photo of Sue Currell

Dr Sue Currell

Post:Reader Emeritus (American Studies)
Location:ARTS B B344
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Career History

Chair of the British Association for American Studies, 2013-16. 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.


  • American Culture in the 1920s. Edinburgh University Press, April 2009.
  • Popular Eugenics: National Efficiency and American Mass Culture in the 1930s. Co-edited with Christina Cogdell, University of Ohio Press, 2006.
  • 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). 

Journal Articles

“You Haven’t Seen Their Faces: Eugenic National Housekeeping and Documentary Photography in 1930s America” Journal of American Studies (May 2017).

 “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 (September, 2013).

 “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.


Co-editor [With James West and Victoria Bazin] of special edition on ‘Radical Periodicals’ for Radical Americas, (November 2018).

 “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).

"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). Chapter 2.

"Streamlining the Eye: Speed Reading and The Revolution of Words, 1870-1940" in Residual Media edited by Charles Acland, University of Minnesota Press, 2007.

"Depression and Recovery: Self-Help and America in the Great Depression," in eds. David Bell and Joanne Hollows, Historicizing Lifestyle, Ashgate, 2006.

"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.

Awards: Eccles Centre Visiting Fellowship in North American Studies Award for 'New Masses: The Big Red Little Magazine, 1926-48' (2017). AHRC/British Library Collaborative Doctoral Project, 2017; Sussex University Research Development Fund, 2014; British Academy Small Grant 2011;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; Co-Founder of Network of American Periodical Studies 


Sue is Reader in American Literature and former Chair of the British Association for American Studies. Her research interests include American literature, culture and modernism in the first half of the twentieth century as well as eugenics and popular culture and narratives of self-help. Among her publications are The March of Spare Time: The Problem of Leisure in the Great Depression (Pennsylvania, 2005) and American Culture in the 1920s (Edinburgh, 2009) and Popular Eugenics. She is currently writing a history of New Masses magazine, published in New York between 1926-48.

Chair of the British Association for American Studies 2013-2016:; Editorial Board Journal of American Studies; Co-Founder of Network of American Periodical Studies