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Medieval Muslim Spain, known as Al-Andalus, and Morocco have connections dating back to at least the 15th century, but where do today’s ideas about these connections come from? Prof. Eric Calderwood finds their origins in the Spanish colonial project in Morocco beginning in the 19th century. Bringing together the seemingly unrelated threads of Span…
 
Don Juan Manuel was one of the most important literary figures of medieval Castile, and texts that he produced were foundational in the development of Spanish literature. They also reflected – and supported – his ideas about society, power, and nobility. In this episode, Dr. Mario Cossío Olavide discusses the nature and impact of Don Juan Manuel’s …
 
The idea of the child was central to the regenerationist thinking that swept Spain in the wake of the country’s defeat in the Spanish-American War of 1898. Professor Anna Kathryn Kendrick, author of Humanizing Childhood in Early Twentieth-Century Spain, explores the philosophical origins of early 20th-century calls for educational reform in Catholi…
 
In 1453 CE, the Ottoman Empire conquered the city of Constantinople and destroyed the last vestiges of an empire that had existed for over a thousand years. The event sent shockwaves throughout Europe, and contemporary writers were forced to think about Constantinople – and its symbolic importance within European identity and culture – in new and i…
 
To this day, thousands of mass graves in towns and the countryside across Spain constitute a grim legacy of the country’s infamous Civil War. Yet these graves themselves have their own politically fraught history as old as the war itself, and they now constitute the most important focal point of Spain’s ongoing debate about how the war should be re…
 
Spain’s own genre of music theater, zarzuela, is one of the country’s most distinctive cultural forms. In this episode, Prof. Clinton Young traces the evolution of the genre in the context of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in Spanish history, linking it to the development of the urban middle and working classes. We will listen to…
 
The idea of democracy is central to Spanish political culture today, even as the question of exactly what form democracy should take is still highly contested. When did the notion of democracy first enter the Spanish political imagination and how did the idea evolve over time? In this episode, Professor Florencia Peyrou traces the development of Sp…
 
The usual interpretation of recent Spain history has been that the country was inoculated against the return of the radical right seen in other European countries because of the memory of the Franco dictatorship. However, the rise of Vox and other far right parties in Spain in the last couple of years has called this interpretation into question. W…
 
Since at least the 19th century, Badajoz Province was the classic example of Spain’s most grievous ills: a harsh landscape where poverty, unemployment and landlessness were endemic. Dave Henderson traces the failed efforts of successive governments to tackle these problems and then explains how the Franco regime sought to take a different approach …
 
Antonio José Martínez Palacios was one of the most promising composers of early twentieth-century Spain. From his humble beginnings as a musical prodigy from the provincial capital of Burgos, the composer (known as Antonio José) won praise for his choral works and orchestral pieces, drawing inspiration from his native Castile. But as a proponent of…
 
The SS commando Otto Skorzeny was the most notorious Nazi to hid out in Spain after the Second World War. Yet, far from staying hidden, Skorzeny made frequent appearances in the Spanish media through the Franco period. In this episode, part of our series on Nazis in Spain, Prof. Joshua Goode of Claremont Graduate University explores how Skorzeny wa…
 
This month, Daniel Hershenzon, author of The Captive Sea: Slavery, Commerce, and Communication in Early Modern Spain and the Mediterranean, discusses slavery and ransoming practices on both the Christian and Muslim sides of the early modern Mediterranean, focusing on the seventeenth century. Hershenzon presents Mediterranean slavery as creating an …
 
Between 1940 and 1945, some 7,200 Spanish Republican exiles were held captive in Nazi Germany’s notorious Mauthausen concentration camp. In this episode, part of our series on the Nazis and Spain, Sara J. Brenneis, author of Spaniards in Mauthausen: Representations of a Nazi Concentration Camp, 1940-2015, discusses examples of how the Spanish in Ma…
 
Immediately following the Spanish Civil War, Spain faced a terrible food crisis. Suzanne Dunai examines how the policies of the early Franco dictatorship brought on this crisis and how ordinary Spaniards, particularly women, dealt with it on a day-to-day basis. From ration cards to bartering, from canning to buying on the black market, Spanish wome…
 
