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HomeEvents >  2008 Events

Cultures of Democracy
Plenary Speakers

Photo of Ridao José María Ridaois a scholar and diplomat. Born in 1961 in Madrid, he studied Law and Arabic Studies. He began his diplomatic career in 1987, a career that took him to Angola, the Soviet Union, Equatorial Guinea, and France. In the year 2000, Ridao put his diplomatic career on hold and turned full time to essay writing and the novel. His scholarly production is mostly concerned with what he terms "historical misrepresentation," i.e., with the creation of otherness (racial, political, cultural) as an expendable political margin. Known for his proximity to authors like Günter Grass or Manuel Azaña (last Spanish president of the Second Republic—1936-39), Ridao is an insightful analyst and prolific writer of cultural critique. Among the latter he has published: At War (Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona, 2004), El pasajero de Montauban (A Traveler in Montauban) (Galaxia Gutenberg, 2003), La paz sin excusa: sobre la legitimación de la violencia (Inexcusable Peace: On the Legitimization of Violence) (Tusquets, 2004), Contra la historia (Against History) (Seix Barral, 2000), and La desilusión permanente (The Permanent Disillusionment) (Montesinos, 2000). His fictional work includes: El mundo a media voz (The World in a Hushed Voice) (Galaxia Gutenberg, 2001), Excusas para el Doctor Huarte (Excuses for Dr. Huarte) (Montesinos, 1999), and Agosto en el paraíso (August in Paradise) (Montesinos, 1998).

Photo of AranzadiProfessor Juan Aranzadi of the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia—(National University of Distance Learning, UNED) is quite possibly one of the most lucid Spanish thinkers on issues pertaining to the origins of nationalist violence in the Basque, Spanish, US, and Israeli contexts. Born in Santurce, Vizcaya (the Basque Country, Spain) in 1949, Aranzadi studied Philosophy and Anthropology in Salamanca, Madrid, and San Sebastián. He holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology and has held tenured positions in the Department of Philosophy at the University of the Basque Country and currently at the UNED in the Department of Anthropology. He is a widely published and highly respected author both in academic and public circles. His most important publications include: Milenarismo vasco: Edad de oro, Etnia y Nativismo (Basque Millenarianism: The Golden Age, Ethnic Identity and Nativism) (Taurus: 1982 and 2000), Auto de terminación: Raza, nación y violencia en el País Vasco (Order of Termination: Race, Nation, and Violence in the Basque Country) (El País/Aguilar, 1994), El escudo de Arquíloco: Sobre mesías, mártires y terroristas. Vol I: Sangre vasca (Archilochus' Shield: On Messiahs, Martyrs, and Terrorists. Vol I: Basque Blood) and Vol II: El nuevo Israel americano y la restauración de Sión (The New American Israel and the Restoration of Zion (Antonio Machado Libros, 2001), and Good-bye ETA (Hiria, 2005). Aranzadi's public figure has had a prominent place in Spanish journalism since the 1970s. He is a frequent contributor and political commentator in Spain's leading newspaper, El País, since the early 1980s and regularly publishes essays in journals of political and cultural critique such as El Viejo Topo, Tiempo de Historia, and the highly prestigious Claves de Razón Práctica.

Last Updated: 5/4/12