After earning a BA in History from the University of La Laguna (ULL), Tenerife, Abel Díaz took an interuniversity MA in Contemporary History at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), where he is currently working on his PhD thesis in Contemporary History, ‘Homosexualidad y masculinidad normativa en el franquismo (1939-1976)’. In the 2015 call, he was awarded a pre-doctoral trainee research fellowship (PIF) by the UPV/EHU.
The aim of Díaz’s pre-doctoral research project is to analyse the historical construction of homosexual identity during Franco’s dictatorship, from a non-essentialist perspective, on the basis of the analysis of the social meanings that homosexuality acquired in each discourse throughout this time. Specifically, the research envisages an in-depth study of the criminalization of homosexuality through legislation, focusing on the Vagrancy Act. Oral testimonies also constitute another of the exceptional scopes of analysis in the reconstruction of the subjectivities relating to the homosexual experience, fundamentally in its expressions in popular contexts.
On the basis of the historiographical proposal developed by his supervisor Nerea Aresti, his thesis will focus on the analysis of the discourses produced by models of normative masculinity during the dictatorship. This approach does not entail an in-depth analysis of normative masculinity, but rather intends to separate the behaviours and bodies understood as acceptable from those that were deemed dissident or abject in the domain of sexuality. With respect to the geographical framework, a comparative study of the Basque Country and the Canary Isles will be performed for the purpose of identifying whether the treatment of homosexuality during the Francoist regime was affected by models of gender and sexuality that would seem a priori geographically different.
His work will combine, in a critical manner, the theoretical-methodological traditions of the universities where he has completed his training, featuring the following: emphasis on discourse as a producer of meaning of reality; a review of post-social studies by incorporating the body and emotions in the production of historical meanings; and studies of masculinity from a gender perspective or the understanding of oral history as a way of analysing the shaping of subjectivities in the past.