I have been at CCCU since 2014. Before then I was in the Department of History at the University of Essex. I have taught predominantly American history in both (with a brief detour into the history of South and Central America), but also more generally Modern History and skills. I now convene the second year module Isolation to Domination: The United States of America, 1914-1945, and the third year module A Superhero History. I am also supervising a number of MA by Research students.
I have published a wide range of journal articles, book chapters and encyclopedia entries, mostly related to my primary research interest in superheroes and their relationship to American society, though also touching on other areas. Science fiction is a major interest of mine, and in 2015 I co-edited Firefly Revisited: Essays on Joss Whedon's Classic Series, which won the Whedon Studies Association Manuscript Prize 2016 (the 'Mr Pointy'); my monograph, Superheroes and American Self Image: From War to Watergate, was published in January 2016, and received a CCCU Faculty of the Humanities Research Award. A second co-edited collection, Gender and the Superhero Narrative, is due for publication by the University Press of Mississippi in 2018.
I am on study leave in the first semester of 2017-18. When I return in the second semester, I shall return to my post as the Equality & Diversity Officer for the Department of History, as well as taking up the position of director of Level 6.
Research and knowledge exchange
I am currently finishing several projects related to my research into superheroes.
The second research project is an investigation of horror comics from the 1940s to the 1970s. I have already co-authored an article on this topic with Philip Smith, and am currently preparing a book on it, also with Dr Smith.
I am happy to supervise research projects into twentieth century cultural history, particularly in Anglo-American contexts. If you have a project in this area, or something in which you think I would be interested and able to help, please contact me. I am also interested in twentieth century American history more broadly, and am happy to discuss ideas.
Teaching and subject expertise
I have extensive experience of teaching American history specifically, but also modern history more generally. I have also taught on a range of skills and methodologies modules. I am currently supervising several MA by Research students directly related to my research interests. If you are interested in pursuing a PhD or an MA by Research with me, please do email me for a discussion, or if you are a current student, come and see me in my office hours.
I am a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and an editorial board member of Studies in Comics and the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics. I am an affiliate committee member of the Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH) research network, Comics and Graphic Novels: The Politics of Form.
I shall be giving a keynote address at the German American Studies Association 2018 conference in Tutzing.
I shall be presenting at Heroism as a Global Phenomenon in Popular Culture in Freiburg, September 2017.
I was on a panel on Wonder Woman at Bradford Literature Festival, 2 July 2017.
I presented at OxCon, a comic-book convention in Oxford, on 23 April 2017.
I presented at 'Everyday Heroism in the United States, Britain and Germany from the 19th to the 21st Century', March 6-7 2015, at Goethe-University of Frankfurt, Germany. My paper was on my research into constructing 'everyday' heroic narratives within stories featuring superheroes. A chapter based on this paper, 'It must have been cold there in my shadow: Everyday Heroism in superhero narratives' appears in the volume derived from conference proceedings: http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/distributed/E/bo26346531.html
I presented at the 7th Biennial Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses at Kingston University in July 2016 in a panel on War and the Whedonverses.
Publications and research outputs
Superheroes and American Self Image (Ashgate, 2016) https://www.routledge.com/products/9781472435507
Firefly Revisited: Essays on Joss Whedon's Classic Series (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015) https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781442247437/Firefly-Revisited-Essays-on-Joss-Whedon's-Classic-Series (co-editor with Philip Smith)
Special Issue of a Journal:
Slayage: The Journal of Whedon Studies 13.2 (2015): http://www.whedonstudies.tv/current-issue1.html (co-editor with Philip Smith)
Selected Articles & Chapters:
'Powers of a Squirrel, and also a Girl': Alternatives for Women in Superhero Comic-books - An Interview with Ryan North', Studies in Comics 7.1 (2016).
'“It Must Have Been Cold There In My Shadow”: Everyday Heroism in Superhero Narratives' in Extraordinary Ordinariness (2016)
'Comics & Politics' in The Routledge Companion to Graphic Novels & Comics (2016).
'The Spanish-American War' & 'General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna' in America in the World, 1776 to the Present: A Supplement to the Dictionary of American History (2016).
'You Complete Me': The Joker as Symptom' in The Joker: A Serious Study of the Clown Prince of Crime (2015).
"Oh c'mon, those stories can't count in continuity!': Squirrel Girl and the problem of female power', Studies in Comics 5.1 (2014).
'The Body (Politic) in Pieces: Post 9/11 Marvel Superhero Narratives and Fragmentation' in Jason Dittmer (ed.), Comic Book Geographies (2014).
'Friend of the people of many lands': Johnny Everyman, 'critical internationalism' and liberal postwar US heroism' Social History 38.2 (2013).
'We have experienced a tragedy which words cannot properly describe': Representations of trauma in post-9/11 superhero comic-books, Literature Compass 8.8 (2011) (co-author with Philip Smith).
'Superhero Films and American National Identity' in Histories on Screen: The Past and Present in Anglo-American Cinema and Television (2018)
‘"Corpses… Coast to Coast!" Trauma, Gender, and Race in 1950s Horror Comics', Literature Compass (forthcoming, co-author with Philip Smith)
'War, Profit & Migration in Firefly' in War in the Whedonverses