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American Studies Research

Northumbria University currently has eleven Americanists on its staff, making it one of the most important centres for American Studies in Europe. Three of those staff have been appointed distinguished lecturers by the Organization of American Historians.

The research of American Studies staff members embraces a wide variety of disciplines, often combined in genuinely interdisciplinary ways, and has a geographical scope that extends from the North American continent itself to global perspectives on the American experience.

Several major projects are currently underway, including Brian Ward, The Sick South: Disease, Disability, Dying and Death in an American Region (supported by a British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant); Victoria Bazin, Modernism and the Dial Magazine. American Studies scholars are also working on projects investigating the Black Panther Party; African American soul music in the UK; the American South in British Popular Music; the anti-Vietnam War movement; California, Hawaii, and U.S. expansion in the Pacific; the poet Lorine Niedecker; Marianne Moore and the Objectivist poets; Queer literatures and cultural terrains in the American South; American Religious History; Conservatism in Modern America; South Asian migration to American cities; Walt Whitman; Francis Jeffrey; the presidency of Abraham Lincoln.

American Studies scholars have a deep commitment to the wider academic community. Brian Ward is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of American Studies and the Journal of Southern HistoryClare Elliott is on the Management Board of the Journal of Transatlantic Studies, and Joe Street is on the Editorial Board of the European Journal of American Culture. Each of these internationally renowned journals has a strong multi- and inter-disciplinary profile, publishing work in and across fields such as History, Literature, Film, Politics, International Relations, Music, Art, and Cultural Studies.

A number of Northumbria staff serve on the executive committees of professional organizations involved in American studies. Brian Ward (Chair) and Joe Street (Chair of Publications Sub-Committee) both serve on the executive of the British Association of American Studies (BAAS), while David Gleeson is a member of the national executive of the Association of British American Nineteenth Century Historians (BrANCH).

American Studies staff also engage with academic audiences through high-quality publications and presentations at major conferences. Regularly invited to present seminars and keynotes at other universities, they also maintain strong network associations with specialists in other countries, particularly the United States and Canada. Team members also participate in activities that disseminate research findings to a wider audience. This includes online publications; articles in popular magazines and newspapers; media engagements with the BBC, Tile Documentary Films, PBS, American Public Television; and public lectures.  

Several major academic conferences have been held at Northumbria in recent years, including the 2015 BAAS Conference and the "Shadow of Selma" Conference in 2015, which marked the 50th anniversary of the Selma March and the Voting Rights Act. Current research projects have enjoyed external funding from a wide variety of sources, including the AHRC; ESRC; British Academy; Leverhulme Trust; Nuffield Foundation; Roosevelt Study Center in Middleburg; Harvard University; and the Huntington Library.

Many of the American Studies staff have a strong record of postgraduate supervision and the projects in which we are involved attract the interest of future generations of researchers. We have a growing number of postgraduate students who contribute enormously to the work we do. 


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A blog on all manner of research, publications, lectures, conferences, symposia, and more from Northumbria University's History and American Studies programmes.

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