Dr Sue Currell
|Post:||Reader in American Literature (American Studies, English, Sussex Centre for Cultural Studies)|
|Location:||Arts B B344|
|International:||+44 1273 877254|
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2012 Reader in American Literature; 2004-2012 Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in American Literature, Sussex University; 2001-03 Leverhulme Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of American and Canadian Studies, Nottingham University; 2001 DPhil American Studies, Sussex University, England; 1995 MA in American Studies, University of Maryland, College Park, USA; 1992 BA Hons American Studies (Lit) First Class, Sussex University, England.
Awards Received Leverhulme Research Fellowship 2011-12; Arts and Humanities Research Council Award 2008; Choice outstanding academic title 2006 awarded to The March of Spare Time; Leverhulme Postdoctoral Fellowship (2001-3); British Academy Scholarship for Postgraduate study (1997-2001); Cunliffe Centre Scholarship (1997); Fulbright Travel Scholarship (1994); University of Maryland Graduate Fellowship (1993-1995).
Professional Memberships American Studies Association, British Association of American Studies.
Chair of the British Association for American Studies, 2013-2016
Reader in American Literature; Chair of the British Association for American Studies 2013-2016: http://www.baas.ac.uk/; Editorial Board Journal of American Studies
My research examines the way that discourses of modernity have entered into the experience of being American and the way identity is constructed and formulated (for example, in notions of the modern self), as well as the impact of these discourses on lifestyle formations and culture. My book The March of Spare Time, for example, examines the (re)construction of modern leisure in response to discourses of efficiency in the context of mass unemployment during the Great Depression in America. I am particularly interested in the social and cultural responses to modernity in the first half of the 20th century, notably the relationship between the popular or "everyday" and the intellectual or scientific communities out of which new ideas often emerge. My co-edited book Popular Eugenics thereby looks at how an elite pseudo-scientific discourse was adopted and transformed once communicated via mass culture. My most recent book American Culture in the 1920s further examines the interplay between cultural, social and intellectual change during the 'jazz age'.
I remain interested in the exchange and intersection between popular, or 'mass', and intellectual or elite culture. My current research examines the relationship of the arts with political discourse during interwar America, in particular as it relates to the journal New Masses published between 1926-48. My other strand of interest in the history of eugenics continues in work that traces eugenic ideas in a number of cultural manifestations, from drama to housing and town planning.
I welcome postgraduate researchers wishing to work in the following areas: American literature, culture and modernism 1890-1940; leisure; visual culture; periodical history; the emergence and production of twentieth century mass culture; culture in the twenties and thirties; language and efficiency; eugenics and popular culture, narratives of self-help; gender, feminism and culture 1890-1960.
- American Culture in the 1920s. Edinburgh University Press, April 2009. 240 pages.
- The March of Spare Time: The Problem and Promise of Leisure in America During the 1930s. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005. (Choice Outstanding Academic Title award January 2006) ; (paperback edition August 2010). 248 pages.
- Popular Eugenics: National Efficiency and American Mass Culture in the 1930s. Co-edited with Christina Cogdell, University of Ohio Press, 2006. 424 pages.
Chapters in Books
- “The Tyranny of Words in the Economy of Abundance: Modernism, Language and Politics in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men” in New Critical Essays on James Agee and Walker Evans: Perspectives on Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, ed. Caroline Blinder (USA: Palgrave MacMillan: 2010). Pages, 79-104.
- "The New Deal for Leisure: Federal Recreation Programs During the Great Depression" in ed. Pierre Lagayette, Loisir et Liberté en Amérique du Nord (Presses Paris Sorbonne, 2008). 5,000 wds.
- "Streamlining the Eye: Speed Reading and The Revolution of Words, 1870-1940" in Residual Media edited by Charles Acland, University of Minnesota Press, 2007. Pages 344-360.
- "Depression and Recovery: Self-Help and America in the Great Depression," in eds. David Bell and Joanne Hollows, Historicizing Lifestyle, Ashgate, 2006. P. 135-150.
