Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
First Advisor's Name
Dr. Bianca Premo
First Advisor's Committee Title
Second Advisor's Name
Dr. Michael Bustamante
Second Advisor's Committee Title
Third Advisor's Name
Dr. Renée Silverman
Third Advisor's Committee Title
Fourth Advisor's Name
Dr. Immaculada Colomina Limonero
Fourth Advisor's Committee Title
women's history, Spanish Civil War, exile, transnational, anti-fascism, nomadism
Date of Defense
As witnesses to the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and its ensuing streams of exile Americans Muriel Rukeyser and Janet Riesenfeld understood the conflict as symptomatic of larger European and antifascist struggle. Weaving biography, intellectual history, and cultural studies this dissertation reveals how the art and activism of these two North American women in the Spanish Civil War can expose an overlooked element in the antifascist movement and its fate with the rise of Cold War anti-Communism. Their experiences—one a writer and poet, and the other a dancer and screenwriter—with the Spanish conflict and exile informed their lives and creative works. They embodied what theorist Rosi Braidotti calls the "nomadic subject;" that they bore witness to the war and moved across literal and symbolic borders reveals an activism rooted in personal and historical identification with and empathy for the "other." Previous studies centered on US participants focus on men in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, as well as male artists and intellectuals. The addition of these women’s voices not only reveals the gendered dimension to that participation but also a more Atlantic scope: the Spanish Civil War offered these nomadic women a political awakening and a lens into the Popular Front’s promise for breaking down divisions, at home and abroad, including nationalist boundaries, class or religious differences, and traditional gender roles. Yet the growing anti-Communism and international politics of the Cold War reverted this potential, creating a new paradigm and establishing new borders for these women. Through their nomadism, both women broke with the dominant political and gendered Cold War ideologies. Broadening our scope to include women’s anti-fascist activities presents an alternative narrative to the binary between the feminine cult of domesticity and the institutionalized masculine heroism of war, politics, activism, or leftist writings of professional academia. Instead, it reveals these women’s empathy to be at the core of their art, their political activism, and their border-crossing sense of selves as activism.
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Labbato, Maria, "The Nomad Selves: The American Women of The Spanish Civil War and Exile" (2021). FIU Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4674.
Cultural History Commons, European History Commons, History of Gender Commons, Intellectual History Commons, Latin American History Commons, United States History Commons, Women's History Commons, Women's Studies Commons
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