British Association for American Studies


Hannah-Rose Murray

Hannah Rose Murray completed her BA History at University College London in 2011 and the following year, she studied for a Masters in Public History at Royal Holloway University. Hannah started a project on Frederick Douglass in 2012 and after two years research on his impact on Britain, she is due to start a PhD in American Studies at the University of Nottingham in September 2014. Check out her website at – https://sites.google.com/site/frederickdouglassinbritain/

“A Scene of Tumult and Uproar”: Mapping the Gruelling Lecturing Tours of Black Abolitionists

During his nineteen-month trip in Britain from 1845-1847 formerly enslaved African American Frederick Douglass travelled by bus, steamship, train and carriage, writes Hannah-Rose Murray. Although popular antislavery had waned in Britain in the 1840s, it had become part of a nationalist tradition that could be roused by powerful and fiery orators. Douglass – a lecturing genius – exploited this trend and thus became incredibly successful on the British stage.

Curating LGBT History Month: Lessons Learned

February 2016 featured the most successful LGBT History month event series the University of Nottingham has ever seen. Hannah Rose Murray, programme organiser, reflects on the challenges she faced when curating the series and what systems of support she needed in place when she began. The post concludes with a series of event reviews from postgraduates in the Department of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Nottingham.

Review: ‘The (Re)production of Misery and the Ways of Resistance’ American Studies Association Conference

In what ways do we think about our bodies as active agents or passive recipients? How do we use misery as a form of resistance, and in what ways can resistance be subversive? How do we teach these issues in the classroom? These are a selection of the challenging, but enthralling questions delegates encountered at this year’s American Studies Association annual conference in Toronto, Canada.

Black History Month Post: ‘All Englishmen Were Not Shakespeares’: William Craft’s Attack on Scientific Racism in Britain

African American William Craft’s public act of humiliating scientist and anthropologist Dr James Hunt was a powerful confirmation of his strength and identity, and he seized this chance and used logic, wit and intelligence to win over his audience and to challenge the foundations of racial science.

The Legacy of African American Abolitionist Frederick Douglass in Britain

Frederick Douglass is the most famous African American of the nineteenth century, and is regarded today as a celebrated Civil Rights activist and social reformer. Douglass should be a central figure for Black History Month in Britain on this basis alone, but even more so when we consider his relationship with the UK. Douglass travelled here in 1845 for nearly two years, and visited Britain at least twice more before his death. His increasing fame here led to a successful career in America, and his legal freedom was ‘purchased’ by a family in Newcastle. Douglass would also not have been able to establish his newspaper, “The North Star,” without the support and donations from his British friends.

Review of Celebrity Encounters: Transatlantic Fame in Nineteenth-Century Britain and America Conference

Hannah-Rose Murray explores celebrity encounters in her review of the ‘How to Define Celebrity’ conference, held at the University of Portsmouth.