Current Institutional Affiliation
History, University of California / San Diego

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2017
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
History, University of California / San Diego
Revolutionary Encounters: Mexican Communities and Spanish Exiles, 1917-1975

In 1939, thousands of Spanish political refugees found refuge in Mexico following their country's three-year civil war. This project examines how Mexicans received and perceived the exiles in the wake of decades of global social upheavals. As Mexican peasants and workers navigated, defined, and challenged the parameters of their country's 1910 revolution, Mexican communities' acceptance or rejection of Spanish exiles depended on each localities' historical relationship to land, radical thought, and the Mexican state. Exiles did not typify earlier Spanish colonizers, but were rather, welcomed by many as allies who invigorated the ideals and possibilities of the Mexican Revolution through their own radicalism and civil war. Spanish mobility within Mexico's new social landscapes demonstrated the prospects and limits of radical popular consciousness. My study therefore follows Andalusian peasants, industrial laborers from Barcelona, and other exiles as they settled in rural towns and urban neighborhoods to trace how Mexican popular consciousness evolved with the incorporation of political refugees. In doing so, my work challenges existing historiographies of Spanish exiles in Mexico and the Mexican Revolution by assessing the social, cultural, and political impacts of Spanish-Mexican encounters in rural and urban localities. My reading of the Mexican Revolution as a key moment in 20th century global, rather than regional, revolutionary struggle—a flashpoint for intense debates regarding equality, decolonization, and transnational solidarity—is enabled through a cognitive mapping of social relations between Mexicans and Spanish immigrants prior to, during, and after the Spanish Civil War. I conclude my project with an analysis of the Mexican state's shifting perceptions of Mexican-Spanish relations in the wake of the Cold War.