How to Con­tribute to Iberian Connections

Iberian Con­nec­tions is spon­sored by The Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for Inter­na­tional and Area Studies, and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

Stu­dents and par­tic­i­pants in this seminar will write fre­quently. They will also read and review each other fre­quently. Reading and writing, all of us will abide by two main prin­ciples: peer review, and gen­erous thinking. Peer review means that our mission is to work within a com­munity of scholars led by a sense of equity —hence, we are peers, there is no hier­archy among us when we are working together. Gen­erous thinking —the subject of a recent book by Kathleen Fitz­patrick— means that instead of reading each other with a blind critical eye to “tear apart” mer­ci­lessly, we need to engage with each other’s writings with the ability to think with each other, con­tributing to the improvement of the work we do indi­vid­ually [1].

After careful peer review, some of these writings will be posted and credited to the author on the rel­evant section of Iberian Con­nec­tions. Those who publish their work on Iberian Con­nec­tions need to know that the ideas con­tained in their online pub­li­cation are their sole property, and that they can re-use them and publish them in their own research papers, articles, or dis­ser­ta­tions. Likewise, if other stu­dents and researchers want to use the ideas and theses pub­lished online, they need to credit them by author, title, and all other rel­evant details of pub­li­cation, like they would do with any other printed pub­li­cation. Finally, all material pub­lished online is pro­tected by attri­bution to their authors and time­stamp —in other words, pub­lishing online is a safe way to expose ideas and theses while sharing them with a com­munity of scholars, not a way to give them away freely and unsafely.

Here is a list of kinds of writings par­tic­i­pants can do for this seminar:


Articles are paper-like mono­graphs, with an extension of around 8,000 words, with foot­notes and bib­li­og­raphy. Articles are directly related to the list of texts and sub­jects included in a par­ticular session. For instance, if the seminar session includes readings from Christine de Pizan and Diego de Valera, and the main subject is peace, you can write an article on one (or several) of these three ele­ments. But if you want to write a text on some other text by one of those authors, then it won’t have the cat­egory of article, it will fall in a dif­ferent cat­egory (see Note) and will have a dif­ferent extension.


Notes are like articles, but they are only indi­rectly related to a spe­cific session (for instance, they deal with one of the authors of the reading list, but the main subject or the main text of ref­erence are not on the list), and will be shorter (around 3,000 words, with foot­notes and bibliography).


A gloss is a critical inter­pre­tation of a cul­tural, the­o­retical concept. Such concept is in itself a critical decision. If you want to identify a concept, you do not have to limit yourself to a spe­cific list already sanc­tioned by the canon. You can identify other kind of con­cepts. For instance, you can identify con­cepts that seem mar­ginal, tropes, metaphors, or fic­tions, casually used but that may direct to more complex cul­tural, political, legal issues; visual or musical con­cepts that point to cul­tural issues and problems; lit­erary con­cepts that try to find their way into the cul­tural realm in order to submit it to crit­icism; etc.

This is a mul­ti­lingual database. Please feel free to suggest glosses in dif­ferent lan­guages and from dif­ferent periods, and, by all means, cross cul­tures, periods, and political and legal systems when you are writing your gloss if it is rel­evant for your gloss-writing. Do not be afraid to suggest the original concept in the original lan­guage and script –and provide your reader with a translit­er­ation and a cogent translation.

How to prepare your gloss

  • Title: Identify the concept you want to write about. Use the concept only as your title.
  • Date or date range for the concept: identify the moment of cre­ation, or the moment in which a certain word becomes a concept, etc.
  • Location: it nor­mally cor­re­sponds with the place of pro­duction of the primary source(s) you are using.

Content of the gloss:

  • Identify the primary sources for your concept of choice
  • Establish its genealogy or history
  • Discuss its inter­pre­ta­tions and more salient bibliography
  • Create your inter­pre­tation by exploring the concept using critical and the­o­retical dis­courses. Ask yourself how this concept can be inter­preted as a the­o­retical concept itself, and how can it be pro­ductive (if it can) for con­tem­porary critical thought.
  • Elab­orate a bib­li­o­graphical list with primary and sec­ondary sources, using MLA models.
  • Elab­orate a list of related hyperlinks.


Typical reviews engage with a critical reading of a book, an article, a small set of bib­li­o­graphical items about one spe­cific theme, or even other resources like video, video games, com­puter games, digital human­ities projects, and other. Keep your work short and gen­er­ously critical (remember the gen­erous thinking part). 

