This research cluster reflects the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies longstanding strengths in teaching and research in the literatures, film, and cultures of the Americas, particularly the US South, the Caribbean, and issues of US expansionism both within and beyond 'continental' geographies.
Moving away from the study of the United States as an exceptional, territorially bound space, our research approaches ‘America’ in the context of a hemispheric and global nexus of power relations and cultural production, paying particular attention to the phenomena of transculturation and diaspora.
Our approach also actively promotes the study of the Anglophone Caribbean in relation to the Francophone and Hispanophone literary, film, and artistic tradition, reframes American borders and boundaries by interrogating imperialist legacies both at home and abroad, and broadens the study of American literatures through comparison to other arts and media.
American literatures and cultures are studied in their pan-Caribbean, transatlantic and hemispheric dimension, and from an interdisciplinary perspective which includes multiple genres including novels, biographical narratives, memoirs, plays, poems, travel writing, journalism and geo-political-historical accounts. Our research branches into the visual arts, film, theatre, performance and ekphrasis.
Members of this research cluster have produced ground-breaking works in dialogue with recent developments in cultural geography, the productive mobilization of literature/culture in human rights advocacy, and the study of gender and ethnicity.
We have strong ties with the British Association for American Studies and the Society for Caribbean Studies and members of this cluster are also members of Caribbean Studies Associations, Dominican Studies Association, the Pacific History Association, and the Society for Cinema and Media Studies.
There are a number of strands to our research within this cluster.
Research in these areas is central to many major externally funded international research projects.
We offer research supervision in a broad geographical range of literatures and cinemas, and related arts and media. Recently completed and ongoing projects by our doctoral students include:
Please contact our academics directly to discuss research supervision opportunities, or explore our research degrees and what to expect from a degree in the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies. You can also find out how to apply for postgraduate research at Essex, or use research finder if you are interested in searching for further research opportunities at Essex.
The research carried out by our members informs education, and shapes courses and modules both in the Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies and the Interdisciplinary Studies Centre, within which American (US) Studies, Latin American Studies and Global Studies are based.