On 20 April 2022…
Dr Marije Hristova gave a lecture on the history and controversy surrounding the Valley of the Fallen. Dr Hristova is Assistant Professor of Hispanic Cultures and Literature at Radboud University Nijmegen and a researcher in the project NECROPOL, funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation. She is a specialist in Spanish memory cultures, transnational memories of the Spanish Civil War and the production of cultural memories after the forensic turn in Spain and in Europe. In her presentation, she conceptualised the Valley of the Fallen within the wider Francoist politics of remembrance. As such, it is part of a constellation of sites and places of memory marked by National Catholicism and its necropolitical culture of martyrdom. In her presentation, she focused on the meaning of the Valley of the Fallen before 1975, that is, before it became to be known as ‘Franco’s grave.’
Dr Francisco Ferrándiz guided us on a virtual tour of the Valley of the Fallen. Dr Ferrándiz is a Tenured Researcher at CSIC, and Senior Advisor in the State Secretariat for Democratic Memory, of the Ministry of the Presidency in Spain’s central government. Since 2002, he has conducted research on the politics of memory in contemporary Spain, analysing the exhumations of mass graves from the Civil War (1936‒1939). He is presently Principal Investigator (PI) of the research project The Politics of Memory Exhumations in Contemporary Spain, funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation. Based on long-term ethnographic research on contemporary exhumations of mass graves from the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), his presentation explored the controversies taking shape over the Valley of the Fallen, the most conspicuous Francoist monument in contemporary Spain. In the last few years, the Valley has come under close scrutiny and criticism, and an institutional project to significantly re-signify it, including the exhumation of the former dictator from its Basilica in late 2019, is currently underway.
Stay tuned for the highlights and recording of the session!