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Sussex academics claim hat-trick of award wins at biggest-ever American Studies conference

Prof Robert Cook was among three award winners at the annual BAAS ceremony on Friday held this year at the British Library

The University of Sussex’s top-ranking American Studies department has been given further reason for cheer after scooping three awards at a prestigious ceremony.

Sussex was the most successful university at the 2018 British Association for American Studies’ (BAAS) awards dinner, with academics taking home three prizes from the closing event of the biggest American Studies conference ever held in Europe.

Professor Robert Cook, Professor of American History, won the BAAS Book Prize for the best published book in American Studies for his “fast-paced, well-researched and gripping” Civil War Memories: Contesting the Past in the United States Since 1865 ,while Dr Tom Davies, Lecturer in American History, received an Honorable Mention in the same category for his "innovative, insightful, and original" Mainstreaming Black Power.

Also celebrating on the night was Jodie Collins, who won a BAAS short-term award (Peter Parish award) for her ongoing PhD work on American Political Pamphlets 1920-1945, which she is studying at the University of Sussex and the British Library.

Completing the hat-trick of wins was final-year undergraduate Joseph Cook, who won the BAAS Graduate Teaching Assistantship at the University of New Hampshire.

The successful night eclipsed the double win for the University at the BAAS awards in 2017, when Professor Maria Lauret, Professor of American Literature and Culture, won the Arthur Miller essay prize for Americanization Now and Then: The “Nation of Immigrants” in the Early Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries and PhD student Chelsea Olsen won the postgraduate essay prize for her work on American Feminist Salons.

Sussex will be hoping for even more success when it hosts the 2019 BAAS conference between 25 and 27 April next year.

Dr Sue Currell, acting director of the Sussex American Studies Centre at the University of Sussex, said: “It was a great night for Sussex. Our presence at the event showed the huge contribution that Sussex research in American studies makes to the academic and intellectual community within the UK and highlights our first-class standing in the country.

"Next year in April the annual BAAS conference will be held at Sussex with up to 400 delegates from around the world in attendance: something I'm looking forward to, and which will be a fitting tribute to the department's excellence, international presence and hard work.”

American Studies at the University of Sussex was ranked first in UK for graduate prospects in the Good Uni Guide 2016 and was also named the number one place to study the subject in the UK in the Sunday Times university league table 2018.

The department is launching a new MA in Critical American Studies from September 2019.

By: Neil Vowles
Last updated: Tuesday, 10 April 2018