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CURRENT RESEARCH

 

WOMEN INTELLECTUALS AND SPAIN’S TRANSITION TO DEMOCRACY

*Research project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

The death of Francisco Franco in 1975, which put an end to his forty-year dictatorship, officially inaugurated Spain’s Transition to democracy. The Transition was a time of euphoria and feverish activity to transform totalitarian political and social structures. It is conspicuous, however, that women have been generally absent from the picture, literally and metaphorically speaking. Indeed, the textual and visual documents of that period seem to indicate that women’s movements and female intellectuals did not play a significant role in the construction of a democratic society. More than thirty years later, existing scholarship on the Transition continues to overlook and ignore the active and dynamic participation of women intellectuals in this historical process.

 

This project’s main aim is to contribute to an unabridged and more accurate reconstruction of the Transition’s intellectual history. It will analyze the contribution of the pioneering feminist journal Vindicación feminista (1976-1979), which was published during those crucial years and represents an invaluable cultural and historical document. Founded by Lidia Falcón and Carmen Alcalde in 1976 (only a few months after the death of the dictator), it was conceived as an instrument to mobilize and give voice to different women’s movements and as a tool of radical and critical activism during the transition towards democracy. Vindicación certainly stands out for its fearless approach to political, gender, and cultural issues.

This analysis will uncover the role of public intellectuals played by authors such as Ana María Moix, Lidia Falcón, Maruja Torres, Rosa Montero, Montserrat Roig, Esther Tusquets, Cristina Peri Rossi, and Marta Pessarrodona, whose writings appeared in Vindicación but also in other key cultural and political periodicals of the Transition such as Triunfo, Camp de l’Arpa, Destino, La Vanguardia, Por favor, El viejo topo, Ajoblanco and Diario 16.

 

Finally, this project aims to appropriately situate the writings by women intellectuals in the context of the Transition’s cultural production in order to address the following questions regarding this historical period: the critical perception of the major political events by female intellectuals; the dynamics and tensions of nationalisms in the creation of a democratic state; the reassessment of gender ideologies and its impact on the definition of the new national identity; the problematic relationship of feminists and the Left; the divisions within the Spanish feminist movement; the relationship between feminist and lesbian movements; and the vindication of past and present Spanish and international women authors as an effort to reconstruct a female cultural tradition and genealogy.

 

Research assistants:

Heba Ismail

Luba Rybkina

Lorena Yanes

Journals and Newspapers

Vindicación Feminista

Triunfo

Destino

La Vanguardia