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The Hotel: Occupied Space 

Cover photo: © Chema Madoz / SODRAC (2017)

The Hotel: Occupied Space explores the hotel as both symbol and space through the concept of “occupancy.” By reading how it manifests in art, photography and film as well as during wartime and its use in detention, this book offers a timely critique of a crucial modern space.

"Scholarship on the hotel has been located primarily within architectural and social history, historical geography, consumer cultures, and marketing history. The Hotel is an original work of cultural criticism that provides new transnational paradigms for thinking about the hotel where the imagination is in conversation with the material world, and theory and practice are integrated."

Nicole King, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of American Studies

University of Maryland Baltimore County

"Focusing on an excellent and original topic, The Hotel is a widely appealing book for a variety of fields, with a readership crossing several disciplines: film and literary studies, to be sure, urban cultural studies, architectural studies, and history. The Hotel is written in a style that is both erudite and accessible, full of interesting examples and demonstrating a very strong grasp of the subject."

Will Straw, Professor, Department of Art History and Communications Studies, McGill University

University of Toronto Press, 2018

Jazz Age Barcelona

Jazz Age Barcelona


Hispanic Review. 78.4 (2010): 273-5 

Canadian Journal of History. 45.2 (2010): 381-2 

Trípodos: Llenguatge-Pensament-Comunicació. 26.1 (2010): 183-86

American Historical Review. April 2011

Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies. 12.2 (2011): 257-58

One of the world's renowned centres of culture, Barcelona is also one of the capitals of modernist art given its associations with the talents of Dali, Picasso, and Gaudi. Jazz Age Barcelona focuses the lenses of cultural studies and urban studies on the avant-garde character of the city during the cosmopolitan Jazz Age, delving into the cultural forces that flourished in Europe between the late 1910s and early 1930s. Studying literary journalism, photography, and the city of Barcelona itself, Robert Davidson argues that the explosion of jazz culture and the avant-garde was predominantly fostered by journalists and their positive reception of innovative new art forms and radical politics.

Using periodicals and recently rediscovered archival material, Davidson considers the relationship between the political pressures of a brutal class war, the grasp of a repressive dictatorship, and the engagement of the city's young intellectuals with Barcelona's culture and environment. Also analysing the 1929 International Exhibition and the down-and-out Raval District - which housed many of the Age's clubs and bars - Jazz Age Barcelona is an insightful portrait of one of the twentieth century's most culturally rich times and places.

*Shortlisted for the Canada Prize in the Humanities (English) 2010

'Jazz Age Barcelona studies of one of the most fascinating periods in contemporary Catalan culture, that of the 1920s and 30s - the years leading up to the Spanish Civil War. Writing with an engaging style, Robert A. Davidson uses newspapers, essays, and novels to provide key insights into the transformation of Barcelona during the build-up, height, and aftermath of its experience of the Jazz Age. Innovative, entertaining, and convincing, this book is a real pleasure to read.'

Enric Bou, Chair of Hispanic Studies at Brown University

Davidson's study is both a letter of introduction of Catalan modernism to the critical history of the global avant-garde and a transportation to a vitally creative and provocative         lost age.

Marc Caplan, Hispanic Review, vol 78:04:10

‘Davidson’s Jazz Age Barcelona is an exemplary study of the relationships between print and popular culture in Barcelona… Scholars of European, Spanish, or Catalan history, media, and print culture, and the fascinating interwar period will certainly enjoy Davidson’s analysis, literary style, and presentation.’

Julia Hudson-Richards, Canadian Journal of History: vol45 : Autumn 2010

'This book accomplishes a number of important objectives. It succeeds in introducing English speakers to largely unknown Catalan writers and their works and shows how broader cultural movements influenced the cultural life of at least one Spanish city. The book also contributes to a growing literature focused on the relationship between urban space and cultural production.'

Brian D. Bunk, American Historical review: April 2011

‘Davidson’s book is strongly recommended to anyone with an interest in Catalonia and Spain in the early twentieth century, and will be of use to those studying the Europe         of the time.’

Richard Mansell, Modern Language Review; vol 108:02:2013

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