Clare Birchall joined the Institute of North American Studies in September 2012. Before arriving at King’s, she taught Cultural Studies at the University of Kent. With a first degree in English from Exeter, Clare went on to study Critical Theory at Sussex.
Clare is the author of Knowledge Goes Pop: From Conspiracy Theory to Gossip (Berg, 2006) and co-editor of New Cultural Studies: Adventures in Theory (Edinburgh University Press, 2007). She has also edited special issues of the journals Theory, Culture and Society (Dec 2011) and Cultural Studies (Jan 2007). Her most recent research is concerned with the relationship between secrecy and transparency in the digital age.
Alongside more traditional scholarship, Clare is involved with a number of digital projects. She is the reviews editor for the online journal Culture Machine; an editorial board member and series co-editor for the Open Humanities Press; and part of the team behind the JISC-funded Living Books about Life series. These books, produced by an international network of humanities and social science scholars, repackage and re-present open access science-related research on topics such as air, bioethics, surveillance and, Clare’s own contribution, invisibility. By creating 21 such ‘living books’ in seven months, the series represents a new model of publishing in a sustainable, low-cost manner. Clare also collaboratively produces a series of online videos entitled Liquid Theory TV.
She also has interests in contemporary fantasy fiction and film, ethnic American literature, and contemporary American popular culture.
19th-century American culture, including the culture of home; the history and historiography of the American West, especially in a transnational context; women's studies and women's writing; material culture and its representation in popular cultural forms.
Professor Gilroy’s areas of scholarly interest encompass postcolonial studies, particularly with regard to London, post-imperial melancholia and the employment of English victimage; the literature and cultural politics of European decolonisation; African American intellectual and cultural history, literature and philosophy; the formation and reproduction of national identity especially with regard to race and 'identity'; the literary and theoretical significance of port cities and pelagics. Gilroy has also published on art, music and social theory.
His current projects are the writing of Alain Locke, the cultural significance of aerial bombardment and the autobiographical writing generated by colonial wars.
I work on the relationship between politics and popular culture in contemporary US and European history, with a particular focus on religion and sports. My research on these transnational phenomena contributes to broader scholarly debates about the creation of global ‘publics’ and about the cultural layers of international politics. Deploying anthropological and sociological approaches to combine transnational and comparative perspectives, I use sport and religion as keys to unlock the emotional, cultural, and political history of the 20th century.
In my first book Cold War in the Stadium: A Political History of West and East German Sports, 1950-1972 (published in German, 2007) I explored how international sports competitions affected individual and popular emotions, generated cultural meanings, and therefore became keenly contested amongst politicians and cultural functionaries during the Cold War. I am currently broadening the international perspective of my work on sports through a volume entitled More than Games: Sport Events, Consumption, and the Global World of Sports, 1896-2008 (ed. with Stefan Wiederkehr, currently under peer review for Palgrave MacMillan). This book explores the global realities that are produced by transnational transfers and their local limits in the field of sports. My future research in the field of sports history will focus on the interplay of religion and sports in US nation-building processes in the 20th century.
My current research on religion focuses on the transnational dimension of US evangelicalism in the second half of the 20th century. Building on my interest in the interplay between politics, culture, and the dynamics of transnational movements, I explore how evangelicalism affected, and was in turn changed by, the creation of an international consumer culture and the political framework of a Free World in Europe and the United States. In this study, I compare the mass-revival meetings – the so-called crusades – that the American evangelist Billy Graham held in the 1950s and 1960s in London, Berlin and New York. My work examines the unique ways in which expressions of religion and spirituality are transformed by intertwined secularization and modernization processes in Western societies.