The Teaching of the "Dirty Past" in the United States and Spain: A Comparative Analysis

By Carmen Moreno-Nuño


Despite their many differences, Spain and the United States share the burden of a traumatic past. Both countries owe their current reality to the sacrifice of a good part of the population, Black and brown people in the United States, and those defeated in the civil war in Spain. In this article, I draw a comparison between the two countries to contrast memory laws that bring more equity and inclusion to historical narratives, such as Spain’s, with memory laws that explicitly minimize or deny historical events and exclude voices from historical narratives, as those passed recently in many US states. I focus on how Spain’s educational and legislative systems have tackled the teaching of the past in the twenty-first century and the lessons that can be learned from this.

Download "The Teaching of the 'Dirty Past' in the United States and Spain: A Comparative Analysis" or read below.


Since this article focuses mostly upon post-Franco Spain's pushback against authoritarian censorship, it might be worth noting that at least ten U.S. state governments have pushed back against the present-day right-wing moral panic and authoritarian books bans in the U.S. Some of this pushback is discussed in a recent news report from Axios entitled "States Fight to Save Books from Growing Number of Bans Across U.S.":

Add new comment

We welcome your comments. See our commenting policy.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.