During the second semester of next year, I’m pleased to say that I’ll be taking up a British Association of American Studies (BAAS) UCL-Institute of the Americas Post-doctoral Visiting Fellowship.
The UCL-IA/BAAS is designed to facilitate the development and completion of a significant research project focusing on the United States, and is designed for early career researchers. I’ll be provided with office space at the Institute and will be able to take full advantage of the London libraries for my research. Last year, the award was given to Dr Nick Witham, Senior Lecturer in American Social and Cultural at Canterbury Christ Church University, for his research on the concept of the “public intellectual” within the American historical profession during the Cold War.
My own research will explore the manner in which the black American South has been represented on British television over the last half decade. Documentaries such as Sir Trevor McDonald’s ‘The Mighty Mississippi’ (2012), TV chef Rick Stein’s ‘Tasting the Blues’ (2012), the comedian Hugh Laurie’s ‘Down By the River’ (2011) and the series ‘Stephen Fry in America’ (2009) are indicative of the current popular transatlantic interest in the life and culture of the South.
The project will examine how these explorations serve to maintain popular transatlantic stereotypes of African American life and culture in the 21st century. I will trace the development of present day stereotypes by linking the documentaries to mid-20th century programs such as The Black and White Minstrel Show, and the representation of African American culture during the blues revival of the 1960s.