Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)




Betsy Konefal

Committee Member

Nicholas Popper

Committee Member

Fabricio Prado


“Memory as a Tool of Resignification: Shifting Spain’s Valley of the Fallen from a Historic Monument to a Memory Site” As early as April 1, 1940, one year to the day that Nationalist forces defeated Republicanism in the Spanish Civil War, Dictator Francisco Franco proclaimed the erection of a monument known as the “Valley of the Fallen.” The signification of this monument had always intended to honor the fallen Nationalists while disregarding the sacrifice and memories of the Republican narrative, and this was confirmed when Franco was interred in the center of the Valley with an inscribed tombstone, one of only two distinguished tombstones despite the over 33,000 bodies buried in this site. This paper engages with the work of dialectical memory in demonstrating how those related to victims of Republicans during the war and subsequent Franco dictatorship have fought to have their loved ones memorialized through the constantly transforming meaning of the Valley despite counter-memory practices that reject this resignification. Analyzing the political, cultural, and social circumstances that have shaped the Valley and who it memorializes leading up to Franco’s body being exhumed from the Valley in October 2019, this paper demonstrates how memory from different sides of this history have contributed to a new meaning of the Valley, one that more inclusively acknowledges and honors the memories of a broader range of Spanish Civil War victims. “The Contested Nature of Constructing National Identity: The Appropriation of Tecún Umán through Representation in Guatemala after 1960” In 1960, the Guatemalan Congress honored Tecún Umán, one of the last indigenous leaders before the Spanish conquistadores conquered the land, as a National Hero. Following this declaration, different actors in Guatemala, including elites, local voices, and select indigenous figures, appropriated Tecún Umán’s image through a variety of public-facing representations. This paper analyzes various print publications, erected monuments, and currency that depict Tecún Umán’s image and argues that these different representations contribute to a construction of a particular national identity in Guatemala. By deconstructing the military as the only group with agency and power, other communities have prioritized their needs in crafting representations of Tecún Umán and how he contributes to a national identity. Understanding national identity as a unique construction in which different voices craft certain representations for their own purposes, this paper argues that these representations assert intentional images of indigeneity that demonstrate how Guatemalan society acknowledges and accepts indigenous identities.




© The Author

Available for download on Sunday, August 14, 2044

Included in

History Commons