Online Event | Spanish ‘Populisms’ in Historical Perspective: From ‘Utopian’ Demo-Socialism to the Anarchist Spring, a conversation between Diego Baena (Spring 2021 KJC Postdoctoral Fellow) and scholar Jorge Gaupp

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Thursday, March 18, 2021 | 2:30pm EST
This event was in ENGLISH
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Furthering the critical study of what some scholars have called the popular democratic and socialist cultures and others the ‘populisms’ of the past, this lecture challenged the dominant narratives and theoretical paradigms that have framed our understanding of both mass and class-oriented political cultures over time (and in particular, those that began to take shape prior to the twentieth century and the advent of modern electronic media).

As we approach the anniversary of the 15M Movement in Spain (May 15, 2011), and as we continue to contemplate what countercultural and mass movements can imply for our present, we stress the importance of critically discussing the dissident cultures of the past. The talk insisted on the need to move away from abstract discussions of “populism” toward a more rigorous historical and contextual account of particular movements, people, and discourses, so as to address these movements in their full complexity and inner contradictions. In the conversation that followed, Diego Baena and Jorge Gaupp offered a close-reading and ‘translation’ of several complex and even seemingly antithetical narrative voices from the early republican, federalist, and ‘utopian’ socialist traditions in Spain.

Diego Baena is KJC Postdoctoral Fellow at NYU. His doctoral thesis, La literatura y sus pueblos: demopoéticas de la España liberal (1834-1854), explores the intersection between popular literacy, various forms of popular media, censorship, and dissident political cultures in mid-nineteenth-century Spain. He has written at-length on Jacobinism, utopian socialism, 19th-century ‘mass’ media, and on the works of authors such as Rosalía de Castro, Emilia Pardo Bazán, and Benito Pérez Galdós. He is currently researching the cultural and political implications of the cholera epidemics of 1834 and 1854 within the context of both the liberal and industrial revolutions.

Jorge Gaupp is a scholar of political and scientific thought in modern Spain. His doctoral thesis, Poetics of Solidarity: The Emergence of Anarchist Mass Culture (Spain, 1898), stresses the active role of naturalism, vitalism, and the ‘populist’ philosophical essays of Pyotr Kropotkin within anarchist propaganda, thought, and grass-roots educational practice. He has contributed to The Volunteer, Infrapolitical Deconstruction, and CTXT and is coauthor, with Germán Labrador, of “Unboxing Vox: La recepción de Klemperer en España y la Lengua de la nueva Extrema Derecha Populista” (Anuario de Glotopolítica, 2020).