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International seminar "The colonial memory of the Western Sahara" held at the UAM

16/12/2009

On 4 December, the international seminar, "The colonial memory of the Western Sahara" was held at the Centre for Postgraduate Studies. The event, organised by Juan Carlos Gimeno from the UAM's Department of Social Anthropology and Spanish Philosophical Thought, and José A. Rodríguez Esteban, from the Department of Geography, was attended by professor Francesco Correale, who outlined the hardships endured by Western Sahara under Spanish rule (1884-1976). In his lecture, entitled "Manipulation and gaps in the memory of Spanish colonialism in the Western Sahara", Correale highlighted the weakness in the quality and quantity of scientific output, with the majority of texts on the subject having been written by members of the military who do not view the situation with a critical eye. He also drew attention to the absence of the issue of colonialism at solidarity conferences for Saharan refugees and the rose-tinted portrayal of colonial reality.

  • Sahara

According to Correale, the reasons behind all this include a general disinterest in colonialism as a whole and, in particular, in that of the Western Sahara, the problematic evocation of Spain's recent history and the difficulty in accessing archives, itself a result of a 1978 Francoist law which has been renewed time and time again, even now at the height of democracy, and which impedes access to all secret and delicate documents.

Professor Correale sought to emphasise that the Saharans themselves also have problems remembering their past: There is great caution when evoking the colonial period, and there are several contradictions between the nationalist and the colonial versions of Saharan history. The question posed by Franceso Correale was the following: “Is there a desire to hide the colonial past, uncomfortable for Saharans and Spaniards alike, in favour of a peaceful memory?”. After outlining the relations established between Spaniards and Saharans and critically analysing the Sugarloaf policy, initiated by General Bens and modernised following the bombings of 1957-1958, Correale highlighted how one of the main consequences was the emergence of a parasitic middle class that generated paternalistic relations with the metropolis. Harmony was broken when the Polisario Front began to question the colonial presence in the region.

His conclusions were not particularly encouraging. For Correale, the memory of colonialism in Spanish Sahara cannot be taken away from the compromise between evocation of the past and the needs of the present. Also, the colonial relationship has not been studied or considered by either of the two parties because it has never been brought to a close and is still reproduced today in the relations between the Spanish solidarity movement and the refugees of Tindouf. In conclusion, in the words of the Italian: “It is the logic of not biting the hand that feeds you”.

The second part of the seminar was led by José A. Rodríguez Esteban, lecturer at the UAM Department of Geography, who illustrated his conference The problems in accessing resources for the reconstruction of territorial action of Spanish colonialism in Western Sahara with a great cartographic display, which showed the way in which some of the maps and images of the region found in the archives have been manipulated.

Agentes y colaboradores

  • Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Enlace externo. Abre en ventana nueva.
  • CSIC. Enlace externo. Abre en ventana nueva.
  • ASEYACOVI. Enlace externo. Abre en ventana nueva.
  • ACENOMA. Enlace externo. Abre en ventana nueva.
  • AICA. Enlace externo. Abre en ventana nueva.
  • Centro de Microanálisis de Materiales (CMAM). Enlace externo. Abre en ventana nueva.
  • Centro de Investigación en Física de la Materia Condensada (IFIMAC). Enlace externo. Abre en ventana nueva.
  • CBMSO - Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa . Enlace externo. Abre en ventana nueva.
  • CIAL - Centro de Investigación en Ciencias de la Alimentación. Enlace externo. Abre en ventana nueva.
  • CNB - Centro Nacional de Biotecnología . Enlace externo. Abre en ventana nueva.
  • Centro de Iniciativas Emprendedoras (CIADE). Enlace externo. Abre en ventana nueva.
  • Cámara de Madrid. Enlace externo. Abre en ventana nueva.
  • FEMAN. Enlace externo. Abre en ventana nueva.
  • Fundación Universitaria Autónoma de Madrid. Enlace externo. Abre en ventana nueva.
  • ICMAT - Instituto de Ciencias Matemáticas. Enlace externo. Abre en ventana nueva.
  • ICMM - Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Madrid. Enlace externo. Abre en ventana nueva.
  • ICP - Instituto de Catálisis y Petroquímica. Enlace externo. Abre en ventana nueva.
  • ICV - Instituto de Cerámica y Vidrio. Enlace externo. Abre en ventana nueva.
  • IFT - Instituto de FísicaTeórica. Enlace externo. Abre en ventana nueva.
  • IIBM - Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas Alberto Sols. Enlace externo. Abre en ventana nueva.
  • IMDEA - Alimentación. Enlace externo. Abre en ventana nueva.
  • IMDEA - Nanociencia. Enlace externo. Abre en ventana nueva.
  • IMM - Instituto de Microelectrónica de Madrid. Enlace externo. Abre en ventana nueva.
  • InNorMadrid. Enlace externo. Abre en ventana nueva.
  • Parque Científico de Madrid. Enlace externo. Abre en ventana nueva.
  • Oficina de Transferencia de Resultados de la Investigación (OTRI) de la UAM. Enlace externo. Abre en ventana nueva.
  • Facultad de Ciencias. Enlace externo. Abre en ventana nueva.
  • Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales. Enlace externo. Abre en ventana nueva.
  • Facultad de Derecho. Enlace externo. Abre en ventana nueva.
  • Facultad de Filosofía y Letras. Enlace externo. Abre en ventana nueva.
  • Facultad de Medicina. Enlace externo. Abre en ventana nueva.
  • Facultad de Formación de Profesorado y Educación. Enlace externo. Abre en ventana nueva.
  • Facultad de Psicología. Enlace externo. Abre en ventana nueva.
  • Escuela Politécnica Superior. Enlace externo. Abre en ventana nueva.
Proyecto realizado con ayudas concedidas por el Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad / EXPEDIENTE: CEI10-1-0009 CEI UAM+CSIC: INNOCAMPUS 2010 Proyecto financiado por el Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte, y el Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad en el marco del Programa Campus de Excelencia Internacional/ EXPEDIENTE: CEI10-1-0009 CEI UAM+CSIC: INNOCAMPUS 2010