Dario Fernandez-Morera

Darío Fernández Morera is an associate professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Northwestern University.

Escaping Havana

Una NocheUna Noche captures a defining moment in the lives of three adolescents in today’s Cuba. It narrates the existential predicament of Raul and his best friend, Elio, seen from the point of view of the third adolescent, Lila, who is Elio‘s twin sister.

But as the director has pointed out in an interview, there is another main character in the movie: the city of Havana. Una Noche is filmed entirely in Cuba’s capital, and the city functions not only as a space for the story, but as part of it, contributing to the film’s powerful impact on an audience.

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A Pathology of Democracy

The Servile Mind

Kenneth Minogue examines with learning and wit a mentality which he calls “the servile mind,” which accompanies the existence and progression of Western democracy.  Minogue contrasts the servile mind with the “the moral life,” as in this definition: By “the moral life” I simply mean that dimension of our inner experience in which we deliberate about our obligations to parents, children, employers, strangers, charities, sporting associations, and other elements of our world.  We may not always devote much conscious thought to these matters, but such involvements make up the substance of our lives and also constitute the conditions of our happiness. …

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When the Spirits Collided: Islam and Christianity in the Course of Western Civilization

Mohammed & Charlemagne

Emmet Scott's  Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: the History of a Controversy is a stimulating and important book joining other recent works that undertake a vindication and development of Belgian scholar Henri Pirenne’s thesis regarding Islam’s impact on the history of Europe. In a posthumous work (Mahomet et Charlemagne: Byzance, Islam et Occident dans le haut Moyen Age, 1937), Pirenne argued that there had been a continuity between the civilization of the Roman Empire, in its surviving version (the Greek Roman Christian Empire, or “Byzantine”), with its capital in Constantinople, and the “barbarian” and eventually Christianized nations that took over the Latin…

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Religious Freedom and State Power in the Latin American Experience

The recent appearance of a number of Christian historical movies, such as There Be Dragons, on the sufferings of Catholics during the Spanish Civil War; Of Gods and Men, on a massacre of Trappist monks by Muslim fighters in 1996; and For the Greater Glory, on the Cristiada War in Mexico, makes John Lynch’s New Worlds: A Religious History of Latin America curiously timed.  This excellent book gives a panoramic description of the rise, ups and downs, and present state of religion in Latin America.  It covers the different Christian churches, Judaism, Vodou, Santeria, and Amerindian religions.  However, it justifiably focuses on the Catholic Church, for as the author makes clear, Catholicism has been for five centuries “the defining religion of Latin America.” 

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