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Emma is a senior lecturer in American History. 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 her first monograph, Poverty Wars in Mississippi: From White Opposition to New Conservatism, 1965-1972, for publication by the University of Mississippi Press. 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 social welfare and community activism in the early twentieth century South.


Emma teaches American history, exploring the rise of a ‘modern’ America in the long twentieth century. Her teaching also explores America’s role in the Cold War and 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

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

Helen Bass Williams and Mississippi Action for Progress, Historians of Twentieth Century US, University of Reading, September 2014

The Legacy of the Child Development Group of Mississippi, Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London, June 2013

Mississippi Action for Progress: from Massive Resistance to New Conservatism, Centre D’Études Nord-Américaines, L’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, May 2012


  • (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.

  • Poverty Wars in Mississippi: from white opposition to new conservatism, 1965-1972 (University of Mississippi Press, forthcoming)

  • ‘Fighting the War on Poverty: Community Action and the Mississippi Republican Party’, in T. Packer and P. Davies (eds), American Conservatism Since the New Deal: Rethinking the US Right, (forthcoming).

  • (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

  • (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.

  • Journey to Justice – the Civil Rights Movement Exhibition: resources and links, (2015) http://journeytojustice.org.uk/projects/exhibition-resource-and-credits/