Spanish Cultural Diversity II

Lead: Attempts to suppress cultural and religious diversity have been one of the hallmarks of modern Spain. From the work of the Spanish Inquisition to the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, these efforts have only lightly covered over real differences. In 1978 Spain tried a new way.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: For thirty-six years, the last caudillo, Francisco Franco held his thumb in dike of progress. It was a valiant, but futile attempt at keeping parts of Spanish life, religion, culture, and politics under wraps, while opening the way to economic innovation, outside markets, and prosperity. Franco failed, but it remained to be seen how post-Franco Spain would deal with the changing world outside as well how it would accommodate long-standing and suppressed internal regional conflict.

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Spanish Cultural Diversity I

Lead: After the death in 1975 Francisco Franco and the coming of democracy, Spain set out to deal with its rich cultural diversity. It was a complex task, centuries overdue.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: From the outside, a casual observer might be forgiven if they did not recognize that modern Spain is a rich tapestry of cultural variety. Spain’s geographical proximity to Africa, a scant 20 miles across the Straits of Gibraltar, and its long northern border with France and the rest of Europe, have made it an ethnic land bridge, a magnet for different cultures, religions and peoples since long before the Roman Empire. The Greeks came, Phoenicians and Carthaginians, Visigoths and other Germanic tribes swirled into the void left by a collapsing Rome and then in the eighth century, crusading Arabs and Berbers from Africa brought evangelical Islam at the point of a sword. Then, for over seven centuries, Spain became one of the violent frontiers between Christian Europe and the Islamic culture to the south.

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History’s Turning Points: The End of Chastity II

Lead: Historical study often helps reveal twists in the human journey. Consider one of history’s turning points – conspirators in the death of chastity.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In his 1960 novel Where the Boys Are, Clendon Swarthout mused that “virginity was not all that important…nor do I think a girl’s misplacing it somewhere is as catastrophic as the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.” Perhaps not, but for thousands of years prior, chastity was very important, for families, for religious institutions, for dynastic security. Men might not have to maintain theirs, a classic double standard, but much energy was expended to make sure that females were chaste. Yet, within just a few short decades, it just went away, something considered so precious in previous generations was abandoned with a near careless lack of restraint.

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History’s Turning Points: The End of Chastity I

Lead: Historical study often helps reveal twists in the human journey. Consider one of history’s great social turning points – the death of chastity.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The expectation that a woman had to remain chaste, a virgin, until marriage or at least until engagement, had been around for millennia. The purpose of sex had been to make babies, propagate the species, extend the family, and in that process women were seen to play the essential role, the depository of the seed of life. It was thought that female chastity was essential. That the other half of the population, the male half, was not expected to maintain quite the same level of virtuous existence became increasingly seen as a double-standard in the modern era. Suddenly women had an ally, a tiny chemical wafer – the Pill - that helped redress an ancient gender imbalance. Now the act of sex could be severed from procreation. The rules governing chastity were being repealed. The invention and wide availability of the Pill sat upon one of history’s great turning points.

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Cajuns in Louisiana II

Lead: Expelled by the British from the eastern maritime provinces of Canada, many settlers of French descent and language migrated southeast down the Mississippi to Louisiana. The Cajuns had arrived.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: After the Expulsion of 1755, French immigrants were attracted to Louisiana because they thought it was a French colony which was willing to provide material assistance to the early newcomers the first of whom arrived in 1763. The colony’s resources were quickly depleted, however, and subsequent waves of the so-called Cajuns found little help. They also experienced downright hostility from the already established French residents known as Creoles. In addition they discovered to their surprise that they had immigrated into Spanish territory when a shift in international fortunes made New France into New Spain under the secret Treaty of Fontainebleau (1762).

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Cajuns in Louisiana I

Lead: Cajuns who fled Canada and emigrated to Louisiana beginning in the 1700s added a rich variety to the culture and politics of that already exotic region.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Cajun was originally a derogatory name, similar to Injun, the name given to Native Americans by Europeans. It referred to French Canadian immigrants who made their way south into Louisiana after being forcibly removed by the British in the Expulsion of 1755. Originating in the maritime provinces of northwestern France, Normandy, Picardy, Brittany, they settled in La Cadie, an area surrounding Canada’s Bay of Fundy, territories that became New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Isle, and parts of Maine. Their wilderness isolation from French colonial areas in the St. Lawrence Valley and from France itself created a unique culture unlike that of New France, almost an eastern frontier sensibility, independent, egalitarian with distinct speech, and dependence upon family and clan rather than nationality.

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Chivalry in Medieval Tournaments

Lead: One of the means used to bring some order out of chaos in Medieval Europe was tournaments, martial events organized under an elaborate Code of Chivalry.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the centuries following the collapse of the Roman Empire, western Europe struggled to create some semblance of order in the absence of centralized authority, reduced travel and communications, and in the face of almost constant invasions from east Asia, the Isalmic south, and Scandinavia. In such extreme circumstances it is small wonder that there evolved a warrior class which increasingly competed with the Roman Catholic church for domination in society. Rough, uneducated, skilled in the arts of war, these fighters gradually came to be known as knights. In the high medieval period, from above A.D. 1000 to 1400, with outside threats receding and seeking outlets for their restless energies, knights would compete in elaborate regional tournaments to sharpen their fighting skills, generate income and settle personal grievances.

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Thomas Aquinas

Lead: Italian priest and theologian, Thomas Aquinas, was one of the most prolific writers of the Middle Ages and a major influence on western thought.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Aquinas was born in southern Italy sometime around 1225 in Castle Roccasecca (‘roka seeka) near the small town of Aquino, between Rome and Naples. He was a bookish child, and at the age of fourteen began his studies at the University of Naples. Thomas was greatly influenced by the Dominican religious order, a mendicant society, which he joined in 1243, by taking his vow of poverty. His family was none too pleased with his decision to become a Dominican friar. His brothers even kidnapped him and held him in the castle tower for almost a year. Thomas, however, could not be persuaded otherwise and was later ordained.

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