Alan is a researcher in the cultures of the Black Atlantic from the eighteenth century to the present. This interdisciplinary research is undertaken across a range of subjects including Literature, Visual Arts, Film and History. He undertakes academic case studies and has brought these together in two principal monographs.
The first Radical Narratives of the Black Atlantic (Continuum, 2003) ranges from work on early pioneers of Black Atlantic literature like Robert Wedderburn and Mary Prince through discussions of Frederick Douglass and Paul Robeson’s liberating sojourns to Britain and Ireland to explorations of historic and contemporary artistic responses to the history of slavery.
The second Creating Memorials, Building Identities: The Politics of Memory in the Black Atlantic (Liverpool University Press, 2010) discusses memorialisation in the widest sense including forms like jazz and literature in his study as well as more traditional gravesites and stone memorials. Its geographical range is from Manchester through Maryland to Senegal and Amsterdam charting the memorialisation of the Black Atlantic through African Diasporan presence.
Alan is Professor in English and American Studies at the University of Central Lancashire in the Literature and Cultures team. He has degrees from the University of Edinburgh, Bowling Green State University, Ohio and Keele University. He was academic advisor to and board member of the Slave Trade Arts Memorial Project (STAMP) in Lancaster which was responsible for the commissioning and building of the first British quayside monument to the victims of the slave trade unveiled in Lancaster in October 2005. In 2007 co-curated an exhibition Trade and Empire: Remembering Slavery at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester. (link below) He is also advisor to museums in Liverpool, Lancaster and Manchester and his latest museum publication is a catalogue essay for Manchester’s 2012 We Face Forward West African Art exhibition. His articles have appeared in a wide range of journals including, Slavery and Abolition, Atlantic Studies, Patterns of Prejudice, Journal of American Studies and Research in African Literatures. He has organised landmark events on issues in Black history in Britain including a 2013 event commemorating the mutiny of African American GIs in Bamber Bridge. (link below) He has given keynote presentations in Britain, Germany, the United State Ireland and France and in January 2012 he gave the Martin Luther King Memorial Lecture in Hamburg. He has contributed to documentaries for the BBC, Border Television and public broadcasting in America as well as appearing on BBC’s The One Show in February 2013 discussing Abraham Lincoln’s links to Manchester. More information can be found at: