Selling Spain: Tourism, Tensions, and Islam in Iberia

Jessica R. Boll (1)
(1) MacAllister Hall 313, Carroll University, 100 N. East Ave., Waukesba, WI 53186, USA , United States


Spain’s relationship with Islam is both phobic and -philic, attitudes revealed in policy and practice throughout the country. This paper examines the ways in which Spain’s unique multicultural, multi-religious past affects the nation’s present, specifically with regard to tourism. The aim is to situate Spanish concerns amongst the broader context of cultural tourism by exposing how Spain’s history is concurrently sold to Muslims and non-Muslims and providing insight into how the representation of this history reflects (or rejects) the nation’s current circumstances. Although Spain's tourist industry often capitalizes on Iberia’s Islamic past, marketing the peninsula as a leading destination for both “halal tourism” and for those seeking glimpses of medieval al-Andalus, Christian-Muslim tensions continue to plague the nation as controversies, prejudice, and violence abound.

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Jessica R. Boll (Primary Contact)
Author Biography

Jessica R. Boll, MacAllister Hall 313, Carroll University, 100 N. East Ave., Waukesba, WI 53186, USA

Jessica R. Boll, PhD, is associate professor of Spanish at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin, USA. Her research centers upon early modern Spanish-Ottoman relations, contemporary Christian-Muslim relations in Spain, shared spaces, and contested perceptions of place. Her investigations combine geography, history, cultural studies, literary studies, Mediterranean studies, and Ottoman studies. She has recently published articles related to the legacy of al-Andalus in contemporary Spain, Spanish tourism, the controversies surrounding the Mosque-Cathedral (Mezquita) of Córdoba, Cervantine captivity, and the depiction of Istanbul in early modern Spanish literature.

Boll, J. R. (2020). Selling Spain: Tourism, Tensions, and Islam in Iberia. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 20(2), 42–55.

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