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This book reflects on the new histories emerging from the exhumation of mass graves that contain the corpses of the Republicans killed in extrajudicial executions during and after the conflict, nearly eighty years after the end of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). In the search for, location and unearthing of these unmarked burials, the corpse, the document and the oral testimony have become key traces through which to demand the recognition of past Francoist crimes, which were never atoned, from a lukewarm Spanish state and judiciary. These have become objects of evidence against the politics of silence entertained by national institutions since the transition to democracy. Working alongside archaeologists, historians, memory activists and families, this book explores how new versions of the history of the killings are constructed at the cross-roads between science, history and family experience. It does so considering the workings of truth-seeking in the absence of criminal justice and the effects of the process on Spanish collective memory and identity.
Chapter 1 - The Archive, the Story and the Mass Grave.- Chapter 2 - Contesting Silence, Reclaiming Historical Memory in Contemporary Spain.- Chapter 3 - Visions of War and Postwar History in Extremadura.- Chapter 4 - Exhuming the Body of the Unknown.- Chapter 5 - Exhuming Familial Remains.- Chapter 6 - The Affective Life of Violence.- Chapter 7 - Reburial and Commemoration.- Chapter 8 - The Exhumation as Emerging Archive.- Index
"In this timely volume, Zahira Aragüete-Toribio examines civil society forensic exhumations of Spanish Civil War dead in Extremadura, the region of western Spain where the author grew up. ... a major ethnographic contribution to the ways forensic science prompts new historical imaginations in the twenty-first century. Anthropologists, human rights scholars, and anyone interested in the increasingly contested terrain of historical production will find many provocative insights throughout this compelling text." (Jonah S. Rubin, EuropeNow, europenowjournal.org, October, 2018)
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