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Accepted Paper:

“Convivencia, Connivencia”: Conspiracy, Multiculturalism and post-colonial amnesia in a Spanish Enclave in Morocco.  
Brian Campbell (University of Plymouth)

Paper short abstract:

The Spanish state uses the discourses of Christian-Muslim fraternity to patronise Muslim communities. This strategy was first deployed by Spanish colonial governments, but this is now forgotten. This paper explores how amnesia recasts uncanny apprehensions of domination into conspiracy.

Paper long abstract:

The Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Jews that inhabit the Spanish enclave of Ceuta insist that they live together in harmonious convivencia. Ceuta’s calendar is full of jovial occasions where ethno-religious groups participate in each other’s sacred rites. It is moot that convivencia was single-handedly forged by Mayor-President Vivas; his visionary charisma quelled religious animosities and turned Ceuta into a “melting pot” whose “fraternal” ingredients are all “equally Spanish”. Though lacking hard evidence, many Muslims suspect that “convivencia” is a ploy to hide socio-economic inequality, trivialise religion as “folklore”, and divide Muslim communities as they scramble for governmental patronage. These voices are dismissed as paranoid and conspiratorial. However, Spain has a long (locally forgotten) history of using "convivencia" to control subaltern populations. While turn-of-the-century historians fought against the orientalisation of Spain, the state used the supposed “fraternity” between Moor and Spaniard to justify the conquest of northern Morocco. In the name of inter-religious solidarity, colonial governors sponsored sympathetic Muslim leaders, lavishly funding temples and rituals. Convivencia combined flattery, fascination and patronage into a cocktail of domination, which is now fed co-citizens. This paper examines what happens when such continuities are forgotten. Convivencia then becomes the genius project of one individual. The focus on charisma obstructs the inherited, implicit expectations about state power, religion, identity and public space that inform convivencia. Aside from misdirecting resistance, amnesia reduces contemporary complaints about convivencia to incoherent conspiratorial ramblings uttered by subaltern populations unable or unwilling to integrate into Spanish ideas of citizenship and state power.

Panel P102a
Uncanny Colonial Reanimations: Ethnographies of post-colonial population control and resilient alternatives
  Session 1 Wednesday 27 July, 2022, -