Objects of Remembrance in Spain

In the 1930’s Spain was experiencing a civil war the result of which was the victory and subsequent repressive dictatorship of Francisco Franco, lasting from 1939 to 1975. My time spent in Cádiz, Spain last summer made it clear that, though Franco had died, there were some lingering wounds and memories that some people did not want to think about anymore. Last Fall Professor Cate-Arries taught a seminar on Franco’s Ghosts, wherein we studied the expressions of power and resistance left behind by both the regime and the victims, as well as the current efforts to recover memory of the period. One way to recovery memory is through objects—objects that belonged to victims, objects from the period, objects from specific events, and many more that aid and symbolize remembrance for survivors.

This summer I am excited to be joining Professor Francie Cate-Arries and classmate Kate Wessman in Spain to do research, conduct interviews, and aid in the recovery of historic memory. Though a group project, I hope to focus my efforts and history with photography on documenting objects of remembrance belonging to the people we work with and interview. These objects and the stories that accompany them can be useful in maintaining a more complete history of Spain than the one proposed by Franco’s Regime. Each individual we speak with has an important story to tell and these objects provide a link to their past.


  1. Lucas Leblanc says:

    Hi Megan!

    Your research is very interesting. I think well chosen objects should evoke some interesting reactions from people. Do the objects you present have a general theme? How are you seeking out the interviews?

    I will also be carrying out my research project in Spain this summer. Although Spain’s Francoist past is not directly pertinent to my research, it surely plays an important role in the context. I will be interested to hear more about your results and how your interviews unfold.

  2. mkbentley says:

    Thank you, Lucas!

    Professor Cate-Arries, Kate, (Mike,) and I are really looking at objects related to the Republic—which can be very hard to find because it really was dangerous to hold on to them while Franco was in power—and also objects that children and grandchildren of the fusilados and desaparecidos have that tell a story and remind them of those they lost.

    Our host mom keeps asking about seeking out interviews as well, but it really has come down to Prof. Cate-Arries having a lot of contacts from her last research project in Spain and they know people who they think will help us and put us in contact with them. The only surprising ones so far have been the day that Kate and I went for a walk with our host mom and she told us about the atrocities committed in the Castillo de San Sebastian and the father of Professor Arrantza who gave us a really touching (if difficult to transcribe) interview.