Dr Tim Rees

BA MA Lond DPhil Oxon

Senior Lecturer


01392 724285

My academic background is interdisciplinary and includes a degree in History and Politics from Queen Mary College, University of London, an MA in European Area Studies from the University of London and a D.Phil in Modern History from the University of Oxford. I worked for Barclays Bank International and as a freelance economic journalist (commenting on Spain and Portugal) before joining academia. Between 1987 and 1988 I held a Cañada Blanch Fellowship at the University of London. I was a lecturer in History at the University of York from 1988 to 1990. I had previously also held teaching assistantships in history and political science at a variety of institutions. I joined the University of Exeter as Lecturer in History in 1990 and was subsequently promoted to Senior lecturer.

I have lived in, and been a frequent visitor to, Spain since 1983. Madrid, Badajoz and Salamanca have been my principle places of residence but I have travelled and worked in many other parts of the country. I am fluent in Castilian Spanish and have a reading/oral comprehension of Catalan. Teaching and research have also taken me to the United States of America, the Russian Federation, the Netherlands and the UK.


Research interests

My research focusses upon a number of areas:

  • I have undertaken wide-ranging research on the history of Spanish communism in the era of the Communist International. Using archival sources from a number of countries, I am exploring the development of the Spanish Communist Party (PCE) from its origins in 1920 to its collapse at the end of the Spanish Civil War. Aided by funding from the British Academy, this has led to a number of research papers and articles. This will lead to a research monograph entitled Red Spain: the Spanish Communist Party in the Comintern Era.
  • An associated research project (jointly undertaken with Dr Tom Beaumont of Bristol University) is exploring France (and particularly Paris) as a centre for intrnational communism in the 1920s and 1930s. Entitled The French Connection: France and International Communism, 1919-1940 this examines France as a place of exile and organisation for communists, the role of the French Communist Party as the centre of a network of communist activity outside the Soviet Union, and at the surveillance of communist exiles and organisers by the French state. Currently funded by a Leverhulme/British Academy grant, the project will result in a symposium (leading to an edited collection of papers) and a number of research articles. My particular interest within the project is in the role of France as a major  centre of exile, organisation and support for Spanish communists. We are hoping to develop this into a broader research project that examines international communism as a transnational movement organised around a series of regional networks that complemented and rivalled Moscow. As part of this research project, we are organising a  conference ‘The French Connection: International Communism and France between the Wars’ which will take place in 2014.
  • I have a long-standing interest in the history of rural society in Spain and in the agrarian origins of the Spanish Civil War, stemming back to my doctoral research. I continue to undertake research in this area and to publish in the field.
  • I also have have interests in the history of the First World War and particularly British visual culture and the war.

Research supervision

Most aspects of the history and politics of Spain from 1808 to the present day. I would be particularly interested in supervising research on Spanish agrarian history, topics related to the Second Republic, Civil War and Franco regime, and on the history of Communist movements in Spain.

Europe from 1750 to the present day, particularly agrarian history, the Communist International and interantional communism between the world wars.

Research students

Mark Rothery: Transformation through Adaptation: the English Landed Gentry of Devon, Hertfordshire and Lincolnshire, c. 1870-1939 (awarded 2005)

Samuel Pierce: Political Catholicism during the Spanish Second Republic (awarded 2007)

Alex Cattell: The Transformation of Madrid 1959-1975 (awarded 2011)

Richard Batten, Devon and the First World War (awarded 2016)

Steve Lynam, The Politics of the Centre and the Right in the Spanish Province of Valencia, 1931-1936 (in progress)

Other information

Exeter University Teaching Awards

  • Lecturer of the Year in History (2009/10)
  • Nominated as University Lecturer of the year (2009/10)
  • Best Lecturer in History 2012
  • University Best Lecturer 2012

External Associations

  • Member, American Historical Association
  • Member, Association of Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies (USA)
  • Member, Seminario de Historia Agraria (Spain)

Contribution to discipline

I have worked as a specialist expert to review grant proposals for the AHRC and the ESRC.


I have been recognised a number of times in the Exeter University Teaching Awards run by the Student Guild:

In 2009/10 I was Lecturer of the Year in the Department of History and nominated for University Lecturer of the Year.

In 2011/12 I won Best Lecturer in the Univerisity.

Modules taught