Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Joe Perry

Second Advisor

Ian C. Fletcher

Third Advisor

Jared Poley


The Spanish Civil War is typically presented as a military narrative of the ideological battle between socialism and fascism, foreshadowing World War II. Yet the Spanish war continued trends begun during World War I, notably the use of propaganda posters and the movement of women into visible roles within the public sphere. Employing cultural studies methods to read propaganda poster art from the Spanish war as texts, this thesis analyzes the ways in which this persuasive medium represented extremes of gender discourse within the context of letters, memoirs, and other experiential accounts. This thesis analyzes symbols present in propaganda art and considers how their meanings interacted with the changing gendered identities of Republic and nation. Even within the relatively egalitarian Republic, political factions constructed conflicting representations of femininity in propaganda art, and women’s accounts indicate that despite ideological differences, both sides still shared a patriarchal worldview.