The processes of identity formation may follow different paths. These processes might pursue a narrative, a ritualistic, a mythological, or a political trail, among others. Nationalisms, indigenisms, religious revivals, political and economic protests, movements of the masses, and therefore, the dynamics of identity are today becoming increasingly more complex. Spain has been a country of culture clashes or encounters, rivalries, conflicts and fratricidal wars, but it has also been the homeland of great artists such as Cervantes, Velázquez, Calderón de la Barca, Goya, García Lorca and Picasso. Their contributions to the understanding of t human nature have been revolutionary and Girard's predilection for Cervantes is well known. We like to believe that Spain constitutes a privileged vantage point from which to evaluate the possibilities and limits of identity construction processes in our world.
In COV&R 2017 in Madrid, we would like to invite scholars to explore the roots of identity; the ways rivalry survives and rises over the centuries as a force of destruction and foundation. Jean-Michel Oughourlian, Cesáreo Bandera (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), Charles Powell (Real Instituto Elcano), Jon Juaristi (Universidad Alcalá de Henares), Roland Hsu (University of Stanford), or Carlos Mendoza-Álvarez (Universidad Iberoamericana de México) have confirmed their participation as plenary speakers and we are waiting for others to accept our invitation.
We are also working on a special cultural program. It will include private visits to the Prado museum, a memorable gala dinner, opera, literary nightwalks around the old city, and field-trips on Saturday and Sunday to the nearby towns of Avila, Toledo, el Escorial and other historical sites.