- "Eugenic Decline and Recovery in Thirties Self-Help Literature," in Popular Eugenics: National Efficiency and American Mass Culture in the 1930s., ed. Currell and Cogdell, University of Ohio Press, 2006. P. 44-69
- "Introduction" in Popular Eugenics: National Efficiency and American Mass Culture in the 1930s., ed. Currell and Cogdell, University of Ohio Press, 2006. P. 1-16
(ii) Journal articles
- “Wall Street Lays an Egg: Financial Drama and the 1933 Banking Collapse in Archibald MacLeish’s Panic: A Drama of Industrial Crisis.” Modern Drama, 56.3 (forthcoming September, 2013). 9,000 wds.
- “Breeding Better Babies in the Eugenic Garden City: “Municipal Darwinism” and the (Anti)Cosmopolitan Utopia in the early Twentieth Century.” Modernist Cultures, 5:2 (2010) pp. 267-290.
(iii) Other publications--Reviews
The Black Cultural Front: Black Writers and Artists of the Depression Generation. By Brian Dolinar. Reviewed in Journal of American Studies, (2013).
Review chapter (6,000wds) in “Modernisms” Year’s Work in Critical and Cultural Theory, 20.1 (2012).
- Gender and Activism in a Little Magazine: The Modern Figures of the Masses. By Rachel Schreiber. Reviewed in Journal of American Studies, 46.2 (2012).
- ‘The Great Depression’ (2,000 wds) in Women in American History: An Encyclopedia ed. Hasia Diner (NY: Facts on File, 2011).
- Making American Culture: A Social History, 1900-1920. By Patricia Bradley. Reviewed in Journal of American Studies, 2011, 46.3 (2012).
- Segregation’s Science: Eugenics and Society in Virginia. By Gregory Michael Dorr. Reviewed in Journal of American History, 98 (2011): 496-497.
- Review chapter (6,000wds) “Modernisms” in Year’s Work in Critical and Cultural Theory, 19.1 (2011).
- Dreaming of Dixie: How the South Was Created in American Popular Culture. By Karen L. Cox. Reviewed in Times Higher Education, 12-18 May, 2011, p. 53.
- Review chapter (6,000wds) “Modernisms” Year’s Work in Critical and Cultural Theory, 18:1 (2010), p. 80-96.
- Mendel’s Theatre: Heredity, Eugenics, and Early Twentieth-Century American Drama. By Tamsen Wolff. Reviewed in Modern Drama, 53:4 (Winter 2010) p. 595-597.
- Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression. By Morris Dickstein. Reviewed in Times Higher Education. 10-16 December, 2009, p. 52.
- Inventing America's "Worst" Family: Eugenics, Islam, and the Fall and Rise of the Tribe of Ishmael by Nathaniel Deutsch. Reviewed in Journal of American History, (December 2009, Vol. 96, issue #3) p. 923.
- Everything Was Better in America: Print Culture in the Great Depression. By David Welky. Reviewed in The American Historical Review (June 2009, 781-782)
- In Reckless Hands: Skinner v Oklahoma and the Near-Triumph of American Eugenics. By Victoria F. Nourse. Reviewed in Times Higher Education, January 15, 2009.
- Conceiving the Future: Pronatalism, Reproduction, and the Family in the United States, 1890–1938. By Laura L. Lovett reviewed in Journal of American History, 94:3 (Dec 2007).
The Playful Crowd: Pleasure Places in the Twentieth Century by Gary S. Cross and John K. Walton, reviewed in The American Historical Review 112:1 (Feb 2007).
Consumerism and American Girls’ Literature; 1860-1940 by Peter Stoneley, in Modern Language Review/Yearbook of English Studies,(2005).
Conference Papers, Presentations and Talks
- April 2013, British Association for American Studies, Exeter. “‘Notes on Un-Americana’: New Masses magazine and the Red Scare”
- Feb 2013, American Research Seminar, University of Leeds. “New Masses and the Investigation of Un-American Activities: how an arts and culture magazine became evidence in disloyalty hearings.”
