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Forgetting the Forgetfulness: (Dis)remembering the Coloniality of the Portuguese and Spanish Dictatorships


Forgetting the Forgetfulness: (Dis)remembering the Coloniality of the Portuguese and Spanish Dictatorships, explores the politics of memory surrounding the Portuguese and Spanish dictatorships as well as their lasting material and discursive effects in contemporary Iberian societies. More specifically, it tends to the silenced colonial past in relation to the production of knowledge around the Salazarist and Francoist regimes. As a transhistorical and multiterritorial study, this project articulates a decolonial epistemology on Portuguese and Spanish relations through a critical analysis of several 20th and 21st century films and documentaries that provide a space inscribing the modes of (in)visibility and voicing of the Iberian dictatorships’ former colonized and their descendants. From this critical approach, this dissertation posits that the particularity of the Iberian dictatorships rests on their modern colonial projects as vital for their existence and maintenance of power (unlike repressive Latin American regimes or imperial European countries). This project adds to the theory body of academic Iberian comparative studies and addresses the debates around the Portuguese and Spanish “transitology” studies offering a critique of the modes of (dis)remembrance inherent to the transition process as an exclusionary European event. Through an intersectional theoretical reading of the silenced colonial violence of the dictatorships and its effects on the descendants of the colonized, this project contends that the consolidation of race, identity and nation in Spain and Portugal are owed to their colonial subjects in Africa. It responds to the vital need to think of the former colonial subjects under dictatorial rule as forgotten European citizens or nationals in an effort to debunk the myth of Spain and Portugal as white Christian European nations. There are four chapters that comprise this study. However, the organization of these chapters does not follow a teleological framework, but rather an epistemological one. Each chapter is thematically articulated around the ethical and socio-political dimension of the films and documentaries I have selected that address ideas of foreignness, race and colonialism intersecting with social class, sexuality and immigration.

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