Spanish Studies at Oxford

Spanish Studies at Oxford

Welcome to the Spanish Studies at Oxford website!

Spanish Studies at Oxford brings together all Spain-related research and events across the University of Oxford, mainly in the fields of Politics, History, and Modern Languages. The website is a hub and a growing resource of all Spain-related research in the University.

In 2015, Professor Edwin Williamson and Professor Jonathan Thacker on behalf of the Spanish Sub-faculty, and Professor Kalypso Nicolaïdis from the European Studies Centre agreed to set up the Spanish Studies at Oxford project. Dr Marina Pérez de Arcos was nominated as the project coordinator. Spanish Studies at Oxford is an interdisciplinary initiative. It aims to: 

  • Showcase Oxford’s distinguished Hispanist tradition
  • Connect scholars who share the same academic interests
  • Increase Spanish Studies’ visibility in and beyond the University
  • Engage with the public
  • Raise funds for Spain-related research and teaching at Oxford
  • Encourage further research on Spain at Oxford

Over a hundred years of Spanish Studies at Oxford

Spanish has been taught at Oxford since 1858. The first ever book published in a modern foreign language at Oxford was a Spanish grammar. Together with many bibliographical treasures from the Spanish world, the Bodleian holds a first edition of Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote, which it received only eight months after its publication in 1605.

The Sub-faculty of Spanish is over a half a century old. The first students took their final examinations in Spanish (and other Modern Languages) in the Honour School of Modern Languages in 1905. Today the Spanish Sub-faculty is one of the largest research centres in Spanish language and literature in the United Kingdom, and has produced some of the most notable British Hispanists. At undergraduate level, Spanish is now the most in-demand foreign modern language at Oxford after French.

The study of Spanish in the University was consolidated with the foundation in 1927 of the King Alfonso XIII Chair of Spanish Studies, thanks to an endowment from a committee chaired by the Lord Mayor of London, which included Lord Nuffield’s first subvention to Oxford. The chair is attached to Exeter College, which has marked its long-standing association with Spain by electing Queen Sofía to an Honorary Fellowship and endowing the Queen Sofía Fellowship in Spanish in her honour.

The University of Oxford has been home to some of the most distinguished and influential Hispanists of the twentieth century. Sir Raymond Carr, a historian of Modern Spain, who pioneered a new approach to Spanish history, founded the Iberian Studies Centre at St Antony’s (1976-1980) and was St Antony’s Warden from 1968 to 1987. Sir John H. Elliott, Emeritus Regius Professor of Modern History at Oxford, is an eminent historian of Early Modern Spain, Europe and the Americas. He won the Prince of Asturias Social Sciences Prize in 1996 for his outstanding contributions to the study of Golden Age Spain and its empire. Dame Frances Lannon, who recently retired as Principal of Lady Margaret Hall, is one of the leading historians of 19th century Spain. The King Alfonso XIII professors have included some of the most eminent Hispanists in the world, such as Salvador de Madariaga, Sir Peter Russell, William Entwistle, Ian Michael, and Edwin Williamson (present). Professor Williamson and Professor Elliott were both recently elected as Corresponding Fellows of the Royal Spanish Academy.

If you would like more information or would like to share your work with us, please contact the Spanish Studies at Oxford coordinator: