Sussex Centre for Cultural Studies


Academic receives rare award for outstanding contribution to American Studies

The British Association for American Studies (BAAS) has announced that University of Sussex researcher, Dr Sue Currell, has been awarded its distinguished Honorary Fellowship 2018-19.

The Fellowship, which is nominated by peers for the previous year, has been awarded to only ten other academics in its 65-year history.

The award is given from ‘time to time’ in recognition of academics who have made an outstanding contribution in the field of American Studies.

The society, which was founded in 1955, aims to support and encourage the study of the United States, in colleges, schools and universities in the United Kingdom.

Nominees are selected only if it is clearly demonstrated that they merit the esteem of their peers for contribution to the BAAS, to their institution and to the American Studies community.

Dr Currell said: “The Association has been a true community for interdisciplinary scholars like myself: it has provided a harbour and an honest space to discuss research and pedagogical issues in the field.

“I am so pleased to be recognised for the part that I've played in that and for the support and friendship of my wonderful colleagues in American Studies: it is truly an honour to accept this award. Thank you.”

A Reader in American Literature, based primarily in the University’s School of English, Dr Currell carries out multidisciplinary work that also involves collaboration with the Sussex Centre for Cultural Studies and the Sussex Centre for American Studies.

She has written three books on American culture, focusing primarily on America in the 1920s and 1930s and on the eugenics movement at this time. She was also Chair of the BAAS from 2013-16.

Professor Carol Watts, Head of the School of English in which Dr Currell works, said: "American Studies is a flagship area at Sussex, internationally renowned, with an illustrious history.

"Sue Currell has had a transformative role in developing American Studies at Sussex and shaping its British Association. She is truly deserving of this prestigious fellowship - a wonderful recognition of her importance in the field."

The University of Sussex is very proud of the work Dr Currell has done, and continues to do in the field of American Studies, and joins her colleagues in congratulating her on receiving this impressive honour.



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By: Rose Wilmot
Last updated: Friday, 1 May 2020

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25 March 2011



Dr Sharon Smith

Dr Sharon Smith, who was employed by the University in 2008-09 as a postdoctoral researcher, died on 13 March following a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Sharon was part of the Sussex Centre for Cultural Studies.

Sharon was an ordained Buddhist in Triratna (formerly Western) Buddhist Order UK, where she was named Vijayatara.

Her research report on LGBTQI Buddhisms in the UK - for the 'Queer Spiritual Spaces' project - was exemplary. It was complex and interpretive in understanding socio-cultural differences and intersectionality, showing a profound depth and range of historical and textual knowledges.

Sharon was a commensurate professional and produced work to the highest academic standard; her writing was detailed and managed to convey an immense expertise together with insight and grace.

Sharon was a very special colleague, who had a peaceful and warm presence, an unusual patience and gentle humour. She was supportive and generous, honourable and kind.

We were very fortunate to have her as part of the team, and to have her wonderful company.

Professor Sally Munt Director, Sussex Centre for Cultural Studies