Iker Itoiz Ciaurriz

Thesis title: The Political Commitment of Eric Hobsbawm: the passion for politics in a transformed world (1977-2012)

Background

I grew up in Spain where I studied my degree and master´s degree. I graduated in History in 2014 and Political Scientist in 2015 at the Complutense University of Madrid. Then I studied the MSc by Research in Contemporary History at the same university. Since 2016 I have been undertaking a PhD in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology focusing on the political commitment of Eric Hobsbawm.

Qualifications

2014-2015: Master´s Degree in Contemporary History, Complutense University of Madrid. Specialization in Cultural Studies and Political Cultures with the following research: "The representations of Homosexuality: the mass media in Spain (2004-2011)" ​

2011-2015: Degree in Political Scientist, UNED. Specialization in the history of Fascism and Antifascism in Europe and Spain (1919-1939) with the following research: "The Popular Front and the European Antifascism"

2010-2014: Degree in History, Complutense University of Madrid. Specialization in Political Violence and Terrorism in the 20th century with the following research: "ETA and the Francoism. The origins of the politcal violence in the Basque Country"

Undergraduate teaching

2017/2018 - Introduction to Historiography, Tutor

2018/2019 – Making of the Modern World, Tutor

2019/2020 – Themes in Modern European History, Tutor

2019/2020 – Making of the Modern World, Tutor.

Research summary

My research interests lie broadly in twentieth-century European history. Three have been main areas of interest:

First, I specialised in political violence and the history of European terrorism by examining the Basque terrorist group ETA in the fifties and sixties, in particular, how ETA´s political imagination of violence was shaped by the influence of Franz Fanon´s ideas and the process of decolonization and Third World struggles for independence. My interests lie in the role of political violence beyond national frontiers. 

Secondly, I am studying the rise of neoliberalism and its impact on the left and Marxism in the 1970s and beyond. I looked at Eric Hobsbawm´s political commitment. By exploring his intentions, motivations, and desires, I believe Hobsbawm’s life and work are an excellent case study to understand the role that the Communist movement played in the twentieth century in its capacity to attract people all over the world to the hope of October. I hope to have shed light on the question of attachment to Communism in the twentieth century by analysing Hobsbawm’s commitment since 1977 in the rise of neoliberalism and the dismiss of Marxism and Communism.

Finally, I am interested in current European politics. The rise of left-wing populism such as Podemos and La France Insoumise and how they have reinvented political concepts like “Nation” or “People”. By focusing on these groups, I argue that we need to broaden and reconceptualise Contemporary European Politics. I argue that we need to rethink political categories in order to explain the shifting allegiances of today´s political landscape.

Current research interests

My current research focuses on the political commitment of Eric Hobsbawm since 1977. I show how Hobsbawm´s political commitment changed from 1977 when he actively intervened in British politics arguing for a change in policies and strategy of the Labour Party. From this initial intervention, he gradually gained popularity, transforming his public image from the British Communist historian par excellence to that of a British public intellectual, well known and respected for his research in global history, nationalism and imperialism. More broadly, by exploring Hobsbawm´s changing political commitment I offer a new perspective on the wider history of the Left, Communism and Marxism since the 1970s, as well as their subsequent crisis. I demonstrate that Hobsbawm’s life and work are an excellent case study to understand the role that the Communist movement played in the twentieth century in its capacity to attract people all over the world to the hope of October. A key contribution of my research is to put intellectual history at the service of elucidating how ideas, desires and aspirations can shape individuals in different contexts. A closer look at Hobsbawm´s political interventions from 1977 reveals a complex picture of his commitment and ideology. From the classic perspective of Hobsbawm as a loyal communist, my research shows how Hobsbawm navigated ideologically from the classic communist to social democratic culture and even, in some respects, to that of British liberalism. I believe Hobsbawm’s life and work are an excellent case study to understand the role that the Communist movement played in the twentieth century in its capacity to attract people all over the world to the hope of October.

Knowledge exchange

I am the co-founder of the touristic association “La Otra Historia de Madrid” (The Other History of Madrid) which aims to foster the republican history of Madrid.

Affiliated research centres

Articles:

  • “Looking for a dream, surviving nightmare times: Eric Hobsbawm, Marxism Today and the resignification of antifascism during Thatcher's time” in Fascism. A journal of comparative studies (Forthcoming 2020)

Book Chapters:

Book Review: