About the centre

About the centre

Ever since the seventeenth century Glasgow has been a gateway for economic, social and cultural exchange between Scotland and North America.

From the tobacco trade to the annual Transatlantic Sessions concerts, these connections provide the foundation for American Studies at the University of Glasgow, which has long been at the forefront of the study of American society and culture in the British Isles. The University of Glasgow was one of the first British universities to take seriously the study of the literature, history and politics of the United States of America. John Nichol (Glasgow’s first Regius Professor of Literature, appointed in 1862) taught American literature at a time when no British and very few American academics believed that American literature deserved to be considered part of English literature. His book American literature: an historical sketch, 1620-1880 (1882) was the first such volume to be published on either side of the Atlantic. Since then distinguished Americanists at Glasgow have included students such as Sir Denis Brogan and academic staff such as Esmond Wright, Peter Parish, William Brock and Andrew Hook.

In 1997 the University of Glasgow recognized this heritage with the creation of the Andrew Hook Centre for American Studies. The Hook Centre has become Scotland’s only centre for American Studies, and it operates one of the leading taught master’s degree courses in the UK. The Centre sponsors the most extensive American Studies lecture and seminar series in Scotland, which is open to academics, students and the general public.

The Centre has featured presentations by the Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, the Oscar-winning documentary film-maker Ken Burns, and the Grammy-nominated musician Bruce Molsky, as well as scholars from North America and Europe. Furthermore, the Centre has hosted the annual conferences of the British Association for American Studies, the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, and the Scottish Association for the Study of America (most recently in 2012), as well as numerous smaller conferences and symposia.

The Hook Centre brings together academics from across the university to create a focus for research and teaching in the history, literature, media and culture of the United States. Staff associated with the Centre are based primarily in the subject areas of History; English Literature; Theatre, Film and Television Studies; Music and Politics. The Centre offer a taught MLitt degree as well as a research PhD, and hosts a vibrant research community of postgraduates and academic staff.