The memory debate in Portugal has evolved in recent years in a way that bypasses the legacy of Salazar’s New State and focuses instead on the country’s longer colonial past, to which many Portuguese still cling as a source of national pride. This article details this shift and examines some of its consequences, not least of which is the twinning of an attack against an uncritical reading of its past with debates on racism in present-day Portuguese society.
Editorial Note: This ongoing forum aims to advance conversation about doing Iberian studies in times of crisis and promote resource sharing through https://www.zotero.org/bsphs.
This article examines historical parallels between a series of related coups that took place during the 20th century in Spain and the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. It pays particular attention to el 23-F, a failed coup that involved an assault on Spain’s El Congreso de los Diputados on February 23, 1981, and interrogates the content and appeal of its official narrative. Cultural memories of that coup—which flashed up in the wake of January 6th and were mobilized a month later by the Spanish state during commemorations of its 40th anniversary—are posited as Freudian “screen memories” that block recall of more traumatic memories that have been displaced upon them, such as the 1936 coup that ignited the Spanish Civil War. The 1932 coup known as “La Sanjurjada” is also considered in conjunction with the coup it foreshadowed for the lessons they offer to the present global political crisis, the depths of which the January 6th insurrection signified. To that end, the article also draws historical parallels between Francoism and Trumpism and argues that the marginalization of Spain in European studies and world history has contributed to the absence of such comparisons even though they might be more productive than those routinely made between Trumpism and Nazism or Italian Fascism.
Combining digital and in-person archival research is optimal for historical scholarship, yet there are many reasons why this balance cannot always be achieved. The work/life gender inequity in academia has already made research time precarious for many; the COVID-19 pandemic made it nearly impossible. As a reflection on doing Iberian History in a time of crisis, this article provides a starting point for digital scholarship in the field of 20th Century Iberian History via a case study. In dialogue with Lara Putnam’s article “The Transnational and the Text-Searchable,” the limitations of a purely “digital turn” in historical research became apparent as the author researched a Spanish Mauthausen concentration camp survivor during the coronavirus pandemic in Madrid in the Spring of 2020.