On Monday evening, Sept. 25, an hour-long lecture on Hispanic culture and literature was hosted at the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library.
The lecture, titled “Tangled Modernity: Intellectual Networks and Hispanic Cultural Productions,” was given by Juan Herrero-Senés, an associate professor in the department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Susan Larson, a professor of Spanish in the department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literature at Texas Tech, said the lecture focused on how the avant-garde became a global phenomenon in the Spanish-speaking world.
Monday’s lecture was the first of two lectures in the Comparative European Modernisms Series.
"Six units on campus made it possible to bring in our guest," Larson said. "The Honors College, the European Studies program, the department of History, the department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literature, the Humanities Center and the College of Arts and Sciences."
Herrero-Senés opened the lecture with a discussion about Modernism. He said Modernism — which was a movement in the 19th and 20th centuries aimed to modify traditional beliefs in accordance with modern ideas — is considered the first great era of massive transnational circulation of literature. Modernism was the final phase in the process of revolution in communications produced by a technical advance that caused the normalization of international telegraph and mail.
One example of this movement was Pombo, an old-fashioned bar in downtown Madrid, where gatherings were hosted every Saturday night, he said.
Herrero-Senés also said no intellectual artist could visit Madrid without visiting Pombo.
"In network theory, Pombo can be considered an ethnocentric network for several reasons," he said. "Thanks to its popularity, Pombo became a producer of economic-social and a symbolic capital."
The most significant avant-garde movements were international by nature, he said. These movements depended on a cluster of partners and a community of collaborators as they all felt part of a common endeavor. This, along with their eagerness for publicity, helped spread their publications, events and exhibitions transnationally across Europe and North America.
"The Cosmopolitan Critics are also central figures in forging the transnational space of exchange, where modern production merges and diffuses," Herrero-Senés said.
After the lecture, guests were invited to walk through the museum’s exhibits, and Herrero-Senés was available for a Q&A with the audience members.
Larson said she has known Herrero-Senés for many years, and thought he was a perfect choice to start the lectures with.
"He works on 20th century Spanish literature, modernist literature in a very international context," she said. "It was easy for me to come to the conclusion that Juan Herrero-Senés would definitely be the best person to bring in."
The second lecture in the Comparative European Modernisms Series, “Pessoa: European and Portuguese Modernisms,” will be hosted at 6 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 9, in the Formby Room of the Southwest Collections/Special Collections library. The lecture will be given by Jerónimo Pizarro, a professor at Universidad de los Ande in Columbia.