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United in diversity? A discourse analysis on the selective representation of the Islamic past in Spanish and Portuguese tourism

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Title: United in diversity? A discourse analysis on the selective representation of the Islamic past in Spanish and Portuguese tourism
Author(s): O'dowd, Katherine
Advisor(s): Irigoyen-García, Javier
Department / Program: Liberal Arts & Sciences
Discipline: European Union Studies
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: M.A.
Genre: Thesis
Subject(s): European Union Islam Spain Portugal Muslims Moriscos Islamic Past Islamophobia Cosmopolitanism
Abstract: A famous EU slogan claims that the supra-nation is “united in diversity,” but there exists a tension between this idea of an inclusive, diverse, cosmopolitan European identity and the lack of representation that Europe’s Islamic past receives in tourism websites. Being historically relevant, I have chosen to look at the representation of the Islamic past in Spanish and Portuguese tourism and have identified two comparable national monuments, the Alhambra in Granada, Spain and Silves Castle in Silves, Portugal. Both are located in what was the territory of al-Andalus, they were the last capital cities under Islamic control, and they are considered to be very well preserved national monuments today. Although these sites have the potential to legitimize and include Islam in European identity, the way in which they are represented promotes its exclusion. This exclusion can be seen in the way that tourism texts for the Alhambra and Silves castle cleanse and erase the Islamic past as a means to create a specific image of them as the ‘other.’ Because the majority of Spanish and Portuguese tourism comes from the European Union, I conclude that, paradoxically, the otherization of the Islamic past is a means to attract European tourists to the sites. Thus, as the EU attempts to be inclusive, its citizenry remains exclusive of the Islamic past.
Issue Date: 2012-05-22
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/31002
Rights Information: Copyright 2012 Katherine O'dowd
Date Available in IDEALS: 2012-05-22
Date Deposited: 2012-05
 

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