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American Studies Research Group

The American Studies Research Group brings together scholars from across Northumbria’s History department with expertise in the history, literature, politics, and culture of the Americas.

The American Studies Research Group brings together scholars with expertise in American history, literature, politics and culture. The group’s members share a multi-disciplinary approach that offers a rounded understanding of the United States in national, regional and global contexts.

Northumbria University has one of the largest teams in Europe dedicated to the study of the Americas. The members of this group have particular research strengths in the study of race, diplomacy, presidential and congressional politics, civil rights, music, periodical culture, American and transatlantic modernist literature, the Civil War and Reconstruction, the transnational significance of the US South, feminist and queer literary theory, the development of California, urban history, environmental history, and the history of gender, body, and sexuality.

Members of the group have published major studies on American cultural conservatism, the early US recording industry, the British diaspora in North America, the evolution of Democratic party politics, modernist magazine publishing in the United States, the environmental history of California’s beaches, and ‘big tech’ and Hollywood cinema

The research group has hosted the 2015 conference of the British Association of American Studies (BAAS), the 2012 and 2023 conferences of Historians of the Twentieth Century United States (HOTCUS), the postgraduate conferences of both BAAS and HOTCUS as well as externally funded symposia, for example on ‘Music and Social Movements’ (2018). We have staged a number of events that engage with wider audiences. Moreover, we currently host ‘Civil War Bluejackets’, a major research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Our strength in American Studies is also reflected in the substantial research holdings available for students and staff. Central sources include:

  • Records of the Antebellum Southern Plantations
  • Despatches from US Consuls in Ireland
  • American Civil War: Letters and Diaries
  • Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) Papers
  • Huey Newton Foundation Papers (Black Panther Party Files)
  • Civil Rights during the Johnson Administration, 1963-1969 (Parts I-V)
  • FBI Files on Black Extremist Organizations
  • The Sixties: Primary Documents and Personal Narratives
  • Popular Culture in Britain and America, 1950-1975
  • 19th and 20th Century US Newspapers
  • African American Newspapers

Dr Elsa Devienne ( convenes the American Studies research group. You can find out more about our activities by following us on twitter or by reading our research newsletter. 

You can also learn more about our American Studies single honours programmes and joint honours programmes with History and English Literature.


History Blog

History and American Studies Blog

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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