Representing and Remembering al-Andalus: Some Historical Considerations Regarding the End of Time and the Making of Nostalgia
By Justin Stearns
Medieval Encounters, Vol. 15 (2009)
Abstract: The place that al-Andalus occupies in contemporary popular and academic discourses is characterized by an ill-defined but heartfelt nostalgia. This essay returns to the historical texts written during and immediately following the Muslim presence in the Iberian Peninsula in order to elucidate the conceptual place al-Andalus occupied in them. These narratives convey little in the way of nostalgia and frame al-Andalus instead as a place of wonders, jihād and eschatological events. This essay concludes with a brief consideration of when the understanding of al-Andalus as a “lost paradise” emerged and how this understanding may now itself be changing.