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