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Restoration: Cracking the Genetic Code of an Ideology

Thu, Nov 14, 2019    6:30pm

Restoration in its present incarnation emerged in the 19th century as an idea and as a practice that are closely tied to nation-building and the formation of historical consciousness in the modern era. However, the idea of restoration has its roots in a more distant past. In my talk I will demonstrate that its birthplace was arguably medieval Iberia, where the Islamic invasion of 711 and the ensuing elimination of the Visigothic Kingdom led to the formation of an ideology of restoration (commonly known today as the Reconquista) by concocting a precocious form of nationalism, Christian doctrines, and a particular flavor of historicism. For more than eight centuries, the Christian kingdoms of Iberia made an unprecedented effort to repel the Muslims and to physically restitute an imagined Visigothic golden age. In the process, restoration became a multi-faceted inventive ideology that still bears a strong impact on the manner in which we implicitly approach it nowadays.

Doron Bauer is an assistant professor of medieval and Islamic art history at Florida State University. He is the author of Romanesque Sculpture: Towards an Anti-Iconography (Madrid: La Ergástula, forthcoming) and Art in the Kingdom of Majorca: An Anthology of Sources (Edicions Universitat de les Illes Balears, forthcoming). He is currently working on Cities Upon Cities: The Aesthetic Colonization of Conquered Islamic Urban Centers on the Other Coast of the Mediterranean, from Ceuta to Tel Aviv—a book project that examines the Occidentalization-Christianization of Islamic cities in Iberia and Africa from the Middle Ages to the present day.

Free and open to the public.

Organized as part of the Preservation Lecture Series, an initiative of the Historic Preservation Program at Columbia GSAPP.