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.

Mariel Aquino: CBS Visiting Scholar

Greetings from the CBS! We’ve had quite a few visiting scholars throughout the summer, so I thought I would introduce you to them, one by one, through interviews. First up, we have Mariel Aquino, a Ph.D. candidate in US history at UC Santa Barbara. She spent a month with us thanks to the Begoña Aretxaga grant, doing research for her very interesting dissertation. A historian of the United States, she received her bachelor’s from Yale and master’s from UCSB. We look forward to reading her work!

Mariel Aquino at her lecture at the CBS

What brought you to the Center for Basque Studies and UNR?

  • The most prominent thing that brought me to Reno was the wealth of the Basque-American archive—in very few other places are you likely to find one box on Basques, let alone the dozens I perused. I also hoped to engage with other Basque studies scholars, as there are none in my home department. I was lucky enough to receive a Begoña Aretxaga grant from the center and was able to spend four full weeks there.

What is the goal of your research?

  • The goal of my project is to understand how a Basque-American identity develops in the American West, and the ways in which both Basques and non-Basques become invested in what being Basque means. While I am not by any means the first to research identity in the Basque diaspora, I seek to integrate my story into larger narratives about the history of the West. I think looking at the Basque experience can offer us as scholars new ways to think about what ethnic identity and nationalism can mean.
  • I enjoy breaking my brain a little bit, haha. I also like thinking about my own experiences as a Basque person, and how I react to things that another scholar might be more dispassionate about. The tension between my own emotional investment in certain narratives and my deconstruction of those same narratives is really cool to experience.

What did you accomplish?

  • I was able to look at over sixty boxes of archival material—I took a truly absurd number of photos. I also gave a talk while I was at the center.

Did the Center for Basque Studies help you in any way (library resources, people)?

  • Yes! Everyone was extremely helpful, particularly Shannon, who put up with my constant requests for a new box with much grace. The department, in general, was very welcoming.

Did you enjoy Reno?

  • I did! Reno was quite lovely, and I was also included in a number of the social events with people from the Center, so my stay was quite pleasant.

Will you be back?

  • Of course!

We can’t wait to see you again! Good luck with your studies!


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.