The University of Iowa

Lecture examines resistance during the Spanish Civil War Nov. 2

October 12th, 2018

The Departments of Anthropology and Spanish and Portuguese, and the European Studies Group will present a lecture by Dr. Rui Gomes Coelho titled "An Old Woman Gave Us Shelter: Resistance and Hospitality in the Galician-Portuguese Border." This talk will take place on Friday, November 2, at 2:30-4 in 27 Macbride Hall.

Dr. Coelho, a postdoctoral fellow in cultural heritage and preservation studies at Rutgers University, will speak about his research and archeological excavations on the Spanish/Portuguese border and what they reveal about resistance during and after the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939).

After the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), groups of anti-Francoist guerrillas took refuge in the hills of Galicia, Spain, and along the border with Trás-os-Montes, Portugal. Many villagers actively supported them to the end. Most had political motivations, but all of them were the product of the borderland context. When the Portuguese and Spanish dictatorships sent the military to hunt down the insurgents throughout the 1940s, the villagers of places such as Repil, Lugo, Cambedo, and Chaves paid the heaviest toll: they were persecuted, sent to jail, and stigmatized for several decades. In the late 1990s, Galicians started to bring the silenced issues of political violence to the public sphere. One of the ways of doing so was by performing remembrance events in public spaces. Some of these actions converged with the work of memory pursued by Portuguese activists. In this lecture based on a long-term collaborative archaeological project with Xurxo Ayán Vila, Dr. Coelho will examine the battles of Cambedo (1946) and Repil (1949), and contextualize them in the larger process of rural resistance to state formation and border enforcement in the north of Portugal and central Galicia.

This lecture is co-sponsored by an International Programs Special Projects Award, the Departments of Anthropology and Spanish and Portuguese, and the European Studies Group.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Katina Lillios in advance at or 319-335-3023.