Conference: Solidarias: Voluntary involvement and actions of the foreign women in the Spanish Civil War

Paris, 24-26 october 2018
Conference website:

The Spanish Civil War is one of the most studied events in 20th century European historiography. However, some phenomena related to the conflict are still unknown or underestimated. The ways in which Spanish women participated in the conflict on both sides have been examined in the works of Mary Nash, Angela Cenarro, Marie-Aline Barrachina or Shirley Mangini, but that of foreign women volunteering in numbers for the defense of the Republic in different ways is still poorly known, despite it having impressed their contemporaries.

This commitment by women is particularly interesting to study because it is the center of two major features of the conflict: its ability to generate transnational mobilization and the transformation of gender relations in a context of war, which echoes what Europe had experienced during the First World War.

This radical involvement of foreign women alongside the Spanish Republic, which was not self-evident, is undoubtedly an important milestone to place in the history of women’s political development and the evolution of gender relations in the long “European civil war”. The war in Spain became thus a formative experience for hundreds of women who then participated in the Second World War or who invested this commitment in activism.

The Conference will deal with the participation of women in the Spanish conflict within a European history of the transformation of gender relations in the context of war, in order to understand the evolution of the gendered modalities of engagement (political or humanitarian).

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