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Dr David Lees

DLReader in French Studies

Email: D dot W dot Lees at warwick dot ac dot uk
Tel: +44 (0)24 765 23331 (Ext. 23331)

About me

I teach and research aspects of modern and contemporary French history, culture and politics. I have previously taught at Bath and Newcastle. I have published on a wide range of themes, from propaganda and election campaigns in France through to wellbeing, personal tutoring and pedagogies of the Holocaust. I am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, an Associate Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, an Honorary Fellow of the Warwick Institute of Engagement and an ex-officio Fellow of the Warwick International Higher Education Academy.

Administrative positions

Research interests

My research principally concerns aspects of modern and contemporary French politics, history and culture. Broadly speaking, I am a cultural historian with interests in propaganda and political communications, though my background is firmly in French Studies and my research also extends to pedagogic work. My current research interests can be broken down into three major areas:

  1. Political campaigns, communications and propaganda in modern and contemporary France, especially concerning the centre and extreme-right. This includes my recent work on the portrayal of everyday life in propaganda film under the Vichy regime (1940-1944) in the Second World War, alongside other work on contemporary political campaigns, communications and propaganda in France. I am working on a book, Propaganda in Modern France, which will be published with Palgrave Macmillan in 2022.
  2. Pedagogy of the Holocaust and approaches to teaching and learning propaganda of the Vichy regime during the German Occupation of France in the Second World War. This includes recent work on teaching and learning representations of the Holocaust and forthcoming projects on teaching and learning Vichy, the Occupation and propaganda.
  3. Wellbeing, personal tutoring and study abroad. This includes recent and forthcoming work on approaches to supporting students with their wellbeing during periods of study and work abroad and is linked to my WIHEA-funded project in 2018-19.

I actively seek to collaborate with colleagues at other institutions. Recent collaborations include:

  • A collaboration with Dr Brian Sudlow (Aston) on an event around teaching and learning the Occupation and Vichy regime, which led to a workshop in July 2019 and will shortly lead to an edited collection.
  • A collaboration with Dr Lindsey Dodd (Huddersfield University), on the conference around 'Vichy and the everyday' which led to the publication of Vichy France and Everyday Life: Confronting the Challenges of Wartime, 1939-1945 with Bloomsbury in 2018.
  • I was part of a team of editors for the Routledge Handbook of French Politics and Culture (2020) including Dr Aurélien Mondon (Bath); Professor Nina Parish (Stirling) and Professor Marion Demossier (Southampton).
  • I am working with Dr Chris Reynolds (Nottingham Trent) and Meg Ison (Portsmouth) on a second edition of the textbook Contemporary France with Routledge, due for publication in 2022, following the French presidential elections.


My teaching interests reflect many of my research interests and I am active in research-led teaching in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at Warwick. I am especially interested in teaching aspects of modern and contemporary French history and politics. I have been widely recognised for my teaching excellence: in 2012, I was awarded an inaugural Warwick Award for Teaching Excellence for PGR Students who teach and nominated again for the award in 2013. I was also nominated for the Warwick Award for Teaching Excellence in 2016. In 2013, I was voted the fifth best feedback practitioner in the Arts Faculty. I have supervised projects through the Undergraduate Research Support Scheme and undergraduate and MA dissertations related to histories of Jewish populations in France under Occupation; Holocaust commemoration; Poujadisme and the extreme-right; and the use of social media by the Front National. I welcome proposals for supervision of undergraduate, MA or PhD projects in any of my research and teaching areas.

Teaching and supervision in 2023/24

I teach on the intermediate-year module LN307 Propaganda and Persuasion in Modern Europe, convene LN311 Political Propaganda in Contemporary Europe and FR346 Occupation: Everyday Life in Vichy France. In 2024/25, I will be convening FR346.

Public engagement

Since 2015, I have given over 500 media interviews to local, national and international publications and broadcasters. I focus predominantly on my areas of research interests, especially the Second World War in France and its legacies and political communications, campaigns and propaganda, though I have also given interviews on all aspects of the French centre and extreme-right and modern and contemporary French politics, history and culture. I have given broadcast and print interviews to BBC News Channel; Reuters TV; Sky News; France 24; Al Jazeera; CBC News (Canada); CTV News (Canada); Talk Radio UK; CNN; TRT World; The BBC History Magazine; LBC; BBC Coventry & Warwickshire; The Express; Newsweek; The Atlantic (USA); Share Radio and I24 News. I have also written extensively for The Conversation, a website offering expert analysis and opinion.

I am active in the promotion of the study of modern French history, politics and culture and have sat on the Executive Committee of the Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France as Web Officer (2019-21, having also served 2013-2016 and as postgraduate representative 2012-13). I have also been active in Outreach and Widening Participation initiatives, working closely with The Brilliant Club as well as delivering sessions for primary and secondary school students at Warwick. I have been a peer reviewer for The Brilliant Club's journal, The Scholar, since 2016. I also regularly write articles on teaching for the academic jobs website,

Professional memberships/affiliations

  • Member, Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France (ASMCF)
  • Member, Society for the Study of French History (SSFH)
  • Member, Society for French Studies (SFS)
  • Associate Fellow, Royal Historical Society (RHS)
  • Fellow of the Warwick International Higher Education Academy (2018-2021)
  • Associate Fellow, Warwick Institute of Engagement (2021-)
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts
  • Founder member of the Midlands HE Peer Mentoring Network



David Lees, Propaganda in Modern France (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, Forthcoming 2022)

Edited collections

Lindsey Dodd and David Lees (Eds.), Vichy France and Everyday Life: Confronting the Challenges of Wartime, 1939-1945, (London: Bloomsbury, 2018)

Peer-reviewed chapters in books

David Lees, 'Defining everyday Frenchness under Vichy,' in Dodd and Lees (Eds.), Vichy France and Everyday Life, op cit.

Peer reviewed journal articles

David Lees, 'A controversial campaign: François Fillon and the decline of the centre-right in the 2017 French presidential elections,' in Modern & Contemporary France, Special Issue on 2017 presidential and legislative elections, Vol. 25, No. 4, November 2017, pp.391-402


Marion Demossier, Aurelien Mondon, Nina Parish and David Lees (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of French Politics and Culture (London: Routledge, 2020).

David Howarth, Georgios Varouxakis, Chris Reynolds and David Lees, Contemporary France, In preparation for Routledge, 2021.

I have also reviewed books related to my teaching and research interests for Modern and Contemporary France, French History, Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, Social History and Modern Language Review. I am a regular peer reviewer for Modern and Contemporary France and have also peer-reviewed for Routledge, European History Quarterly and Exchanges, Warwick's interdisciplinary journal.

Advice and feedback hours 2023-24

Office: SH2.16, Senate House

If you wish to book an appointment with me (from April 2024):

For SMLC module students/personal tutees, please email me directly

For students beyond SMLC, please email the Dean of Students resource account (

Please note that I welcome emails from prospective Undergraduate Research Support Scheme (URSS), Masters and PhD students within any of my research areas.