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Peter O'Connor

Teaching Associate, Faculty of Arts

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Biography

I am currently a Teaching Associate in the Department of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Nottingham. I completed my PhD at Northumbria University in 2014 and began working as a lecturer in 2015. After a year at Northumbria I moved to the American Studies Department at the University of Manchester before returning to lecture at Northumbria in 2016. I joined Nottingham at the beginning of 2018.

I am currently a Teaching Associate in the Department of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Nottingham. I completed my PhD at Northumbria University in 2014 and began working as a lecturer in 2015. After a year at Northumbria I moved to the American Studies Department at the University of Manchester before returning to lecture at Northumbria in 2016. I joined Nottingham at the beginning of 2018.

Expertise Summary

My research focuses on Anglo-American history between the War of Independence and the US Civil War. I am particularly interested in the relationship between literary culture and politics, the history of political radicalism, the influence of US democracy on British political culture and the history of the American presidency.

Teaching Summary

I am currently the Director of Undergraduate Studies and dissertation convenor for American and Canadian Studies.

In the coming academic year I will be taking over as the convenor of the core American History 1 module (Q41101) and contributing to North American Regions (Q4111). I will also be offering a new final year option module- Revolution to Rapprochement, Britain and the US 1776-1877.

Research Summary

I am currently in the process of editing two journal articles that draw on research I have undertaken into British responses to the Civil War and the US presidency. The first article is focused on… read more

Recent Publications

Current Research

I am currently in the process of editing two journal articles that draw on research I have undertaken into British responses to the Civil War and the US presidency. The first article is focused on how the rump of the pro-Confederate movement in Britain attempted to recalibrate their propaganda in response to the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. The second explores British depictions of the presidency between 1837 and 1857 with an emphasis on how the apparent decline in the quality of those who reached the White House contributed to liberal disillusion with the republic.

Past Research

My first monograph, American Sectionalism in the British Mind 1832-1863, was published by Louisiana State University Press in 2017. It builds on my PhD work to argue that British reactions to the American Civil War can only be understood within the context of pre-existing ideas about the relationship between the North and South. My monograph draws on the published work of British novelists, travel writers, scientists and political reformers to reconstruct this antebellum framework. Through my analysis I demonstrate how responses to the Civil War were the product of these ideas intersecting with the propaganda produced by partisans for the Union and Confederacy.

While studying for my PhD I published work on the American presidency during the early nineteenth century. In 2014 I produced a book chapter on the legacy of John Quincy Adams as part of a Routledge edited collection. During the following year I published an article in the Journal of Transatlantic Studies that drew on fiction, visual culture and journalism to examine how the image of Thomas Jefferson was deployed in Britain between 1800 and 1865.

Future Research

My future research will continue to explore Anglo-American history with a focus on the intersection of politics and culture. Thanks to an Eccles Centre Postgraduate Fellowship I have already undertaken preliminary work on a new project examining how the 1812 Anglo-American War was interpreted by radical reformers in Britain. I hope to expand the scope of this study into a broader reinterpretation of the ways that the conflict forced both nations to alter their perceptions of one another. I am also interested in developing a project examining the how democracy and sovereignty were discussed against the backdrop of the British reform debate and South Carolina Nullification Crisis (late 1820s-early 1830s). Finally, I wish to revisit the work of the British novelist Anthony Trollope (who features in my monograph) to analyse how race and democracy intersect in his depictions of North America and the West Indies.

School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies

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