Flamenco and Spanish National Identity

Episode 35 with Sandie Holguín

Flamenco is one of the most iconic symbols of Spain, but how did that come to be and how was flamenco perceived inside of Spain? Those are the questions Prof. Sandie Holguín considers in this episode through listening to several selections of flamenco music by Manolo Caracol, La Niña de los Peines and Enrique Morente. In so doing, we’ll discuss the origins of flamenco, how it was received by foreign travelers and how Spanish and regional nationalist thinkers reacted to it throughout modern Spanish history. This episode is part of our Historias for BSPHS collaboration, as a review Holguín’s book Flamenco Nation: The Construction of Spanish National Identity by Alejandro Quiroga appears in the latest issue of the Bulletin for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies.

The Episode

The Guest

Professor Sandie Holguín is co-editor of the Journal of Women’s History and author of Flamenco Nation: The Construction of National Identity (University of Wisconsin Press, 2019) and Creating Spaniards: Culture and National Identity in Republican Spain (University of Wisconsin Press, 2002). Among her publications she has written two articles in The American Historical Review about the Spanish Civil War: “How Did the Spanish Civil War End? . . . Not So Well” (2015), and “‘National Spain Invites You’: Battlefield Tourism during the Spanish Civil War” (2005). She teaches a wide variety of courses for the History Department and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program in European intellectual history, the history of Spain, and women and gender in Europe.


Listeners might also enjoy the following recordings and videos of flamenco performances available on Youtube, recommended by Prof. Holguín:

Suggested Readings

  • Charnon-Deutsch, Lou. The Spanish Gypsy: The History of a European Obsession. University Park: Penn State Press, 2004.
  • Cruces, Roldán. Más allá de la música: Antropología y flamenco: Sociabilidad, transmisión y patrimonio. Seville: Signatura Ediciones de Andalucía, 2002.
  • Goldberg, K. Meira, Ninotchka Bennahum and Michelle Heffner Hayes. Flamenco on the Global Stage: Historical, Critical and Theoretical Perspectives. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2015.
  • Gómez-García Plata, Mercedes. “El género flamenco: Estampa finisecular de la España de pandereta.” In La escena española en la encrucijada, 1890-1910, edited by Serge Salaün, Evelyne Ricci and Marie Salgues, 101-24. Madrid: Editorial Fundamentos, 2005.
  • Llano, Samuel. “Public Enemy or National Hero? The Spanish Gypsy and the Rise of Flamenquismo, 1898-1922.” Bulletin of Spanish Studies 94, no. 6 (2017): 977-1004. https://doi.org/10.1080/14753820.2017.1336363
  • Leblon, Bernard. Gypsies and Flamenco: The Emergence of the Art of Flamenco in Andalusia. Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire Press, 2003.
  • Machin-Autenrieth, Matthew. Flamenco, Regionalism and Musical Heritage in Southern Spain. London: Routledge, 2017.
  • Steingress, Gerhard. Sociología del cante flamenco. 2nd ed. Seville: Signatura, 2006.
  • Steingress, Gerhard. . . . Y Carmen se fue a París: Un estudio sobre la construcción artística del género flamenco (1833-1865). Colección de Flamenco. Serie Ensayo. Córdoba: Editorial Almuzara, 2006.
  • Washabaugh, William. Flamenco Music and National Identity in Spain. London: Routledge, 2016.

Music Credits

  1. “A clavo y canela- Seguiriyas”
    La Niña de los Peines
    Courtesy of: Centro Andaluz de Documentación del Flamenco
  2. “Tientos”
    Manolo Caracol
    Maestros del cante flamenco
    Courtesy of: Vintage Music
  3. “Himno de Andalucía- Seguiriya y toná”
    Enrique Morente and Estrella Morente with Diego el Morao
    Himno de Andalucía: Flamenco por Andalucía, España y la humanidad
    Courtesy of: Centro Andaluz de Documentación del Flamenco

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s