© 2017

Producing History in Spanish Civil War Exhumations

From the Archive to the Grave


Part of the World Histories of Crime, Culture and Violence book series (WHCCV)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xviii
  2. Zahira Aragüete-Toribio
    Pages 1-34
  3. Zahira Aragüete-Toribio
    Pages 69-106
  4. Zahira Aragüete-Toribio
    Pages 107-139
  5. Zahira Aragüete-Toribio
    Pages 141-176
  6. Zahira Aragüete-Toribio
    Pages 177-210
  7. Zahira Aragüete-Toribio
    Pages 211-241
  8. Zahira Aragüete-Toribio
    Pages 243-254
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 255-257

About this book


This book follows the efforts of different groups of families, historians, memory activists and forensic experts to assemble information about unatoned mass crimes committed during and after the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), in order to attain their recognition by the Spanish state in the present. It examines how the exhumation of mass graves containing the corpses of Republican victims killed in extrajudicial executions by Francoist supporters has created, in the last years, new forms of historical and political enunciation which did not exist before. During the exhumation process, the study argues, the corpse, the document and the oral testimony have become key traces through which to discern the extent of Francoist repression. Analyzing familial and expert exchanges with these artefacts, between the archive and the grave, the volume considers how new versions of history are constructed in a landscape of distinct and complex generational experiences, memory politics and enduring silences.


Spanish Civil War Mass graves Extremadura Franco Political violence

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland

About the authors

Zahira Aragüete-Toribio is currently Postdoctoral Researcher in the ‘Right to Truth, Truth(s) through Rights: Mass Crimes Impunity and Transitional Justice’ project funded by the Swiss National Fund and hosted at the Law Department of the University of Geneva, Switzerland.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Producing History in Spanish Civil War Exhumations
  • Book Subtitle From the Archive to the Grave
  • Authors Zahira Aragüete-Toribio
  • Series Title World Histories of Crime, Culture and Violence
  • Series Abbreviated Title World Histories of Crime, Culture and Violence
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2017
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-61269-0
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-319-87038-0
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-61270-6
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XVIII, 257
  • Number of Illustrations 21 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics History of Modern Europe
    Modern History
    Memory Studies
    Social History
    Political History
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“In this timely volume, Zahira Aragüete-Toribio examines civil society forensic exhumations of Spanish Civil War dead in Extremadura, the region of western Spain where the author grew up. … a major ethnographic contribution to the ways forensic science prompts new historical imaginations in the twenty-first century. Anthropologists, human rights scholars, and anyone interested in the increasingly contested terrain of historical production will find many provocative insights throughout this compelling text.” (Jonah S. Rubin, EuropeNow,, October, 2018)​