Republicanism at home and abroad
This dissertation is about the relationship between exile and national identity in Spain. Its focus is on how Spanish nationality was conceived during the Second Republic, how that national ideal manifested during the Civil War, and how Republicans continued to express their vision of the Spanish nation from exile as resistance to the Franco dictatorship. In particular, I discuss the effect of two different locations of exile on these Republican discourses of national identity: France, where the majority of exiles first landed after the Civil War; and Mexico, viewed by many as an ideal location to transplant the projects and ideologies of the Second Republic. My research addresses the different sociopolitical realities of France and Mexico between 1939 and 1945, the historical and contemporary relationships of those nations with Spain, and the ways the exiles’ ideas of Spanish nationality related to France’s and Mexico’s own discourses of national traditions. In Chapter 1, “Republicanism, Civil War, and the (Re)Formation of the Spanish Nation-State,” I examine the advent of the Second Republic as a unique opportunity to rebuild the fragmented nation-state into a cohesive whole, and I show how this nation-building project was heavily informed by the idea of “culture.” Chapter 2, “France 1939-1942: Rehearsing Spanish Identity from the Concentration Camps,” is concerned with the discourses of Spanish national identity developed by Republican exiles in France, and how these related to the French policy of interning Spanish exiles in concentration camps and, later, France’s war against Nazi Germany. Chapter 3, “The Mexico of Cárdenas: Life after (Re)Emigration,” focuses on exile in Mexico between 1939 and 1945. Here I discuss how the exiles viewed Mexican society as being closely aligned with their own values, ideologies, and heritages, and how these perceived affinities allowed exiles to develop a sense of continuity with the lost homeland. With its Trans-Pyrenean and Transatlantic focus, my work is an original contribution to the rich field of Spanish Exile Literature Studies, and it is my hope that it will contribute to Nationalism and Exile Studies more generally.