Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Stanford and the Basques

Kudos to Gloria Totoricagüena and her efforts to provide Basque culture and identity with new spaces.

This note appeared at EITb:

Totoricagüena, currently director of the Center for Basque Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno will be the primary instructor of this course that takes a multi-perspective approach to understanding Basque history, culture, and society. The course will be interactive and will include a section on Basque dance and a class trip to the Piperade Restaurant in San Francisco as part of the lesson on Basque cuisine.

The President of the Basque Country, Juan Jose Ibarretxe, has also been invited to lecture at Stanford as part of this class. Casey Nevitt, a senior at Stanford initiated this course last spring by securing guest instructors and faculty sponsorship with the support of Provost Etchemendy.

"I’ve always wished there were a course at Stanford on the Basques, who have a fascinating and remarkable history," said Etchemendy, who plans to attend and encourages other interested faculty and staff to participate as well. "Introduction to Basque Studies will provide an opportunity for those who are interested in Basque history, language and culture to learn more about them from experts in the field."

Nevitt stated that the purpose of the class is to spread awareness of historical and contemporary perspectives on Basque culture, politics, economics and society. She encourages all those interested to attend the class, whether taking it for academic credit or not.

Believe me when I tell you that the US citizens sorely need more understanding about the Basques, their history and political struggle. The way things are with the US media and the meddling of the self-righteous conservatives in every aspect of the US society, it is sad to see all the hatred and the degree of contempt you find against the Basques in the "land of the free".

By the way, where was this Provost Etchemendy during the campaign against Fascist José María Aznar's lectures at an US college?

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  1. I don't see why Mr. Etchemendy is wrong on this...

    Castilian-Spanish culture is widely covered by many curricula. IMHO, it makes sense to dedicate special efforts to cover other not-so-known minorities of the Spanish culture, like Filipino-Spanish, Sephardi-Spanish, and so on.

    BTW, as far as I know, fascism was a movement originated from the mix of communism and nationalism. I studied about European politics quite deeply, and Former Prime Minister Aznar was president of the Spaniard conservative party, so I doubt he could be related to any fascist movement.

    My two cents... :-)

  2. Dear Prommeteo,

    Jose Maria Aznar's party was founded by former francoist ministers. They spouse the same principles and advance the same ideals than Franco's regime.

    Would you consider Francisco Franco a champion of democracy?

    Regarding your comment about the not so known minorities of Spanish culture I am happy to announce that Basque culture predates Spanish culture by some 5,000 years.

    This is why I insist that US citizens should learn more world history, you just proved my point.

  3. You just made *my* point :-)

    Thus again, Mr. F. Franco was not fascist (he was quite the opposite, he was mostly a national-conservative dictator)... right?

    So, if the conservative party in Spain inherited Mr. F. Franco's supporters (and you claim Mr. Aznar is one of those) then conservatives in Spain could not be fascist. As simple as that.

    BTW, national-conservatism is gaining huuuge support in Spain again (Mr. Aznar, Mr. Ibarretxe, the former President of Catalonia, etc), but even amongst other Europeans (i.e. Le Pen in France). And all of them ran a democratic process to gain their chair...

    Back to the point. Basque-Spanish culture (as many others) can't be understood out of their context. It's impossible to avoid contamination from other surrounding cultures (including the prominence of Spanish or French).

    Seriously, I don't see why Mr. Etchemendy is wrong, since he's providing access to more Basque culture.

    And regarding your comment about world history, I would like to know how much of the Hopi culture is explained in European schools/media. Basque-Spanish is not as prominent in world culture, as you may know. I'm a "rara avis" on this.

  4. YOU are the "rara avis"?!?!

    Then the situation in the US is worst than what I thought.

    So you do not consider Franco a fascist dictator in the USA? Well, not a surprise with individuals like George W. Bush running the country.

    Franco was close to Mussolini and Hitler, thanks to them he rose to power. Are you going to tell me that those two were not fascist dictators?

    Your queer insistence on adding the hyphenate "-Spanish" to Basque culture does not stand, Spain has been around for about 500 years, Basque culture has been developing in situ for 35,000 years. So to have a US citizen, a member of a culture that has been around for 200 years moves to laughter.

    Yes, we do learn more about the Hopis and that you, and about anything and everything else too. As you said, you are the "rara avis" and you're proving to be quite ignorant and biased.

    Regarding Mr. Etchemendy, you can keep him, we do not need "fair weather" Basques that keep quiet when an extreme right clown like Aznar lectures at an US university.

    By the way, nice blog you have going, one post in two years, and oddly enough, in Spanish, do I smell a troll?

  5. First things first. Apparently, I need to justify my ancestry (?) to speak any language. Do I smell some racist deviance??

    I'm Mexican-American. Mayan-Mexican-American if you want to be more precise. My mother is Mexican and my father American.

    Nobody called me a troll before for playing with a blog in Spanish. You are the first so far.

    You also called me ignorant. That's what I'd call "trolling", since I never insulted you, or your ideas.

    Secondly, and going back to our issue. You keep putting words on my behalf that are far from true.

    I said Mr. F. Franco was a nationalist-conservative *dictator* (as the Japanese emperor at that time was too). Mr. A. Hitler wasn't either a fascist, he was part of the *nazi* party (nationalist-socialist), but *democratically elected* by the Germans. Finally, Mr. B. Mussollini was a *fascist*.

    And yes, they were allies during the war. But the only thing in common between them was their nationalistic determination, nothing else. Actually, the communist background of Mr. B. Mussollini was a concern for the USA (regarding a plausible alliance afterwards with the Soviet Republics at that time).

    And seriously, I've been to Spain teaching American Indian History for more than 3 years. Nobody knew who the hopi were.

  6. Ok, lets play your game this time.

    There is no Hopi culture, there is only American culture.

    There is no Mayan culture, there is only Mexican culture.

    Why shall we learn about hyphenated and therefore lesser versions of American and/or Mexican cultures in Europe?

    Since you mentioned that you have been lecturing about the Hopi-Americans in Spain my guess is that you've been doing so in Madrid. Which in turn explains your disdain for Basque culture.

    By the way, since the Spaniards conquered the Mayans just like they did the Basques, is it Mayan-Spanish or Mayan-Mexican?

    Regarding the hodge podge of definitions that you have for petty dictators like Hitler, Mussolini, Franco and so on and so forth I am really sorry for you. Seems to me that you do know what fascist means. This is fascism:

    "Fascism is an authoritarian political ideology (generally tied to a mass movement) that considers individual subordinate to the interests of the state, party or society as a whole. Fascists seek to forge a type of national unity, usually based on (but not limited to) ethnic, cultural, racial, religious attributes. The key attribute is intolerance of others: other religions, languages, political views, economic systems, cultural practices, etc. Various scholars attribute different characteristics to fascism, but the following elements are usually seen as its integral parts: nationalism, statism, militarism, totalitarianism, anti-communism, corporatism, populism, collectivism, and opposition to political and economic liberalism."

    This describes Franco quite well don't you think?

    Now, Mussolini a communist?!?!?! My goodness, that is some quality education in the US.