“Bares, qué lugares.” In/outside Bacchus’ kingdom.
Irene Domingo Sancho (University of St. Thomas)
Carmen Moreno Díaz (St. Olaf College)
Almudena Marín Cobos (Columbia University)
Anyone thinking of traveling to Spain, or any Spaniard conjuring up an image of their home country, will surely picture themselves in a bar, chatting away while having a beer and probably some tapas. This might be linked to the fact that, according to a recent study, the Spanish State has more bars per person (1:175) than any other country on Earth. Moreover, despite the undeniable impact of the ongoing economic Spanish crisis and its effects on the hospitality industry, bars are the newly re-fashioned “brick industry:” bars are constantly opening everywhere, and locals as well as tourists keep flocking to them. We can thus say that Spain and bars go hand in hand. However, this relationship has not been explored enough within the field of Spanish Cultural Studies, or elsewhere, yet.
Spanish bars –bares, tabernas, tascas– and their cultural representations today elicit a plethora of questions. For instance, why is the bar such an attractive, versatile, and idiosyncratic space within the Spanish imaginary? Which logic, functions, or behaviors does the bar serve and even promote within particular communities? In this vein, do bars work as society’s mirror? Or what kind of dynamics do they make (in)visible? Lastly, how have these spaces evolved during the 20th and 21st centuries? These are just a few of the many inquiries to be examined.
This panel welcomes papers that address, but are not limited to, the aforementioned questions in an attempt to explore the contemporary Spanish bar from an economic, socio-cultural, political, ideological, and aesthetic point of view. We hope the conversation among panel’s participants will serve as a point of departure for a long-awaited discussion on the cultural tensions surrounding Bacchus’ kingdom.
Carmen Moreno Díaz, PhD
Visiting Assistant Professor, Dept. of Romance Languages
St. Olaf College. Northfield, MN