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UMass Sesquicentennial

University of Massachusetts Amherst

History Department

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Brian Bunk


Senior Lecturer

Office: Herter 633
Telephone: (413) 545-6769
Fax: (413) 545-6137

Click here for Professor Bunk's personal website

Degree: Ph.D., University of Wisconsin – Madison (2000)
Fields of interest: Modern Europe, Spain, World history, Sport History

Research Interests and Professional Activities
Currently Dr. Bunk is writing a book titled The Wild Bull of the Pampas and the Bounding Basque: Boxing and Race in the Modern Atlantic World. This transnational cultural history uses the careers of two fighters; Luis Firpo of Argentina and Paulino Uzcudun from Spain, to cast light on the interplay between athletics and racial identities in the United States and in the wider Atlantic world. An article based on the research, When the Bounding Basque met the Brown Bomber: Race and Ethnicity in World Boxing before the Second World War, recently appeared in the journal Sport in Society. Other projects include studies of the politicization of young people in early twentieth-century Spain and the development of the interactive website called The site will provide a forum for the research and teaching of soccer history in the US.

Dr. Bunk's book Ghosts of Passion: Martyrdom, Gender, and the Origins of the Spanish Civil War was published by Duke University Press in 2007. The book deals with the central problem in modern Spanish history: why did civil war break out in 1936? He argues that cultural representations of the short-lived revolution of October 1934 triggered the broader conflict by accentuating the social tensions surrounding religion and gender. The images encouraged extremism and helped render moderate positions on both sides untenable. Commemorative imagery bridged the gap between rhetoric and action by dehumanizing opponents and encouraging direct and violent measures be taken against them. The resulting atmosphere of polarization combined with increasing political violence to plunge the country into civil war.

Dr. Bunk is one of the co-editors of the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth.