Palmar Álvarez-Blanco, Professor of Spanish
Professor Palmar Álvarez-Blanco’s five-year project, The Constellation of the Commons / La Constelación de los Comunes (CC), created a bilingual audiovisual archive and two forthcoming books about communities with anticapitalist aspirations and grassroots practices that operate in Spain. The project is the result of a research process investigating the culture of the commons and its practical expression. Configured in the form of a constellational archive, it is home to a total of 45 documented conversations in audiovisual and textual formats. This project not only benefits people who are studying the formation of grassroots movements and organizations in contemporary Spain, but also facilitates a space in which the organizations and movements can find experiences, references, and models that aid in their development. In addition to the online archive, Professor Álvarez-Blanco has synthesized this information into a printed book. During fall 2019, she collaborated with Editorial La Vorágine, an editorial house in Spain, to create the physical edition of the book. The book is now available at Carleton’s Gould Library and through La Vorágine’s bookstore by “print on demand.”
During summer 2020, Professor Álvarez-Blanco collaborated with Emanuel Gimeno, an expert in Spain, to translate new interviews conducted via Zoom with collectives in Spain.
Professor Álvarez-Blanco brought the archive into the classroom for the project’s next stage. The Constellation of the Commons was used as the primary text in her Fall 2020 course “Spanish 345: Culture, Capitalism and the Commons,” and students created audiovisual essays on the culture of the Commons’ movement by utilizing materials housed in the digital repository. By combining theory, practice, and creativity, students both learned about the Commons’ movement and these audiovisual film techniques, while also contributing to the archive itself with their films. Professor Álvarez-Blanco and her students collaborated with Spanish film director Oscar Clemente, well-known for the use of audiovisual recycling in his work. This new stage of Professor Álvarez-Blanco’s project creates possibilities for students to engage with and contribute to publicly-facing scholarship on contemporary international political and social movements.