Fernando Sánchez-Marcos

Fernando Sánchez-Marcos (1943-2020)

Historian and founder of Culturahistorica.org

“Historical culture is the specific and particular way in which a society relates to its past. When we study historical culture, we investigate the social production of historical experience and its objective manifestation in a community’s life.”

- Fernando Sánchez-Marcos

What do historians say of Fernando Sánchez-Marcos?

He was a generous and humane man, full of warmth, and an inspired and inspiring historian.
Dr. Natalie Zemon Davis
princeton university, usa
His merits by the enhancement of History of Historiography on an international level are enormous.
Dr. Marina Cattaruzza
Universität Bern, switzerland
He was a first-class historian and a kind and caring person. This is how we will remember him. We will not forget their example. We are proud to have met him.
Dr. Antoon De Baets
Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, netherlands
He was a fine human being and a great scholar with a calling: the establishment of Culturahistorica.org. I am sure he will live on as such in the memory of many.
Dr. Chris Lorenz
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS
The great historian Fernando Sánchez-Marcos has been a beacon for many of us who work on Historiography and the Theory of History, in order to turn this field so difficult and, at times, so marginalized, into a legitimate autonomous space of intellectual and historical reflexivity.
Dr. Andrés Freijomil
UNGS, Argentina
As a historian, he has made fundamental contributions in the field of the History of Historiography, the Theory of History and the Early Modern History of Catalonia. Their work for the rigorous dissemination of historical culture has also been essential. As a teacher and friend, words fail me to express my gratitude and admiration.
Dr. Xavier Baró Queralt
uic, spain
He was a dear colleague and his site culturahistorica, his life work, a unique gift to the international community of historians and history students.
Dr. Antonis Liakos
University of Athens, Greece
He lived an extraordinary and generous life. As do many around the world, I mourn and celebrate him.
Dra. Julia Adeney Thomas
UNiversity of notre dame, usa
Professor Fernando Sanchez-Marcos was a well-known figure in the field of historiography with many important publications. His passing is a great loss to the field. He will be greatly missed by all of us who had the opportunity to have met him and known his work, especially his creation of the cultural history portal to which he dedicated his later life. It would be our lasting memory of his accomplishment as an outstanding historian.
Dr. Q. Edward Wang
Rowan University, USA
The peculiar contribution of professor Sánchez Marcos to Spanish Historiography has been precisely that of being the first Spanish historian to be scientifically interested in the fields of Historiography, the Theory of History and historical culture, not doing the work of a scholar without vision of the future, but seeking, in Spain and abroad, the collaboration for his projects from the great masters in these areas, such as professors Charles-Olivier Carbonell and Georg G. Iggers. From these collaborations, from that fruitful international academic life, his most original project was born: his portal Culturahistorica.org.
Dr. Ignacio Olábarri
Universidad de Navarra, spain

Fernando Sánchez-Marcos: Searching for Consensus

Fernando Sánchez Marcos, a professor of History at the University of Barcelona, passed away on the morning of Saturday, 4 July. Although he had been born in Ávila, he pursued most of his academic career in Barcelona, punctuated by a ten-year period at the University of the Balearic Islands.His desire to build bridges between his native Castile and his adopted home of Catalonia led him to direct the first research into an issue that is essential for understanding our current era: the frustration caused by the Catalan defeat in the war against the Spanish monarchy in the 17th century. Despite the time that has passed since its publication, his book Catalunya y el Gobierno central tras la Guerra dels Segadors (1652-1679) remains highly illustrative.

He later shifted his attention to the field of historiography, a specialisation of prime importance that was not always appreciated by historians who love data and are allergic to theory. Two books contain the bulk of his contribution in this regard: Invitación a la Historia: La historiografia, de Heródoto a Voltaire, a través de sus textos (1993, third edition 2002) and, more recently, Las huellas del futuro: historiografia y cultura histórica en el siglo XX (2012).

Despite the time that we had worked together, some of us discovered the real scope of his intellectual productivity when he retired in 2013. We wanted to give him a volume of studies and invited everyone who had ever crossed paths with him to participate. The response was astonishing. A vueltas con el pasado. Historia, memoria y vida (2013) brought together contributions from some of the main figures of historical theory in the second half of the 20th century.

Many of those who could not participate in the book were involved in the digital platform http://culturahistorica.org, on which he worked in the final years of his life. This platform is devoted to the study of what he called historical culture, meaning the literary, artistic and theatrical representations and performances of the past that arise and permeate popular culture, civic life and political discourse, including the fascinating subject of social memory. His desire to break down academic boundaries and strike up a dialogue with society prompted him to create the Master’s programme in History and Cultural Communication that he directed from 2002 to 2013.

For years, he was the only Spanish member of the International Commission for the Theory and History of Historiography, a committee of experts dedicated to examining how visions of the past shape how we behave today, among other things. He liked to recall meetings with historians from the other side of the iron curtain before 1989. “In those meetings, I discovered the benefit of putting yourself in another man’s shoes before judging him”, he would say. Those who attended staff meetings with him at the University of Barcelona or Geography or History Department faculty meetings can attest to just how far he tried to turn this principle into a model of behaviour. In times of intense politicisation of university life and difficulty in adapting divergent sensitivities, he always had a kind word and warm treatment for those who did not think the same as he did.

Joan-Lluis Palos (Professor of Early Modern History at the Universidad de Barcelona. Obituary published in La Vanguardia, the major newspaper of Barcelona, on July 6, 2020).

Photo gallery of Fernando Sánchez-Marcos