Dr Megan Hunt (BA (Hons), MA, PhD)

Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary History


I am cultural historian of the modern United States. I studied American Studies at King’s College, London, before completing my MA at the University of Manchester. Continuing my journey north, I completed my PhD at Northumbria University, where I also taught modules in American history, British culture, and academic skills. I then taught American and Transatlantic history at Teesside University, before joining Edinburgh in January 2017.

Responsibilities & affiliations

Conference Secretary: HOTCUS, Historians of the Twentieth Century United States

Co-founder: The Precarity Project, funded by a British Association for American Studies/US Embassy Grantv

Undergraduate teaching


History of the United States

Atticus Finch's America: White Liberals and Race in the United States, 1930-2008

History Dissertation


The American Civil Rights Movement

The American South since the Civil War

Modern United States History

The Rights Revolution: The Supreme Court and American Society

Black Nationalism in the United States

The United States in the 1960s

Introduction to Historiography

Historian's Toolkit

Historical Skills and Methods I & II

Postgraduate teaching

2022 -2023 

Themes in the Historiography of the Americas 

Race, Religion, and Ridicule: The American South from Reconstruction to World War II 

MSc Dissertation (History; American History; Contemporary History)

Previously: The Civil Rights Movement

The Sixties in the United States

Historical Research: Skills and Sources 

Historical Methodology: Approaches to the Past 

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

US history from the late 19th century to the present

Current PhD students supervised

I currently supervise three PhD students working across US history, from the Civil War era to the 1990s.

Research summary


  • North America


  • Twentieth Century & After

Research interests

I teach late 19th and 20th century American history, with a focus on issues of race, class, gender, and religion.

My research mostly focuses on the African American civil rights movement and responses to it in political and popular culture. I am particularly interested in its intersections with cinema, both through representation of the movement onscreen and the physical space of the segregated cinema before 1964. My PhD research examined the representation of southern religion in civil rights cinema, and the implications this has for public memory of the movement and national understanding of the South. This research led to published chapters on films such as Selma, The Help, and Mississippi Burning, and a forthcoming monograph, Southern by the Grace of God: Religion, Race, and Civil Rights in Hollywood's American South (November 2024) with University of Georgia Press

Beyond my immediate research areas, I have published an article exploring how Martin Luther King, Jr. is taught in British schools. This research contributes to a growing body of work about King as a global figure, and hopes to encourage a more detailed examination of Transatlantic exchange and solidarity during the long freedom struggle. A collaboration with colleagues from Newcastle and Northumbria Universities, this project has led to the publication of a free teaching resource pack. I have also developed school assembly plans for Black History Month 2019, that encourage teachers and students to reflect on links between American and British anti-racism movements. 

Current research interests

More recent research explores segregated cinema-going in Birmingham, Alabama, prior to and during the civil rights campaigns of April 1963. In particular, I have examined intersecting events from April 1963, most notably, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s ‘Project C’ and the Alabama premiere of To Kill a Mockingbird. An article on this topic was published in the Alabama Review in 2023.

Knowledge exchange

Martin Luther King in the UK: https://research.ncl.ac.uk/martinlutherking/activities/mlkinuk/

Affiliated research centres

  • Centre for the Study of Modern and Contemporary History

Editor and Introduction: '2020 and the Urgent Past,' Comparative American Studies: An International Journal, Vol. 17, Iss. 3-4 (2020). 

Chapters & Articles:

“Boutwell, Bull, and Birmingham: To Kill a Mockingbird and Racial Moderation in Alabama’s Magic City”, Alabama Review, Vol. 76, No. 1 (January 2023), 11-46. 

'“He Was Shot because America Will Not Give Up on Racism”: Martin Luther King Jr. and the African American Civil Rights Movement in British Schools.' With Benjamin Houston, Brian Ward and Nick Megoran. Journal of American Studies,  Volume 55 , Issue 2 , (May 2021), pp. 387 - 417. Open Access. Related op-ed in The Conversation

'American Studies in Precarious Times: Reflecting on the Teaching Fellow Experience,' Roundtable with E. James West, Tom Bishop, Rebecca Stone, Kendrick Oliver. Journal of American Studies, Vol. 53 (Aug. 2019), pp. 819-836. 

‘Hollywood’s southern strategy: portraying white Christianity in late-twentieth century civil rights melodramas.’ Chapter in Southern History on ScreenRace and Rights, 1976-2016, Bryan Jack (ed.), University Press of Kentucky, 2019

'"Men and women of God and goodwill everywhere": Selma and the role of religion in civil rights filmmaking.' Chapter in The Shadow of Selma: The Selma Campaign and the Voting Rights Act, 1965-2015, Joe Street & Henry Knight Lozano (eds.), University Press of Florida, 2018.

'"Fictional others": analyzing Hollywood’s relationship with evangelical Christianity,’ Journal of American Studies, Vol. 51, Iss. 1 (Feb. 2017), pp. 241-8. Contribution to ‘Getting Religion: A Forum on the Study of Religion and the US.’

“Segregation as southern anomaly: The Help and Hollywood’s deflection of American racism.” Chapter in Like One of the Family: Domestic Workers, Race and In/Visibility in The Help, Fiona Mills (ed.) Cambridge Scholars, 2016.


MLK/FBI (documentary), The Public Historian, Vol. 43, Iss. 4 (November 2021). 

Justin Gomer, White Balance: How Hollywood Shaped Colorblind Ideology and Undermined Civil Rights (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2020) in Journal of Southern History, Vol. 87, Iss. 3 (August 2021).

Charles Cobb, Jr., This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2016) in History: The Journal of the Historical Society, Vol. 102, Iss. 349 (2017), pp. 172-3.