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Exhuming Loss: Memory, Materiality and Mass Graves of the Spanish Civil War

Exhuming Loss: Memory, Materiality and Mass Graves of the Spanish Civil War

by Layla Renshaw

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This book examines the contested representations of those murdered during the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s in two small rural communities as they undergo the experience of exhumation, identification, and reburial from nearby mass graves. Based on interviews with relatives of the dead, community members and forensic archaeologists, it pays close attention to the role of excavated objects and images in breaking the pact of silence that surrounded the memory of these painful events for decades afterward. It also assesses the significance of archaeological and forensic practices in changing relationships between the living and dead. The exposure of graves has opened up a discursive space in Spanish society for multiple representations to be made of the war dead and of Spain’s traumatic past.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611320428
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 08/15/2011
Series: UCL Institute of Archaeology Critical Cultural Heritage Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 260
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Layla Renshaw is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Life Sciences at Kingston University, UK, where she teaches forensic archaeology and anthropology. She has a PhD in anthropology from University College London. Her research interests include post-conflict investigations and representations of the traumatic past, the political and theoretical significance of forensic archaeology, and its representation in the media.

Table of Contents

Preface: Exhumation and the Traumatic Past Introduction Chapter One: Republican Identity and Spanish Memory Politics Chapter Two: Memory Idioms and the Representation of Republican Loss within the Confines of a Francoist Discourse on the Past Chapter Three: Materialisations of the Dead before Exhumation Chapter Four: The Open Grave: Exposed Bodies and Objects in New Representations of the DeadChapter Five: Reburial and Enduring Materialisations of the Dead Conclusion

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