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Wesleyan University | Center for the Humanities


Queer Erotic Archives in Franco's Spain (1954-1979) Poster


Queer Erotic Archives in Franco's Spain


Javier Fernández Galeano • Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow,

Wesleyan University

September 14 @ 6 P.M.
Zoom Conference: https://wesleyan.zoom.us/j/95004803269

Under the Franco regime (1939-1975) in Spain, the authorities incinerated heterosexual pornography while they preserved, curated, and restored queer pornography. Why would a regime rooted in fascism apply such a policy, shaping state archives in a way that brings queer eroticism to the forefront? This talk addresses the question by arguing that pornography was produced by the frame of consumption instead of being an intrinsic quality of the object. The study of the confiscated materials suggests that queer and trans communities embodied in their photographs a reading of their own desires that differed from the authorities’ views. Models and photographers incorporated a sublime and aesthetic classicism in their representations of homoeroticism, and transwomen-centered joy, sisterhood, and romance, as values that structured their communities. The historiography on sexual liberalization in Spain–the last bastion of fascism in Europe–has hitherto focused on establishing its role in the modernization and democratization of mass culture through erotic films and magazines targeting a mass audience. This talk takes a more intimate turn, looking at amateur erotica and anonymous pornographers whose confiscated materials were preserved by the courts with jurisdiction over societal dangers. It analyzes the relationships between preservation and erasure, and between archival voyeurism and intangible affects. In this way, it addresses larger debates about state regulation of sexuality in authoritarian regimes, the globalization and commodification of eroticism, and the relationship between mass culture and individual taste.

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