Dr Helen Rawlings

Personal details | Publications | Research

University Fellow in Spanish Studies

Department: Modern LanguagesDr Helen Rawlings

Email: hr14@leicester.ac.uk

Address: School of Arts, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH

Personal details


During my 25-year career in academia, I taught undergraduate courses in Spanish art, history, literature and language and contributed to departmental administration. Alongside this, I undertook research into the religious history of early modern Spain, which then became the focus of my published work. I am now a University Fellow in Spanish Studies


  • PhD in Early modern Spain (religious identity and historical legacy), University of Leicester
  • MPhil in Spanish History, University of Liverpool
  • BA Hons in Spanish Studies, CNAA
  • PGCE in Modern Languages, University of York
  • Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy



  • The debate on the decline of Spain, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2012. ISBN: 978-0-7190-7963-4 (hardback); 978-0-7190-7964-1 (paperback).
  • The Spanish Inquisition, Oxford: Blackwell, 2006. ISBN: 978-0-631-20599-9 (hardback); 978-0-631-20600-2 (paperback).
  • Church, religion and society in early modern Spain, Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2002. ISBN: 978-0-333-63694-5 (hardback); 978-0-333- 63695-3 (paperback).

Books in translation

  • L’Inquisizione spagnola, Bologna: Società editrice Il Mulino, 2008. ISBN: 978-88-15-12089-(paperback).
  • Inkwizycja hiszpańska,Wydawnictwo: Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego, 2009. ISBN: 978-83-233-2767-7 (paperback).

Book chapters

  • ‘The Spanish Inquisition and the converso challenge, c.1480-1525: a question of race, religion or socio-political ascendancy?’ in Brill Companion to Heresy Inquisitions, Leiden, Brill, 2019, Chapter 6, pp.175-197. ISBN 978-90-04-36090-7 (hardback); ISBN 978-90-04-39387-5 (e-book).
  • 'Bartolomé de Las Casas’ Brief Account of the Destruction of the Indies (1552) in translation: the politics of linguistic and cultural appropriation' in Key Cultural Texts in Translation, John Benjamins (Translation Library 140): Amsterdam, 2018, Part II, Chapter 3. ISBN: 9789027200492 (hardback); ISBN: 9789027264367 (e-book).
  • ‘The Iberian Inquisitions in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: between coercion and accommodation’ in The Routledge Companion to Iberian Studies, Oxford: Routledge, 2017, pp. 151-161. ISBN: 978-0-414-72283-4 (hardback); ISBN: 978-1-315-70989-5 (e-book).
  • ‘Arbitrismo and the early seventeenth-century Spanish Church: the theory and practice of anti clericalist philosophy’, in ed. Richard J. Pym, Rhetoric and Reality in Early Modern Spain, London: Tamesis, 2006, pp.25-40.

Journal articles

  • 'Agustín Salucio’s rehabilitation of the converso and the revisionist debate over racial and religious discrimination in early seventeenth-century Spain', Bulletin of Spanish Studies, Volume XCIV, Number 10, 2017, pp. 1649-1667 (print). https://doi.org/10.1080/14753820.2018.1433368 (online).
  • ‘Las órdenes religiosas y la crisis en el nombramiento de obispos en Castilla bajo Felipe IV (1621-1665)’, Manuscrits. Revista d’història moderna, 2013.
  • ‘Goya’s Inquisition: from Black Legend to Liberal Legend’, Vida Hispánica, no. 46, September 2012.
  • ‘Representational strategies of inclusion and exclusion in José del Olmo’s narrative and Francisco Rizi’s visual record of the Madrid Auto de Fe of 1680’, Romance Studies, vol. 29, no. 4, November 2011, pp.223-41.
  • ‘Bishops of the Habit in Castile, 1621-1665: a prosopographical approach’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, vol. 56, no. 1, July 2005, pp.455-72.


I have undertaken reviews for the following academic journals: History, English Historical Review, The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, European History Quarterly, Bulletin of Spanish Studies, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, American Historical Review.


My research seeks to challenge some of the traditionally-held views about the nature of Spain’s religious and political identity in the early modern period, such as the controversial role of the Spanish Inquisition, the polemic surrounding the Black Legend, the prejudicial code of purity of blood and the contradictions that underpinned Spain’s rise and decline as a nation. Based on the close analysis of Spanish archival sources, as well as other original evidence, my published work contributes to the post-Franco reassessment of Spain’s historical legacy.

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