Hispanic Studies

The use of the term “Hispanic” for non-Spaniards is not uncontroversial (to put it mildly, and, for that matter, carefully). Different populations prefer different designations. While some would wish to be called Latino (or Latin@, which combines Latino and Latina in one word), others want to be called Mexican-American, Chicano (or Chican@), or any number of terms that reflect national identity on a personal level (Borricua, etc). The term Hispanic, then, is fraught, given that some populations do not wish to have any connection to the Spanish background. As a Hispanist scholar, Paula is sensitive to this issue. She uses either Hispanic or Latino when not referring to Peninsular Spanish identities for the sake of convenience.

 The content on this page relates mainly to Paula’s primary scholarly focus (Peninsular Spain from the period of the Spanish Civil War to the Law of Historic Memory of 2007) but there will also be other Hispanic texts here too. Paula has been a student of Comparative Literature from the beginning of her undergraduate career and she greatly values the full spectrum of Spanish language and Hispanic literary and cultural expression.

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Aguilar, Paloma. Memory and Amnesia: The Role of the Spanish Civil War in the Transition to Democracy. Trans. Mark Oakley. New York: Berghahn Books, 2002. Print.

Following the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975, Spain mended itself on a surface level in part, at least, due to the unofficial yet very real pacto del olvido, or “agreement to forget” that was designed to ensure that never again would Spain suffer such a war as the tragedy of 1936-1939. Aguilar, in her critical assessment of cultural artifacts, including news reports, textbooks, oral reports, and other sources, probes the construction of an official discourse emanating from the Franco regime and perpetuated by the agreement to forget. This is an exemplary and thorough assessment of Spain’s war and post-war history.

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 Carr, Raymond. The Spanish Tragedy: The Civil War in Perspective. 1977. London: Phoenix P, 2000. Print.

Of the vast resources available to a researcher of the Civil War, Raymond Carr’s scholarship is foundational. This study considers the varying factions and factors that allowed dictator Francisco Franco to manipulate the circumstances and prevail in this tragic event. Carr focuses on stratification and conflict between social and political classes in Spain and provides an unflinching analysis of the consequences of their schisms.

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Lozano, Luis-Martín. The Magic of Remedios Varo. Trans. Elizabeth Goldson Nicholson and Liliana Valenzuela. Washington, DC: National Museum of Women in the Arts, 2000. Print.

Remedios Varo (1908-1963) was born in Spain, took refuge in France following the Civil War, and ultimately was forced to flee to Mexico during the German occupation of France. A surrealist painter and anarchist, she moved in circles with other artists like Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Adopted by Mexico as one of their own, her work has received relatively little attention in the United States. This book, with its more than fifty color plates, bilingual narrative, and excellent introduction, is a valuable resource for admirers of Varo’s exquisite creativity.

Note: Aficionados of Remedios Varo are very dedicated. Here is a web page with a veritable treasure trove of Remedios Varo links: http://www.hungryflower.com/leorem/varo.html

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Richards, Michael. A Time of Silence: Civil War and the Culture of Repression in Franco’s Spain, 1936-1945. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1998. Print. Studies in the Social and Cultural History of Modern Warfare 4.

The Spanish Civil War is considered by many to be a “dress rehearsal” for World War II. This war represented the bitter culmination of political and historical unrest within the country. Heavily marked by the support (or lack thereof) of outside forces, the outcome of this terrible conflict was absorbed into the fabric of Spanish society in part due to what was unsaid and suppressed. Richards, here, investigates the many silences that constructed post-War Spain.

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