Antigone in Spain: The Drama of Trauma Politics

Thursday, 9 October 2014, 6:00pm - 7:30pm, IWM library
© Copyright 2014 CorbisCorporation

Protest in memory of victims and missing persons of the Franco regime in Madrid

In this presentation I want to analyze what is known in Spain as the “recovery of historical memory”, as well as the politics deriving from it. This process was catalyzed by the exhumations of the remains of victims of Francoism that have been under way since the beginning of the twenty-first century. I want to move beyond the national context and look at Spanish memory politics through the theory and praxis of Holocaust memory, on the one hand, and the memory of the Argentinean victims of the military dictatorship, on the other. This will enable us to identify the components and problems of a culture and politics of globalized memory. It is my argument that this apparently national recovery movement poses challenges to the ideas which bind history and borders tightly together. I will show how ghosts of the Holocaust haunt Spanish memory politics and become representational tropes and interpretative paradigms for many other cases in and outside of Europe.

Natan Sznaider is Full Professor of Sociology at the Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yaffo in Israel. His research interests over the past few years have centered on giving a sociological account of processes of trauma and victimhood as well as on the Jewish political theory of Hannah Arendt. His publications include Jewish Memory and the Cosmopolitan Order (2011) and The Compassionate Temperament: Care and Cruelty in Modern Society (2000). He co-authored (with Daniel Levy) Human Rights and Memory (2009) and Erinnerung im Globalen Zeitalter: Der Holocaust (2001), which was expanded and translated into English as The Holocaust and Memory in the Global Age (2006).