Dr Gina Denton

Dr Gina Denton

Lecturer in U.S. History

+44 (0)113 343 0677

Summary: Modern U.S. History; Women’s and Gender History; African American History; Social Protest Movements; the Long 1960s; Maternalist Movements; Feminist Histories and Archives


I am currently a Lecturer in U.S. History. Having completed a BA in History (1st Class with Honours) and an MA in Race and Resistance (Distinction) at the University of Leeds, I began PhD research at the same institution. This project was funded by the AHRC’s Block Grant Doctoral Studentship, and was awarded in 2015. During 2011-12, whilst conducting archival research towards my PhD, I was a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Research on Gender and Women at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Research Interests and Projects

My research interests lie in the social, cultural and political history of the modern United States - with a particular focus on women’s, gender and feminist history; African American history; and the history of social protest. These three themes come together in my current book project Mother Power: Women's Activism and the Politicisation of Motherhood Since the Sixties, detailed below. I have also conducted research into the history of feminist archives, particularly those documenting feminist filmmaking, and their relationship to contemporary feminist activism. I am committed to public engagement, and am involved in several ongoing projects in collaboration with external partners, which seek to reach audiences outside the academy.

Mother Power: Women's Activism and the Politicisation of Motherhood Since the Sixties

I am currently working on a monograph based on research conducted during my AHRC-funded PhD. Provisionally entitled Mother Power: Women's Activism and the Politicisation of Motherhood Since the Sixties, it reveals the integral role motherhood played in motivating and shaping women's activism across the political spectrum in 1960s, '70s and '80s America. Tracing maternalist politics across three decades and within four different social movements – the anti-Vietnam War, welfare rights, anti-busing and anti-abortion struggles – the book ultimately underscores the flexibility, malleability and diversity of maternalist politics. First, by comparing how women from a variety of different backgrounds understood and used motherhood differently, it provides a vital insight into how gender intersects with race, class, religion and age to shape political activism and social change. At the same time, by revealing the endurance of maternalism during the 1960s and beyond, Mother Power serves to disentangle this female political tradition from its traditional association with the respectability politics of the early twentieth century. It illustrates how women combined longstanding forms of maternal protest with modes of activism popularised during the 1960s, employing direct action tactics to dramatise their maternal concerns in the public arena. Moreover, by demonstrating that maternal activists could be active participants in the struggle for women's liberation, it challenges the popular assumption that maternalism is inherently incompatible with feminism.

Feminist Archives, Feminist Futures (FAFF)

Along with Dr Kate Dossett (University of Leeds) and Sharon Hooper (Leeds College of Art), I am involved in the international, collaborative project Feminist Archives, Feminist Futures (FAFF), which looks at the histories of Feminist Archives and Women’s Libraries - their relationship to history making and their role in shaping contemporary feminist activism.

As part of this project, we are currently developing an interactive documentary (i-doc), bringing together archival material from feminist archives and filmmaking collectives, alongside contemporary video interviews with feminist filmmakers, activists and archivists on the process of archiving.

Archiving Women in Film & TV

As part of the Feminist Archives, Feminist Futures project, I was involved as post-doctoral intern on the interdisciplinary project Archiving Women in Film & TV, funded by the Cultural and Creative Industries Exchange at the University of Leeds. This project explored the themes of FAFF by specifically examining the history of archives documenting feminist filmmaking. Consisting of video interviews, a workshop and film screening, it also sought to bring women’s history and archives to the attention of a broader public. The project focused on collections on women in film and TV held at Feminist Archive North (FAN), and was a collaboration with FAN and local feminist filmmaking collectives Leeds Animation Workshop and Vera Media.


Undergraduate Modules 

Level 3 Special Subject 

HIST 3220: Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement

Level 2

HIST 2351: The American Century, 1941-1980

Level 1

HIST 1210: The Modern World

MA Modules

I contribute to the MA in Race & Resistance - a unique interdisciplinary programme that crosses geographical boundaries and offers students a conceptual and thematic education in approaches to race and resistance.

