Plenary Speakers


Barbara Savage, University of Pennsylvania / Oxford University

Friday 26th April – ‘Race, Religion, and Anti-Imperialism in Merze Tate’s International Thought’

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.


Jonathan Bell – University College London 

Friday 26th April: ‘Queering the “welfare queen”: poverty politics and the shaping of sexual citizenship in the twentieth-century United States.’

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.