CFP: [Cultural-Historical] History, Memory, and Cultural Discourse in Spain

full name / name of organization: 
Alfredo J. Sosa-Velasco
contact email: 

Call for Papers

History, Memory, and Cultural Discourse in Spain

40th Anniversary Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
Feb. 26-March 1, 2009
Hyatt Regency - Boston, Massachusetts

Memory matters. It is crucial to some of the fields of scholarly inquiry that have been most
prominent in recent years: the study of nationalism, questions of ethnic identity and the politics
of recognition, in which groups are given recognition not least for the past experience of
exclusion and suffering. Moreover, there have been numerous studies of cultural memory as
expressed in monuments, memorials and works of art, and school textbooks.

Memory discourses in Spain are linked to the end of Francisco Franco’s dictatorship in 1975,
three years of political transition overseen by King Juan Carlos I from a dictatorial regime to a
democratic one (constitutional monarchy), and the insertion of Spain within the European
Economic Community first and the European Union and in the global economy later. Many
questions about Spain’s pastâ€"the Spanish civil war and Francoismâ€"and about its present and
future require the readjustment of historical narratives and the production of representations.
Some things are remembered; others are forgotten. Identity is established by what is
remembered: remembrance and forgetting depend on each other. The transition from
dictatorship to democracy after the death of Franco in 1975 was a model of decorum. There were
no recriminations against the old regime, which was to be consigned to silence. In those years,
silence influenced in the private realm more than the public, and there, in families and villages, it
did a great deal of harm. History resided then in locked memories, half-told stories, unread
archives. In some families the silence was complete; children, as they grew up in the bright new
democracy, simply did not know what their parents had done in the war or the dictatorship.

This session seeks to make us think about the relationship between memory and politics in
history and cultural discourses in Spain: What is the relationship between memory, past, and
writing? How do individual and collective memories interact? How does memory relate to politics?
How does the relationship between memory and politics conceptualize memory itself as a kind of
symbolic power and influence the present construction and legitimization of Spanish politics?
How do nationalist movements participate in the construction of memory and past? How does
memory appear in the construction of collective memories and subjectivities through literature
and cinema? Is there an ethics of memory?

Please send 250-500 word abstracts by September 15, 2008 to Alfredo J. Sosa-Velasco: Include with your abstract: Name and affiliation, e-mail address, postal
address, telephone number, A/V requirements (if any; $10 handling fee)

Interested participants may submit abstracts to more than one NeMLA panel; however panelists
can only present one paper. Convention participants may present a paper at a panel or seminar
and also present at a creative session or participate in a roundtable.

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Received on Tue Jun 17 2008 - 14:00:48 EDT