Professor Martin Halliwell

Head of the School of Arts and Professor of American Studies

Martin Halliwell

School/Department: English at Leicester



Professor Halliwell’s expertise will be invaluable in helping to understand the factors that have contributed to the United States becoming the global epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak. He has published extensively on public health in the U.S and he is currently involved in a collaborative ESRC-funded Global Challenges project on public health and the prison system in Guyana. His new book titled American Health Crisis: One Hundred Years of Panic, Planning, and Politics will be published in spring 2021 by the University of California Press and explores U.S. federal responses to critical health episodes from the end of World War I to the present. He charts the evolution of the U.S. Public Health Service in response to warfare, pandemic and periodic crises in health care delivery. He also covers the current COVID-19 pandemic with respect to federal leadership, health security, public health education, and media and cultural responses. To learn more about Professor Halliwell’s book, read his blog: Breaking the cycle of health crises.


My research interests span American cultural and intellectual history, the health humanities and disability studies, twentieth-century and contemporary American fiction, American film after 1945, the history of popular music, critical theory, psychoanalysis and the history of psychology, urban cultures, the avant-garde, and cultures of protest.


American Health Crisis: Panic, Planning, and Politics, 1918–2018 (in preparation)

Voices of Mental Health: Medicine, Politics, and American Culture, 1970–2000 (Rutgers University Press, 2017)

Neil Young: American Traveller (Reaktion and University of Chicago Press, 2015)

Therapeutic Revolutions: Medicine, Psychiatry, and American Culture, 1945–1970 (Rutgers University Press, hbk 2013, pbk 2014)

Beyond and Before: Progressive Rock Since the 1960s (New York: Bloomsbury, 2011) [co-authored with Paul Hegarty]

American Culture in the 1950s (Edinburgh University, 2007)

The Constant Dialogue: Reinhold Niebuhr and American Intellectual Culture (American Intellectual Culture series, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005).

Images of Idiocy: The Idiot Figure in Modern Fiction and Film (Brookfield, VT: Ashgate, February 2004; reissued by Routledge in 2016).

Critical Humanisms: Humanist/Anti-Humanist Dialogues (Edinburgh University Press, 2003) [co-authored with Andrew Mousley]

Modernism and Morality: Ethical Devices in Transatlantic Fiction (London: Palgrave, 2001). Republished in an updated paperback edition as Transatlantic Modernism: Moral Dilemmas in Modernist Fiction (Edinburgh University Press, 2006).


I am keen to supervise projects at PhD and MA level that fall within the following areas:

  • Twentieth-Century American Fiction
  • The History of Medicine and Psychology
  • Mental Health (History, Culture, Politics)
  • Disability and Modern/Contemporary Culture
  • American Film 1945-2000
  • 1950s and 1960s American Culture
  • American and European Modernism
  • American Intellectual History
  • Transatlantic Literature and Culture
  • The Avant-Garde
  • American Visual Culture
  • American Ethnicity and Race
  • Cultures of Protest


I teach across the range of American literature from the Revolutionary period to contemporary America, with a special interest in early twentieth-century literature, post-World War II American fiction, film and visual culture, critical theory and popular music.


BA English, University of Exeter

MA Critical Theory, University of Exeter

PhD American Studies, University of Nottingham

Senior Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy

ILM Award Level 7 in Strategic Leadership

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