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Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois (Champaign, IL 61801-3620)
D. Fairchild Ruggles (Project Director: March 2014 to May 2016)

Institutes for Higher Education Faculty
Education Programs

[Grant products][Media coverage]

$197,604 (approved)
$172,933 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2014 – 12/31/2015

The Alhambra and Spain's Islamic Past

A four-week institute for twenty-five college and university faculty to examine changing views of Spain's Islamic past through architectural, visual, and literary representations of the Alhambra.

"The Alhambra and Spain's Islamic Past" uses the magnificent 13th-14th-century Alhambra palace complex in Granada to study Spain's engagement of its diverse cultural and religious history. We will begin with the palaces, gardens, and courtyards remaining from the Islamic period and observe how over time the Alhambra was variously represented in traveler's accounts, prints, paintings, and photographs as Orientalist fantasy, picturesque playground, and most recently as celebrated national monument. Through this history, this Institute explores the culturally complex history of Muslim-Christian relations in Europe. More broadly, we consider the relationship between nationalism and memory--how a nation like Spain frames its Islamic past--and the importance of architectural monuments to the making of community identity.