Universiteit Leiden

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Leonor Alvarez Francés

PhD candidate

L. Alvarez Francés MA
+31 71 527 2516

Fields of interest

  • Relations between the Low Countries and Spain in the Early Modern period
  • Cultural Transfer Studies
  • Digital methods and tools for research in Cultural History


Images of the self and of Spanish people in the Low Countries during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries lay at the core of my research. Because of the Eighty Years’ War, the Spaniards became the main enemy in the eyes of the inhabitants of the Low Countries and thus functioned as the Other within identity formation processes.
At the moment I am working on my PhD called 'War Heroes or War Criminals' within Raymond Fagel’s project ‘Facing the Enemy’. I am studying how Spanish and Dutch chronicles depicted Spanish commanders fighting in the first decade of the Eighty Years’ War. These tales cannot be divided in two blocks, but gave a voice to a wide variety of attitudes instead. Religious affiliations, for instance, did not determine political alliances. Accordingly, the Protestant stadtholder William of Orange insisted in his loyalty to the devout Catholic Philips II, while the inhabitants of Arnhem in 1573 were for the biggest part Catholic, but averse to Spaniards. Apart from analyzing diverging views of the conflict, I am focusing on the changes these narratives underwent as temporal distance to the events increased. How was the portrayal of the Spanish commanders modified when the Truce was signed in 1609? And when hostilities were resumed in 1621? This project will contribute to research on mechanisms of war propaganda at work in the Low Countries and Spain from the beginning of the conflict until the Peace of Münster in 1648.
During my PhD I will also continue doing research on the Digital Humanities, a field I got acquainted with during my Master and that I have been working on since then. I am particularly interested in what digital tools can offer for research on cultural history. In the last year I delved into data curation and integration, which I regard as essential aspects within the Digital Humanities.


Curriculum vitae

I completed my bachelor in History at the University of Barcelona in 2010 and specialized in the Dutch Golden Age during the Research Master in History at the University of Amsterdam. For my Master thesis I analyzed the introduction of Spanish theatre plays in Amsterdam during the last years of war with Spain. This investigation was triggered by the stunning popularity these plays enjoyed while being sold as Spanish. Since April 2014 I am a part of the CREATE project at the University of Amsterdam, where I am working on developing a database for research on the Schouwburg of Amsterdam in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Between February and October 2014 I also worked as an embedded researcher for the Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands within the project 'Mapping Notes and Nodes in Networks'. Exploring potential relationships in biographical data and cultural networks in the creative industry in Amsterdam and Rome in the Early Modern Period’. In this project three complementary but heterogeneous databases were brought together in order to explore the potential of data integration for the humanities.
My Master thesis and published articles can be found on my academia.edu profile.

PhD candidate

  • Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen
  • Institute for History
  • Algemene Geschiedenis

Work address

Johan Huizinga
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden
Room number 0.15



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