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Image of Rúben Leitão Serém

Rúben Leitão Serém

Assistant Professor in Twentieth-Century European History, Faculty of Arts

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Biography

After completing a PhD in International History at the London School of Economics (LSE) in 2013, I joined the University of Nottingham in September 2014 as a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow. I am presently (since 2017) an Assistant Professor in Twentieth-Century European History at the Department of History.

Expertise Summary

Modern European history

Modern Lusophone history

Specific topics include:

  • Political, social, cultural and religious history of twentieth-century Spain (Second Republic: 1931-1936; civil war: 1936-1939; and General Francisco Franco's dictatorship: 1939-75)
  • Portuguese-Spanish relations between 1936 and 1975
  • Political, social and cultural history of twentieth-century Portugal (First Republic: 1910-1926; the Military/Estado Novo dictatorship: 1926-1974)
  • Fascism in interwar Europe (1919-1939)

Teaching Summary

I convene the following modules:

  • European Fascisms, 1900-1945 (Semester One: V12282)
  • 'The past that won't go away': the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 (Semester Two: V13603)

I also contribute to the teaching of the following modules:

  • Learning History (V11108)
  • The Contemporary World since 1945 (V12153)
  • Doing History

Research Summary

I am currently researching the intervention of the right-wing Portuguese Estado Novo dictatorship (1933-1974) in the Spanish Civil War, in particular, the regime's support for the rebel faction under… read more

Selected Publications

  • SERÉM, RÚBEN, 2016. ‘A coup against change: repression in Seville and the assault against civilian society’. In: GRAHAM, HELEN, ed., Interrogating Francoism: History and Dictatorship in Twentieth-Century Spain Bloomsbury Academic.
  • “Gaza, o ‘Orientalismo’ e o extermínio de minorias no Magrebe e Médio Oriente” (Gaza, ‘Orientalism' and the extermination of minorities in the Maghreb and the Middle East) . Público. 07/27/2014 00:00:00
  • “Portugal e os genocídios esquecidos de 1915 e 2015” (Portugal and the forgotten genocides of 1915 and 2015) . Jornal i. 06/17/2015 00:00:00
  • “A insustentável leveza amoral da política externa portuguesa” (The unbearable amoral lightness of Portuguese foreign policy) . Público. 08/08/2015 00:00:00

Current Research

I am currently researching the intervention of the right-wing Portuguese Estado Novo dictatorship (1933-1974) in the Spanish Civil War, in particular, the regime's support for the rebel faction under the leadership of General Francisco Franco.

My research project focuses on two interrelated topics: a) the foreign policy of Portugal's Estado Novo regime vis-à-vis the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939; and b) the socio-cultural implications of the conflict in Portugal's neglected and understudied border region. Its main purpose is to make an original scholarly contribution on a subject of historical interest in both countries. Simultaneously, the project engages with Spain and Portugal´s respective 'memory wars', that is to say a series of public and academic disputes over the historical memory of Francoism (Spain) and Salazarism (Portugal).

Past Research

My PhD (LSE, 2013) focused on the Spanish Civil War in Seville, the largest urban centre to fall the military rebels at the beginning of the conflict and the unofficial capital of insurgent Spain. I have since published a book entitled: Conspiracy, Coup d'état and Civil War in Seville, 1936-1939: History and myth in Francoist Spain (Brighton: Sussex Academic Press, 2017).

Conspiracy, Coup d'état and Civil War in Seville, 1936-1939 dissects the conspiracy against the democratic Second Spanish Republic in the context of the uprising and civil war in Seville, the capital of Spain's largest region, Andalusia, and the most populous urban centre seized by the military rebels during the coup d'état of July 1936. As the major industrial and economic centre in insurgent Spain, Seville remains central to understanding the rebels' repressive project, for this Andalusian province witnessed the highest number of extra-judicial assassinations throughout the war. This is the first book in any language to bring together the subject of the civil war in Seville, the career of one of the most influential leaders of the rebel faction, General Queipo de Llano, and Francoism's most resilient myth. It dismantles, one by one, a series of carefully constructed narratives employed as rhetorical weapons to justify both the rebellion and the murderous rule of Queipo de Llano. The size and importance of the city meant that it became a critical battleground in the struggle for political legitimacy - and it remains so for Spain's on-going 'memory wars', a series of public and academic disputes over the historical memory of the Franco regime. Rúben Serém examines the socio-economic context of Queipo's great purge, the painful transition from democracy to autocracy and the political nature of the general's rule in Andalusia. In doing so, this work demonstrates how several features of Queipo's system of government were enthusiastically embraced by the nascent Francoist state, hence Seville's unenviable status as a Laboratory of Terror.

  • SERÉM, RÚBEN, 2017. Conspiracy, coup d’état and civil war in Seville (1936-1939): History and myth in Francoist Spain Sussex Academic Press/Cañada Blanch Centre for Contemporary Spanish Studies.
  • SERÉM, RÚBEN, 2016. ‘A coup against change: repression in Seville and the assault against civilian society’. In: GRAHAM, HELEN, ed., Interrogating Francoism: History and Dictatorship in Twentieth-Century Spain Bloomsbury Academic.
  • “Gaza, o ‘Orientalismo’ e o extermínio de minorias no Magrebe e Médio Oriente” (Gaza, ‘Orientalism' and the extermination of minorities in the Maghreb and the Middle East) . Público. 07/27/2014 00:00:00
  • “Portugal e os genocídios esquecidos de 1915 e 2015” (Portugal and the forgotten genocides of 1915 and 2015) . Jornal i. 06/17/2015 00:00:00
  • “A insustentável leveza amoral da política externa portuguesa” (The unbearable amoral lightness of Portuguese foreign policy) . Público. 08/08/2015 00:00:00

School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies

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