Memories of (Anti-)Fascism: What the U.S. Can Learn from Spain (April 4, 5:30-7 pm EST, Bond House 116)

The Memory Project at UVA's Karsh Institute of Democracy invites you to a talk by Dr. Sebastiaan Faber (Oberlin College) on historical memory of anti-fascism in Spain and its implications for the anti-fascist movement in the United States. Please click here to register and read below for more information.

For the past quarter century, Spain’s 45-year-old democracy has been in the grip of polarizing memory battles. While grassroots antifascist groups have criticized the democratic state’s lack of attention for the rights of the victims of the Franco dictatorship (1939-75), demanding recognition and reparation, the Spanish Right and the political establishment have defended the country’s democratic transition, based on a far-reaching amnesty law, as an exemplary moment of “reconciliation.” Meanwhile, the far right has taken advantage of the opportunity to fuel the culture wars by pushing revisionist narratives of national history that whitewash the Franco regime, which won the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) with the support of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. As the United States faces its own memory battles—with a “patriotic” far right equally eager to fuel the culture wars—Spain and its long antifascist tradition have some useful lessons to offer.

Sebastiaan Faber is Professor of Hispanic Studies at Oberlin College. He is the author of Exile and Cultural Hegemony: Spanish Intellectuals in Mexico, 1939-1975 (Vanderbilt, 2002), Anglo-American Hispanists and the Spanish Civil War: Hispanophilia, Commitment, and Discipline (Palgrave, 2008), Memory Battles of the Spanish Civil War: History, Fiction, Photography (Vanderbilt, 2018), Exhuming Franco: Spain’s Second Transition (Vanderbilt, 2021), translated as Franco desenterrado. La segunda Transición española (Pasado & Presente, 2022), and Leyendas negras, marcas blancas. La malsana obsesión con la imagen de España en el mundo (Contexto, 2022). He is also co-editor of Contra el olvido. El exilio español en Estados Unidos (U de Alcalá, 2009) and Transatlantic Studies: Latin America, Iberia, and Africa (Liverpool, 2019). From 2010 until 2015 and since 2018, he has served as the Chair of the Board of Governors of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA), whose quarterly magazine, The Volunteer, he co-edits. Faber regularly contributes to Spanish and U.S. media, including CTXT: Contexto y Acción, La Marea, FronteraD, The Nation, Foreign Affairs, Conversación sobre la Historia, Jacobin, and Public Books. Born and raised in the Netherlands, he has been at Oberlin since 1999.

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Event Date: 
Monday, March 20, 2023 11:15 AM