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.

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