From the Archive to the Grave; Exhumations and the Production of History in Contemporary Extremadura

Araguete Toribio, Zaira. 2015. From the Archive to the Grave; Exhumations and the Production of History in Contemporary Extremadura. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis examines how the traces of violence from the Spanish Civil War, that have emerged in recent years, are shaping new historical epistemologies and creating different political realities in contemporary Spain. The work follows the exhumations of mass graves from the war and postwar periods containing the bodies of the Republican dead. Since the year 2000, civil society groups have promoted these interventions with the help of forensic and archaeological teams and with limited aid from the Spanish state. Focusing on the case of the southwestern region of Extremadura, this thesis explores the way in which different collectives engage in the production of knowledge about the executions, the missing and Francoist repression. It does so by following the search for the dead from the archive to the mass grave, analysing the relation that families, activists, scientists and others establish with the documents, the images, the bones and the objects. All of which materialise the trails of a traumatic past. The process of exhumation, I argue, has opened up a space for novel collections and recollections, creating new modes of historical and political enunciation affected by the enduring force of past violence. I demonstrate that exhumations have prompted the formation of alternative archives, which contest official narratives and hegemonic positions. These new formations are constituted by the interplay of scientific expertise, historical research, intimate memories, and by the political and social relations of different generation groups. In what follows, I analyse how the location, exhumation and reburial of the mortal remains of the defeated in the war speak directly to dictatorial and transitional imaginaries, reclaiming other political, moral and social forms of engagement in the region and the country at large.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.25602/GOLD.00015077

Keywords:

Exhumations, Spanish Civil War, Politics of Memory, Violence, Archives, Human Remains, Spain

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Anthropology

Date:

31 October 2015

Item ID:

15077

Date Deposited:

23 Nov 2015 11:36

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:12

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/15077

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