International History and Politics
31 October 2022

Interview with IHP Visiting Fellow Adrian Castillo

Adrián Sánchez Castillo is predoctoral FPI Fellow at the Department of Modern History of theAdrian Castillo
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. BA in Geography and History (UNED) and Master in Modern
History (UAM). He is currently carrying out his PhD thesis on labour and social rights in
agriculture and transnational agrarian networks in Spain (1890-1939) within the Transcap
. His fields of research are labour transnational history, agrarian history and social
movements and collective action. He has published in scientific journals like Historia
Agraria, Hispania Nova, Revista Universitaria de Historia Militar, Historia Autónoma and Nuestra
Historia. Currently he is carrying out a research stay as Visiting Fellow in the Department of
International History and Politics at the Geneva Graduate Institute.



What is your research focused on?

I am currently working on various bibliographic, documentary and archival sources on the mutual influence that organizations such as the International Labour Organization or the League of Nations and various politicians, technicians or trade unionists could have had on the agrarian social issue in Spain during the Interwar period.

This is a key part of my PhD thesis project, which I explain later, since the transnational agrarian networks were very active in the internationalist wave that followed the First World War and it is a pending task for Spanish agrarian historiography to explain what concrete impact they had on issues such as the 8-hour workday, the first retirement pensions or other social reforms, which in the case of the primary sector were always subject to exceptionalism and a very marked agrarian essentialism.

What brought you to the Department of International History and Politics at the Institute?

The geographical and thematic link with the ILO and the United Nations, the specialized bibliographic collection of the Institute's library in subjects such as economic history, labour history, political science and transnational history, and the works of Prof. Amalia Ribi Forclaz on transnational cooperation, rural governance, international social reform in agriculture, and agricultural education.

What is the current project you are leading/ working on?

My PhD thesis project attempts to analyze the influence and connections established between transnational networks and the process of debate and approval of the first social and labour reforms in Spanish agriculture between the end of the 19th century and the end of the Spanish Civil War. Specifically, I focus on issues such as workday, right of association, right to strike or social insurance for work accidents, retirement, illness, maternity or unemployment. In agrarian historiography, it has been customary to study both the agrarian reform and, to a lesser extent, the changes in labour relations in terms of social and national history. Instead, my goal is to make a transnational history of a national process.

To achieve this, I follow three fundamental guidelines: 1) The consequences of the great liberal transformations of the 19th century and the changes that emerged after the end-of-the-century Great Crisis, among which were greater agrarian participation beyond national borders, the transfer of ideas, knowledge and technology, which they show an active rural world. 2) The strategies adopted by the various social sectors of the countryside, such as landowners, tenants, sharecroppers, small owners and labourers, in the management of labour conflicts and social reform, and their expression on a transnational scale in organizations such as the International Commission of Agriculture, the International Institute of Agriculture, the International Labour Organization or international employer and trade union federations. 3) The impact of the discourses of  legitimation and delegitimisation on the results of conflict and reform in agricultural labour, by veryfing the degree of dialogue and contact established in the areas of
transnational transfers and networks between a world more linked to social movements and collective action and another of a more technical, intellectual and elite nature.

What are your plans after this Visiting Fellowship?

After this stay, my plans are to teach at the UAM, both on 19th century history of and on history of international relations, as well as carry out another international research stay that will be essential for my thesis, in this case in Rome, in the archives of the FAO and the David Lubin Memorial Library.