Josep Puig i Cadafalch and the construction of a Catalan national imagination (1880-1950)

Mallart, Lucila (2016) Josep Puig i Cadafalch and the construction of a Catalan national imagination (1880-1950). PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis explores the making of a cultural and political imagination of Catalonia in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, in order to re-think the nature of nationalism in modern Europe. Although in some respects the Catalan story follows some well-known patterns of national identity construction, it is distinctive in others. Its spatial dynamics were rather particular, because they traverse traditional divides between regionalism and nationalism. The three main sections of the thesis are devoted to three spatial tiers of identity construction – the city, the state, and Europe – and draw on the projects of Josep Puig i Cadafalch (1867-1956), famous Catalan politician, man of letters, architect, art historian, and president of the proto-autonomous Catalan government between 1917 and 1923. Puig’s personal archive, made available to researchers for the first time in 2006, allows me to cast fresh light on the interplay between culture and politics in this seminal historical moment.

Part 1 examines the influence of the visual culture of the 1880s on Puig’s contributions to the remaking of a Barcelona as the capital of a new Catalonia, and the less explored channels for the dissemination of national narratives and imaginaries. Part 2 shows that, in Puig’s design for the 1929 International Exposition, Catalan identity was conveyed not through the content of the exhibition – this was devoted to Spain – but through the way in which that knowledge of Spain was organised and displayed. Along a similar line, it also shows that the seemingly ‘Castilian’ forms of architecture chosen by Puig for the event also entail a ‘Catalan’ gaze, on the whole of Spain. Part 3 discusses the role of academic research in forming national identities, and more particularly, the way in which ‘national’ historiographical discourses may be constructed ‘transnationally’. All three parts consider Puig’s work as an urban planner, exhibition designer, politician, architect, and art historian, and thus engage diverse disciplines and historical debates, from the role of visual culture in shaping urban space to the interplay between Universal Expositions and vernacular architecture, as well as the political use of academic research and the interplay between transnational academic networks and nationalistic history writing.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Umbach, Maiken
Balzaretti, Ross
Keywords: Modern History, Spanish History, Catalonia, Barcelona, Architecture, Urban Planning, World Fairs, Intellectual History, Periphery, National Identity, Imagined Communities
Subjects: D History - General and Old World > DP Spain. Portugal
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities
Item ID: 38730
Depositing User: Mallart, Lucila
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2016 06:40
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2017 17:54

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