British Association for American Studies


60 Seconds With Mike Simpson

The U.S. Studies Online 60 Seconds interview feature offers a short and informal introduction to a postgraduate, academic or non-academic specialist working in the American and Canadian Studies field or a related American and Canadian Studies association. 

Earlier this month we invited you to spend 60 seconds with the new members of the U.S. Studies Online editorial team. Now the new members of the BAAS Executive Committee have kindly let us learn more about their lives, their interests, desert island books, and memorable moments…


069Where are you right now?

In Yorkshire (God’s own county) in the UK.

If you could time-travel to observe one moment in the history of America, where would you go?

The immediate and obvious answer would be Dallas on November 22nd 1963 but I will opt for the Battle of Alligator Bridge, Florida, 1778. (This may be connected to having just endured a miserable British winter and spring rather than viewing a British victory over the uppity colonials).

Who would you invite to your fantasy dinner party?

Lance Armstrong (to hear his side of the story), Prince (to be entertained) and Barack Obama (for obvious reasons).

You’re stranded on a desert island, but luckily you pre-empted it. Which book do you take with you?

The Bonfire of the Vanities: Tom Wolfe

What has been your most memorable career moment so far?

Leaving a career in banking for one in teaching – I have never looked back / no regrets.

What advice would you give to early career academics?

I am the wrong person to ask but I would say follow your heart not your head.

What is the most exciting thing you have planned in the next six months?

A trip to the French Pyrenees to ride some Tour de France cols.

How did you come to your current area of research?

As a school teacher and examiner, I write for students of US government and politics. This embraces all areas of A level examinations.

What profession other than academia would you like to attempt?

Something in selling or the media. Failing that professional cyclist or rock star.

What book is currently on your bedside table?

The Secret Footballer: Access All Areas

Be honest; how long has it been there?

3 weeks.

About the Author

Mike Simpson is presently Principal Examiner for the OCR Government and Politics A level. He is also head of the Politics department at Bradford Grammar School in West Yorkshire. He has been an associate Politics lecturer at Bradford University in the past. A PPE graduate from Oxford University, he has written extensively and run courses on American Politics for A level students for many years. A keen cyclists and occasional triathlete, Mike is keen to develop resources for teachers and students for BAAS._