Tag: Iker Arranz

Territories: Journal of Regional Studies

Iker Arranz, Ph.D. and Lecturer in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and, of course, graduate of the Center for Basque Studies, is now Editor-in-Chief of the new journal Territories. There is Call for Papers for the upcoming issue and I encourage all academics who read this blog to participate. The following is a letter from Dr. Arranz describing the project and inviting you to participate:

Dear colleagues and friends,

I am very much pleased to announce the creation of Territories, a new journal of regional studies with an interdisciplinary and innovative scope on post-national spaces and trans-cultural scenarios.

This journal is an Open Access journal based on the e-Scholarship repository at the University of California. I have been working in this project for more than 4 years now, and this journal represents the joined effort of many scholars in the Basque Country and American Academia that saw the necessity to create this trans-national space for academic debate on many issues that we share with a myriad of communities around the world. The journal takes off with more than 30 scholars and graduate students in its editorial board, and we are opened for new incorporations coming from humanities and social sciences.

Geopolitics in the 21st century are determining the living conditions of thousands, if not millions, of people around the world with a clear dilution of the role of the states in the political configuration of federal realities under strict economic policies. Under these conditions the territorial and social justice of a multiplicity of cultural communities face new challenges that this journal is resolved to discuss. This journal aims to think beyond nations and nationalities and propose the dialogue between diferent disciplines in order to activate what the multiplicity of cultural expressions have to offer when they are put into intersections in order to promote an academic debate.

We will open the first number of the journal with an article by Dr. Igor Calzada (Oxford University) titled Back and Forth Towards the (Political) Basque City-Region (Revisiting ‘Euskal Hiria’ Through the Lenses of Regional Studies).

Finally I would like to thank to everyone that is involved in this project and has supported it from the beginning for contributing to make it possible.

Please check out journal´s website for all the information related for authors, CFPs, etc. at Territories.

All the best,

Iker Arranz Otaegui, Ph.D.

Editor in Chief

Be sure to check out the website for more details and information on the CFP at Territories.

Dr. Iker Arranz philosophizes food

On May 28, I attended the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation’s lecture at El Presidio de Santa Barbara entitled “Basque Culture, History, and the Study of Gastronomy.” In the talk, Dr. Iker Arranz of UCSB spoke about the philosophy of food – about thinking while we eat. According to him, we are no longer simply eating to consume, to feed ourselves, but to engage in an experience. He raised questions of eating and identity while establishing links between culture and gastronomy in the Basque Country.


Here are some of the exciting things Dr. Arranz has been doing over the last semester at USCB:

What classes have you taught as UC Santa Barbara, and what will you be teaching in the future?

I have been teaching Basque Culture, Basque Language (Levels from 101 to 103), Basque Cinema, Basque-Spanish Fantastic Cinema and Culinary Arts and Identity. I will be mainly teaching the same courses in the future, but we will might try to offer two classes on Culinary Arts and Identity for next year, it will depend on a few factors that we need to study during this summer though.
How did your Culinary Arts class go this last quarter?  

The class was awesome! Apart from the Chef I had 3 different scholars contributing to my class. I had Prof. Hertweck from UNR for one week. He gave 2 lectures for my students and another lecture for UCSB scholars and students. The feedback has been really good, and many students have been using these lectures in their papers. I also had Prof. Galfarsoro from Leeds University and Prof. Alvarez from UPV. They both gave lectures via internet to my students and they really enjoyed the experience. We have been using readings from these two lectures and the students had the chance to ask the authors about their ideas and writings, something that they really appreciated in my opinion. And finally, Chef Aingeru Etxebarria was teaching how to cook traditional and more elaborated “pintxos” to the students. The goal was to offer the chance to taste all the theory on culture and identity to my students and also try to change their habits with some healthy and tasty Basque creations.


Event at “El Presidio” with the Chef


Photo of Dr. Iker Arranz, former student at the Center for Basque Studies, photo courtesy of Rosie Sullivan

For more information and a summary of the event, check out Rosie Sullivan’s article:


Interview with Visiting Professor and CBS Graduate Iker Arranz

Q:  What brought you back to UNR and what was your role within the conference?


Pictured above on far right, Dr. Arranz, along with presenters from the conference “Exploring Diversity and Equity in Education”


A: I was attending the conference on “Exploring Diversity and Equity in Education” organized by the Cultural Diversity Committee at UNR, which gave me the opportunity to share some thoughts on the actual panorama on education and the American Education System, and also give a brief but interesting perspective on my personal experience teaching Basque Language and Culture, as something directly related to the main topic of the conference. I explored the ideas of “difference” and “diversity” as complementing but sometimes contradictory terms, when it comes down to applying them with our students and their cultural backgrounds. For example, for me it’s very interesting how, if you find the right stimulus, American students with no previous knowledge on Basque stuff are hooked and even think about visiting the Basque Country to include it as a part of their educational programs/requirements. This proves that diversity, in this global era, is like fresh air when we are educating these kids.

And of course, I took the opportunity of being back in Reno to visit my beloved CBS, see old friends and meet the new students. I was delighted with the welcome this old folks offered and happily surprised with the new incorporations! (Nothing beats being surrounded by this crazy Basque people again!) I truly think that there is a very interesting group now of different ages and cultural backgrounds that will definitely help in the development of the dissertations. Sometimes, there is no better ground for cultural studies than diverse positions that will offer multiple perspectives on the same topic.

Q:  What is your current position at the University of Santa Barbara and what classes are you looking forward to teaching?  How are your students?  What do you enjoy about your position?

A: I currently hold the Basque Lecturer position in the Spanish and Portuguese Department, at UCSB, this position is sponsored by Etxepare Institute. I have been teaching Basque Language (101, 102), Basque Culture and Basque Cinema so far. I will be teaching first time ever a course on Culinary Arts and Identity this coming quarter, with some visiting Scholars and a Chef we will bring from the Basque Country, so the students will have the opportunity to taste all the knowledge we will be bringing to them during the quarter. This is something nobody has tried to do yet, so it is a kind of exciting experiment, full of risks and uncertainties, but I willing to take the challenge!

I am really happy with my students! They show lots of implication (one course on Culture ended up having a popular potluck!), although the topic is completely new for almost all of them, they discover literally a new universe and they really enjoy our tradition, history and specially how all this can be related to strong debates on identity and culture. They see that every single tradition can be thought within theoretical frames that help to understand how deep and complex these topics can be.

And about teaching, definitely, the best part of this job is when I finish the class, pack everything and while I walk through the corridor I have the feeling of having done something good for these kids. It’s a very simple feeling and it’s a feeling that only lasts probably few seconds, but it’s a great feeling indeed!

Q: Can you tell us about the conference in Portugal and what you presented on?

A: I was attending this conference on Political Violence in the XX Century, organized by Universidad Nova de Lisboa. The conference was interesting enough to revisit some of the well-known topics on violence, dictatorship, repression, and so on. I tried to push the boundaries a little bit, and prepared a communication on how Fernando Pessoa is inaugurating a new era in terms of Western´s thought tradition, literally placing these debates on political violence somewhere further than the actual perspectives, and somehow linking it to the concept of change (a topic that I worked on my dissertation). It was funny to go to Lisbon to talk about Pessoa, since he is one of the most famous and studied figures they have- I enjoyed doing it! This is a research I need to work on yet, but there are definitely some connections in the thought of Pessoa and Joseba Sarrionandia. This is an idea for possible upcoming research.