The Myth of “The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise”
By Jesús R. Velasco | Published on February 6, 2020
“All in all, The Myth seeks to demonize academic cultural history and literary studies in the service of an extreme-right political agenda by badly warping their tools and then declaring victory when those tools do not perform their tasks adequately. Academics who are trained with these tools and methods will recognize the chicanery; the intended audience for a popular history may not. Ultimately, then, Fernández-Morera is taking advantage of his audience of lay readers who are already favorably disposed toward highly critical representations of Islam and Islamic sources in order to present himself as the lone voice of truth in a messy and partisan academic wilderness, knowing that non-academic readers will not necessarily recognize the deceptive techniques he uses to craft that image. He is feeding into existing conservative anger about Islam and about the very possibility of religiously and racially integrated societies in order to make himself a hero and is doing so at the expense of educating and engaging his readers. A book like this succeeds at promoting its extreme-right political ideology by distorting its sources, obfuscating its methods, and counting on readers to be hoodwinked all the while leaving them convinced that they are receiving the real truth.”
S.J. Pearce, “The Myth of the Myth of the Andalusian Paradise,” in The Extreme Right and the Revision of History, ed. 42 Louie Valencia-García. New York: Routledge, forthcoming 2020.