Virtual Cartographies: Mapping Historical Memory from the Spanish Civil War and Postwar Period

map of grave sites Website: Principal Investigator(s): Dr. Wendy Kurtz, Spanish and Portuguese

Virtual Cartographies is a digital companion to Wendy Kurtz’s dissertation: Mass Graves and Remembering through Ritual: Historical Memory in Contemporary Iberian Literature, Film, and Digital Media. By studying the performance of rituals associated with the disinterment process of mass graves from the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and the ensuing dictatorship of Francisco Franco (1939-1975), Wendy is reflecting upon contemporary representations of loss and recovery of historical memory in Spain. As part of that, she is creating a digital map that combines data collected from the Spanish Ministry of Justice—which designates over 2,600 mass grave found throughout Spain—, with a rich collection of texts directly related to specific mass graves sites [including documentaries, novels, YouTube films, blogs, video games, published articles, and historical documentation found through the National Historical archive (PARES – Portal de Archivos Españoles)]. In the process, she is also exploring questions including: how to display multimedia content on the map, how to designate spatial ambiguity, and how to sustainably share datasets that are regularly updated by their owners.

HumTech is helping Wendy visualize her pilot dataset using GIS systems, by providing dedicated labor and expertise to help her build her map.