About

Spanish Royal Geographies in Early Modern Europe and America: Re-thinking the Royal Sites / Geographies of Habsburg Politics and Religion

Spanish royal sites were a diverse and global network in early modern World making royal power visible and effectual. They expanded to other territory intermittently under Spanish rule beyond the Iberian Peninsula such as the Duchy of Milan, the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily, the ten southernmost provinces of the Netherlands and the viceroyalties in America. They consisted of royal palaces and their affiliated landscapes such as forests, gardens, rural and urban centres, farms and factories. They were not only centres of administration, but also centres of innovation in culture, taste and technology. In this way, they were points for the transfer of knowledge, people and goods affording expansion and growth of the market place.

This symposium will investigate these centres as international geographies. The term ‘geography’ manifests our interest in the way the physicality of spaces and landscapes was acted upon and produced through cultural practices. This interlacing of physical and human agency is naturally wide-ranking and encompasses image-making, architectural, agricultural and administrative processes. Moreover, the religious geographies in Habsburg territories were particularly complex given that courtly forms of piety were coloured by local customs and traditions.

How were these royal geographies imagined and described? In what way do they activate histories and memories thus constructing loci of myth? How do they challenge existing interpretations of the boundaries between confessional identities and political solidarities? How do they help us to re-think the divisions between centres and peripheries of Habsburg power as kinetic and embodied spaces? For example, royal geographies beyond the kingdom of Castille within the Iberian Peninsula were ever more tightly interlinked with Madrid under Philip III and Philip IV when their respective favourites, the First Duke of Lerma and the Count-Duke of Olivares, were appointed as governors of the royal palaces in Castille and Andalusia and assumed authority over the Junta de Obras y Bosques, a committee set up by Philip II to manage the construction program of royal residences and palaces.

This workshop aims to reunite experts in this field, all from different disciplines (History of Art, History, History of Architecture, and Political Thought), with the objective of developing a comparative perspective on the complexities of royal geographies in a trans-national context.

This symposium is a collaboration of the History of Art Department and CREMS (Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies) at the University of York, the University of Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid (URJC), and the University Institute ‘La Corte en Europa’ (IULCE ) of the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM).


 

Banner image: Library of El Escorial, Madrid, Spain
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