What brings you to CBS?
I am completing a doctoral thesis on the political, social, and cultural perspectives that existed about Basque at the start of the twentieth century.
What is the goal of the project?
The primary goal is to discover what the discourses surrounding Basque were like at the time and to see if they were common across many different sorts of texts and contexts. For example, did what was said about Basque in a political context translate into what was said about it in a zarzuela? A secondary, future goal, will be to compare the perspectives on Basque of this era to those that came later.
Is the research unique?
Parts of the story are well known. The early nationalists’ relationship with Basque, for instance, is a subject included in the thesis that has received a good deal of attention. Other areas are more obscure. An example of something that has garnered less scrutiny, perhaps, are the practical and ideological reasons behind why Basque was required for certain local government positions at the turn of the century. But one of the more unique aspects of the research is the approach, which encompasses a more synchronic rather than diachronic sweep of how Basque was understood. The result of casting a wide net over a shorter period of time is a fairly detailed account of how Basque was perceived, which makes it possible to see that similar themes were attached to the language, and the people that spoke it, across texts of a diverse nature.
What have you completed since arriving?
A good deal—essentially the final section of the thesis, which focuses on Basque in the cultural sphere, which is to say its presence in literature, plays, music, bertso, etc. The library and the Center are great places to work and everybody here has been very helpful.
Are you enjoying the US?
Very much so. Being American, visiting Reno is a homecoming of sorts. But I didn’t know the city or the region and it has been a pleasure exploring another part of the US with my family and the friends I’ve met here. I hope I’ll have another opportunity to visit again in the future sometime!