Professor Simon Hall

Professor Simon Hall

Professor of Modern History

+44 (0)113 34 33596

Summary: History of the United States; the American South; the civil rights movement; post-1945 social and political history.


After receiving an MA in American History from the University of Sheffield in 1998, I moved to Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, to begin work on my Ph.D.  I subsequently spent a year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a semester at Yale University as a Fox International Fellow.  Having held a temporary lectureship at the University of Cambridge, I joined the University of Leeds in September 2003.

Research Interests

My research interests lie in the post-war social and political history of the United States - with a particular focus on the civil rights and Black Power movements; the student radicalism of the 1960s; and political dissent during the 1970s and 1980s.  I am also interested in global protest during the Cold War.

Current Research Project

1956: The World in Revolt 

Simon Hall - 1956

My most recent book, a narrative history of the year 1956, explores that year's various rebellions and revolutions - including the struggle against white supremacy in the United States and South Africa; the challenge to European colonialism in Africa and the Middle East; and the uprisings against Communist rule in Poland and Hungary. Drawing on my long-standing research interests in the role of people's movements and the relationship between the Cold War and the African American freedom struggle, my book frames that year's tumultuous events as part of an interconnected, global story of revolution.  1956: The World in Revolt, was published in the U.K. by Faber and by Pegasus Books in the United States in 2016.  It has also been translated into German, Dutch, and Polish.

Past Research

My first book, Peace and Freedom: The Civil Rights and Antiwar Movements in the 1960s, explored the complex and fascinating relationship between the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements of the 1960s.

American Patriotism, American Protest: Social Movements Since the Sixties (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010) analyzed the ways in which various social movements, from across the political spectrum, engaged with 'Americanism' in support of their respective causes, and drew on the protest traditions of the 1960s.  The British Academy and the Arts and Humanities Research Council funded some of this research. Read more about my findings.

Rethinking the American Anti-War Movement, an overview of the American protests against the Vietnam War, was published by Routledge in 2012.  You can find out a bit more about some of my arguments here.

I have also written a number of articles and essays that explore sixties radicalism, the Black Power movement, and grassroots civil rights campaigns.

Major Publications


Peace and Freedom: The Civil Rights and Antiwar Movements in the 1960s (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005)

American Patriotism, American Protest: Social Movements Since the Sixties (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010)

Rethinking the American Anti-War Movement (New York: Routledge, 2012)

1956: The World in Revolt (London: Faber and Faber, 2016)

Chapters in Books

'Marching on Washington: The Civil Rights and Anti-War Movements of the 1960s', in Matthias Reiss, ed., The Street as Stage: Public Demonstrations and Protest Marches since the Nineteenth Century (Oxford University Press, 2007)

'The NAACP and the Challenges of 1960s Radicalism', in Lee Sartain & Kevern Verney, eds., Long is the Way and Hard: One Hundred Years of the NAACP (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2009)

'The Sit-Ins, SNCC and Cold War Patriotism' in Iwan Morgan & Philip Davies, eds., From Sit-Ins to SNCC: The Student Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2012)

‘Freedom Summer, 1964: Naissance d’une génération d’activistes’, in Pauline Peretz, L'Amérique post-raciale? (Presses Universitaires de France, 2013)

'Gay Liberation and the Spirit of '68' in Martin Halliwell & Nick Witham, eds., Reframing 1968: American Politics, Protest and Identity (University of Edinburgh Press, 2018) 


'On the tail of the Panther: Black Power and the 1967 Convention of the National Conference for New Politics', Journal of American Studies 37 (1) April 2003

'The Response of the Moderate Wing of the Civil Rights Movement to the War in Vietnam', The Historical Journal 46 (3) September 2003

'The NAACP, Black Power, and the African American Freedom Struggle, 1966-1969', The Historian 69 (1) March 2007

'Civil Rights Activism in 1960s Virginia', Journal of Black Studies (Sage Publications), 38 (2) November 2007

