Andalusia’s Ambivalence: Between Convivencia and Islamophobia

Guest PostsGuest post by Linda J. de Wit about Andalusia, a region that has often been described by means of “paradoxes, contradictions, syntheses or contrasts. Andalusia can at the same time be regarded as a unique case – not unusual for a frontier region – and as challenging contemporary understandings and expectations about concepts like multiculturalism and social cohesion.” 

Lion of Spain
The lion of Spain’s coat of arms as part of Islamic-style wall decoration in the royal palace in Seville. Photo by Linda J. de Wit.

Andalusia’s Ambivalence: Between Convivencia and Islamophobia
by Linda J. de Wit

The southern Spanish province of Andalusia is a much-invaded corner of Europe. Its history and culture have been shaped by peoples as distinctive as Iberians, Phoenicians, Celts, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Visigoths, Moors and Castilians. In the context of intercultural communication, the region is sometimes invoked by referring to the seven centuries from which it inherited its name: between 711 and 1492 it was the heartland of Spain under Islamic (Moorish) rule, Al-Andalus. This period is today often associated with the concept of convivencia: the peaceful coexistence and cultural interaction of Muslims, Christians and Jews. In this light, both Andalusia’s past and its present make interesting case studies of multiculturalism.

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