Capitol building, Washington DC, USA

American studies research

Explore our work in American studies, one of our 5 areas of expertise in Area Studies

The United States of America (USA) is arguably the most powerful nation in the modern world. Political decisions made by the USA shape policies and social processes around the globe – and through our American studies research, we're working to understand the historical concerns and trajectory of the USA, so that we can make better sense of the pressures facing our own society.

We're using an interdisciplinary approach to study the Americas, covering history, literature and culture. We look at the peoples of the Americas, what processes shaped the formation of the USA, and the political concerns of citizens. We're also exploring the cultural concerns and forms of expression that have developed across the Americas, and how countries on the continent relate to each other across borders.

Our research is particularly focused on questions of the powers of the state, and the fight for civil rights in and beyond the context of US politics and society.

We're members of the UK Native Studies Research Network, and bring together indigenous, Canadian, Caribbean and Latin American literature in the context of American Studies. Our research is regularly published in the Journal of Postcolonial Writing, Wasafiri, and Routledge.

Our research covers the following key topics

  • African American civil rights history and culture
  • American revolution
  • Early republic
  • 20th and 21st century literature of the Americas
  • Multi-ethnic literature
  • Magical realism
  • Indigenous studies

We use historical and literary methods, including evaluation of texts, media, and other cultural artefacts to explore the ideas and events shaping the history and culture of the Americas.

Discover our areas of expertise

American studies is one of 5 areas of expertise within our Area Studies research – explore the others below.

African studies

We're building knowledge on conflict in West Africa, with a particular focus on issues in the West African Sahel.
Children walking in arid African landscape
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European studies

We're studying societal change, the institutional and legal dynamics of the EU and its member states, and Europe’s global political role.
Row of European union flags
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French studies

Through our research, we're exploring the politics of France and French-speaking countries in the world.
The Louvre in Paris, France
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Russian studies

We're learning about the issues on the EU's eastern borders, and how the UK and EU should react.
Russian city skyline at dusk
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Interested in a PhD in Area Studies & International Development?

Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our Area Studies & International Development postgraduate research degrees page.