Pupils review the first in this year’s series of the Spanish Department lectures
La dicotomía entre la España tradicional y la España moderna
Review of the lecture by Year 13 pupils Milo Knatchbull and Ilaria Bressi
The Spanish Department warmly welcomed Mr Oliver Peat from Wellington College on October 11 to give this year’s first insightful Spanish lecture. Opening the lecture, Mr Peat presented a piece of music that was characterised by many different music styles such as rock, salsa, flamenco and others. This was done to demonstrate particular discrepancies in styles that caused many of us to relate to alternative cultures, but also to show how the Spanish taste had acquired a variation of foreign influences due to the freedom of expression obtained after the death of Franco, the former Caudillo of Spain. However, Mr Peat was also keen to highlight how modern Spain is inherently linked to traditional Spain in many aspects. An example of this was the collective idea of social conviviality, which was encouraged and promoted not just during the period of Franco, but present through many generations of Spanish people.
In order to explain the development of Spanish culture, Mr Peat gave a broad overview of the context of Spain’s historical background; this involved mentions of the Arab invasion and occupations from 711 until the reconquista in 1492. This was situated around the years of the Spanish Inquisition, which aimed to ensure Catholic orthodoxy and supremacy in the kingdom. It is from this context that the strong link to religion was created in Spain which is still nowadays influencing the country’s decision-making. With the end of Franco’s dictatorship people saw themselves free from the restricting links of religion and the supposedly moral values, resulting in a rapid shift in ideals and behaviour. Spain, still being a very catholic nation, had to satisfy the desire held by the people that human physical effects should take precedence over religious norms. A result of this was the implementation of new laws regarding the legality of abortion, which went inherently against the standards of acceptance imposed by Franco. All of this characterized a period of rapid political change known as La Movida, making Spain now a country in which opposite behaviours and values, from different historical times, manage to coexist and where the past is still significant.
This lecture was both insightful and engaging, and we look forward to hearing more about varying topics during the rest of the academic year.