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  • A Brief Academic-ish Biography

    Brian Ward - Armstrong Building

    I was an undergraduate at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, where I completed a BA in American Studies, captained the University's First XI cricket team and played football (ie: proper football, or 'soccer') for its Second XI.

    In 1995, I received a PhD in history from the University of Cambridge, where I captained the Clare College cricket team, played for the college First XI at football, and coached the women's football team. Having held a temporary lectureship at the University of Durham in 1990-1, I joined the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. I remained there until 2000, the last two years as Reader in American History.

    MLK Conference 1998

    Graduation 2000

    During my time in Newcastle I inaugurated and directed the 1993 and 1998 Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Conferences on Civil Rights and Race Relations. The 1998 conference featured public lectures by both Harry Belafonte and Julian Bond (see photo above).

    In 1995-6, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Virginia's Carter G. Woodson Institute For Afro-American and African Studies, and in 1999-2000 held an Arts and Humanities Research Board Research Fellowship in Newcastle. Just as importantly, in 1999 I captained the University Staff cricket team to victory in the Northern Universities Staff Cricket Festival and in 2000 watched the final quartet of my Newcastle research students graduate.

    In 2000, I moved to the Department of History at the University of Florida in Gainesville where I specialize in the history of the modern American South, African American history, and the history of mass media and popular music. In July 2003, I became Chair of the Department.

    Students, colleagues and friends hoping to predict my mood at any given moment are directed to the official West Ham United website. Although the team was tragically relegated from the Premiership during the 2002-3 season, I am pleased to report that it is now safely back in the top flight of English football thanks to Bobby Zamora's magnificent goal in the 2005 Championship Play-Off final versus Preston North End. Those wishing to luxuriate in the sublime majesty of the Hammers' best football should also check out Paolo Di Canio's goal against Wimbledon from the 1999-2000 season.