American Studies at Leicester


All members of the Centre for American Studies are actively engaged in academic research, both here in the UK and in the USA. Indeed, wherever possible we teach from our particular research strengths.


Research grants and Fellowships

In recent years, our team has won a number of research grants, including a British Academy Research Development Award, British Academy Small Research Grants, AHRC Research Leave Grants, Wellcome Trust Research Expenses, and grants from the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute and the Harry Truman Library.

Two members of the Centre have been elected to Fellowships at the Rothermere American Institute at the Univeristy of Oxford, and in recent years a number of Visiting Professors have come to join us at the Centre on externally-funded programmes.


The success that the Centre has had in research grant applications has had a positive effect on the resource materials that are available to students and staff alike here at the University. Most recently, for example, the Centre successfully acquired sufficient funding to allow for the purchase of 15 reels of microfilmed National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) papers, and 12 reels of microfilmed papers of the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies (CDAAA) and Fight for Freedom (FFF) for the University of Leicester Library.


Annual Lecture

For over a decade, the Centre has hosted the UK's premier American Studies Annual Lecture. Inaugurated in 2003, the lecture series attracts distinguished speakers from the United States, often on a subject that links closely to the research strengths of the Centre, the modules that we teach, or both.


The Centre has hosted a number of conferences in recent years, including:

  • The British Association for American Studies Postgraduate Conference on Memory: America Past, Present, and Future (2012)
  • Before and after 9/11: American Literature and Culture (June 2010)
  • 'We, the People' The Public and American Foreign Policy (April 2008)
  • The British Association of American Studies 52nd Annual Conference (April 2007)
  • The American Politics Group Annual Conference (January 2007)

Special events

The Centre regularly hosts special events, including our Obamapalooza event in January 2017. Recent lectures include Professor J William Harris (New Hampshire) speaking on slavery, race and the American Revolution; Professors Nancy Hewitt and Steven Lawson (Rutgers) on Women's suffrage and the Civil Rights movement; and Professor Will Kaufman (UCLan) on Woody Guthrie. 2009 saw a visit from the Assistant Cultural Attaché of the American Embassy in London to discuss President Obama's first 100 days in office. The Centre also co-hosted a Filmmaker’s Event in 2006 at which the American director Mark Daniels introduced the UK premiere of his film Enemy Image.

US Election 2020 coverage

In Autumn 2020, we marked the 2020 Presidential US Election with a series of live panel discussions alongside academics from English, History, Politics, History of Art and Film Studies, with talks and debates including voting rights, impact of the election of the Americas, Black Lives Matter and election analysis. Watch our sessions at Leicester: on Demand.

The Centre at 21

The Centre for American Studies celebrated our 21st birthday in September 2018 with a range of events, including public lectures and a conference, to mark the occasion.

Professional activities 

Members of the Centre are active on the executive committees of a number of professional associations. These include the British Association for American Studies and the British American Nineteenth Century Historians. Centre members also serve on the editorial teams and boards of academic journals, and act as peer reviewers for a number of British and American journals and academic presses. In addition, Centre members work regularly with the US Embassy in London and the Fulbright Commission.

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