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Lecture/talk Research

After the Monument: Unmaking the Valley of the Fallen in Contemporary Spain

Uses of the Past lecture with Francisco José Ferrándiz Martin on the politics of memory over Spain’s most conspicuous fascist monument, the Valley of the Fallen.

Info about event


Friday 24 September 2021,  at 14:15 - 16:00


Building 1481, room 231


Uses of the Past

In this presentation, Ferrándiz Martin will critically spell out the diverse array of initiatives that the Spanish government is promoting to “resignify” the Valley of the Fallen, the most conspicuous fascist monument still active in Spain. Built during almost two decades after the 1936-1939 Civil War, it was inaugurated on April 1st 1959 in the 20th anniversary of Franco’s victory over the Republic. Sixteen years later, in 1975, the dictator was buried there three days after his death, consolidating the Francoist narrative of the monument. Since the turn of the century, the monument has become under close public scrutiny and proposals for its future range from leaving it untouched to complete demolition. In between these two extremes, calls for its transformation into a place of “democratic memory" seem more realistic. Franco’s exhumation and exit from the monument in late 2019 after a long judicial controversy, a major State decision, was a crucial turning point in the monument’s transformation, opening the way for further initiatives.   

Francisco José Ferrándiz Martin (PhD, University of California at Berkeley) is a Staff Researcher in the Institute of Language, Literature and Anthropology (ILLA) of the Center for the Humanities and Social Sciences (CCHS) at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). He is Main Researcher of the research project The Politics of Memory in Contemporary Spain: A Decade of Mass Grave Exhumations, funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (see http://www.politicasdelamemoria.org/). He has also been the CSIC coordinator of the VII FP Marie Curie Initial Training Network (ITN) 'Sustainable Peace Building' (SBUILD) and was a member of the Management Committee of the COST action called In Search of Transcultural Memory in Europe.

The event is open to the public, prior registration is not required  

Recordings of the event can be found on YouTube, with two videos, available, part one and part two