Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Engaging the Atlantic: New Routes, New Responsibilities

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2012), 89, (8), 905–922.

Abstract

Engaging the Atlantic might be useful, even instrumental, in putting together and taking apart the elements of the colonial on both shores of the divide - if it is conceived as providing possibilities for network analysis and comparative colonialities rather than as an expansion of the tradition of imperial Spanish, Portuguese, British, Dutch history. Equatorial Guinea, a Portuguese and later a Spanish colony, is an Atlantic site of colonial convergence. Its history presents the opportunity to approximate the field of study to other latitudes by examining the branches of Portuguese and Spanish imperial practices in America and Africa and, in passing, questioning traditional definitions of area, regional, period and national studies. In rethinking Iberian and Latin American Studies across the Atlantic, and in opening the field of inquiry, we add a spatial dimension to the colonial haunting, which enables us to alter our traditional perception of body flow, nuancing hegemony and shifting locus. In this colonial equation Africa no longer figures as the passive departure point for a one-way traffic, the quintessential homeland of the diaspora, forever a place of origin and purity. The case study presented here is in several instances a compelling example of a process in reverse.

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Vizcaya, Benita