The aim of the ‘Experiencia Moderna’ [Modern Experience] research group is to contribute to a better understanding of the experience of modern society in Spain through three lines of research: the history of emotions; the gender perspective in history; and oral history and the social construction of subjectivities. These three lines of research coalesce in a project with a protracted timeline covering the 19th and 20th centuries, pursuing theoretical-methodological renewel in a post-constructivist sense of the word, as well as a review of the linguistic turn in history. The point of departure is a vision of human beings as social subjects shaped in a fabric of power relations, in which their bodies strike numerous attitudes that define their experience, thus linking in with new materialisms, corporalities, and studies of emotions.
A. Our group shares the growing scholarly interest in the emotional dimension of experience. The importance attached to the historical study of emotions is grounded on a critical assessment of the consequences of the linguistic turn and on the identification of the constraints of a paradigm based on a structural conception of language that is threatening to become a kind of straightjacket. This proposal builds on shifting the relationship between human beings and the world from language to emotions. This entails, in turn, a shift in reason as a way of acceessing the world in support of a conception embodied in rationality.
B. Many of the group’s researchers have a long track record in the field of gender studies. This approach places these historians among the pioneers in the study of ways of constructing social differences and inequalities, in addition to the veracity of scientific knowledge within a post-structuralist framework. The capacity of “women” as a category to construct political identities, or the building of masculine identities and their connection with other social relations of class or nationality, are objects of study that have become central to the group’s research.
C. The contribution of our group is outstanding in the field of study of subjectivities through memory and the oral history methodology. To our mind, memory is the human capacity that constitutes subjectivity and, to that extent, the analysis of recollections allows us to access the changes that people have experienced in the past. The choice of oral sources as the object of study is related to the opportunities that these provide for analysing the historical dimension of human subjectivity by linking it to the study of emotions, experience, and memory.
Given the historiographical areas of interest of the ‘Experiencia Moderna’ [Modern Experience] research group, its members have maintained close ties with a number of history associations in which they have held positions of responsibility. These include the Spanish Association of Women’s History (AEHIM http://aeihm.org/), the International Oral History Association (IOHA http://iohanet.org/), and, of course, the Association of Contemporary History (AHC https://ahistcon.org/).