Library Item

A library item is a trace of your work with primary sources in the library. This will con­tribute to a larger database of primary mate­rials. For your library item please reg­ister the fol­lowing information:

  • Title (of the work, if it has one; if not, the one you give it to it)
  • Short description (a teaser of what the reader will find in your contribution)
  • Detailed description (here you can be com­pletely free in what you reg­ister, and please do not hes­itate to present theses, ideas, and be creative)
  • Location (the place where the work was pro­duced, if known).
  • Date (or range of dates of the item)
  • Alternate title (if it has one; for instance, the Libro de Buen Amor is also known as Libro del Arcipreste)
  • Author(s), translator(s), compiler(s), glossator(s)
  • Patron
  • Workshop (for instance, the workshop that worked for Alfonso X)
  • Scribe identity
  • Tran­scription (maybe it is not a com­plete one, but it tran­scribes frag­ments or excerpts that you judge important)
  • Bib­li­og­raphy
  • Cita­tions (MLA citation of the item)
  • If man­u­script: paper? parchment? does it have glosses? does it have images?
  • If printed copy: printing press and printer.
  • Library, city where the library is, call number, link to catalog or links to other data­bases that reg­ister the item
  • Link to dig­i­tized version
  • Addi­tional links or resources

In addition to this, there are other forms in which you may con­tribute to the seminar and Iberian Connections:


Throughout the year we will have guests vis­iting our seminar and dis­cussing their work with us. Please con­sider setting up an appointment with them for an interview on dif­ferent sub­jects (research, aca­demic life, admin­is­tration, the human­ities, etc.) You may record this interview in many ways, including audio and video. Please review care­fully the rel­evant pro­tocols gov­erning inter­views, and prepare your ques­tions in advance [2]. You can consult the ques­tions with your peers (us) and you can engage some of your peers for the interview (one can take pic­tures, or par­tic­ipate in the recording of the event, alternate asking ques­tions, etc.)


If you want to prepare a podcast of any subject related to our seminar, do not hes­itate to do it. For instance, a dis­cussion about a par­ticular subject that you prefer to record rather than write; a debate with a peer; an analysis of a musical item that obvi­ously needs sound; etc. A short, around 3‑minute-long podcast can be very effective, and will help you engaging your audience about one par­ticular subject, not unlike a “lightning-talk” or an “ele­vator pitch”.


Same as before, but with video.

Fur­thermore, there are other ways in which you can participate


General pre­sen­ta­tions for the class (like, for instance, preparing an inter­vention for the class, with A/V, and then posting it online).


You may want to gather a number of images and do an online exhibit with them.


Prepare a response for one of our seminar ses­sions, a peer, or one of our guests.

Virtual col­loquia

If you want to collect several dis­cus­sions about one par­ticular subject and create a cluster of articles or notes about it.

If you have other ideas, do not even hes­itate to present them. Also, you can combine several kinds in one (for instance, you can videocast a library item)


  1. Kathleen Fitz­patrick. Gen­erous Thinking: A Radical Approach to Saving the Uni­versity. Bal­timore: Johns Hopkins Uni­versity Press, 2019.[]
  2. There are many ways to conduct inter­views, as well as many dif­ferent pos­sible pro­tocols. This link from Columbia Uni­versity J‑School seems an inter­esting starting point, but you will find many other resources online. Do not hes­itate to create your own and maybe share them with the other par­tic­i­pants. Some central points, however, include the fol­lowing (from the link I just rec­om­mended): “The rules that govern the reporter’s behavior in the interview can be de­tailed with some cer­tainty. Reporters, too, conceal, mislead and, at times, lie. Few reporters justify these prac­tices. Most agree the reporter should:
    1. Identify himself or herself at the outset of the interview.
    2. State the purpose of the interview.
    3. Make clear to those unac­cus­tomed to being inter­viewed that the material will be used.
    4. Tell the source how much time the interview will take.
    5. Keep the interview as short as possible.
    6. Ask spe­cific ques­tions that the source is com­petent to answer.
    7. Give the source ample time to reply.
    8. Ask the source to clarify complex or vague answers.
    9. Read back answers if requested or when in doubt about the phrasing of crucial material.
    10. Insist on answers if the public has a right to know them.
    11. Avoid lec­turing the source, arguing or debating.
    12. Abide by requests for nonat­tri­bution, back­ground only or off‑the-record should the source make this a con­dition of the interview or of a statement.

    Reporters who habit­ually violate these rules risk losing their sources. Few sources will talk to an incom­petent or an exploitative reporter. When the source realizes that he or she is being used to enhance the reporter’s career or to further the reporter’s per­sonal ideas or phi­losophy, the source will close up.”[]