Dr Nick Batho

Teaching Fellow in Modern US History; Twentieth Century United States


Originally from Edinburgh, I travelled far for my undergraduate at St Andrews then for a Masters at Universiteit Leiden, before returning to Edinburgh for a PhD. 


MA Modern History, University of St Andrews (2013)

MA North American Studies, Universiteit Leiden (2015)


Responsibilities & affiliations

Centre for the Study of Modern and Contemporary History

Undergraduate teaching

History of the United States (Pre-Honours) 

Historical Skills and Methods I & II (Honours Core Courses)

The United States in the 1960s (Honours Elective) 

The Rise of the Right in the United States, 1945-1990 (Honours)

Postgraduate teaching

Historical Research: Skills and Sources

Historical Methodology

The Sixties in the United States

Conservatism in the United States, 1930-1990

Research summary

I am a historian of twentieth century U.S. cultural politics, with a focus on 'cultural wars' and political activism. My research particularly focuses on education and children's literature as a focal point for activists on the left and right. 

My doctorate Black, Black, Beautiful Black: The Educational Use of African American Children’s Literature in New York City, 1965-1979 examined how African American children’s literature was used to further a Black educational philosophy and challenge a racist curriculum that many children faced. I investigated how community-orientated education focused on providing Black children with a culturally relevant and relatable materials and how community organisers worked with children’s book creators in the process.


  • North America


  • Politics


  • Twentieth Century & After

Current research interests

I am currently working on a manuscript on the development of multicultural children's literature and education that sprung out of the social and political movements on the 1960s. My current research investigates how activist organisations used children’s literature in an activist arsenal, fighting against white supremacy, sexism, ageism, colonialism, and homophobia. Alongside this, I am working on publications centring on the Ocean Hill-Brownsville strikes and the changes to curricula in the late 1960s during the fight for community control.

Affiliated research centres

Project activity

I was also a research assistant for Professor Celeste-Marie Bernier on the project 'Strike for Freedom' at the National Library of Scotland. This project focused on Frederick Douglass and Black abolitionists in Scotland. This included an exhibition at the NLS, walking tours of Edinburgh, and the creation of educational resources. 

The interactive maps and resources can be found here: Frederick Douglass in Edinburgh. Struggles for Liberty. National Library of Scotland (nls.uk)

Papers delivered

'Children of the Sun': The Long Connection Between Black Children's Literature and Education at the Roosevelt Institute for American Studies (RIAS)

'Its the Schools that Fail the Children': Community Efforts to Decolonise the Public School Curricula in New York at the British Library

Black Power Children's Literature: Julius Lester and Black Power, Journal of American Studies, May 2019

“We’re a’ Jock Tamson’s Bairns”: Frederick Douglass and the People of Scotland, Kalfou: A Journal of Comparative and Relational Ethnic Studies, November 2020

Art and Storytelling on the Streets: African American Children’s Literature and Grassroots Activism, African American Children's Literature Special Issue, Humanities, 2023. [Forthcoming]