Present Pasts: Cultural Memory and the Use of Media in El Ministerio del Tiempo

In recent years, Spanish television has experienced a surge in productions that engage with both history and cultural memory. The popular series El Ministerio del Tiempo (TVE) coincides with these types of productions by utilizing aspects of the historical genre to connect viewers to a reimagined, collective past. However, it adds another layer to this by incorporating various forms of media that further serve the series in conveying a sense of time, a sense of both bygone eras and the modern age all rolled into one.  

The present analysis seeks to examine the ways that El Ministerio del Tiempo utilizes media, not only in the service of preserving and generating cultural memory, but also in order to expand its narrative universe, elaborate on the codes of the series, and engage with the audience through its transmedia extensions. In addition to connecting the present society to the past, I argue that El Ministerio del Tiempo does more than just recycle cultural knowledge in an intertextual game of references and allusions, as it also lays bare the fundamental role that media play in creating, storing, and communicating cultural memory, while also marking historical time and conveying a sense of ‘pastness.’ In this way, I contend that in addition to serving as a commentary on Spanish society, the series’ reliance on cultural symbols, as well as its transmedia extensions, allow individuals to shape their relationship to the past in an ongoing dialogue between oneself and the culture.

Pre-organized Panel: El Ministerio del tiempo and Historical Fiction in Contemporary Spain.  Organizer: Christine Blackshaw


  • Spanish Peninsular Studies