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Collaborative Research Projects

The recruitment of world-class research staff reflects the enormous investment Northumbria has made in American Studies, with staff engaged in cutting-edge research and collaborative research projects.

Locating the Hidden Diaspora: The English in North America in Transatlantic Perspective, 1760-1950

Project Context
Emigration from the British Isles became one of Europe’s most significant population movements after 1600. Yet compared to what has been written about the migration of Scots and Irish, relatively little energy has been expended on the numerically more significant English flows. In fact, the Scottish and Irish Diasporas in North America, together with those of the German, Italian, Jewish and Black Diasporas, are well known and studied, but there is virtual silence on the English. Why, then, is there no English Diaspora? Why has little been said about the English other than to map their main emigration flows? Did the English simply disappear into the host population? Or were they so fundamental, and foundational, to the Anglo-phone, Protestant cultures of the evolving British World that they could not be distinguished in the way Catholic Irish or continental Europeans were? Given the recent vogue for these other diasporas, our project seeks to uncover the hidden English Diaspora in North America.

Aims & Objectives
The project’s overall objective is to offer a knowledge-shaping new reading of English ethnicity abroad, particularly in North America, by exploding enduring historical mythologies about the absence of a strong ethnic identity among emigre English between the 17th and 20th centuries. Some of the key issues of concern are:

  • English ethnic associationism: examining aspects of English clubs, societies and sociability around the Diaspora.
  • English folk traditions in the Diaspora: locating the popular culture of celebrating particular forms of Englishness.
  • English sporting traditions: examining the export around the world of sports from cricket, rugby and association football to Cumberland wrestling.
  • English literary and dramatic cultures: exploring the cultural transfer of key literary figures around the Diaspora.

Project Team
The English Diaspora team is led by Prof Don MacRaild, Dr Tanja Bueltmann and Dr David Gleeson. Researchers associated with the project are Dr James McConnel (History), Dr Joe Hardwick (History), as well as Dr Monika Smialkowska (English), Visiting Fellow Dr Mike Sutton and Dr Dean Allen (Stellenbosch).

You can contact us using our project email address:

You might also like to join our Facebook page for news and updates on the project, or visit our English Diaspora Project website.

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