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Symposium to investigate Spanish Civil War, Franco's mass graves

Author: Arts and Letters


A symposium titled “Franco’s Mass Graves: An Interdisciplinary, International Investigation” will be held Oct. 28 and 29 (Friday and Saturday) in the Hesburgh Center auditorium at the University of Notre Dame. The event is free and open to the public.

Gen. Francisco Franco, Spanish dictator from 1939 to 1975, overthrew the former Republican government through a rebellion that started the Spanish Civil War. Following the brutal three-year war, Franco’s regime initiated a “cleansing” of Spanish society of anything related to the former government, and, as a result, mass graves are known to be scattered throughout the country.

The symposium will gather some of the leading scholars in the fields of anthropology, forensic medicine, history, transitional justice, literary criticism, cultural analysis, TV journalism and documentary filmmaking to discuss issues related to Franco’s legacy, the implications for modern democratic systems and the church, the cultural and political repercussions of dictatorships, the moral significance of forgetting, and the recovery of repressed memories.

The symposium will consist of four sessions, each with a moderator, presenters and discussion, and conclude with a roundtable. The topics are as follows:

Session I — Friday, 10 a.m. to noon, “History”

Session II — Friday, 2:30 to 5:30p.m, “Journalism, documentary analysis, human rights and transitional justice”

Session III — Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon, “Literature”

Session IV — Saturday, 2 to 5p.m., “Anthropology and forensic medicine”

Roundtable — Saturday, 4:30 to 5:30p.m.

The symposium is sponsored by Notre Dame’s Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, Henkels Lecture Series/ISLA, Kellogg Institute for International Studies, Nanovic Institute for European Studies, Ph. D. Program in Literature, Department of History, Office of Research, Graduate School, Provost’s Office, Spanish Embassy and Program for Cultural Cooperation between Spain’s Ministry of Culture and United States Universities.

Originally published by Shannon Chapla at on October 19, 2005.