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Presented By: Romance Languages & Literatures

RLL Martin Luther King Jr Annual Lecture: Spain, Race, and the Third Reich: On Carlos Greykey

by Professor N. Michelle Murray (Vanderbilt University)

Poster Poster
In 1941, José Carlos Grey Molay (also known as Carlos Greykey) was one of 4,578 Spaniards who entered Mauthausen, a Nazi work camp in Upper Austria that would come to be known as el campo de los españoles. The Nazis were astounded to encounter Grey Molay amidst the "red Spaniards" who were exiled from Spain. An Afro-Catalan man of Guinean parentage, Grey Molay's presence in the camp, along with representations of him in cultural productions, evince a unique embodiment of contemporary European histories of colonialism, fascism and anti-fascist resistance, and racism. This talk theorizes representations of these intertwined memories with a singular focus on Grey Molay. Indeed, in Multidirectional Memory, Michael Rothberg writes that “there is no shortage of cross-referencing between the legacies of the Holocaust and colonialism, but many of those moments of contact occur in marginalized texts or in marginal moments of well-known texts.” Through readings of references to Grey Molay in contemporary Spanish literature and culture, this paper observes the ways in which Grey-Molay’s story appears in the “marginal moments” of more well-known life narratives by fellow Mauthausen survivors. By centering Grey-Molay’s experience — even as it is filtered through the lens of his white compatriots — this analysis answers Rothberg’s call to constitute the archive “with the help of the change in vision made possible by a new kind of comparative thinking.”

Professor Michelle Murray's research and teaching focus on contemporary Spanish literature and film. Her first book Home Away from Home Immigrant Narratives, Domesticity, and Coloniality in Contemporary Spanish Culture (UNC Press for North Carolina Studies in Romance Languages and Literatures, 2018) studies representations of immigrant women as domestic workers in contemporary Spain. She is currently working on a manuscript entitled Migrant Markets; this book explores migration, political economy, and trafficking in the Southern Mediterranean.

This talk is co-sponsored by: the Department of Romance Languages and Literature, the Department of African and African American Studies, the Department of Comparative Literature, the Institute for Research on Women and Gender, and the Program in International Comparative Studies.

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