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Sharon Monteith

Sharon Monteith

Distinguished Professor

School of Arts & Humanities

Staff Group(s)
English, Culture and Media


Sharon Monteith is Distinguished Professor of American Literature and Cultural History at Nottingham Trent University and is the recipient of a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship writing The Civil Rights Movement: A Literary History, an archival and interdisciplinary study that will extend civil rights historiography to include the recovery of neglected activists, activist-writers and texts.

Career overview

Before joining Nottingham Trent University, Monteith was at the University of Nottingham where she was Professor of American Studies and founding co-director of the Centre for Research in Race and Rights. From 2013-2016, she was founding Director of the Midlands3Cities-AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership (a consortium comprising of University of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent University, De Montfort University, University of Leicester, University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University and multiple creative industry partners). Prior to that she was Associate Dean of the University of Nottingham Graduate School with responsibility for the Faculty of Arts.

Research areas

Professor Monteith's interdisciplinary research focuses on literary activism, print culture, the American South, the US civil rights movement and massive resistance  to civil rights in the 1950s and 1960s, African-American literature and Black British literary history, American literature and culture, feature film, documentary and art cinema, journalism and civil rights media cultures. Her book SNCC’s Stories: Narrative Culture and the African American Freedom Struggle in the US South is forthcoming with University of Georgia Press. Her current project is The Civil Rights Movement: A Literary History.

She has supervised 35 PhD students to successful completion and is currently supervising students working on massive resistance to the US civil rights movement, social justice in the context of traumatic experience of residential schools in First Nations women’s writing, practice-led creative-critical PhDs on filmmaking with a focus on women's activism in the East Midlands, on poetry as a creative response to Nottingham's African Caribbean community heritage; social inclusion in theatre with Nottingham Playhouse as a partner. Previous doctoral projects supervised include, for example:

  • 2019 Tomos Hughes on America’s Imagined Revolution: Narrative and Politics in the Historical Novel of Reconstruction. Key writers examined range from the progressive to the radical: George Washington Cable, Albion Tourgée, Charles Chesnutt, Frances Harper and W.E.B. Du Bois
  • 2017 Rose Pearce on the emotions history of African Americans enduring racially segregated travel in the US; now Learning Technologist in the Learning and Teaching Support Unit at NTU;
  • 2015 Madalina Stancileaneu on the myth of postracialism and the racial controversies facing Barack Obama during his presidential campaign and first term (now assistant for the Public and Political Affairs Unit, University of Nottingham);
  • 2014 Rachel Sykes on The Quiet Contemporary American Novel (Manchester University Press, 2018); now Lecturer in English at University of Birmingham;
  • 2013 Nick Witham on U.S. cultural radicalism and the Central America Solidarity Movement, 1979-1992: The Cultural Left and the Reagan Era: US Protest and Central American Revolution  (I. B. Tauris, 2015). Now Senior Lecturer in American History, University College London;
  • 2012 Francisca Fuentes on the funerals of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Jr.; now librarian at The Eccles Centre of American Studies, The British Library;
  • 2009 Donna Peberdy on Baby Boomers and ageing in cinema (Masculinity and Film Performance: Male Angst in Contemporary American Cinema published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2011). Now Senior Lecturer in Film and Television Studies at Southampton Solent University;
  • 2008 Ceri Gorton on contemporary US writer Kingsolver (formerly with Arts Council England, and Cultural Development Manager, Oxford City Council, now a freelance creative consultant (Bird and Gorton);
  • 2007 Yan Ying on contemporary Chinese and Chinese-American literature (now  Lecturer in Translation Studies, University of Leicester;
  • 2007 Sinead Moynihan on 21st century fiction, published as Passing into the Present: Contemporary American Fiction of Racial and Gender Passing (Manchester University Press, 2012). Now Lecturer in American Literature, University of Exeter;
  • 2005 Karen McNally on Frank Sinatra in cinema: When Frankie Went to Hollywood: Frank Sinatra and American Male Identity published by University of Illinois Press, 2008, reprinted 2015). Now Senior Lecturer in Film Studies, London Metropolitan University;
  • 2005 Champa Patel on Ralph Bunche and Malcolm X's activism in Africa; formerly Director of Programmes for Amnesty International and now ‎Head of Asia at Chatham House, The Royal Institute of International Affairs;

Professor Monteith welcomes PhD applications and email enquiries from prospective students in any area that relates to her research interests. Further information may be obtained from the NTU Doctoral School.

External activity

Professor Monteith’s recent collaboration's include:

Nottingham Black Archive for the AHRC World War I Hidden Histories network.

National charity Journey to Justice as city lead to bring its exhibition on US and UK civil rights to the city of Nottingham. The exhibition at the National Justice Museum involved city-wide partnership working with Midlands3Cities, Nottingham City Council, and multiple community and arts organisations, colleges and schools, as well as Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham. Alongside the exhibition, local people and university students worked together on human rights initiatives by recovering and reclaiming stories that demonstrate history of rights and justice in Nottingham.

Sponsors and collaborators

Professor Monteith's research has been supported by the Leverhulme Trust, the AHRC, the British Academy, and the Rockefeller Foundation.

In 2016 she was the PI for a British Academy Landmark Conference Grant when the BA held its first and only three-day conference. It focused on Civil Rights Documentary Cinema and the 1960s: Transatlantic Conversations on History, Race and Rights. It brought together civil rights activists, documentary filmmakers, historians and cultural critics in the US and UK and involved a public event to commemorate the life of former SNCC activist and Head of the NAACP, Julian Bond.

In 2017 she was Scholar-in-Residence at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, University of Mississippi for The Radical South: Southern Activism, Past and Present.

She has supervised 35 PhD students to successful completion and welcomes applications from prospective candidates who would like to work with her (please see Research Areas and enquire by email).

Professor Nahem Yousaf (NTU) and Professor Monteith co-edit the Manchester University Press series Contemporary American and Canadian Writers which publishes the work of established and emerging scholars to reflect the breadth and diversity of contemporary North American writing.

Publications in this series include David Brauner, Philip Roth (2007); Mark Brown, Paul Auster (2007); Andrew Tate, Douglas Coupland (2008); Sinead Moynihan, Passing into the Present: Contemporary American Fiction of Racial and Gender Passing (2009); David Stirrup, Louise Erdrich (2010); Joe Bray and Alison Gibbons eds. Mark Z. Danielewski (2011); James Peacock, Jonathan Lethem (2011); Andrew Taylor and Simon Malpas, Thomas Pynchon (2013); Maria Holmgren Troy, Elizabeth Kella, Helena Wahlström, Making Home: Orphanhood, Kinship, and Cultural Memory in Contemporary American Novels (2014); Cindy Hamilton, Sarah Paretsky (2015), Rachel Sykes, The Quiet American Novel (2018), Zalfa Feghali, Crossing Borders and Queering Citizenship: Civic Reading Practice and Contemporary American and Canadian Literature (2019). Please address emails about proposals for new titles to both editors.

Press expertise

  • Literary activism in the US and UK
  • The American South
  • The U.S. civil rights movement
  • American literature, journalism, film and media
  • The American 1960s
  • Race, rights and social justice in a variety of contexts
  • The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)
  • Documentary cinema
  • Literary and cultural history from the nineteenth century to the present
  • African American Print culture