Dr. Hannah Lauren Murray is an early career researcher at the University of Nottingham. Her monograph in preparation examines liminal whiteness in early national and antebellum fiction.  From September, she will join the English department at King’s College London to teach Early American Studies. She sits on the Steering Committee for British Association of Nineteenth-Century Americanists (BrANCA).

Hannah Murray: My Reflections on winning the 2016 USSO Keynote Competition

The competition posed a welcome challenge disseminating my research for different audiences. It encouraged me to write for an audience that, whilst sharing a broad base of knowledge, are not experts in my specific field of nineteenth-century literature. Furthermore, it challenged me to think beyond the narrow focus of my PhD thesis. Instead of the granular work I often present in a 20-minute paper, the keynote made me think of my work in much broader terms and make connections outside the thesis. Continue reading

Review: ‘Keywords: Nineteenth-Century American Studies in the Twenty-First Century’

Over the summer, researchers were invited to respond to a keyword—or suggest their own—that they felt was pertinent to studying nineteenth century America in the twenty first century. From this, eight keyword panels were formed: ‘Capital’, ‘Crisis’, ‘Development’, ‘Network’, ‘Sensation’, ‘Territory’, ‘Time’, and ‘World’. Continue reading

Review: ANZASA Conference (Part One)

Across the two days of the conference, the majority of speakers repeatedly returned to issues of races and discrimination. All four keynote speakers engaged with the racial aspects of their research. Thomas Doherty (Brandeis University) discussed the portrayal of Nazism in 1930s American cinema. Coupled with the erasure of explicit mentions of Judaism from the silver screen during the decade, films such Boys Town (1938) used allegory and avoidance to critique Nazi Germany within the political censorship of the Motion Picture Production Code. Continue reading

Conference Review (part two) of BAAS 2015, with Saturday Plenary

On the third evening of BAAS 2015 we were treated to an eloquent and passionate plenary from Professor Dana Nelson (Vanderbilt). Best known for her work on race in the nineteenth century (The Word in Black and White, National Manhood), Dana’s lecture ‘A Passion for Democracy: Proximity to Power and the Sovereign Immunity Test’, drew from her most recent work Bad for Democracy (2008). Continue reading

A Relatable Past? Early America on the Small Screen

Do readers need to relate to historical figures in order to understand Early American literature and history? Is it important to connect with the personalities encountered from the past?

Hannah Murray explores these questions in relation to the recent cluster of Early America-inspired television shows. Murray discusses Sleepy Hollow (2013), American Horror Story: Coven (2013), Turn: Washington’s Spies (2014) and Salem (2014). Continue reading

Report on the BrANCA Reading Group Session ‘Archival Pleasures’

“Following Garvey’s article, the group spent quite a while discussing the importance of the physical versus digital archive in regards to Carrie Hyde and Joseph Rezak’s piece, ‘The Aesthetics of Archival Evidence’ (J19, Spring 2014). They raise the importance of understanding the ‘aesthetics of the archive’, the need to encounter the ‘heft’ of physical material. In the group we asked does distance matter? Do we need to be able to touch and hold manuscript and original books if it is digitally available? There seems to be a ‘resonating aura’ from material text, a sensual need to have contact with the physical archive for some scholars. This sensual turn in literary studies is the last spatial turn, towards ourselves.” Continue reading