Dr Roseanna Webster

Junior Research Fellow, Trinity College; Faculty of History
Roseanna Webster

I am a social and political historian with expertise in gender, popular politics and international movements. My doctoral research captured the untold stories of working-class Spanish women who joined together to fight for urban change, labour rights and reproductive and sexual freedoms during Francisco Franco’s dictatorship and in its immediate aftermath. I recently published an article from the project in Past & Present, and have also published further work on British women in the Spanish civil war in Gender & History.

I am currently completing a book based on my doctoral thesis. This will draw on photographs, archival sources and more than fifty oral history interviews with former activists, including a trans woman and two cis men. The book will show how women transformed their surroundings from the middle to the late twentieth century, and how organising in turn shaped their own subjectivities. Many were religious and from rural areas and had left school aged thirteen. Yet they were not ignorant nor detached from the world, and instead  they were versed in practices entering Spain via currents of social Catholicism rippling through Europe and Latin America, and through links to transnational anti-Francoist movements. These findings will help challenge many widespread assumptions about both feminism and recent Spanish history. My other research interests include the built environment, psychoanalytic theory and its uses in analysing diaries, letters and interviews, and the legacies of the Spanish slave trade in Cuba and Puerto Rico.

I completed my BA and MA at the University of Manchester and my PhD at the University of Cambridge, and I was a Visiting Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence from January to June 2022.



Tags & Themes


Trinity College Cambridge, CB2 1TQ


Key publications

'Women and the Fight for Urban Change in Late Francoist Spain', Past & Present (2022), https://academic.oup.com/past/advance-article/doi/10.1093/pastj/gtac016/6762062?utm_source=advanceaccess&utm_campaign=past&utm_medium=email

“A Spanish Housewife is your Next Door Neighbour’: British women in the Spanish Civil War’ Gender & History, 27 (2015), 397-416, https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-0424.12131

'La Revo', The King's Review (2018), https://www.kingsreview.co.uk/essays/la-revo