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Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership - Student Profiles



I received my BA in History from the University of Warwick, placing an emphasis on modern social, cultural and intellectual history. I then studied for an MA at Durham University, where my dissertation focused on a series of association football tours from British colonies in Africa and the Caribbean to the metropole in the 1950’s. I received the Michie Prize for the best MA Dissertation in my department for this piece of work, and recently edited it into an article that was published in Sport in History.

My PhD looks to explore the physical movement of a variety of performers, athletes and other cultural actors from the United States to the United Kingdom in the period between the end of Reconstruction and the start of the Great War. As well as looking at the broad theme of ‘Americanization’, I am particularly interested in how intersections of race, gender and class affected these movements, their transmission and subsequent reception in Britain. I am also looking at the role of these movements in the construction of identity from an American perspective, focusing on the role of travel and performance in defining a national self. More broadly, I am interested in transnational space and discourses of the body, and want to explore the role of these concepts in developing understandings of the world around us.

Other Academic Interests

I am also interested in histories of food, sport and the body, as well as working class and radical politics. I am passionate about accessibility to history and academia in general. I also like Millwall Football Club.


Key publications: 

‘Five goals, no boots’: an interrogation of the politics, play and racialized athleticism of late colonial football tours to England, 1949-1959’, Sport in History, 38 (4): 476-506.

Department: History
Supervisor: Professor Gary Gerstle
College: Sidney Sussex
AHRC Subject Area: History
Title of Thesis: Performing America: Travelling Americans, Movement and the Exportation of Visions of the United States to Great Britain, 1875-1914.
 Lewis  Defrates