This year’s academic programme at the Bernardo Atxaga Chair at the City University of New York will take place from 9-12 October. The programme will focus on the Basque conflict and how it is reflected in literature. The visiting lecturer this year is Gorka Mercero.
When it comes to telling the story of the violence and political conflict the Basque Country has suffered for decades, some voices, largely from other parts of Spain, feel that the most important underlying narrative is the human capacity to cause pain and destruction. However, this interpretation denies that ETA is the direct result of a political conflict. Where do Basque writers and their work fit in this ‘narrative battle’? How have they contributed to solving the conflict? During the next few days, CUNY graduate students will analyse the work of several writers in a seminar led by Gorka Mercero entitled ´The narrative battle and the conflict of national identities’.
The students will also be visited by another guest lecturer, author Kirmen Uribe. On 12 October Uribe will deliver a lecture titled ‘The hour of waking together: Basque identity in the 20th century’ and talk about how his book Elkarrekin esnatzeko ordua (The Hour of Waking Together) has been received in Spain.
Finally, this year´s invited guest, Gorka Mercero, will give a lecture open to the public titled ‘Basque invisibility in the eyes of Spain’. Mercero holds a bachelor’s degree in Basque Philology and a PhD in Basque Literature and is an expert in contemporary Basque literature. He was an Etxepare reader in Basque literature and language in Birmingham and is currently teaching at the University of Liverpool.
In 2011 the Etxepare Basque Institute launched the Bernardo Atxaga Chair, designed primarily to promote research and a better understanding of the Basque language and literature. Bernardo Atxaga himself inaugurated the chair to offer students a PhD level programme taught by expert guest lecturers.