Germán Labrador Méndez

Email Address:
Office Location: 
347 East Pyne

On leave academic year 2021-2022


Germán Labrador Méndez (Vigo, 1980) is Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Princeton University, where he has taught since 2008. Also, he has been a DAAD Visiting Professor at the Universität Hamburg and a Visiting Faculty at CUNY-The Graduate Center. His interests span various fields, encompassing literary and cultural history, memory studies, poetry, the arts, social movements, and urban cultures. His primary area of research considers Modern and Contemporary Spain in a global context, with a comprehensive comparative perspective on Galician and Iberian studies.

His first book, Letras arrebatadas, Poesía y química en la transición española [Raptured Letters: Chemical Poetry during the Spanish Transition to Democracy] (Devenir 2009; Siglo XXI, 2020, forthcoming), studies how a forgotten generation of Spanish underground poets used drugs and literature to protest against and to withstand authoritarian cultures and politics, from the psychedelic utopias of 1968 to the deadly spread of heroine consumption in the 1980s.

His second book, Culpables por la literatura. Imaginación política y contracultura en la transición española (1968-1984) [Guilty of Literature. Political Imagination and Counter-Culture in the Spanish Transition to Democracy (1968-1984)] (Akal, 2017), describes the cultural dynamics of counter-cultural movements before and after the death of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco in 1975. It offers a panoramic account of the 1970s underground cultures and a panoramic description of their literary, political and social practices. The book received generous coverage in mainstream and specialized Spanish cultural media; and the prestigious New York-based magazine Art Forum included it on its list of best books of 2017.

Labrador has also co-curated the exhibition The Poetics of Democracy. Images and Counter-Images from the Spanish Transition at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, where he collaborates both as a consultant and scholar. Furthermore, he is the author of Libidinal Economy in the Spanish Transition to Democracy (MNCARS, 2018), also published as Economía libidinal de la Transición (MNCARS, 2018). He regularly works together with other art centers and cultural institutions, such as the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)

Some of his most recent publications feature his research on 19th century Spain, such as his study of an anonymous chronicle of the popular uprisings of 1854 (Las Jornadas de Julio [Days of July]). This scarcely known event shaped Madrid's urban transformations and its future political traditions, including the 2011 protests known as 15M. Also, Labrador co-authored a new edition of Rosalia de Castro's last novel, El primer loco [The first inmate] (1881), in light of modern biopolitics, spiritism and ecological memory at the time of the first Spanish mental asylums.

Labrador is currently editing an anthology of works written by anti-Francoist poets, Muerto el perro, se acabó la rabia. 25 poetas underground de la transición española [Every Dog's Day. 25 Underground Poets in the Spanish Transition to Democracy] (Acuarela & Antonio Machado Libros), and a critical edition of José Luis Hidalgo 1947's book Los muertos [The Dead] (Devenir), a collection of poems published during the dictatorship that denounced the existence of Francoist mass graves.

Investigations in progress include two book projects. The first of these is The Dance of Mayflies. Cultures of Crisis in contemporary Spain (2011-2021), which analyzes how popular cultures entered in political confrontation after 2008's neoliberal crisis. The second is Before a Democracy to Come. The Imaginary of the Spanish Transition, which is devoted to the study of how Iberian post-dictatorial cultural myths and icons have changed throughout the last forty-five years, from their original contexts to their subsequent transformations in collective memory.


  • Ph.D. Spanish Literature, Universidad de Salamanca (Spain). Co-advised: Université Paris IV-La Sorbonne (France).
  • M.A. Spanish and Latin American Literature, U. Salamanca & U. Paris IV-La Sorbonne.
  • B.A. Romance Philology,  U. Salamanca.
  • B.A. Hispanic Philology,  U. Salamanca.

Recent Selected Interviews

  • Julio Ramos. “Poesía y química,El jardín de los poetas, V, 9, II (2019): 216-228.
  • Cápsula. Canal Contextos, Radio del Museo Reina Sofía, Agnès Pe y José Luis Espejo, Madrid, November 25, 2019.
  • “Transición democrática es un eufemismo para hablar de impunidad.” Carolina Espinosa, The Clinic (October 1, 2019)
  • SON[I]A #260 Germán Labrador. Barcelona, Radio Web Macba, May 15, 2018.
  • Enrique Maestu y Ainhoa Maestu. Juego de Manos, Sep. 26, 2017
  • Equipo Brandaris. Proyecto Brandaris (I, May 16, 2017; II, May 24).

Recent Selected Publications

  • & Jorge Gaupp. “Unboxing Vox: la recepción de Klemperer en España y la Lengua de la nueva Extrema Derecha Populista (LEDP),” Anuario de Glotopolítica (forthcoming): (2020). Web.
  • “Arte, memoria y resistencia en la Galicia de posguerra: el caso de José Meijón,” Mélanges de la Casa de Velázquez, 50-1 (April 2020): 305-310. Web.
  • “New Directions in Iberian Cultural Studies? (Gloto)political Geographies of Peninsular Hispanism After 2008”, The Place of Hispanic Linguistics and Literary/Cultural Studies, HIOL, 6 (2016): 50-71. Web.
  • “Lo que en España no ha habido: la lógica cultural normalizadora de la cultura postfranquista en la actual crisis.” Revista Hispánica Moderna 69:2 (2016): 165-192. Web.
  • “The Cannibal Wave. The Cultural Logic of Spain's Temporality of Crisis (Revolution, biopolitics, hunger and memory),” Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies 14:4 (2014). Web. Talk.
  • “Quimera Esférica. La experiencia estética de la crisis española y su simbolización quijotista en la Eurocopa de 2012.” Journal of Contemporary Spanish Literature and Film 1 (2014): 255-317. Web.
  • “They call it democracy? The Aesthetic Politics of the Spanish Transition to Democracy and some Collective Hijackings of History after the 15-M Movement,” Historien 15 (2015): 117-154. Web.
  • “Hispanismo y Crisis. Crítica cultural y estados de excepción sobre territorio ibérico (notas para después de 2008),” AIH (2018): 775-94. Web.
  • “¿Lo llamaban democracia. La crítica estética de la política en la transición española.” Democracia Inocua. Madrid: Ediciones Contratiempo, 2014: 85-162. Web.
  • "Las vidas subprime. La circulación de historias de vida como tecnología de imaginación política en la crisis española (2007-2012),” Hispanic Review 80.4 (Autumn 2012): 557-581. [Preprint]
  • “El siglo xx español de Manuel Álvarez Ortega y el metarrelato estético-moral de la tradición lírica en España después de 1939,” La manzana poética 32 (November 2012): 40-102. Web.