Aleksander Solzhenitsyn Arrives in Spain: The Gulag Debate and the Transition to Democracy

This article aims to analyze the scandal sparked by Aleksander Solzhenitsyn during his stay in Spain in 1976, when he gave an interview on National TV arguing that Spaniards did not know what a dictatorship was. It will show how the scandal was connected with the convulsive Spanish political context and how the different participating actors blamed or praised Solzhenitsyn depending on the political side they occupied and the project they implicitly wanted for Spain. The controversy took place on the pages of newspapers and magazines whose analysis can help us better identify the diverse political groups that concurred after the death of the dictator. The dispute provoked by Solzhenitsyn brought to light many issues of Spanish political culture, such as the Spanish Civil War, the communist experience or the various conceptions of democracy. Analyzing all these elements, the article aims to give a broad view of Spanish political culture and how Solzhenitsyn’s example had a significant force given the historical conditions the country was going through.

Spanish Inquisitors, Etiquette Culture, and the Brain in the 17th Century

Suggestions to Granada inquisitors and royal judges locked in a 1678 dispute over public courtesies included a series of ambivalent movements to break the impasse. Whether we think of half-bows, moving only one knee if greeted while praying, and even appearing to get up from chair without actually doing so, these subtle gestures were typical of a mannered habitus informing ceremonial etiquette. Considering Spanish inquisitors during the seventeenth century, this article employs an interdisciplinary analysis of the intersection between brain, body, and culture in the formation of such a gestural habitus. After all, seeing and doing precise etiquette gestures brought neurophysiological process, such as visual perception, motor control and social cognition, into interaction with broader expectations and institutional cultures. Ultimately, even in the midst of changing gestural codes and social epistemologies, the inquisitorial performance of etiquette was built on the daily iteration of neurophysiological processes embedded in tribunal life itself.

Spain in the Depths of Russia 1941-1944

This article focuses on the history from 1941 to 1944 of one of the orphanages created for three thousand young Spaniards evacuated in 1937 and 1938 from war-torn Spain to the USSR. It examines the relationship between Spaniards at the orphanage, both children and adults, with their Soviet counterparts at that facility and in the surrounding community. It also measures the extent of a Soviet commitment to the well-being of its young guests and the revolutionary cause abroad. Finally, this article’s close observation of a Spanish institution compels, if ironically, an assessment of the loci and practice of political power at the USSR’s center and periphery. This work is based on memoirs, interviews, and abundant archival records produced by and about the orphanage.

Mario/Elisa and Marcela: Scandal and Surprise in the 1901 Spanish Press

This paper analyzes the coverage found in the local and national press of the now-famous marriage of Mario/Elisa Sánchez Loriga and Elisa Gracia Ibeas in 1901 Galicia. We show that the coverage that appeared in the weeks following the event reflected the public’s willingness to question the stability and validity of gender as a category that structured social rights and privileges. We contextualize that questioning within the post-1898 Spanish fin de siglo sense of social instability and reassessment of traditional Spanish cultural institutions. We conclude that today’s framing of the event as a story of two exceptional lesbian women elides both Mario/Elisa’s self-identified transgenderism and the 1901 public’s recognition of the profound social significance of the successful passing act that the marriage represented.

Libraries at the Intersection of ‘Las Dos Majestades’ in Colonial Mexico: The Biblioteca Palafoxiana as Emblem of Change and Continuity from Habsburg to Bourbon Rule

This essay evaluates the emergence of public libraries as the source and subject of State power during the Age of Baroque and the Age of Enlightenment in Spain’s most prized overseas colony, New Spain, or colonial Mexico. An exemplar of “las dos majestades,” or the two majesties of Crown and Church, the Biblioteca Palafoxiana, located in the city of Puebla, was founded as a public library by the Spanish bishop, Juan de Palafox y Mendoza, who donated his personal library of 5000 volumes in order to activate the Tridentine reforms related to seminary education and priestly formation. Palafox equated the reform of the clergy as a public good that served the interests of the Habsburg state. His eighteenth-century successor, Francisco Fabián y Fuero, arrived in Puebla with a different set of reforms and exercised his episcopal authority in the service of a Bourbon absolutism fashioned by Enlightenment principles. He added to the library by donating his own personal book collection and expropriating Jesuit books and printed matter. The Bourbon prelate also promulgated a set of rules and regulations–the Reglamento of 1773–that defined the nature and scope of public access, as well as establishing best practices in terms of library personnel, preservation, and classification. By the time he returned to Spain, Fabián y Fuero had transformed the Biblioteca Palafoxiana into an undeniable source of episcopal prerogative and cultural prestige. Both bishops, however, operated under the strain of royal authority that sought to utilize, and ultimately control, the Church in order to achieve the broader objectives of its colonial enterprise.

“For Her Special Consideration:” Cultural and Diplomatic Demonstrations of Archduchess Maria Antonia of Austria’s Position as the Heiress of the Spanish Monarchy (1673-1692)

Charles II of Spain and the Spanish government as the rightful heiress of the Spanish Monarchy, despite the continuous objections and protests presented by Louis XIV of France and the Emperor Leopold I in this regard. The Spanish King could not risk the possibility of provoking an important diplomatic confrontation with the French King or the Holy Roman Emperor by making an obvious and official declaration of Maria Antonia’s position as Charles II’s universal heiress, despite the fact that he defended her position as such when he needed to do so. Then, with all the traditional methods to celebrate an heir out of the picture, how did Charles II show the world that his niece was his legitimate heiress? In this essay, we are going to see how Charles II used different kinds of symbolic, cultural and diplomatic tools to show the world, in a subtle but unmistakable way, the “special consideration” that assisted Archduchess Maria Antonia as the legitimate and universal heiress of the Spanish Monarchy.