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Aitana Guia


Max Weber/GGP Fellow

York University (Toronto)




Biographical Note:

Aitana Guia holds a PhD in History from York University, Toronto, Canada, where she was associated with the Canadian Centre for German and European Studies and the Centre for Refugee Studies. Her areas of expertise are nationalism, migrants, and minorities in post-war Europe. In her doctoral thesis, she looked at the migrant struggle for civil rights and belonging in Spain in the democratic period starting in 1975. By advocating for religious pluralism, rights as non-status residents, and a broader appreciation of Spanish culture and identity, migrants from predominantly Morocco and Pakistan have strengthened rather than imperilled liberal democracy in Spain and in Western Europe more broadly. For this research, she made use of government documents, archival materials of NGOs and trade unions, memoirs, newspaper collections, and her own oral interviews. The Muslim Struggle for Civil Rights in Spain: Promoting Democracy through Migrant Engagement, 1985-2010 was published as a monograph by Sussex Academic Press in 2014.

Dr. Guia was assistant professor (CLA) at York University from 2013 to 2015. She also taught European studies at the University of Guelph (Canada), global studies at Wilfrid Laurier University (Waterloo, Canada), history at Glendon College (Toronto, Canada), and distance-education sociology at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Barcelona, Spain).

She holds two bachelor’s degrees in law and history from the University of Valencia, Spain, and a master’s degree in Ethnicity and Nationalism from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her non-academic experiences include working as Assistant Protection Officer for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Caracas, Venezuela, running half-marathons, and writing creative fiction.


Research Project:

Nativism, Human Rights, and the New Discourses of Xenophobia in Southern Europe

This is a study of contemporary nativism in Spain and Italy, its effects on the political process, and ultimately its concrete impacts on the rights of religious minorities. I wish to understand how nativist discourses in Southern Europe resemble and differ from their closest kin in Northern Europe and North America; how these discourses have assimilated the traditional New Left concerns for women’s rights, secularism, and the rights of sexual minorities; and how they are becoming increasingly part of the accepted mainstream.