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Excavating MemorySites of Remembering and Forgetting$
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Maria Theresia Starzmann and John R. Roby

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813061603

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813061603.001.0001

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date: 06 December 2021

Excavating a Hidden Past

Excavating a Hidden Past

The Forensic Turn in Spain’s Collective Memory

(p.336) 15 Excavating a Hidden Past
Excavating Memory

Lore Colaert

University Press of Florida

Forensic exhumations are part of transitional justice processes worldwide. In a “forensic turn” in memory politics, the judicial evidence found on victim's bodies is believed to contribute to the historic record. A recent memory movement in Spain, for example, uses exhumations of mass graves from the Civil War era and Francoist dictatorship to break Spain's “pact of forgetting.” Contrary to international trends, however, the Spanish exhumations are conducted outside a legal framework. Moreover, given that Spain's war record is subject to a prohibition on political representation, the exhumations do not so much reveal unknown facts as they uncover silences. Colaert contends that although the inscription of Spain's collective memory in the forensic turn helps to overcome political silences regarding a violent past, it also limits the exhumations' contribution to the search for forensic truth.

Keywords:   Exhumations, Spain, Transitional Justice, Forensic Truth

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