We are a vibrant centre for promoting and disseminating world-leading research into the life and culture of the United States and beyond.

Powerfully underpinned by a tradition of, and commitment to, interdisciplinary research, our areas of expertise range from the Revolutionary period to the present day. We encompass literature and drama, history, politics, and foreign relations. Staff specialisms include American urban history, the international history of the Cold War, civil rights, ecocriticism, American popular culture, comics and graphic novels, and contemporary multi-ethnic American literature and film.

Our research strategy is driven by a desire to enhance understandings of human cultures and communities, their linguistic, historic and literary transformations, and by the questions of power and identity that issue from such investigations.

The research we undertake has demonstrated significant impact, benefiting a wide variety of groups from practitioners and professionals (film-makers, interpreters, lawyers, police, and teachers), to communities facing particular intercultural challenges (whether Native communities or immigrants to Norfolk), and the general public (from local children to visitors to special events).

Recent books and research projects by our faculty members include:

Winning Our Freedoms Together: African Americans and Apartheid, 1945–1960, by Nicholas Grant

In this transnational account of black protest, Nicholas Grant examines how African Americans engaged with, supported, and were inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement. Bringing black...

Whistleblowing Nation: The History of National Security Disclosures and the Cult of State Secrecy, edited by Kaeten Mistry and Hannah Gurman

The twenty-first century witnessed a new age of whistleblowing in the United States. Disclosures by Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, and others have stoked heated public debates about the ethics of...

Research Network on Black Female Intellectuals in Historical and Contemporary Context

This project, led by Rebecca Fraser, aims to bring together interdisciplinary and cross-national dialogue among scholars and activists in the fields of literary studies, history, politics, and...

Deep Water: The Mississippi River in the Age of Mark Twain, by Thomas Ruys Smith

Mark Twain’s visions of the Mississippi River offer some of the most indelible images in American literature: Huck and Jim floating downstream on their raft, Tom Sawyer and friends becoming pirates...

Serial Selves: Identity and Representation in Autobiographical Comics, by Frederik Byrn Køhlert

Autobiography is one of the most dynamic and quickly-growing genres in contemporary comics and graphic narratives. In Serial Selves, Frederik Byrn Køhlert examines the genre’s potential for...

Forum on the US South and the Black Atlantic: Journal of American Studies

This forum, edited by Nicholas Grant and Elisabeth Engel, examine the cultural spaces and interactions that shaped the worldview of African Americans in the aftermath of the Civil War. Each of the...

Otherwise, Revolution!: Leslie Marmon Silko's Almanac of the Dead, edited by Rebecca Tillett

Leslie Marmon Silko's 1991 novel Almanac of the Dead is a profound and challenging analysis of late capitalist society in America and more widely, and the ways in which powerful minority elites...

Howling for Justice: New Perspectives on Leslie Marmon Silko's Almanac of the Dead, edited by Rebecca Tillett

More than twenty years after its publication in 1991, Leslie Marmon Silko’s monumental novel Almanac of the Dead continues to disconcert, move, provoke, and outrage readers. In a work that is...