Plenary Speakers


Barbara Savage, University of Pennsylvania / Oxford University

Barbara D. Savage is an historian and the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought in the Department of Africana Studies of the University of Pennsylvania. During 2018-19 she is the Harold Vyvyan Harmsworth Visiting Professor of American History at Oxford.

Savage teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in twentieth century African American history; the history of American religious and social reform movements; the history of the relationship between media and politics; and black women’s political and intellectual history.

Her book, Your Spirits Walk Beside Us: The Politics of Black Religion (Harvard University Press, 2008), is an historical examination of debates about the public responsibility of black churches and the role of religion in racial leadership. That book was the winner of the prestigious 2012 Grawemeyer Prize in Religion. She also is the author of Broadcasting Freedom: Radio, War, and the Politics of Race, 1938-1948 (University of North Carolina Press, 1999) which won the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library Award for the best book in American history in the period 1916-1966. In addition, she is co-editor of Women and Religion in the African Diaspora (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006) with R. Marie Griffith.

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Heather Love, University of Pennsylvania 

Heather Love is Associate Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of Feeling Backward: Loss and the Politics of Queer History (Harvard), the editor of a special issue of GLQ on Gayle Rubin (“Rethinking Sex”), and the co-editor of a special issue of Representations (“Description Across Disciplines”). Love has written on topics including comparative social stigma, compulsory happiness, transgender fiction, spinster aesthetics, reading methods in literary studies, and the history of deviance studies. She is currently completing two books: Underdogs, on the deviance studies roots of queer theory; and Practices of Description: Reading the Social in the Postwar Period, which offers a literary history of microsociology from 1955-1975.


Jonathan Bell – University College London 

Jonathan Bell arrived at UCL in 2014 as Professor of US History and Director of the Institute of the Americas. He is a historian of US politics, with a particular emphasis on American liberalism since the New Deal and the ways in which liberal politics have adapted to social change during the twentieth century.

He has published widely in US political history, including The Liberal State on Trial: The Cold War and American Politics in the Truman Years (Columbia, 2004). a book on how the Cold War transformed American political discourse and policy formation on domestic issues during the Truman Presidency; Making Sense of American Liberalism (Illinois, 2012). a collection of essays on American liberalism, and California Crucible: The Forging of Modern American Liberalism (Pennsylvania, 2012) a book charting the changing political complexion of California since World War Two.