I teach on the core module: HIST 5838M: Approaches to Race, and offer the option module: HIST 5964M Race and Second Wave Feminism in the US

Previous Modules Taught

HIST 3240: The Harlem Renaissance: Black Culture and Politics 1919-1940 (Level 3 Special Subject)

HIST 2442: Black Politics from Emancipation to Obama (Level 2)

HIST 2441: Race, Gender and Cultural Protest in the United States since 1865 (Level 2)

HIST 1055: Historiography and Historical Skills (Level 1)


'"Neither guns nor bombs - neither the state nor God - will stop us from fighting for our children": motherhood and protest in 1960s and 1970s America,' The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics and Culture, 5, no. 2 (2012), 205-228

'Mothers Joining Together in Sisterhood: Women Strike for Peace and the National Welfare Rights Organization in the 1960s and 1970s,' Journal of the Motherhood Initiative, 3, no. 2 (2012), 121-133

Recent and Forthcoming Conference Papers and Talks

'Feminist Films, Feminist Histories' workshop with Kate Dossett and Sharon Hooper, Radical Film Network Festival and Unconference, Glasgow, 30 April 2016

'Making Women’s History: Activism and Archives' workshop with Kate Dossett and Sharon Hooper, Part of the Women’s History Season at Leeds City Museum, 31 March 2016

'Feminist Archives, Feminist Futures' workshop with Kate Dossett and Sharon Hooper, i-Docs Symposium, Watershed, Bristol, 4 March 2016

PGR & ECR Panel Chair, 'Gender, Inequalities and Academic Careers: History, American Studies and British Universities,' School of History, University of Leeds, and the British Association of American Studies, 11 November 2015

Invited Speaker on Plenary Panel: 'Engaging the Archive: Studying the United States in the UK', American Studies Postgraduate Conference, Leeds Humanities Research Institute, University of Leeds, 9 Oct 2015

'Presentation from the Archives of Leeds Animation Workshop, Vera Media and the Women's Film, Television and Video Network,' Archiving Women in Film and Television Workshop, University of Leeds, 14 May 2015

'"Neither guns nor bombs - neither the state nor God - will stop us from fighting for our children": Motherhood and Welfare Rights Organising in Boston in the 1960s and 1970s,' British Association for American Studies 58th Annual Conference, University of Exeter, 18-21 April 2013

'Mothers Joining Together in Sisterhood: Women Strike for Peace, the National Welfare Rights Organization, and Women's Radical Activism in the 1960s and 1970s,' Radical Americas Conference, Institute of the Americas, University College London, 28-29 January 2013

'Mothers Joining Together in Sisterhood: Women Strike for Peace and the National Welfare Rights Organization in the 1960s and 1970s,' Gendered Borders and Queer Frontiers Conference, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 16-17 March 2012 

Academic-Related Activities

Within the School of History at Leeds, I organise employability workshops and events for advanced postgraduate students and early career researchers. In the past, this has included a daylong Postgraduate Alumni Workshop & Networking Event, which brought together current PGRs with ECRs and established academics from elsewhere who also studied at Leeds, as well as with alumni who have gone on to a range of different jobs inside and outside academia. It has also included a workshop on Publishing for Historians, in collaboration with the Royal Historical Society, the Institute of Historical Research, and the White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities, attended by PGRs and ECRs from across the North - as well as regular of smaller events on themes such as post-docs; wellbeing & self-care in academia; impact; applying for HEA accreditation; and academic CVs and covering letters.

While undertaking my doctoral research, I co-organised a daylong workshop on 'Languages of Power and Protest in the United States', and a seminar series entitled 'Identity, Power and Protest.' Funded by the Leeds Humanities Research Institute, both of these brought together postgraduate students and academics in a variety of disciplines from across the UK.

Public Engagement and Collaborations

I have been involved in running Widening Participation workshops for local sixth form students on African American, feminist and U.S. social movement history. 

As part of the Feminist Archives, Feminist Futures and Archiving Women’s Film & TV projects, I have helped to organise and deliver a number of events aimed at bringing feminist archives and their histories to the attention of a broader public. This has included public talks at Leeds City Museum and Glasgow Women's Library, and an ongoing film screening series, Feminist Filmmaking, showcasing work by local feminist filmmakers, which have taken place at Hyde Park Picture House for three consecutive years with near capacity audiences. FAFF is a collaborative project and involves working with a number of organisations, including Feminist Archive North, Glasgow Women's Library and local feminist filmmaking organisations Leeds Animation Workshop and Vera Media.

I am happy to give public talks on women's, feminist and African American history. 

Scholarships and Awards

LEAP Skills Training Hub Grant (£1,000) to organise a professional development activity, 2015

Honorary Fellowship at the Center for Research on Gender and Women, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2011-2012 

British Association for American Studies John D. Lees Postgraduate Travel Award, 2011

Arts and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Studentship, 2010-2013

Economic History Society's Research Fund for Graduate Students, 2009

Annie Redman King Full Fee Scholarship for MA study, 2008-2009

School of History Maintenance Scholarship for MA study, 2008-2009