Dr Michael Richards

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About me

How do societies, states and cultures put themselves back together after violent conflict? 

In my teaching and research, I explore this question in relation primarily to the Spanish civil war (1936-39), the Franco era, and contemporary democratic Spain, but also to France, Germany and the UK in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. 

The focus of this teaching and research is two-fold: 

(i) the means by which states reconstitute political power after conflicts 

(ii) the ways societies and social groups remember and depict conflicts as they reconstruct identities and social bonds 

I'm currently interested particularly in comparing forms of public and private memories in Spain, France, Germany, and the UK and their relation to ideas about Europe

​​Conference: 'Wartime Child Displacement: Comparing Historical and Contemporary Cases': 8 September 2016: https://uwehistorycommunity.wordpress.com/

​My most recent book is a study of public uses of the past and of social memory in post-civil war Spain: 

After the civil war: making memory and re-making Spain since 1936, (Cambridge University Press, 2013)

Spanish edition : Historias para después de una guerra: memoria, política, y cambio social en España desde 1936 (Barcelona, 2015)

'a masterly account of how memories of the civil war have, over the last eight decades, shaped and been shaped by social processes' (Cultural & Social History, 2015)

'A brilliant contribution both to recent Spanish history and to the restoration of the dignity of all the Spaniards that have been, for too long, forced to suffer a deep cultural trauma' (Bulletin for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies, 2015)

'A rigorous de-mythification of an epoch' (William Chislett, former Madrid correspondent of The Times of London: El Imparcial, 2013)

In 2005 I co-edited a volume which draws together cultural approaches to Spain's war : The Splintering of Spain: Cultural history and the Spanish civil war, 1936-39, (Cambridge UP)

My first book, A Time of Silence: Civil War and the Culture of Repression in Franco's Spain, 1936-1945 (Cambridge UP), was awarded the History Today prize in 1998​


Area of expertise

public history of violent pasts

intimate violence during internal wars and post-conflict trauma

children and war

social memory in rapidly changing societies

history of psychiatry

Spanish civil war and Franco dictatorship

funding bodies and stakeholders include:

​British Academy; Arts and Humanities Research Council; Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness; Severnside Institute for Psychotherapy; Spanish Ministry of Culture and Science; Christian Michelesen Institute (Bergen); Rockefeller Foundation (New York); Norwegian Ministry of Children and Family Affairs; Institute of Historical Research (London)


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