Introduction to the Educators
The following team of educators will lead you through your journey of the American South. Now is the time to introduce yourself to them, or follow them of FutureLearn!
Brian is Northumbria University’s first Professor in American Studies and the academic leader on this course. Previously, he held the Chair in American Studies at the University of Manchester (2006-2012), served as Head of the Department of History at the University of Florida (2000-2006), and taught at the Universities of Newcastle upon Tyne (1991-2000) and Durham (1990-91). His teaching and research focuses on the modern US South, the African American Experience (particularly the civil rights and black power movements), popular music, the mass media, America in the 1920s and 1960s, and various aspects of Anglo-American cultural relations.
Michael is Reader (Associate Professor) in US History at Northumbria University and the project leader on this course. Born and raised in New Jersey, the South was a place that Michael escaped to on summer vacations. His research focuses primarily on American foreign policy, transatlantic relations, and presidential history from the late nineteenth century to today.
Megan is a PhD candidate in American Studies at Northumbria University, having previously studied at the University of Manchester and King’s College London. Her PhD research highlights the ways in which southern religious stereotypes intersect with the racial and class-based distinctions that have been used to indicate the region in Hollywood film. Recently, Megan has been looking specifically at cinema depicting the southern civil rights movement and has contributed chapters to forthcoming edited collections on The Help and Selma. She has also contributed to a roundtable on religion in American history due for publication with the Journal of American Studies, and sits on the executive committee of HOTCUS (Historians of the Twentieth Century United States).
The Institute of Humanities at Northumbria University includes several scholars of history, literature, film, culture, and politics, many of whom contributed to this course on the American South. Please find short biographies of the scholars you will see along the way.
Prof. David Gleeson profile
David is a native of Ireland but spent 18 years studying and teaching in the United States. He came to Northumbria from the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina, where he was Director of the Program in the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World. He remains a research associate of it and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. David has published several books and articles on the history of the Irish in the American South, the Civil War, and transnational migration.
Prof. Tony Badger profile
Tony is one of the most important historians of the US to emerge since World War II and has served as Paul Mellon Professor of American History and Master of Clare College at the University of Cambridge before coming to Northumbria. His books include Prosperity Road: The New Deal, Tobacco, and North Carolina (1980); The New Deal: The Depression Years 1933-1940 (1990); New Deal/New South: The Anthony J Badger Reader (2007) and FDR: The First Hundred Days (2008). He is currently working on a biography of southern white liberal Al Gore, Sr. and completing a book on US history between the two World Wars.
Dr. Julie Taylor profile
Julie joined Northumbria in 2012 from a lectureship at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, where she held the Randall MacIver Junior Research Fellowship. Julie’s primary area of research is American and transatlantic modernism. She has ongoing interests in psychoanalysis, feminism, and queer theory. Her first book, Djuna Barnes and Affective Modernism (2012) examined the relationships between affect, subjectivity, and intertextuality in Barnes’s work, and Julie is currently completing an edited collection on Modernism and Affect which includes an examination of race and affect in Jean Toomer’s Cane.
Dr. Randall Stephens profile
Randall was appointed Reader in History/American Studies at Northumbria in 2012. Born and raised in Kansas, Stephens writes and teaches about the American South, religion in the US, and popular music. He is editor of the history magazine Historically Speaking and associate editor of the journal Fides et Historia. Stephens is the author of The Fire Spreads: Holiness and Pentecostalism in the American South (2008) and The Anointed: Evangelical Truth in a Secular Age, co-authored with Karl Giberson. In spring 2012 he was a Fulbright Roving Scholar in American Studies in Norway. He has also written for the New York Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Atlantic blog, and the Christian Century.
Allan Symons profile
Allan is an American Studies PhD candidate within the Department of Humanities studying murder and male control in Appalachian Folk and Southern Blues. His research comprises a multi-disciplinary approach to the motif of murder as a symbol of male control in the Folk and Blues of the American South. Appalachian Folk and Afro-American Blues are appreciated on a worldwide scale and the project will engage with continued interest and consumption of musical forms that often have male-on-female violence and femicide as central themes.
Dr. Henry Knight Lozano profile
Henry is a scholar of place promotion, expansion, and identity in the United States. His interdisciplinary research brings together promotional, literary, and visual representations alongside socioeconomic and political developments to understand cultivated and contested identities in American history, from California to Florida, and from the colonial period to the twentieth century. His book, Tropic of Hopes: California, Florida, and the Selling of American Paradise, 1869-1929, explores the promotion of those two states as ‘semi-tropical’ homelands and tourist destinations for white Americans in the period between Reconstruction and the Wall Street Crash. In 2014 it won a Florida Book Award Gold Medal and co-won the British Association of American Studies Arthur Miller Centre First Book Prize.
Dr. Joe Street profile
Joe was educated at Sheffield University between 1996 and 2004 and joined Northumbria as Senior Lecturer in 2009 after stints in the History Departments at Sheffield University and the University of Kent. Joe’s research focuses on the nexus between politics and culture in the twentieth century, with a particular focus on the African American political struggle of the 1960s and 1970s. His first monograph was a full length study of the impact of cultural forms such as theater and music on the African American civil rights movement during the 1960s. From the singing workshops of the Highlander Folk School to the Black Panther Party’s Ministry for Culture it argued that ‘cultural organizing’ was central to the movement’s operation.
Prof. Sylvia Ellis Sylvia studied at the University of Newcastle, then moved to the United States to complete an MA in American History at the University of Rhode Island. She returned to Newcastle to work on her PhD on Anglo-American Relations during the Vietnam War. In 2000 she moved to Northumbria University, becoming a Professor of International History in 2013. In 2017, Sylvia moved to the University of Roehampton. Sylvia’s research interests lie in British and American political and diplomatic history, presidential history, and political activism and she has recently published a book on Texas President Lyndon Johnson and the civil rights movement.
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