Writing foreign stardom under autarchy : affect, nationalism and the Americas in early Franquista Spanish culture




Norton, Diana Ruth

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This dissertation questions the assumption that foreign films solely provided modes of escapism or opportunities to subvert societal norms under the early Franco regime. In essence, I show how complex political operations underlay the reception and marketing in Spain of foreign films and transnational star images. Using archival research, I examine the way that the Spanish press wrote about Hollywood and Latin American film actresses between 1945 and 1953, taking as case studies the star discourses of Joan Crawford, Dolores del Río, María Félix, Rita Hayworth, Carmen Miranda and Ava Gardner in Spain. In effect, the symbols of Spanish nationalism fostered by the Franco regime—including an imperialist notion of Hispanism—came to circulate in writings about these women, affectively associating the bodies of foreign actresses with the propaganda of the Franco regime. Drawing on the concept of ‘sticky associations’ developed by Sara Ahmed, I argue that these Francoist symbols came to adhere to the representations of American stars in state-controlled discourse, subtly reflecting the regime’s growing alignment with the US over the period in question. In this way, they allowed for the idea of the West as advanced by US postwar cultural imperialism to gain traction in Spain, despite the oft-cited critique of American morality. My project builds on important work in Spanish Cultural Studies, using affect theory to unite film, celebrity, transnational, and gender studies with history and international relations


LCSH Subject Headings