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Lecture: Europe’s Deepest Border: The Strait of Gibraltar in Modern Times

Europe’s Deepest Border:
The Strait of Gibraltar in Modern Times

Sasha Pack
University of Buffalo (SUNY)

Friday, October 19, 3:00-5:00 pm
Borderworks Humanities Lab
Bay 5, Smith Warehouse

This talk will examine the history of the Euro-African border in the western Mediterranean during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Border security may have become a defining global anxiety of our time, but the concept has long bedeviled the range of kingdoms, empires, alliances, and federations operating in the Strait and its northern and southern hinterlands. By the latter nineteenth century, the Strait’s strategic position bridging continents and dividing seas invited neo-imperial conquest with its attendant rules and technologies, all of which overlay a region that had for five centuries formed the approximate boundary between the Christian and Muslim worlds. As a result, the region became extraordinarily diverse, not only in ethnic and religious terms, but also in the types of polities and borders to be found there. Intensive circulation and cross-border traffic, long characteristic of the region, became increasingly entangled in imperial and Great Power struggles. This volatile dynamic spawned its share of guerrilla violence, civil war, and ethnic cleansing in the twentieth century, but this borderland never became the flashpoint of wider conflict.

Sasha D. Pack is Associate Professor of History at the University at Buffalo (SUNY). His book, Tourism and Dictatorship: Europe’s Peaceful Invasion of Franco’s Spain (New York, 2006), won the “Best First Book, 2004-2006” Prize from the Association for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies, and has appeared in Spanish translation under the title, La invasión pacífica (Madrid, 2009). He has published articles in The Journal of Modern History, Segle XX, and other academic revues, and serves on the editorial board of the Bulletin for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies.

Co-Sponsored by the Borderworks Humanities Lab (Franklin Humanities Institute), Center for European Studies, and Department of History

Fri Oct 19, 2012 7pm – 9pm GMT (no daylight saving)
Borderworks Humanities Lab Bay 5, Smith Warehouse (map)