Memory, silence and the re-routing of democracy in Spain: Federico García Lorca, the Spanish Civil War and the Law of Historical Memory
Monday 16th november, 3-4pm Brookfield HSC Room G02
Professor Maria Delgado
Royal Central School of Speech and Drama,
University of London
What does it mean to unearth the dead? What is contemporary society’s responsibility to the disappeared? How do we live with the ghosts of history?
In the midst of the search for the body of Federico García Lorca in 2009, Emilio Silva, co-founder and president of Spain’s Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory [or ARMH] — a national organisation assisting in the location and exhumation of the graves of Spain’s desaparecidos or disappeared during the Civil War and its aftermath — wrote of ‘the silent bones of Federico García Lorca and the skeleton of our democracy’.
This paper looks at the politics of memory in contemporary Spain. Using the search for the remains of Spain’s most resonant twentieth-century writer as its central focus, it examines how the exhumation of mass graves undertaken in twenty-first century Spain can be viewed as a move towards better understanding both the events of the past and the fissures of the present in a country where issues of justice have been compromised for too long by a culture of silence.