Asier who came through USAC, is a professor in the University of the Basque Country ( Irakasleen Unibertsitate Eskolan, Hizkuntza eta Literaturaren Didaktika departamentuan). He is also part of Basque literature research group, LAIDA coordinated by Jon Kortazar.
- What brings you to the Center for Basque Studies?
What brings me here is the good work atmosphere that reigns in the Center for Basque Studies and the spirit of collaboration among scholars in order to do research about anything related with the Basque culture. The CBS is a great plataform within the American culture where dialogue and reflection about contact between cultures can be conctucted and it is a pleasuer to take advantage of it
- Can you tell us what the goal of the project is?
My aim is to conduct research into the diaspora (Basque emigration is an alternative term) in Basque literature (written in Basque) in order to assess its weight and importance within this literature, as well as analysing what resources, strategies and trends can be seen in its development.
The fact of the diaspora is a fundamental part of Basque culture, but it does not seem to find so much of an echo in the European Basque Country in defining Basque culture. Probably because of this, nor has it been strongly reflected in Basque literature. That is why problably now it is time to pay attention to this topic in Basque Literature in order to become more aware of this important aspect of our culture.
I woul also like to make comparisons with other cultures such as the Irish Diaspora in Literature.
- Would you say that this research, is quite unique?
The Basque migration or diaspora has been considered from different points of view and its importance has been recognised: the historical, social, cultural and economic angles have been taken into account. However, literature is without a doubt one of the ways human beings have of constructing our individual or collective identity. This way (of approaching the diaspora) has not been extensively pursued in Basque culture in respect of literature, and we hope that both writers and arts administrators will become aware of it so that they can take the literary aspect of such an important part of our reality into consideration, and so strengthen links between the different Basque diasporas in the world.
- What have you accomplished since you arrived?
I accomplished providing a context of other Basques literatures (written in Spanish or in Englis) to the Basque literature (written in Basque) when it comes to deal with the diaspora (as a topic, as an literary element…). I have also now a clearer map of the course of action in the following months thanks to the many resouces and references that I could find at the Basque Library.
The recent conctact with some Basque oral Poets has given me a new insight about how they see their art and how they see their role in the Basque diaspora.
- Are you enjoying the U.S.?
Yes I am. This is a special opportunity to learn more about different cultures and different ways of life and I feel very grateful for the help and opportunities given by people living here in order to become my staying more fruitful and enjoyable.