum industries, urban regeneration and architecture, international pop and visual cultures affect the Basques’ local politics of culture and how Basque culture affects global culture (most clearly seen in the case of the “Basque Guggenheim”). In doing so the course takes a “diasporic” viewpoint, anchored in the perspective of the migrant, the tourist, the international student or businessman, the media and cyberspace.

The course will serve as an introduction to both Global and Basque Cultural Studies, so that each location (global and Basque) gives a historically and socially situated perspective vis-a-vis many issues such as gender, postmodernism, otherness, postindustrial societies, etc. This course is also a general introduction to the courses being offered at UNR’s Center for Basque Studies, which encompass economy, urban planning, literature, political violence, architecture, museums, film, etc.

Postmodernism has revalorized culture, which is a major theoretical ingredient for the cultural studies’ focus on culture as an industry. When Basque culture was a predominantly rural reality, an anthropological notion of folk tradition and holistic systems of meaning was paramount. Now that the mass media and American popular culture are increasingly dominant in Basque TV, cinema, art, and museums, the new conceptual tools of cultural studies are most pertinent.

General Syllabus:

Week 1
“Nationalism, Globalization, and Terror”

Week 2
“Global Terrorists: Basques and the International Discourse of Terrorism”

Week 3
“Spanish Nationalism and New Fundamentalisms”

Week 4
“Anthropology and the Reinvention of the Basques: Global Science in Search of a Basque Race.

Week 5
“Basque Modernist Art and the Discovery of the Primitive”

Week 6
“Screening the Spaniards”

Week 7
“Troubadours and Writers: Orality, Literacy, and Cyberspace”

Week 8
“Writing the Lack of an Identity: Literature, Nationalism, and the Global Market”

Week 9
“When Punk and Hip-Hop Meet in a Not-so-global Place”

Week 10
“Farmers, Shepherds, Fishermen, Migrants: The Pastoral, the International Labor Market, and Hyphenated Identities”

Week 11
“Public Space and the Communal Self”

Week 12
“New Women and the Absence of Feminism. A New Perspective on the Difference/Equality Debate”

Week 13
“Bilbao and the Global Capitalist System: The Raise and Fall of Basque Industry”

Week 14
“The Transnational Guggenheim Museum: From New York to  Las Vegas Passing Through Bilbao”

Week 15
“Watching the Global Window: The Politics of Local TV”


Douglass, W., C. Urza, L. White, and J. Zulaika, Basque Cultural Studies. Reno: Nevada University Press, 2000.

Douglass, W., C. Urza, L. White, and J. Zulaika, Basque Politics and Nationalism on the Eve of the Millennium. Reno: Nevada University Press, 2000.

Urla, Jackie. “Outlaw Language: Creating Alternative Public Spheres in Basque Free Radio.” Pragmatics, June 1995.

Zulaika, Joseba. “Tough Beauty: Bilbao as Ruin, Architecture, and Allegory”. Iberian Cities, Routledge, 2001. 1-17.


Copyright © 2000 the Center for Basque Studies, University of Nevada, Reno. All rights reserved. Updated 30 May 2006. E-mail: