Dr Christian O’Connell
Tel: 01242 71 4713
Christian is a Senior Lecturer in American History, teaching courses on democracy and slavery in the 19th century, the long Civil Rights movement, and major themes in the 20th century. Primarily a cultural historian, he is interested in the diffusion of African American culture both in Europe and the US. He completed his PhD at the University in 2012, which examined the emergence of transatlantic scholarship on African American blues music through the work of Paul Oliver.
This research is the subject of his first book entitled Blues, How Do You Do? Paul Oliver and the Transatlantic Story of the Blues (University of Michigan Press, 2015). He has also published a chapter entitled ‘Dreaming Up the Blues: Transatlantic Blues Scholarship in the 1950s’, in Neil Wynn and Jill Terry’s, Transatlantic Roots Music: Folk, Blues and National Identities (2012), and an article in Southern Cultures entitled ‘The Color of the Blues: Considering Revisionist Blues Scholarship’. He recently completed a BAAS/UCL Institute of the Americas Visiting Fellowship, where he worked on a research project which considers the transatlantic representations of the American South on British television. As a result, he is now an Associate Fellow of the Institute. He was also awarded the Fulbright-Elon Scholar Award, as part of which he spent four months teaching at Elon University in North Carolina between January and May 2016, and working on a new project on the experiences of African American soldiers in Italy during WW2.
Christian is originally from Northampton, but is half Italian and lived in Italy until age 9. He got his first degree from the University of Leeds in 2001, and obtained his MA in American Studies at Kings College in London in 2006. In his free time, Christian enjoys making music, and plays guitar with a number of local bands.