School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies

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Image of Timo Schrader

Timo Schrader

Research Associate, Faculty of Arts


Research Summary


Timo Schrader is Research Associate on the Rights Lab and recently defended his PhD dissertation in the Department of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Nottingham. His focus is the history of activism and social justice movements in the twentieth century.

He obtained his PhD in American Studies in 2018 at the University of Nottingham. He also holds an MA in American Studies (University of Nottingham) and a BA in English and Educational Sciences (Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg). In 2017 he has taught undergraduate courses at the University of Nottingham and at the University of Lincoln. Timo has held several jobs in his academic career including student assistant at the Heidelberg Center for American Studies (2012-13), impact coordinator at the Department of American and Canadian Studies (2013-15), co-director of the Centre for Research in Race and Rights (2015-17), and student representative for his student cohort at the University of Nottingham (2013-17).

Timo has organized various academic conferences over the years, such as the Spring Academy (2012-13), the October Dialogues (2015-16), the American Studies Retreat (2014-17), and Historians Against Slavery (2017). He has published peer-reviewed articles in the Journal of Urban History, the Journal for the Study of Radicalism, and Anglistica/AION. Timo has won research awards from the following organizations: British Association for American Studies, Royal Historical Society, Economic History Society, Historians of Twentieth Century United States, and the European Association for American Studies. He has presented his research at annual meetings of the Urban History Association, the British Association for American Studies, the American Historical Association, and the Roosevelt Institute of American Studies.

Research Summary

His PhD project is entitled "Loisaida as Urban Laboratory: Puerto Rican Community Activism in New York. It offers the first in-depth analysis of the network of Puerto Rican community activism in the Lower East Side from 1964 to 2001. The community of Loisaida organized itself to fight against postwar urban deindustrialization, housing disinvestment, and gentrification, which threatened to displace an entire generation of Puerto Ricans who migrated to this New York neighborhood and tried to make it their home. Using an amalgam of unprocessed organizational archives, oral histories, ephemera, and neighborhood publications, this project recreates the history of community action in Loisaida. Focusing on key institutions and community groups that mobilized residents and built a lasting activist network, it demonstrates how community groups pioneered a methodology for more sustainable community activism. These activists turned Loisaida into their laboratory, constantly experimenting with and adapting new strategies to put up a solid defense against absentee landlords, greedy developers, opportunist politicians, and an era of increased policing of urban space. Analyzing the interplay of community activism, urban politics, and Puerto Rican history in this urban laboratory of Loisaida provides three crucial insights: (1) the necessity for grassroots organizations to adapt their activism to the changing needs of the community, (2) the creativity of urban communities to transform and design their immediate environment, and (3) the root causes that keep activist campaigns from reaching their full potential.

His current project is entitled "Super Citizenship: American Veterans and the Fight for Human Rights." This postdoctoral project will produce the first comprehensive history of veteran activism and protest in the U.S. Whenever soldiers have returned home from a conflict, they have attempted to re-integrate into civilian life in the U.S. However, veterans throughout US conflicts have emerged to claim, complicate, or contest American citizenship by engaging in protests or activist causes-often opposing the very government that enlisted them. Soldiers are trained to serve and protect but what do veterans do with this sense of duty after war? Whether it is segregation, land ownership, or LGBT rights, ex-soldiers have historically been present to lend their status as veterans to support numerous human rights issues. This project contends that U.S. veterans have played a major role in shaping American society since World War I, despite a significant lack of scholarly attention to the history of veterans. In exploring the intersections of citizenship, activism, and veterans, this project will provide a radically new perspective on the limits and opportunities of U.S. citizenship and the involvement of veterans in social movements.

Research Interests

Twentieth century US history, urban history, community activism, history of Puerto Ricans in the US, history of protest movements, history of US veterans, radical history, cultural history, and social history

PhD Supervisors

  • Prof. Zoe Trodd
  • Dr. Stephanie Lewthwaite

Academic Positions

  • Research Associate, Rights Lab, University of Nottingham, 2018
  • Associate Lecturer, New Directions in History, University of Lincoln, 2017-2018
  • Research Associate, Antislavery Usable Past, University of Nottingham, 2017
  • Teaching Associate, Approaches to American Culture 2, University of Nottingham, 2017
  • Chair, Learning Community Forum, 2015-2017
  • Co-director, C3R, 2015-2017
  • Student Representative, Department of American and Canadian Studies (ACS) postgraduate cohort, 2013-2017
  • Impact and Outreach Coordinator, ACS, 2013-2015
  • Student Assistant, Heidelberg Center for American Studies (HCA), 2012-2013


