Plenary speakers

Professor Bettye Collier-Thomas | Department of History, Temple University

EBAAS 2018 Lecture title: “From King to Trump: The Enduring Legacy of White Supremacy for American Democracy.”

Bettye Collier

Bettye Collier-Thomas is Professor of History and specialises in U. S. social, cultural, and political history. She has authored books in the fields of African American and women’s history, religion, civil rights and black power and her publications include Jesus, Jobs, and Justice: African American Women and Religion (2010); Daughters of Thunder: Black Women Preachers and Their Sermons (1997); and she has co-authored with V. P. Franklin Sisters in the Struggle: African American Women in the Civil Rights-Black Power Movement (2001) and My Soul Is A Witness: A Chronology of the Civil Rights Era, 1954-1965 (2000).

Appointed by the National Endowment for the Humanities as a Special Consultant to the division of Public Programs (1977-1980), she developed NEH’s first program of technical assistance to black museums and historical organizations; became a founder and officer of the National Association of Black Museums and organized the first National Conference on Black Museums. Collier-Thomas is the founder and served as the first executive director of the Mary McLeod Bethune Memorial Museum and the National Archives for Black Women’s History, and served as the inaugural director of the Temple University Center for African American History and Culture (1989-2002).

In 2015, at a national conference sponsored by Michigan State University, Collier-Thomas was one of 11 outstanding scholars celebrated as pioneers in African American Women’s History and she is currently writing a history of African American women and politics.


Professor Jo Gill | Department of English, University of Exeter

EBAAS 2018 Lecture title: “As Seen from Above: American Poetry in the Jet Age”

Jo Gill 

Jo Gill is Professor of twentieth-century and American literature. She teaches and researches in modern and contemporary English and American literature, and has particular interests and expertise in confessional and life-writing, mid-twentieth century American poetry, the literature and culture of the American suburbs and the relationship between literature (specifically poetry) and architecture.

Gill’s publications include The Poetics of the American Suburbs (2013); The Cambridge Introduction to Sylvia Plath (2008); Anne Sexton’s Confessional Poetics (2007); and Women’s Poetry (2007). Her article “‘Quite the Opposite of a Feminist’: Phyllis McGinley, Betty Friedan, and Discourses of Gender in Mid-Century American Culture” (Women’s History Review, 2013) won the Arthur Miller Centre Prize for the year’s best American Studies essay and she was the Principal Investigator of the Leverhulme Trust-funded “Cultures of the Suburbs International Research Network” (2011-14). Gill is now completing work on a new book entitled Modern American Poetry and the Architectural Imagination.


Professor Pekka Hämäläinen | St Catherine’s College, University of Oxford

EBAAS 2018 Lecture title: “Iktómi’s Children: The Age of the Lakota Sioux in the Great American Interior”

Pekka Hamalainen

Pekka Hämäläinen is Rhodes Professor of American History and an historian of early and nineteenth-century North America, specialising in indigenous, colonial, imperial, environmental, and borderlands history. He is also interested in comparative and global histories of empires, indigenous and nomadic societies in world history, and the history of the Western Hemisphere in global context.  Hämäläinen’s 2008 book, The Comanche Empire (Yale), received twelve books awards, including the Bancroft Prize, the Merle Curti Award, and the Caughey Prize. Among other publications he has co-edited, with Benjamin H. Johnson, Major Problems in the History of North American Borderlands (Houghton Mifflin, 2011) and co-authored Liberty, Equality, Power: A History of the American People (Cengage, 2015).

He is currently working on a book that traces the history of power relations and social worlds in North America from the seventeenth through the nineteenth century, integrating indigenous and European perspectives, borderlands and imperial histories, and transatlantic and continental approaches. For 2014–19, he has gained a European Research Council Consolidator Grant (€1,988,584) for the major research project “Nomadic Empires: A World Historical Perspective”.


The British Library

The British Library