The Spanish Civil War Public History Project
The Spanish Civil War was fought between the legitimate liberal-democratic Republican government and the rebel troops eventually led by Francisco Franco and supported by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. The International Brigades were a contingent of between 40,000 and 60,000 volunteers organized by Communist networks from dozens of countries that went to Spain to fight against Fascism and imperialism.
HIST 435C The Spanish Civil War is a public history course created by Dr. Aitana Guia that takes the extensive primary sources of the Cameron Stewart Collection at Pollak Library out of the classroom. Cameron Stewart was a professor who researched the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, the American contingent of the International Brigades.
In 2018, HIST 435C students organized a symposium dedicated to the memory of the Spanish Civil War and the Lincolns, as the members of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade were known. Students used archival materials from the Cameron Stewart Collection for the first time and gave excellent group presentations.
In 2019, HIST 435C students researched into the lives of two dozen Lincoln Brigade volunteers and other noteworthy Americans that went to Spain during the civil war and compiled a biographical text. The students and various attendees performed their Lincolns to a full house in an event appropriately called “Be a Lincoln”. They also brought artifacts out of the archives and allowed attendees to ask questions about them during the event’s intermission. It was a resounding success.
In Spring 2020, HIST 435C researched and designed an exhibit at Pollak Library, “Spain Ablaze: Americans Fighting for Freedom in the Spanish Civil War 1936-39”. Since COVID19 stopped us from setting it up, we organized a virtual exhibit opening. The exhibit is ready though, so hopefully students who take HIST435C in spring 2023 will be able to complete the mission.