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CMRS Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the Department of English, Tomás Ó Cathasaigh is the Henry L. Shattuck Professor of Irish Studies at Harvard University. He discusses how in Táin Bó Cúailnge, the hero defends the province of Ulster against an invading army dubbed ‘the men of Ireland’. Included among the invaders are a group of Ulster exiles: they play a pivotal part in the unfolding of the plot, and in its resolution.
Tomás Ó Cathasaigh (Henry L. Shattuck Professor of Irish Studies, Harvard University) is the guest speaker. The eighth-century Irish poet Blathmac son of Cú Brettan describes Christ as a ‘hero’ (Irish galgat, gérat), and presents the life of Christ as a heroic biography, using the terms and categories of traditional Irish narrative.
The conference addresses the justifications for conquest and empire in the early modern Spanish world by examining them against the broader panorama of European colonial ventures in the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, and beyond. Using the Spanish Requerimiento as a point of departure, “Empire and Exceptionalism” explores a comparative approach to the foundation of empires in the Old World and the New. To justify and rationalize their expansion, medieval and early modern powers often drew on shared legal and historical traditions. Their claims, while obviously oppositional, were in constant dialogue with one another. For instance, recent work has suggested that the Requerimiento was based on traditions of medieval Islamic jurisprudence that addressed the treatment of conquered peoples. How would such traditions have intersected with canon law, humanist traditions, and other justifications for empire? How disparate, ultimately, were the different imperial projects, and how significant were the distinctions? “Empire and Exceptionalism” thus engages some of the most pressing historical questions concerning the origins of European colonialism by examining Mediterranean and Atlantic processes in conjunction with one another and by addressing the degree to which the practices engaged in by the early modern Spanish Empire were exceptional.
Organized by the Center for 17th- and 18th-Century Studies.
The Winter Session of California Medieval History Seminar meets at the Huntington Library to discuss four pre-distributed research papers. Participants are expected to have read the papers in advance and come prepared to discuss them. Speakers and paper topics are announced by e-mail and on the CMRS website. To be added to the announcement list contact firstname.lastname@example.org. More information is at cmrs.ucla.edu/programs/med_hist_seminar.html.