- Dec 2012, Modernist Magazines in the Americas Conference, Oxford. “"A Big Red Little Magazine: New Masses and the Realist Modernism of a Marxist Magazine"
- Oct 2012, Rothermere American Institute Oxford. Roundtable, Journal of American Studies, "Internationalizing American Studies."
- June 2012, “Women in Magazines” Conference, Kingston University, London, 22-23 June. "Housewives are Simply Wonderful": Women and Communism in New Masses magazine (1926-48).
- May 2012, American Studies Research Seminar, Sussex University. “Hot and Cool and Red and Black: New Masses and Jim Crow Blues”
- April 2012, British Association for American Studies, Manchester. “Painting the Town Red: Communist Partying with New Masses magazine.”
- March 2012, European Association for American Studies Biannual Conference, Izmir, Turkey. “Taking out the (White) Trash: Eugenic National Housekeeping in the New Deal.”
- March 22 2012, Centre for the study of Cultural Modernity, University of Birmingham: “Painting the Town Red: Communist Partying in 1930s America.”
- Feb 29 2012, Centre for Social and Political Theory, University of Sussex. “American Eugenics: Fact or Fiction?”
- Dec 2011, “Jack London’s The Sea-Wolf” public lecture at Ace Stories’ “The Perfect Storm” event, Hotel Pelirocco, Brighton.
- Nov 2011, Uppsala University, Sweden. The Study of Eugenics - Past, Present and Future. “What to do with the ‘Sundry Others’: Homesteads, Greenbelts and Eugenic Removals.”
- April 2011, British Association for American Studies Conference, University of Central Lancashire. “Panic: New Masses and the Drama of the 1933 Bank Crisis”.
- March 2011, Cambridge Research Seminar in American Literature, “Ticker tapes, Trochees and Dactyls : The Art and Drama of Industrial Panic in America in the 30s.”
- June 2010, New Venture Theatre, Brighton : “Arthur Miller’s America” Invited Lecture as part of the Miller Retrospective fundraising evening.
- May 2009 , Nordic Association of American Studies Annual Conference, University of Copenhagen, "The Breeding Metropolis as Interwar Ideal: Eugenic Anti-Cosmopolitan Transnationalism in the 1920s"
- May 2009, Brighton Museum ‘American Scene’ open lecture, “Skyscraper Aesthetics: Machine Art in the 1920s.
- Apil 2009, British Association for American Studies Conference, Nottingham University, “Let Us Now Praise Knives and Forks: the UnFortunate Deconstruction of Consumerist Politics.”
- April 2007, British Association of American Studies Conference, Leicester University. “Breeding Better Babies”: The Eugenic Garden City in Europe and America
- Apr 2005, British Association for American Studies Conference, Cambridge University. “Science, Sanity, and the Tyranny of Words: Streamlining Language in the Interwar Period.”
- Nov 2004, Leisure and Liberty in North America, Sorbonne, Paris. (Nov 12-13, 2004) “The New Deal For Leisure: Federal Recreation Programs During the Great Depression.”
- April 2004, British Association for American Studies Conference, Manchester Metropolitan. “Is E Any Good?: E-Learning Workshop.”
- Sept 2003, Visual Knowledges Conference, Edinburgh University. "Screening Words: Rapid Reading and Visual Knowledge in America from 1879 to 1940"
- April 2003, British Association for American Studies Conference, Aberystwyth. "A History of Speed Reading."
- Jan 2003, "Web-Based Teaching," presentation at Intercultural Learning and the Role of Visual Media, CiLT, Covent Garden, London .
- Nov 2002, American Studies Association Annual Conference (Texas) "Life Begins at Forty": Self-Improvement and Eugenics During the Great Depression.
- July 2002, Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP) London : Walter B. Pitkin’s The Art of Rapid Reading: accelerated learning and self-improvement in America during the 20s and 30s.
- April 2002, British Association for American Studies Conference, Oxford. "A Short Introduction to the History of Human Stupidity": Walter B. Pitkin and the Eugenic Response to the Great Depression.
