The Spanish Civil War Memory Project: Constructing and Enhancing a Digital Archive

The Spanish Civil War Memory Project consists of over one hundred audiovisual testimonies of victims, militants, survivors, and witnesses of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and Francoist repression (1939-1975). The testimonies were recorded by researchers between 2006 and 2010 as part of an initiative of UC San Diego in collaboration with several human rights associations in Spain, including: the Asociación para la Recuperación de la Memoria Histórica (ARMH), the Asociación de Ex-presos y Represaliados Políticos, and the Federación Estatal de Foros por la Memoria, among others. This article discusses the origins and development of the project, as well as current efforts to make the project a more user-friendly and media-rich experience by training student researchers to digitally enhance the collected testimonies with the web-based system OHMS (Oral History Metadata Synchronizer).

Mediating Memory: Mass Grave Recovery and Digital Culture in the Iberian Peninsula

The large corpus of digital and social media on the Web pertaining to the recuperation of historical memory demonstrates how present-day Spaniards continue to grapple with events stemming from the dictatorship of Francisco Franco. In an ever-connected world, there is, not surprisingly, a wave of media inundating the Spanish public that focuses on the recovery of victims from mass graves in the Iberian Peninsula. Digital media and its various modes of dissemination encourage the constant updating of information and provides producers of digital materials and users of social networking sites the means to constantly renew conversations about the recuperation efforts. By cyclically publishing digital texts online that show the rituals and commemorations pertaining to the ongoing reburials, contemporary Spaniards keep the physical sites of memory alive by broadcasting the repeated rituals of exhumation and inhumation as the identification of remains continues. Blogging, website building, and participating in social media circles generates local and regional online communities centered around memorial rites. This article studies the types of media being produced regarding the recuperation of mass graves (photographs, videos, social network site data), how that media is disseminated to contemporary audiences through weblogs, and social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr), and analyzes the performative rituals of searching and reburial, as represented in digital texts. Digital productions allow families and communities of survivors—both physical and virtual communities—to highlight the process of locating the disappeared. The consideration of different genres and modes of representation surface a pattern of ritualistic practices that advances from the search for the missing, to the exhumation process, leading to the reburials and culminating in commemorations honoring the victims.

The array of multimedia elements containing rituals of reburial and commemoration disseminated through the Web give a polyphonic voice to community efforts. Geographic Information Systems (GIS)—also referred to as digital mapping platforms—lends the ability to layer a variety of multimedia elements onto a digital cartographic interface. Thick mapping efforts convert a purely geographic space into a place by imbuing the topography with memories and histories. This article will also discuss how Virtual Cartographies layers data acquired from the Spanish Ministry of Justice of mass grave locations alongside a robust collection of multimedia texts directly related to specific gravesites in order to give depth to spaces of mourning and share various ritualistic practices. The deep layering of multimedia elements lends insights into the histories surrounding the topography. In the case of the exhumations, a thick map that combines information about the geography with digital texts about the spaces, contextualizes the processes undertaken by individuals and communities around the disinterments. By inscribing gravesite locations with the testimonies, videos, narratives, articles, radio program, social network groups, etc. about the exhumations, Virtual Cartographies contributes a thick map that gives depth to spaces of mourning, while creating a framework for analyzing the exhumations and mourning rituals.

Multiple–Layered Encoding as an Editorial and Pedagogical Strategy for Colonial Latin American Studies

This article considers a multiple–layered approach to the digital encoding of manuscript and rare print materials related to the colonial period in Latin America. I explain my adoption of this method, describe its technical implementation, and consider its benefits from editorial and pedagogical standpoints. By way of example, I examine the specific implementation of this model on three projects I have undertaken in collaboration with students at the University of North Florida. In preparing this study, I seek to contribute to emerging conversations about how we understand, practice and teach the ideas and methods that underlie the transmission today of written materials related to colonial Latin America, and more broadly, the Early Modern Iberian world. I aim, as well, to add to efforts to advance the presence of these fields within larger interdisciplinary conversations around editorial theory and practice in a digital age.

Exploring North-South Identities Using NLP: The Image of Spain in the German Weekly Die Zeit

What can the new digital text corpora analysis tell us about history and public discourse? As language is an important source of metaphorical images and meanings, the recent advances in natural language processing (NLP) show that this is a useful tool to analyze social processes that are revealed in language production. Digital tools like DiaCollo enable us to extract information about socioeconomic situations in media datasets like newspapers, historical archives, political discourses and an unlimited number of publications; that is to say anything published or translated in text. This work develops the possibilities of using NLP in humanities using word collocation analysis to explore the image of Spain in the German weekly Die Zeit.