Like most other Europeans, the Basques of southern France had to endure a puppet government and Nazi occupation during the Second World War. What was it like to live under occupation? How did Basque culture influence the ways in which French Basques both collaborated with and resisted the Germans? For the third part of our series on the Nazis in Ib…
 
Even as the enslavement of black Africans became widespread in the Atlantic World and modern racism was developing, the veneration of black saints was also on the rise in the Iberian Peninsula and Latin America. In this episode, Professor Erin Rowe discusses who these saints were and who venerated them. We consider how hagiographers argued that the…
 
The bombing of the Basque town of Gernika on April 26, 1937 by the planes of Germany’s Condor Legion, fighting for Franco’s rebel forces during the Spanish Civil War, today stands in the historical memory as one of our most powerful reminders of the horrors of war, thanks in no small part to Picasso’s famous painting. But what were the Germans tryi…
 
In this episode, guest A. Katie Harris delves into the elite but also secretive world of relic collecting in the in the early modern Mediterranean. She describes the at-times nefarious practices of relic dealers and thieves and grave robbers, and considers to what extent relics can be viewed as commodities in a market even though the Church prohibi…
 
This episode focuses on two recent Spanish-language films that comment on the Spanish Civil War, the Franco dictatorship and the transition to democracy: Devil’s Backbone (El espinazo del diablo) by Guillermo del Toro and Bad Education (Mala Educación) by Pedro Almodóvar. Interestingly, both films feature abused children, boarding schools for boys,…
 
We might associate the sociolinguistic ideas of codeswitching and diglossia more with our own globalized world than with the Middle Ages, but Professor Antonio Zaldívar argues that these practices could have powerful connotations as the kings of Aragon struggled to increase their authority over the nobility in the 13th century. In discussing how th…
 
UC San Diego Professor Pamela Radcliff has recently published a new history of modern Spain entitled Modern Spain: 1808 to the Present. In this episode, we discuss the challenges overcome and insights gained from this project, starting with how Radcliff developed a new framework for the history of modern Spain that neither told a narrative of failu…
 
When the French invaded Spain in 1808 and imprisoned the royal family, the country was thrown into chaos, with local councils, or juntas, taking governance into their own hands. Charles Nicholas Saenz discusses how these groups sought to establish supremacy, authority and legitimacy in this unprecedented situation. Even as their elite memberships s…
 
At the end of the Second World War, hundreds of Nazi spies remained in Spain, and the Allies feared those agents could keep Nazism alive under the Franco dictatorship. In this episode, Professor David Messenger traces the allied effort to repatriate men to Germany for denazification. How successful was the repatriation program? What was the fate of…
 
An association between horses and the medieval nobility is built into the Spanish language itself, and horses are frequently cited as a key factor in Spain’s conquest of the Americas. Yet what exactly was the role of the horse in Spanish warfare and society, and how did that role change over time? Kathryn Renton examines these questions in this epi…
 
La economía tuvo un peso muy importante en la vida política y social de la Segunda República. La gran crisis económica derivada del Crack de 1929, se unió a otra de carácter interno en el caso español. Donde la política de obras públicas iniciada durante el Régimen de Primo de Rivera vació las arcas del estado, disparando la deuda pública. A la caí…
 
Events in Catalonia over the past several weeks have focused international attention on the region, but few media outlets have considered the historical context in which these events take place. In the first special edition of the podcast, historians of Catalonia James Stout and Maria Carreras discuss the origins of the Catalan nationalism in the l…
 
The dream of a cultural, linguistic and racial union between Spain and its former colonies in the Americas has been a pervasive idea in the Spanish imaginary, surviving to this day. When and how did this idea of Hispanoamérica emerge, and how did it evolve over time? This month’s guest, Rodrigo Escribano Roca, explores these questions in the contex…
 
En este episodio, el profesor Eduardo González Calleja habla de sus esfuerzos para documentar y categorizar cada caso de violencia política mortal de la Segunda República. Ha publicado los resultados de sus investigaciones recientemente en el libro Cifras cruentas: las víctimas mortales de la violencia sociopolítica en la Segunda República española…
 
The Castilian Civil War is a classic medieval tale of shifting alliances, family intrigue and murder. But what was the international context and significance of this conflict? How did contemporary chroniclers tell its story? In this episode of the Historias podcast, Bretton Rodriguez discusses how this literally fratricidal conflict changed the cou…
 
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