Screening of 'Los caminos de la memoria' and seminar with Francisco Ferrándiz
In the Transnational Memory seminar of 5 November, the documentary Los caminos de la memoria (English subtitles) by José-Luis Peñafuerte (2009, 91 min.) will be screened. The screening will be followed by a talk by Francicso Ferrándiz, entitled 'Mass Graves Unbound: Transcultural Processes in the Unmaking of Francoism in Spain Today'. This event is supported by the Utrecht University research focus area Cultures, Citizenship, and Human Rights.
About the film
Franco’s dictatorship, one of the longest and bloodiest in 20th century Europe, has been shrouded in silence by Spain since his death, more than 30 years a go. In December 2007, the Historical Memory Law was passed despite controversy. The Spanish government at last sought to lift the veil from this period and do justice to the hundreds of thousands of victims of Franco, José-Luis Peñafuerte, himself a descendant of exiles, examines this suppressed memory to open a window against forgetting. The pieces of this incomplete puzzle in Spain’s collective conscious are still many: the mass graves, the concentration camps, the prisons, the roads to exile, the still vivid traces of Franco.
About the lecture
In this seminar, Francisco Ferrándiz will discuss the recent exhumations of mass graves from the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), focusing on 3 themes related to the transnational unfolding of such exhumations:
- the progressive transformation in the last decade of those shot in the war from "executed" into "disappeared" linked to crimes against humanities (incorporating commemorative iconographies and new ways of thinking about truth, justice, reparation in a global context, and constructing their memory alongside other forms of disappearance, especially in Argentina and Chile, but also Bosnia and other places);
- the predominance of (increasingly transnational) forensic aesthetics and scientific logics as one crucial memory plot in contemporary Spain;
- the vital importance of digital technologies in the shaping of the "historical memory" of these crimes committed 70 years ago. That is, the temporal disjuncture between the "black and white Spain" that produced the mass graves and the "digital Spain" which reopens them in the framework of the information society and the digital era.
Francisco Ferrándiz is tenured researcher at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). He has a PhD in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley, funded by a Fulbright Scholarship. Since 2002, he has conducted research on the politics of memory in contemporary Spain through the analysis of the exhumations of mass graves from the Civil War (1936-1939). On this topic, he has recently published El pasado bajo tierra: Exhumaciones contemporáneas de la Guerra Civil (Anthropos/Siglo XXI, 2014), and co-edited (with Antonius C.G.M Robben) Necropolitics: Mass Graves and Exhumations in the Age of Human Rights (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015). He has also published his research in journals such as American Ethnologist, Anthropology Today, Critique of Anthropology, Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies, and Ethnography.
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