This Introduction begins with a definition of Andalucismo as a modern tradition of critical reflection on the norms of European politics and culture based on a cultivated appreciation for the histories and legacies of southern Iberia’s Muslim and Jewish societies. This tradition has its roots in Spanish literary Romanticism, Orientalism, and colonialism of the late 19th century, though important antecedents can also be found in Cervantes and other Golden Age writers. Today, the remapping of aesthetic, political, and historical space proposed by the andalucistas challenges the entrenched divisions between Europe and the Middle East, Christianity and Islam that have shaped Europe’s civilizational identity and propelled its contemporary anti-immigrant political currents. For most scholars in Spain today, Andalucismo involves a Romantic idealization of the past at the service of a contemporary politics of identity. This introductory chapter takes issue with this view: the passions and sensibilities foregrounded within this tradition don’t vitiate historical inquiry but attune it to the pressing demands of both a forgotten past and a political present.
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