Creating Spaniards by Sandie Holguín

Creating Spaniards by Sandie Holguín – Culture and National Identity in Republican Spain – is an over 20 years old book, but so worth reading. It was recommended to me by my teacher and I’m so glad he mentioned it, as I enjoyed it very much. The topic is Spanish history, of course, but I think this book would also be great for people who are interested in teaching an illiterate population and how education can be used to create a national identity for them.

In the 1930s, which is the period covered in the book, Spain was largely illiterate with over 50% of people not being able to read. This presented some huge problems, as there was a lack of teachers and a pool from which to pick them. Also, Spain was a largely agricultural economy, so the divide between the cities and countryside was significant.

Creating Spaniards by Sandie Holguin

The book covers travelling schools and their topics, theatre, cinema, libraries. There are a few photos in it as well, showing images from the performances, from setting up, and with people watching. It offers a good overview on the topic, clear and interestingly presented, and the tone is largely unbiased. Her bias is obvious in the conclusion, which is only a few pages at the end, when she also makes some “what ifs” comments. Basically, skip the conclusion as it’s not interesting (nor the “what ifs” are accurate), but the rest of the book is fantastic.

This is a good book for the ones reading Spanish history, but also for ones interested in education and teaching.

Creating Spaniards by Sandie Holguín

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 5/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes
Published by: University of Wisconsin Press
Year it was published: 2002
Format: Paperback
Genre(s): History – European
Pages: 280

About the author: Professor Holguín is editor of the Journal of Women’s History. She also wrote Flamenco Nation: The Construction of National Identity (University of Wisconsin Press, 2019). Among her publications she has written two articles in The American Historical Review about the Spanish Civil War: “How Did the Spanish Civil War End? . . . Not So Well” (2015), and “‘National Spain Invites You’: Battlefield Tourism during the Spanish Civil War” (2005). A recipient of the Regents Award for Superior Teaching, she teaches a wide variety of courses for the History Department and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program in European intellectual history, European feminist thought, contemporary feminist thought, women and gender in Europe, and courses on the history of Spain. She is former General Secretary (President) of the Association for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies. Professor Holguin received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles.
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2 thoughts on “Creating Spaniards by Sandie Holguín”

    • I agree, it was fascinating and it answered a question I had about how much peasants could understand propaganda and obscure references. I think this is why the teacher recommended me this book.

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