Department of American and Canadian Studies

Race and Rights

Our department is home to the Centre for Research in Race and Rights, and our research in this area is internationally renowned.

We co-lead the University's Research Priority Area on Rights and Justice. We have a strong focus on global public engagement that challenges all forms of racism, discrimination and human rights violation.

We have particular strengths in Black Studies, Latino Studies and Asian-American Studies, and work extensively with national and international research partners.


Research and partners

We work with a wide range of national and international research partners, including:

W.E.B. Du Bois Research Institute

Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition

Department of Black Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara

Antislavery Literature Project, Arizona State University

Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation, University of Hull

Recent research activity and events include:
  • an AHRC grant called the Antislavery Usable Past (1.84 million)
  • a public AHRC-funded exhibition of Frederick Douglass murals and street art
  • a conference marking the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, held in Washington DC
  • a Terra Foundation-funded conference about art of the black diaspora
  • a British Academy-funded international symposium on historic and contemporary slavery
  • a half-day conference about forced migration and trafficking.
  • participation in a panel event at the British Film Institute about 12 Years a Slave
  • a Nottingham panel event to commemorate the 150th anniversary of U.S. slave emancipation.
  • a special screening of the film Lincoln with post-film debate. with post-film debate
  • a guest lecture by leading expert on modern slavery, Kevin Bales, on slavery and the environment
  • A guest lecture by leading historian, Harvard professor Annette-Gordon Reed, on slavery and race.
  • a guest lecture by leading historian, Yale professor David Blight, on civil rights
  • a guest lecture by leading historian, Vanderbilt professor Richard Blackett, on slaves’ self-emancipation
  • a public talk on civil rights legacies in Obama’s America
  • prestigious prizes for books and articles, including the biennial American Studies Network Book Prize, the British Association for American Studies Book Prize, the biennial article prize from the journal Labor, and the Michael Fellman Award. , and the Michael Fellman Award

Knowledge exchange

We work with a number of external partners on knowledge exchange events, getting involved in local and national communities and sharing our expertise. Our local knowledge exchange partners include:

Afro Caribbean National Artistic Centre


Five Leaves Bookshop

Mount Zion Millenium City Church

The New Art Exchange

Nottingham Contemporary


Recent events include
  • a gallery walk-through at the Nottingham Contemporary for an exhibit on Latino art
  • annual public events for Black History Month (October), LGBT History Month (February) and Women’s History Month (March), including lectures and film festivals
  • a workshop for hundreds of school children to mark the Rosa Parks Centenary, in collaboration with the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute
  • a guest lecture by the director of Operation Black Vote, Simon Woolley, on British race relations
  • a four-part lecture and discussion series by Peter Ling on Martin Luther King, Jr. and social justice at the Afro Caribbean National Artistic Centre in St. Ann's, Nottingham
  • a discussion by prize-winning American novelist Margaret Wrinkle about her novel Wash, focused on American slavery
  • a guest lecture by Oxford historian Stephen Tuck on Malcolm X's visits to Britain


For media enquiries and consultation requests, please contact Catherine Rottenberg or relevant experts listed below:

Dr Susan Billingham

Dr Nick Heffernan

Dr Anthony Hutchison

Dr Stephanie Lewthwaite

Dr Ruth Maxey

Prof Vivien Miller

Dr Christopher Phelps

Prof Catherine Rottenberg

Prof Zoe Trodd

Our postgraduate affiliates are:

Maxwell Ayamba

Hannah Jeffery


Department of American and Canadian Studies

University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Contact us