Last month Dr Fernando Gomez Herrero participated in a conference at University College London: (In)tolerance: Minorities, Cultural Exchanges and Social Exclusion in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Era.

This was a LAHP-funded postgraduate students-led conference that took place 8-9 November 2018. 

Dr Fernando Gomez Herrero speaking at a conference at University College London

"My presentation, Revisiting the Américo Castro – Sánchez Albornoz Dispute; Or About The Alleged Intolerance of the Other and the Scholarly Horizon of Politics, looked at the differences between two Spanish intellectual figures of international renown: Américo Castro (1885-1972) and Claudio Sánchez Albornoz (1893-1984) who dealt with the historical constitution of Spain against the provocative historical context of the three Abrahamic religions (Jews, Muslims, Christians) in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period.

Both Spaniards were left-liberal republicans exiled during the rule of Francisco Franco (1939-1975). I took into account their trajectories: both scholars were in the circle of Manuel Azaña (1880-1940) and held ambassadorial posts in Germany and Portugal during the time of the Spanish Republic. In their respective exiles, Brazil-born Castro resided in the US, culminating his days in Princeton University. Madrid-born, yet Avila-based Sánchez Albornoz settled down in Argentina returning to Spain in his final years after the death of the dictator. My presentation addressed this internationalization of historical scholarship emanating from inside and outside Spain, against the larger background of Europe, including Britain, Latin America and the United States. I took account two main books: Castro’s España en su historia (1948, 1954) and Sánchez Albornoz’s España: Un Enigma Histórico (1956). The presentation handled their mutual travels, differences and troubles assessing fundamental premises embedded in the business of the writing of history (historiography), always defended as crucial enterprise. These issues remain with us: violent processes of nation formation against expansive internationalist platforms, the mutability of frontiers and the negotiation of borders, the mixtures of languages and cultures, the contested construction of (national) “identity,” the (un-)official constitution of native and foreign, insider and outsider, the insufficiencies of the liberal ideal of religious toleration and coexistence, the majority-minority balance, etc. "