Emma Folwell

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Emma is a senior lecturer in American History and the head of Foundation Year. She completed an undergraduate degree in Contemporary History at the University of Leicester before studying for a Masters degree in American History at The Queen’s College, Oxford. Emma returned to the University of Leicester and completed her PhD in 2014, after which she taught at the University of Leicester. Her research was supported by grants from the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library, the British Association for American Studies and the Royal Historical Society.

Emma is currently working on a project exploring transnational ideology in the mid-twentieth century. She is the recipient of a Fulbright Award 2018/9, supporting research and teaching at Elon University, North Carolina in the spring of 2019.


Research Interests

Emma’s research interests lie in twentieth century American history. Her research explores African American activism and white supremacy, poverty and social welfare, conservatism, state-federal relations and the Deep South. Her first research project explored massive resistance to the civil rights movement and the war on poverty in Mississippi after 1965. Her second research project, supported by a Fulbright Award, focuses on the development of transnational ideologies of white supremacy in the twentieth century.


Emma teaches American history, exploring the idea of a global 1960s, the Vietnam War and the African American civil rights movement from 1945 to 1975. Emma also contributes to modules exploring the nature of university and the student experience. She supervises undergraduate and Masters dissertations on American history.

Other Activities

Membership of Professional Organisations

  • British Association for American Studies
  • Royal Historical Society
  • Historians of the Twentieth Century United States
  • Southern Historical Association

Selected Conference Papers

The Evolution of Massive Resistance, Elon University, (April 2019)

Fighting the War on Poverty in Mississippi, 1965-1972, American Historical Association (January 2018)

The war on poverty in southwest Mississippi, Southern Historical Association (November 2017)

Minority within a minority: black Catholic activism in Mississippi 1964-7, BAAS Conference, Canterbury Christ Church University, April 2017

Black activism, white resistance and the quest for economic opportunity in Mississippi, HOTCUS Winter Symposium, Dundee University, February 2016

President Nixon and the War on Poverty: Mississippi’s Community Services Association, Rights and Justice in Nixon’s America, University of Nottingham, September 2015


  • (2020), The War on Poverty in Mississippi: Massive Resistance to New Conservatism (University of Mississippi Press)
  • (2019) Michael E. Staub, The Mismeasure of Minds: Debating Race and Intelligence between Brown and the Bell Curve, (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2019), Journal of Southern History.
  • (2019) Robert Daniel Rubin, Judicial Review and American Conservatism: Christianity, Public Education, and the Federal Courts in the Reagan Era, (University of Cambridge Press, 2017), English Historical Review, 134 (566) pp.264-266.
  • (2018) Brian Ward, Martin Luther King in Newcastle Upon Tyne: The African American Freedom Struggle and Race Relations in the North East of England, Newcastle, (Tyne Bridge Publishing, 2017) Patterns of Prejudice, 53 (2), pp.232-225.
  • (2017), Review of Teena F. Horn, Alan Huffman and John Griffin Jones (eds) Lines Were Drawn: Remembering Court-Ordered Integration at a Mississippi High School, (University of Mississippi Press, 2016), Journal of Southern History, 83 (2) May, pp.476-477.
  • (2015) Review of Christopher P. Lehman, Power, Politics, and the Decline of the Civil Rights Movement: A Fragile Coalition, 1967-1973, (Praeger, 2014) Reviews in History, October, http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/review/1845
  • (2014) ‘The legacy of the Child Development Group of Mississippi: White Opposition to Head Start, 1965-1972’ Journal of Mississippi History, 76 (1) Spring / Summer, pp.43-68.
  • (2015) Review of Glen Feldman (ed.), A Nation within a Nation: The American South and the Federal Government, (University of Florida Press, 2014), Journal of American Studies 49 (1), February.