Editor”s Note: CSWS faculty affiliate Gina Herrmann, associate professor, romance languages, received a 2015-16 CSWS Faculty Research Grant for her research “Spanish Women in the French Resistance and Ravensbruck” and a 2009-10 CSWS Faculty Research Grant for “Voices of the Vanquished: Spanish Republican Women in War and Prison.” Her research recently earned Herrmann a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Read more about this in Around the O.
March 31, 2016—Years ago, when Gina Herrmann began her decades-long oral history project examining the accounts of Spanish Civil War-era women activists, she had a somewhat romanticized notion of what her research would reveal.
“When I started the project, I was interested in this ideal of these women. I saw them picking up rifles and going to the front lines … it was glamorous,” said Herrmann, an associate professor of Spanish in the Department of Romance Languages. “I was very quickly disabused of this notion. The oral history I was collecting were stories of imprisonment, torture, the loss of comrades, destroyed families.”
Within those raw narratives, Herrmann reveals how working-class communist women coped with and managed traumatic and life-threatening experiences brought about by political resistance and forced exile. The project, which continues today, recently earned Herrmann a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The award is supporting her work on her forthcoming book, “Voices of the Vanquished: Spanish Republican Women in War and Prison.” The award will allow her to spend the 2017-18 academic year writing about the testimonies she collected with Republican women survivors of the Spanish civil war, the Francoist penitentiary system, the French Resistance and deportation to Nazi concentration camps.
(for the full story by Lewis Taylor, go to: Research gives voice to women activists jailed in wartime | Around the O