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Dean of the College presents

Candidate for the Position in Spanish

Patricia Lopez-Gay

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Rewriting the Lives of Spain’s “Stolen Children”: The Biographical Impulse and Social Media

Only in the past few years has it become widely known that one of the largest networks of child trafficking in contemporary Europe was created in Francoist Spain and remained operative until the late 90s. This talk will analyze the biographical and autobiographical narratives that take shape in Facebook groups created by the victims, archival spaces where individuals share information and seek to complete and rewrite their life stories. The new technology changes not simply the archiving process, but what is archivable in a narrative form. Through the formation of collective digital archives, families and individuals become their own archivists--they create and add content in many different forms and media, such as written official documents, oral testimony, familial and personal records, photographs, and audiovisual recordings. Is there a distinctive cultural role for such web-based archives in witnessing history and memorializing our lives, both individually and collectively, in contemporary Spain?

Autobiographical narratives are generally constructed upon the impression of an individual’s past life experiences in the present time: what “might” or “will have been”. As part of a permanently updatable intertext of narratives, the life stories of the stolen children are also marked by the shared loss of what “could have been (and will never be)”. From such absence there arises a collective desire to rewrite the lives of entire generations of people. Could we maybe speak of a collective “biographical impulse” that would surpass and frame the autobiographical in the collective archives created for, and by, the “stolen children”?

For more information, call 845-758-7382, or e-mail nicholso@bard.edu.

Location: Olin 205