The Iberian Peninsula's geopolitical location at the crossroads between Africa, Europe, and the Americas makes it a space of transformation. Current challenges are altering the demographic and political equilibrium of the last half century and reactivating social movements, cultural traditions, historical memories, and political challenges. At the same time, the political articulation of the Peninsula’s diversity interrogates the European Union about the nature of its political bond and about issues of membership, representation, inclusiveness, and subsidiarity.
The Iberian Studies Program promotes interdisciplinary study on the cultures of the Iberian Peninsula in their internal relations and as part of the European Union. Particular attention is devoted to contemporary issues ranging from the economic crisis to migratory phenomena to the political tug-of-war between centrifugal and centripetal forces and to the role of the media in creating the public representations of these diverse national constituencies. Problems such as the normalization of democratic culture beyond the rule of law, the weight of Spain’s and Portugal’s imperial past, and their role as players in the EU and in the Northern Atlantic and Western Mediterranean, are discussed from a variety of perspectives and disciplinary approaches. Past Iberian Studies speakers included political leaders, presidents of sports organizations, CEOs, media leaders, anthropologists, historians, and literary scholars. The program regularly hosts visiting researchers and sponsors conferences on campus.
The Iberian Studies Program maintains close links with Stanford’s Department of Iberian and Latin American Studies in the DLCL. Its location within The Europe Center (TEC) signifies the program's multidisciplinary scope. It also intersects with related programs, such as Stanford’s Mediterranean Studies Forum, to locate the position of the Iberian Peninsula at the heart of debates about contemporary Europe.