Dr Laila Haidarali

Department of History
Dr Laila Haidarali
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 873811

  • Location

    5NW.8.10, Colchester Campus

  • Academic support hours

    By appointment.



I cannot recall a time when history did not interest me. Born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean, I grew up witnessing the complex legacies of colonization, slavery, imperialism, proselytization, indentureship, resistance, nationalism, and independence doing so in one of the most ethnically diverse islands of the region. Understanding the history of my nation and my region helped me find my own place in the world. Today, I engage with many other histories. I value their importance knowing that so many stories - particularly those of people who still remain on the margins - remain to be found, told, interpreted, and acknowledged. I hold a Ph.D. in U.S. History from York University in Toronto, Canada. In 2008, I was honoured to be awarded theInaugural Postdoctoral Fellowship in African American Studies in the Department of History at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. In September, 2009, I joined the Department of History at Essex where I lecture on race, gender, and sexuality in modern U.S. history. Poetry and Academia: I am also a published poet. My work was first published in Trinidad and Tobago. I debuted as a Toronto poet through Diaspora Dialogues--a non-profit organization directed to bringing immigrant and multicultural voices to a central position in the Canadian literary scene. My work appears in Tok 1: Writing the New Toronto Narrative; Cahoots Magazine; Descant; Sentinel Poetry; Monday's Poem; ditch poetry,and In My Bed Magazine. My first chapbook of poetry entitledSunday Frownswas published in 2008 by Trainwreck Press. Intersections between my academic and creative work can be found in my work. These include two poems, Strange (2013) and Brown (2006). Strange, in Proudflesh: New Afrikan Journal of Culture, Politics and Consciousness, Special Issue, Caribbean Women: Riding the Waves of Resistance, No. 8 (August 2013). Brown, Calabash, A Journal of Caribbean Arts and Letters, Vol 4, no. 1 (Spring-Summer 2006): 21. I am always excited when my work reaches larger audiences. Shana Burg, Novelist, Interview. Undergraduate Supervision (Thesis Prize) Lauren Mason, The Help? Uncovering the Social Realities of the African American Domestic Worker. 2013. Jennifer Axcell, African American Entertainment Venues and the rise of classic and urban blues during the First Great Migration, 1915-1920. 2012. James Gatheral, The Chequered Roots of Multicultural Britain. Nominated, 2011 Doctoral Supervision Claire Sims,From Separate Spheres to Pioneers of Environmental Justice: Overcoming Barriers of Gender, Race and Class; Women and the Environmental Movement in the United States. University of Essex, History, In Progress.


  • Ph.D. in U.S. History from York University in Toronto, Canada

Research and professional activities

Conferences and presentations

NAFAD and African American Modelling in the early Cold War era, Berkshire Conference for Women Historians, University of Toronto, Canada, May 22-25, 2014.

Modelling Beauty Brown: Sex, Race, Representation and African American Womanhood in the early Cold War era, Gender and History in the Americas Seminar Series, Institute of Historical Research, University of London, England, February, 2014.

The Body Browned: Colour, Contour, Beauty and African American Womanhood in early postwar consumer magazines British Association for American Studies, University of East Anglia, Norwich, England, April 8-11, 2010.

Stepping Up in Freedom Clothes: African American Modelling in Postwar America, Unintended Consequences Hagley Fellows Conference, Delaware, April 4, 2009.

Dressing the Model Body in Early Cold War Style: Fashion Designers, Models, and African American Womanhood New Directions in US Studies: Re-imagining the 1950s and 1960s, York University, Toronto, Canada, October 11-12, 2013.

Teaching and supervision

  • The World in Question: the Social, Political and Psychological Legacies of the Enlightenment (CS201)

  • The Making of the Modern World since 1750 (HR100)

  • Research Project (HR831)

  • Black Women in U.S. History (Special Subject) (HR647)

  • Women, Gender and Sexuality in United States History (HR388)

  • The African American Experience (HR288)

  • Votes for Women! Life and Work for Women in Twentieth Century Britain (public history module) (HR213)


Journal articles (3)

Haidarali, (2012). Browning the Dark Princess: Asian Indian Embodiment of "New Negro Womanhood". Journal of American Ethnic History. 32 (1), 24-24

Haidarali, L., (2007). 'My fascist boots'. DESCANT. 38 (4), 110-110

Haidarali, L., (2005). Polishing Brown Diamonds: African American Women, Popular Magazines, and the Advent of Modeling in Early Postwar America. Journal of Women's History. 17 (1), 10-37

Books (1)

Haidarali, L., (2018). Brown Beauty Color, Sex, and Race from the Harlem Renaissance to World War II. NYU Press. 1479838373. 9781479838370

Book chapters (1)

Haidarali, L., (2012). "A Superficial Equality:" Re-Modelling African American Womanhood in Early Postwar America. In: Fashioning Models: Image, Text and Industry. Editors: Entwistle, J. and Wissinger, E., . Bloomsbury Academic. 9781847881557

+44 (0) 1206 873811


5NW.8.10, Colchester Campus

Academic support hours:

By appointment.