Moving Beyond the Military Revolution

Tropical Medicine behind Cocoa Slavery: A Campaign to Eradicate Sleeping Sickness in the Portuguese Colony of Príncipe Island, 1911-1914

Diseases such as malaria and the sleeping sickness jeopardized the feasibility of the European empires in the African continent in early twentieth century. Among the colonial potencies, there was Portugal, a country with limited economic and military resources, but with significant ultramarine domains. One of its most profitable colonies were the small islands of São Tomé and Príncipe, an important producer of cocoa, which cultivation was assured by shipments of slave workers coming mainly from Angola. The environmental conditions of the islands, as well as the circulation of people from endemic areas for the sleeping sickness, triggered a severe epidemic outbreak of this disease in Príncipe Island, which was also the setting of the anti-slavery campaign led by William Cadbury, a British chocolate maker, in 1908. In light of this setting, a campaign to eradicate the sleeping sickness vector – the tsetse fly – was initiated in 1911 and, in 1914, the island was considered to be free of the genus Glossina, but with significant social and environmental consequences. The purpose of this article is to discuss these consequences and the historical context that determined the creation of a campaign to fight the disease in a small, but relevant, Portuguese ultramarine territory by means of parliamentary documents, health reports and newspapers of that time.

Madre y Matríz: The Politics of Town-Making in Cordoba, 1887-1905

Spain can be difficult to place in contemporary discourses about the economic global north or global south. This ambiguity has a pointed history in moves by European actors on the Iberian Peninsula. In the late nineteenth century, the House of Rothschild expanded their investment portfolio via the mining and rail industries of Andalucia. This paper sifts the results of these activities that produced the rural industrial and mining village Pueblonuevo del Terrible in northern Cordoba province. Drawing on the scholarship on transnational company towns and place making, the essay explores the actions of local miners and shopkeepers that created this municipality. Documents reveal a protracted struggle over numerous issues: the power to draw political boundaries, the Catholic character of Spanish life, the place of migrants in the community, and the status of land-ownership. The parties to these disputes relied on a gendered language of family, especially the notion of a matríz, a founding, original settlement, in order to ground their sense of place and belonging. Over time, however, the language of family broke down and hobbled the political process in Cordoba. The foreign mining company largely disappeared itself from the debate and, finally, in 1905, the administration in Madrid ruled in favor of creating the new town. The essay suggests that the achievement of town status marked a crisis of politics and political meaning as much as it did a successful effort at place making by everyday Spaniards at the peak of international industrial capitalism.

Bienvenido, Mickey Mouse!?: Hopes for a Magic Kingdom in Post-Franco Spain

Who doesn’t love Mickey Mouse? Apparently, not the French in the 1980s, as they actively fought to keep the mouse and his friends out of France. Many Spaniards, on the other hand, were quite eager to lure the Magic Kingdom to their country. What accounts for the difference? It appears as though Spain did not suffer from the same kind of cultural insecurity and anxieties that plagued other European nations during this period. Instead, many Spaniards apparently welcomed American investment, business know-how, and cultural products, including a Disney theme park, with open arms. In these cases, it seems that they were comfortably willing to accept American cultural products to serve their own ends, namely economic development, international prestige, and a feeling of full European integration. However, at the same time, there was a certain degree of anti-Americanism in Spain, often as a result of Cold War politics. Debates surrounding the NATO referendum and the presence of American military bases, and nuclear weapons in particular, did provoke anti-American sentiment during this period. Spain’s attempt to lure Disneyland to the Iberian Peninsula demonstrates that not all European countries in the postwar period have embraced (or rejected) American culture influence in the same way, to the same degree, and for the same reasons.

The Ruin of a State is Freedom of Conscience: Religion, (In)Tolerance, and Independence in the Spanish Monarchy

Hispanic clerics, intellectuals, and radicals avidly discussed religious tolerance in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. For most, liberty, political independence, and freedom of the press remained paramount concerns. They agreed that religious liberty could not be implemented in the Spanish Monarchy. In this sense, the collective superseded the individual right of worship. Although Hispanic liberals did not include religious tolerance among their foundational principles, they crafted a heterodox ideology that guided the construction of modern Spanish institutions and represented a rallying cry for many on the left throughout the nineteenth century in Spain, Spanish America, and beyond.