NTUs Professor Sharon Monteith is elected to the British Academy

NTU's Professor Sharon Monteith is elected to the British Academy

 July 31, 2023

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Distinguished Professor of American Literature and Cultural History, Sharon Monteith has become Nottingham Trent University's (NTU) first academic to be elected to the British Academy.

A fellowship of leading minds

Founded in 1902, the British Academy is the UK’s national academy for the humanities and social sciences. It is a Fellowship of 1,600 of the leading minds in the UK and overseas in Social Sciences, Humanities and the Arts for People and the Economy (SHAPE) disciplines. It is a funding body for high-quality research and a forum for debate and public engagement.

Current Fellows include classicist Professor Dame Mary Beard, historian Professor Sir Simon Schama, and philosopher Professor Baroness Onora O’Neill. Previous Fellows include Dame Frances Yates, Sir Winston Churchill, Seamus Heaney and Beatrice Webb.

Professor Sharon Monteith is among 86 new Fellows of which 52 are academics based at 29 UK universities. A further 30 Corresponding Fellows elected are from universities in South Africa, Germany, Australia and India, as well as four Honorary Fellows.

An extensive focus on activism 

Professor Sharon Monteith’s interdisciplinary research focuses primarily on activism, including literary activism in the long African American freedom struggle and the civil rights movement. Much of her work has been focused on the US South where she has held fellowships.

Her research in US culture encompasses history and literature, cinema, journalism and media and visual cultures, print and periodicals through which she explores the materiality of racism and class and ethnicity. The methodologies she deploys include archival work, memory studies, and oral history. She has supervised 40 PhD students to successful completion across the subject areas that interlink across her research and publications.

Her most recent book on the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, SNCC's Stories: The African American Freedom Movement in the Civil Rights South (2020), published during the pandemic, won the 2021 C. Hugh Holman Book Award judged by The Society for the Study of Southern Literature (SSSL) and the American Studies Network Book Prize awarded by the European Association of American Studies (EAAS) in 2022.

An outstanding expert

Professor Edward Peck, Vice-Chancellor and President of NTU, said: “We are delighted to see Sharon elected to the British Academy. It is further recognition that she is one of the outstanding experts in her field of her generation, and we are proud that her world-leading research is being undertaken here at NTU.”

Professor Sharon Monteith said: “I am very happy to have been elected a Fellow. It is an honour to have my research recognised in this way by the British Academy.”

Welcoming the elected Fellows, British Academy President Professor Julia Black said: “It is with great pleasure that we welcome yet another outstanding cohort to the Academy’s Fellowship. The scope of research and expertise on display across our newly elected UK, Corresponding and Honorary Fellows shows the breadth and depth of knowledge and insight held by the British Academy and which we work hard to harness to help shape the world. With the vast expertise and wide-ranging insights brought by our new Fellows, the Academy continues to showcase the importance of the SHAPE disciplines in opening fresh seams of knowledge and understanding, while simultaneously advancing the well-being and prosperity of societies worldwide. I wholeheartedly congratulate each of our new Fellows on this achievement and look forward to working together.”

Research in race and rights

Before joining Nottingham Trent University, Professor Sharon Monteith was Professor of American Studies at the University of Nottingham, and founding co-director, with Zoe Trodd, of the Centre for Research in Race and Rights.

From 2013-2016, she was founding Director of the Midlands3Cities-AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership (a consortium comprising University of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent University, De Montfort University, University of Leicester, University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University, and she put in place multiple creative industry partners). Prior to that, she was Associate Dean of the University of Nottingham Graduate School with responsibility for the Faculty of Arts.

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