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Products for grant FT-264970-19

Spanish Women of Letters in the Nineteenth-century Antislavery Movement: Transnational Networks and Exchanges
Akiko Tsuchiya, Washington University

Grant details:

Monuments and Public Memory: Antonio López y López, Slavery, and the Cuban-Catalan Connection (Article)
Title: Monuments and Public Memory: Antonio López y López, Slavery, and the Cuban-Catalan Connection
Author: Akiko Tsuchiya
Abstract: Around the same time the political controversy was brewing in the US over the removal of the Confederate statues, a parallel controversy was unfolding in Barcelona around the fate of a monument that was originally erected in 1884 to honor the Spanish financier Antonio López y López (1817-1883), who had traveled to Cuba in his youth and made his fortune through illegal slave-trafficking. The figure of López has always been entangled with national politics, as the wealth he amassed through this illegal activity allowed him to establish three commercial enterprises that played a major role not only in the industrial development of Catalonia in the nineteenth century, but also in sustaining colonialism in Africa and Spanish America. This essay will analyze the debates surrounding the removal of López’s statue by the city of Barcelona in March 2018 , considering not only his place in Spanish colonial history, but also the changing historical circumstances that turned the statue into the object of different controversies, from the moment of its construction and reconstruction, to its final removal in 2018. The article will consider the following questions: What cultural myths and narratives around this figure were being privileged at particular moments in history and why? What impact have the debates around the monument had on how Barcelona’s colonial past has been defined, interpreted, and (re)framed? What possibilities do the public space on which López’s statue once stood offer for refiguring national history and identity in Spain today? Finally, the article will establish connections with the recent public debates surrounding the removal of the Confederate monuments in the United States, while recognizing the different historical and geopolitical contexts in which these monuments linked to slavery were erected and dismantled.
Year: 2019
Primary URL:
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Nineteenth-Century Contexts