Fraser Raeburn

PhD Student - History


I am originally from Australia, and completed my undergraduate degrees in History and Economics at the University of Sydney. After concluding that studying European history from Australia would be tricky (to say nothing of the carbon footprint), I moved to the UK and completed an MSc by Research in History at the University of Edinburgh. Since 2014, I have been undertaking a PhD in History here in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology.

Research summary

My main area of interest is international involvement in the Spanish Civil War (1936-9). My current project is looking at the Scottish participation in this conflict, notably the Scots who fought in the International Brigades. I'm looking at how the social and political context of Scotland in the 1930s led to such a relatively large number of Scots volunteering, and exploring the insight that the Scots provide into the experience of fighting in Spain, the role of Stalinism and international encounters with Spaniards, as well as how the conflict and Scottish participants have been commemorated since.

Alongside this project, I'm interested how the volunteers in Spain compare to the more contemporary phenomenon of volunteering in the Syrian Civil War, which together represent unique instances in terms of the scale of the international mobilisation of volunteers. I am also interested in the Aid Spain movement in Scotland and Britain during the Spanish Civil War, particularly in terms of its local political meanings. Lastly (and less obviously), I have an enduring interest in imperial encounters with indigenous peoples, particularly in the context of Australia, and questions of colonial genocide.  

Current research interests

Spanish Civil War; Scottish political and social history; Interwar Europe; Syrian Civil War;

Knowledge exchange

I am a contributing researcher to the SIDBRINT Project at the University of Barcelona, an online database which aims to provide biographical and other information about each International Brigade volunteer that went to Spain.

I am a co-founder of the Scottish History Network, an organisation that aims to foster communication and collaboration in the field of Scottish history.

I am an editor of the Edinburgh-based PhD blogging project, Pubs and Publications.

'"Fae nae hair te grey hair they answered the call": International Brigade Volunteers from the West Central Belt of Scotland in the Spanish Civil War, 1936–9', Journal of Scottish Historical Studies, Volume 35 Issue 1, pp. 92-114.