Research

Global culture and history are fundamental to our work. We research how Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries shaped the world across Europe, America, Africa, and Asia. We ask how they fit into the wider globe, and explore new ways to express those relationships.

Our work involves numerous different subjects, and matters to multiple academic fields. From earth science to sport, visual arts to history, linguistics to literature, we ask what it means to research in a composite discipline.

Spanish is the second most widely spoken European language in the world, the second most studied language, the second language in international communication and by a wide margin the second language today in the United States. It is estimated that the combined total number of Spanish speakers is close to 500 million. Portuguese is spoken in several African countries, in some small territories in Asia and Brazil.

Therefore, this is a wide-ranging and research-driven department with a vast array of expertise (from linguistics to politics; from film to literature; from visual studies to science) covering four continents.

We benefit from our location: Bristol is one of the great Atlantic ports, linked historically to the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking worlds and a crucial place to study Slavery and Atlantic studies.

We work on the Nature of Connections in large international and regional collaborations: 

  • Nineteenth-Century Hispanists 
  • Long Eighteenth-Century 
  • LUDENS (football and sport) 
  • Bristol-Brazil 
  • The New Woman 
  • War and Social Conflict 
  • Freedom/autonomy and integration, life and death in the Atlantic space 
  • Frontiers and borders.

We value the composite nature of our subject, working with other disciplines on:

  • volcanos 
  • atlantic studies 
  • sport 
  • landscapes 
  • internationalism 
  • linguistics.

Research areas

  • Global and international culture/history 
  • Film 
  • Visual studies 
  • Latin American History: From colonization to present days 
  • Linguistics 
  • Atlantic Studies
  • Modern and contemporary literature 
  • The making of Modern Spain; Origins, course and legacy of the Spanish Civil War
  • Spain as a laboratory of social conflict and political violence in Europe’s Age of Extremes

Projects

  • Matthew Brown, 'The Quipu Project: Living Documentary', REACT funded. 
  • Matthew Brown, 'Football, Tramways and the Birth of a Brazilian Metropolis: The British Presence in São Paulo, 1890-1930', British Academy funded.
  • Jo Crow, 'Interconnected Histories: The Family Lives, Institutional Networks and Travels of Mapuche Intellectuals in Twentieth-Century Chile', British Academy & Newton funded.
  • Several members of department (Cluster of Latin American scholars), ‘Addressing Culture and Inequality in Latin America (ACILA)’
  • Jo Crow, Brigstow project on Mapping the networks of Mapuche intellectuals
  • Jose Ligna Nafafe, 'African Migrants’ Integration in Northern and Southern Europe', British Academy funded.
  • Jose Ligna Nafafe, ‘Freedom and Lusophone African Diaspora in the Atlantic’, Leverhulme funded.
  • Francisco J. Romero Salvadó, 'Political Comedy and Social Tragedy in Spain, 1897-1921', Leverhulme funded.
  • James Hawkey, ‘European Migration, Language Policy and Small States’, funded by the British Academy’s ‘Tackling the UK’s International Challenges’ initiative.
  • James Hawkey: ‘‘Sociolinguistic Perspectives of Catalan in France’. British Academy/Leverhulme Trust funded’
  • Caroline Williams (working with colleagues from Sciences), ‘Risk, Hazards, Disasters and Cultures: Exploring an Integrated Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Disaster Studies Approach’, AHRC funded.

Associated centres

Collaborations and activities

  • First World War: Neutrality and Crisis of the Old Order (international network of historians working on the impact of the war in neutral countries; the scope of neutrality and the art of diplomacy) 
  • Project ACILA: Several members of department (Cluster of Latin American scholars), ‘Addressing Culture and Inequality in Latin America. 
  • Brigstow project on Mapping the networks of Mapuche intellectuals (in collaboration with Latin American Scholars). 
  • Risk, Hazards, Disasters and Cultures: Exploring an Integrated Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Disaster Studies Approach’ (in collaboration with science academics).

Research in the Faculty

Our research forms part of the overall research activities and strategies of the Faculty of Arts.

Research events

We run a regular research seminar series and are frequently involved with one-off research events.

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