'Protest Movements in the 1970s: The Long 1960s', Journal of Contemporary History (Sage Publications), 43 (4) October 2008

'Scholarly Battles over the Vietnam War' (Review Article), The Historical Journal (Cambridge University Press), 52 (3) September 2009

'The American Gay Rights Movement and Patriotic Protest', Journal of the History of Sexuality (University of Texas Press), 19 (3) September 2010

'Framing the American 1960s: A Historiographical Review', European Journal of American Culture 31 (1) April 2012

Contributor to 'Roundtable: Manning Marable, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention', Journal of American Studies 47 (1) February 2013

'Americanism, Un-Americanism, and the Gay Rights Movement', Journal of American Studies 47 (4) November 2013

'To Stand Against the Storm: Draft Resistance and the Struggle Against the War in Vietnam', Reviews in American History 41 (1) March 2014

"Guerrilla Theater ... in the Guise of Red, White, and Blue Bunting": The People's Bicentennial Commission and the Politics of (Un-)Americanism', Journal of American Studies, 2018 (forthcoming)

Postgraduate Supervision

I can offer supervision in the following areas:

Post-1945 American social, political and cultural history;
American protest movements;
The Civil Rights and Black Power movements;
The gay and lesbian rights movements in the United States;
Histories of race, ethnicity and sexuality in the USA.

Current & Recent PhD students

  • Julio Decker, The Immigration Restriction League and the Political Regulation of Immigration, 1898-1924 (co-supervised with Kate Dossett).  Completed spring 2012.
  • Tom Davies: 'Black and White Politics' -The Federal Government and Black Power, 1960-1972 (co-supervised with Kate Dossett). Completed Autumn 2013.   
  • Say Burgin: White Anti-Racism Organising in 1960s and 70s U.S. Social Movements (co-supervised with Kate Dossett).  Completed spring 2013.
  • Gina Denton, 'Motherhood and Protest in the United States, 1960-1989' (co-supervised with Kate Dossett). Completed spring 2015.
  • Jack Noe, 'The American South, Sectionalism and American Nationalism' 
  • Mark Walmsley, “The First Draft of History”: How the Process of News Construction has Influenced our Understanding of the Civil and Gay Rights Movements of the Long 1960s', completed spring 2016
  • Sangdon Lee, 'Communes and the New Left' (co-supervised with Stephan Petzold), completed spring 2017
  • Lauren Mottle, 'African American GIs, Anti-Vietnam War activism, and the Citizen-Soldier' (co-supervised with Jessica Meyer)
  • Sabina Peck, 'Class and Race in dominant understandings of Women of Colour's sexuality and reproductive health in later twentieth-century USA.' (co-supervised with Kate Dossett)
  • Toby Lanyon Jones, 'American Opposition to the Vietnam War in Britain during the 1960s and 1970s'
  • George Francis-Kelly, 'Black and Latina/o activism in Los Angeles during the 1980s and 1990s' (co-supervised with Kate Dossett)

Learning & Teaching Innovations

I regularly use electronic resources (including short audio-visual clips and online discussion forums), and also use Grademark to deliver electronic feedback on some assessed work.

Outreach / Wider Community

I have helped run workshops at the University of Leeds in collaboration with the Kirklees Gifted & Talented programme, with the aim of encouraging talented pupils from widening-participation backgrounds to consider reading history at university.

I have also recorded a number of Podcasts, aimed at A-Level students, for the History Faculty.

Memberships of professional bodies

I am a member of the Southern Historical Association (SHA), the Organisation of American Historians (OAH), Historians of the Twentieth Century United States (HOTCUS), and the British Association for American Studies (BAAS). In 2013, I was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

School Roles

Director of Admissions (2004-2006)

Director of Learning and Teaching (2007-2008)

Joint Honours Programme Manager (2011-2012)

Deputy Head of School (2012-2014) 

Head of School (2015-)