I am Senior Lecturer in American Studies and, as of Sept 2018, the SALC Director for Social Responsibility and Internationalisation. During 2016-17 I was Distinguished Visiting Professor in Film and Culture at Central Washington University in Washington State, contributing to the Film Programme there including practical filmmaking and industry-led classes, The position at CWU emerged from work on, and the profile of, the film, Projections of America (2015), for which I was script editor, senior historical advisor and contributor. Projections was broadcast on ARTE in Europe and PBS America in the UK and is now available on DVD and streaming through Amazon in the United States.
Projections is an ongoing project examining propaganda films from World War II. The film took its cue from my discovery of and research into previously unseen films, revealed in my book, In Capra's Shadow: The Life and Career of Screenwriter Robert Riskin (University Press of Kentucky, 2006). A new monograph, A Better Tomorrow: Transatlantic World War II Propaganda examines in more depth the relationship between American and British wartime filmmakers, with a brand new article ("Pride and Joy:Propaganda Wars, ‘Projections of America’ and the Dismantling of the Office of War Information") having just been accepted by the Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television.
Other current research includes new articles on cinematic surveillance politics through accounts of the activites of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. as well as chapters on director Costa-Gavras for a collection about his films published by MUP, and an examination of the new generation of 'Cold War' movies looking at the politics and aesthetics of the relationship between east and west. I have contributed to the Library of Congress National Film Preservation Board's list of the most significant movies of all time. My summary of Frank Capra's It Happened One Night (1934) is now part of the National Film Registry and can be accessed at the Film Preservation Board's website: https://www.loc.gov/programs/national-film-preservation-board/film-registry/index-of-essays
Since 2012 I've been a member of the Art, Culture and Ethics in Black and White Network investigating and re-examining the issues and controversies surrounding 100 years of D.W. Griffth's The Birth of a Nation film. The network held three hugely successful symposia in 2014-15 at the Eccles Centre of the British Library, the Whitworth Art Gallery of the University of Manchester, and the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool. An edited collection influenced by the network (edited by myself, Doug Field and Jenny Barrett) has been accepted by MUP and is due for publication in 2019.
At Manchester I was Assistant Associate Dean for Internationalisation in the Faculty of Humanities during 2015-16, developing partnerships and projects around the world, not least in the United States where a successful on-going relationship with Indiana University is now blossoming. I also contributed to the developing and on-going partnerships conjoining the Faculty and university with the universities of Melbourne, Amsterdam and Copenhagen.
I received my undergraduate degree in Politics and History from the Manchester Metropolitan University in 1988, an MA in American History and Institutions from the University of Keele in 1990, and a PhD in California politics also from Keele in 1996. I have taught American Studies at Crewe and Alsager College (later Faculty of MMU), Keele and the Open University. I joined the staff at Manchester in 1994 and was Programme Director for American Studies from 2000-2003. Over extended periods between 2001 amd 2013 I was also Admissions Officer for English and American Studies and the American Studies MA Programme Director in 2014.
I sit on the editorial board for the War, Culture and Society series with Bloomsbury Press. I served on the Peer Review Panel of the Arts and Humanities Research Council between 2008-12. I was the Conference Coordinator for the annual meeting of the British Association for American Studies (BAAS) at Manchester in 2012 and sat on the Executive Committee of the association between 2003 and 2009. I was chair of the Awards Committee for five years in that period. I have been External Examiner and External Validator of degrees at the universities of Glasgow, Swansea, Northumbria and Liverpool Hope, among others.
I would be delighted to work with graduate students interested in any aspects of film culture and history, especially those with interests in political movies, screenwriting and/or aspects of authorship theory. In addition, students wishing to conduct research,into the political, social or cultural formation of California.,or,investigate,sports, particularly football history, would be welcomed. I currently supervise MPhil and Ph.D. level students working on Censorship in the Post-Studio era and Jewish-American Literature and Film in the mid-20th Century.
At the undergraduate level, I teach various courses on American Political Culture, the History of California and Film and Politics in America.
At the postgraduate level, I teach on the American Cultural Studies and Screen Studies core courses as well as contributing my own specialist course, Authorship and the Studio System in Hollywood.
I was an elected member to the Executive Committee of the British Association for American Studies 2003-09 and chair of the Association's Awards Committee 2005-09. I am currently a member of the Peer Review College of the AHRC.
Book Awards and Distinctions
Hollywood's White House was the Ray and Thomas Browne Popular Culture Association (PCA) Book of the Year for 2003. Why We Fought was a Choice book of the year for 2008.