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Moors and more (or less): The Black Iberian as OTHER

Debra D. Andrist

Both during and since the period that post-Reconquest, Christian-perspective history and literature call a conquest and an occupation of the Iberian Peninsula, from 711 to 1492, the Moor or the Black African Moslem, when even mentioned, has been portrayed as other in terms of religion, and other in terms of race but most notably, very nearly always, other in terms of ethics, values, etc. This negative overlay extends throughout society, even into a food metaphor, the dish known as cristianos y moros being black beans surrounded by white rice.

However, scholarly investigations of race per se in any Iberian context are scanty and/or skewed.
Therefore, not only is the topic of the Black in the Iberian Peninsula a virtually un-mined scholarly lode [u]but I personally have related/analogical experience which makes it of great scholarly interest to me[u]. I am a sociologist/critical theorist who deals with both created and real societies, particularly in terms of minority populations, whose primary scholarly interest and accomplishment has been in Hispanic women's studies. I have consciously chosen to work in the study of life experience via the literature and art of many periods and many ethnic traditions.

Research Areas

1. The Historical Presence of Blacks in the Iberian Peninsula
2. The Relationship of Religion and/or Race in Terms of the Black Iberian
3. Race-designating Vocabulary in Spanish and Portuguese
4. Literary Representation of the Black Character in Spain and Portugal


1. Gender
2. Class

Workshop Topics

1. Representing Black European history

  • What role does/did religion play in how the Black was/is included in Iberian history/literature?

  • What role does/did socio-economic class play in how the Black was/is included in Iberian history/literature?

  • Who and where was/is the Black woman in Iberian history/and literature?

4. Black European Studies curricula
  • How can/how should Black Iberian contributions be incorporated into survey courses on Spanish and Portuguese culture?

  • What role did Black Iberians play in the conquest of the Americas?

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