PhD (Brandeis University)
Reader in History
Director of Research, History Research Cluster (S1); History Research Impact Co-ordinator (S2)
Tel: +44 (0)28 9097 3435
Brian Kelly is one of three historians in the School specializing in the US South. A labour historian with a special interest in race and class relations in the post-Civil War South, his early work explored the record of interracial cooperation between black and white workers in industrial Birmingham, Alabama. His first book, Race, Class and Power in the Alabama Coalfields, 1908-1921 (Illinois, 2001), won a number of awards, including the Southern Historical Association’s H. L. Mitchell Prize for an outstanding book in Southern working-class history and its Frances Butler Simkins Award for the best first book by an author in Southern history. In the years since he has published widely on the problem of racial antagonism and its impact on working-class politics in the US, with studies that range from labour abolition in the antebellum period through to the 1968 Memphis sanitation strike, during which the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. Formerly a Walter Hines Page Fellow at the National Humanities Center in North Carolina, he has held non-residential fellowships at the Institute for Southern Studies (University of South Carolina) and the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute (Harvard University).
In recent years his research interests have shifted to the formative struggles that followed US slave emancipation. From 2006 to 2010 he directed the After Slavery Project, an international research collaboration funded by the AHRC. With project partners Bruce Baker and Susan O’Donovan he designed and built the After Slavery website, recognized by leading scholars as an exceptional resource for educators working in African American and Southern labor history. He organized the 2008 Wiles Colloquium, on “Rethinking Reconstruction,” and a major conference on “Race, Labor and Citizenship in the Post-emancipation South,” held at the College of Charleston (South Carolina) in March 2010. With Bruce Baker he has co-edited a collection of essays, After Slavery: Race, Labor and Citizenship in the Reconstruction South, forthcoming from the University Press of Florida and is completing an extended monograph on grassroots black political mobilisation in Reconstruction South Carolina.
Articles and chapters:
Publicatons on teaching and learning:
Teaches on the American South survey at Level II and on two upper level seminars, After Slavery and The American Civil War & Reconstruction. Willing to supervise any advanced project on topics related to American social history. Teaches on the following modules:
HIS2028: The American South, 1619-1865
HIS2029: The American South, 1865-1980
HIS3082: After Slavery: Race, Labour and Politics in the Post-Emancipation US South
HIS3035: The American Civil War & Reconstruction