Welcome to the David Bruce Centre for American Studies

The David Bruce Centre for American Studies supports research relating to North America. In American Literature and Culture, Bruce Centre members’ expertise covers a range of nineteenth and twentieth century authors.  Recent publications and ongoing projects examine Henry James; Richard Brautigan; James Huneker; contemporary American fiction; Quakerism and American Literature; The Clash, Punk and transnationalism; the Beat movement, with an emphasis on Franco-American cultural exchange and on the work of William Burroughs; literary geographies in Québécois and Canadian novels; and Québécois regional fiction. In U.S. History, recent and current research includes studies of gender in the Civil War; Reconstruction in the South; and Civil Rights-era politics, race relations and social provision. The newest research in U.S. Politics explores education policy in Europe and the United States, the Trump presidency and presidential rhetoric.

The Bruce Centre is dedicated to furthering the study and understanding of North America across disciplines, among staff, students and the wider public.  In particular it seeks to remove barriers to education, advance research excellence among staff and research students and engage with Keele's mission for social inclusion.

American Studies faculty are involved in a wide range of academic advisory committees, editorial boards, research networks, and scholarly organizations. These include the AHRC Peer Review College, the Organization of American History (OAH), the European Beat Studies Network, the American Politics Group (APG), the British Association for American Studies (BAAS), Historians of the Twentieth Century United States (HOTCUS) and British American Nineteenth Century Historians (BrANCH).

The Bruce Centre also regularly organizes international symposia and colloquia that frequently result in edited volumes beginning with American Literature Landscapes (Vision Press, 1988). Among the edited collections are American Evangelicals and the 1960s (University of Wisconsin Press, 2013), The Syndrome Syndrome: Diseases and Disorders in Contemporary Fiction (Routledge, 2013), America’s ‘Special Relationships’: Foreign and Domestic Aspects of the Politics of Alliance (Routledge, 2009) and a forthcoming volume entitled The Civil War and Slavery Reconsidered: Negotiating the Peripheries (Routledge).

Upcoming events include a symposium on gender, reproduction and motherhood in early America.  Additionally, the Centre promotes wider understanding of the United States through an established seminar programme, visiting fellowships, postgraduate research grants and sponsorship of American Studies events.

All enquiries should be addressed to the centre’s director, Dr. David Ballantyne (d.t.ballantyne@keele.ac.uk).


About the Centre

The David K. E. Bruce Centre for American Studies (DBC) was founded in 1969 by Professor D.K. Adams to further and encourage research in matters relating to the United States. It is named for the distinguished American diplomat who was then nearing the end of his eight years as US ambassador in London.

The Centre is an internationally recognized centre for the study of the United States. It is funded by a substantial endowment which provides financial assistance to active researchers, supports seminars, conferences, colloquia, occasional lectures and small exhibits, and encourages postgraduate study by means of scholarships and research grants.

The DBC is housed in a dedicated research office in Chancellor's Building (CBB1.030) at Keele University in Staffordshire. Half-hourly trains from Stoke-on-Trent to London (c. 90 minutes) and similarly frequent train services to Manchester (45 minutes), Birmingham (60 minutes) and Nottingham (60 minutes) offer easy access to Keele and from here to other locations with significant American Studies resources. Keele is close to a number of international airports, such as Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool and Nottingham (East Midlands).

All academic staff and postgraduate students focused on North America-related topics at Keele University are members of the Bruce Centre.  Others may seek membership by application tothe director.  The director chairs a committee which has responsibility for managing the centre.