  • Travel Grant, Roosevelt Institute of American Studies, 2018
  • Vice-Chancellor's Scholarship for Research Excellence (PhD scholarship), 2014-2017
  • Cascade Grant, University of Nottingham, 2016-2017
  • Vice-Chancellor's Medal, University of Nottingham, 2016
  • Rights and Justice Priority Area Excellence Award, University of Nottingham, 2016
  • Historians of Twentieth Century United States (HOTCUS) Postgraduate Travel Award, 2016-2017
  • Economic History Society (EHS) PhD Bursary Scheme, 2015-2016
  • School of Cultures, Languages, and Area Studies (CLAS) Postgraduate Research Fund, University of Nottingham, 2015-2016
  • CLAS Student Experience Fund, University of Nottingham, 2015-2016
  • Royal Historical Society (RHS) Conference Travel Award, 2015-2016
  • Graduate School Travel Prize, University of Nottingham, 2015-2016
  • The Elizabeth and Elisha Atkins Postgraduate Travel Award, British Association for American Studies (BAAS), 2015-2016
  • Postgraduate Transatlantic Travel Grant, European Association for American Studies (EAAS), 2015-2016
  • ERASMUS Exchange Program, European Commission, 2010-2011

Conference Organization

  • Historians Against Slavery, October 2017
  • American Studies Academic Retreat, June 17-24, 2017
  • October Dialogues, October 2016
  • American Studies Academic Retreat, May 13-20, 2016
  • October Dialogues, October 2015
  • American Studies Academic Retreat, May 30 to June 6, 2015
  • Postgraduate Symposium, April 27-28, 2015
  • Spring Academy, 2012-13

Public Engagement

  • Consultant on the archivization of records that belong to a mural organization in New York City (CITYarts) for the New York Historical Society, September 2016
  • Paper for the Read Hear event for Black History Month, Nottingham Central Library, October 18, 2014
  • Coordinator for the public cross-departmental event "The Embittered Past? A Roundtable on the Ukraine Crisis," University of Nottingham, April 9, 2014


Conference Papers and Presentations

  • Adopt-a-Building and the Lower East Side Tenant Movement, Urban History Association, October 13-16, 2016.
  • The Right to the City as a Human Right: A Cultural Urban History of Puerto Rican Community Activism in New York City's Lower East Side, International Association of Inter-American Studies, October 4-6, 2016.
  • Oral Histories as a Resource for Exhibitions and Digital Archives, 2016 HOTCUS Annual Conference, Middelburg, July 6-8, 2016.
  • 'Mejore, no se mude!' New York Puerto Rican Community Activism and the Human Right to the City, 1964-2001, Orientale American Studies International School, May 29-June 3, 2016.
  • The Right to the City: A Cultural Urban History of Puerto Rican Community Activism, BAAS and IAAS Joint Conference, Belfast, April 7-9, 2016.
  • A Cultural History of Puerto Rican Community Activism and the Human Right to the City in New York, 1960s​-1970s, Urban History Group, Cambridge, March 31-April 1, 2016.
  • Puerto Rican Gangs, Community Organizations, and the Right to the City: Lessons from the Lower East Side, 1960s-1970s, HOTCUS Winter Symposium, Dundee, February 13, 2016.
  • 'We are a sovereign state of mind:' Creating a Spiritual Puerto Rican Citizenship through El Spirit Republic de Puerto Rico and El Puerto Rican Embassy, American Historical Association, Atlanta, January 7-10, 2016
  • Opening Up the Conference: the October Dialogues as an Example for Academic and Public Collaboration, BAAS Postgraduate Conference, Glasgow, December 5, 2015
  • The New Nottingham Project, presentation for Chancellor Sir Andrew Witty, University of Nottingham, November 23, 2015
  • Dragons and Assassins of Loisaida: Puerto Rican Gang Members Become Community Activists, 49th Parallel Conference, University of Nottingham, June 19, 2015

Professional Memberships

Academic History

  • PhD American Studies, University of Nottingham, 2014-18
  • MA American Studies, University of Nottingham, 2013-14
  • Utrecht Summer School, Universiteit Utrecht, 2013
  • BA English Literature, Culture, and Linguistics with a minor in Educational Science, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, 2009-13
  • ERASMUS Exchange Program, Loughborough University, 2010-11

School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies

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Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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