- March 2002, American Studies Open Seminar: Sussex University. Streamlining the Self: Walter B. Pitkin and Self-Improvement Literature.
- Nov 2001, American Studies Association Annual Conference, Washington DC. Public Enemies: Crime, Leisure and Eugenics in the Great Depression.
- June 2001, The British Library, London. "Digital America: Online Images" at the Images of America seminar.
- April 2001, British Association for American Studies Conference: Workshop: Teaching American Studies using the Internet.
- April 2000, British Association for American Studies Conference, Swansea. Fordism and Leisure: Nostalgia, Leisure and Government in the Great Depression.
- April 2000, British Association for American Studies Conference, Swansea. American Studies and the Internet: The Reality behind the Virtual - Poster presentation.
- June 1998, British Association for American Studies Postgraduate Conference, Sussex University. "Can America Be Trusted With Leisure?": "Spectatoritis" and the Rise of Visual Culture in the 1930s.
At Sussex I have taught, or currently teach, the following: American Cinema; Culture and Consumption 1890-1970; Women in the Americas ; American Literature Since 1890 ; The Look of America ; America in the 20th Century; American Literature to 1890 ; Pulp Culture: American Popular Literature; Documentary America: Non-Fiction Writing ; Modern America ; MA: Representations of the Great Depression. DPhil supervision.
Currell, Susan (2013) "Wall Street lays an egg": financial drama and the 1933 banking collapse in Archibald MacLeish's Panic: a drama of industrial crisis (1935). Modern Drama, 56 (3). pp. 1-25. ISSN 0026-7694
Currell, Susan (2010) Breeding better babies in the eugenic garden city: 'municipal Darwinism' and the (anti)cosmopolitan utopia in the early twentieth century. Modernist Cultures, 5 (2). pp. 267-290. ISSN 2041-1022
Currell, Sue (2010) The tyranny of words in the economy of abundance: modernism, language, and politics in 'Let us now praise famous men'. In: New critical essays on James Agee and Walker Evans: perspectives on Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. Palgrave MacMillan, New York, pp. 79-104. ISBN 9780230102927
Currell, Susan (2009) American culture in the 1920s. Twentieth-century American culture . Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh. ISBN 9780748625222
Currell, Sue (2008) The new deal for leisure: federal recreation programs during the Great Depression. In: Loisir et Liberté en Amérique du Nord. Presses Paris Sorbonne, Paris, pp. 31-40. ISBN 9782840505402
Currell, Sue (2007) Streamlining the eye: speed reading and the revolution of words, 1870-1940. In: Residual Media. University of Minnesota Press, pp. 344-360. ISBN 9780816644711
Currell, Susan and Cogdell, Christina (2006) Popular Eugenics: National Efficiency and American Mass Culture in the 1930s. Ohio University Press. ISBN 0-8214-1692-8
Currell, Sue (2006) Consumerism and american girls? Literature: 1860-1940 by Peter Stoneley. Modern Language Review, 101 (1). pp. 234-235. ISSN 0026-7937
Currell, Sue (2006) Depression and recovery: self-help and America in the 1930s. In: Historicizing lifestyle: mediating taste, consumption and identity from the 1900s to 1970s. Ashgate, pp. 131-144. ISBN 9780754644415
Currell, Sue (2004) Walter B. Pitkin. In: American National Biography. Oxford University Press.
Currell, Sue (2002) American studies and the Internet. [Teaching Resource]
Currell, Sue (2002) Book Review : Cary Nelson's "Revolutionary Memory: Recovering the poetry of the American Left", Saverio Giovacchini's "Hollywood Modernism: Film and Politics in the Age of the New Deal" and Robert Shulman's "The Power of Political Art: The 1930s Literary Left Reconsidered". Textual Practice, 16 (2). pp. 397-404. ISSN 0950-236X
Currell, Sue (1998) Review: Bill Brown, 'The Material Unconscious: American Amusement, Stephen Crane and the Economies of Play'. Textual Practice, 12 (3). pp. 551-555. ISSN 0950-236X
- Wednesday 11:00-12:00 (Office is Arts B344)