Dr Stephen Rainbird (BA, MPhil, PhD)

Teaching and Research Fellow in Contemporary European History

Contact details



Room 2.33, William Robertson Wing, Old Medical School, Teviot Place

Post code


  • I run an "open door" policy for students, and am available at most reasonable hours. You can also book a dedicated slot in my Drop-in hours, which during Semester Two run Wednesdays, 12 - 4 PM.


I am an international historian of modern Iberia, with particular interests in the Portuguese Estado Novo's foreign relations in the 20th century. Broadly speaking, my interest lies in how the two authoritarian states, foundationally fascist-adjacent, sought legitimacy in the post-World War Two liberal order. My PhD thesis, to be published as a monograph, explored how in the Second World War, Salazar's Portugal leveraged its (largely fictitious) role in keeping Franco's Spain out of the War to ensure the long-term survival of its weakly-defended and vulnerable Empire. I now am particularly interested in the imperial aspect of Anglo-Portuguese relations in the post-War period but before decolonisation; my current project explores how Portugal's brand of authoritarian colonialism related to Anglo-French plans for "Eurafrican" development beginning in the late 1940's. 

Teaching is my foremost professional interest, and I take enormous pleasure in teaching all aspects of modern European history at Edinburgh. I run courses at BA and MSc levels on the Spanish Civil War; Portuguese fascism; and the contemporary history of the West. The crowning glory of my teaching is the specialist course "Dreams and Nightmares", on the culture and politics of Europe in its long postwar moment. I have been particularly pleased in previous roles at the Universities of Bristol and Leeds to receive several awards nominations for my commitment to a supportive and effective teaching. At Edinburgh, the academic and personal success and well-being of my students remains my top priority.

Outside of academia, I enjoy building Lego, reading (latterly Sir Walter Scott), pub-going, and above all any time spent with friends and family.