Americas and Oceania Collections blog

Exploring the Library’s collections from the Americas and Oceania

28 June 2023

On my desk: Celebrating the Faculty of Humanities of the University of East Anglia

The Americas team is fortunate to work with some fascinating items that cross our desks for a variety of reasons from exhibition loans to Reader queries. Through the On my desk blog series, we ask the team 3 questions which will give you an insight into the work of curators and cataloguers at the Library and a behind the scenes peek at some of the items in the collections. Today’s post features Hannah Graves, one of the Curators of North American Published Collections (post-1850).

A colour photo of multiple books on a curators desk. Not all titles are visible. All books pictured are listed at the end of this post
A selection of publications by UEA staff

What is the item?

There is no one item on my desk today. Rather, I have looked through the British Library’s catalogue to bring together publications by staff within the Faculty of Humanities of the University of East Anglia (UEA) focused on the Americas.

Why is it on your desk?

I am new to both the Americas team and the process of making acquisitions for the library. We receive regular lists of titles to consider for purchase. When looking through the spreadsheets for selection prepared by our colleagues, the sheer volume of titles published every year can be overwhelming. It is easy to forget that each individual monograph is a bit miraculous. Reflective of a lifetime’s work, these titles are often researched and written while juggling numerous competing professional demands. So today, the team wishes to celebrate all the staff of UEA, but especially those who have helped advance our understanding of the history and cultures of the Americas. We are grateful for their invaluable contributions, which enrich the British Library’s collection and the Americas research community as a whole.

A colour photo of a closer-up image of some of the titles on a curators desk. All books are listed at the end
A closer look at some UEA staff titles

Why is it interesting?

The research portal on UEA’s website allows you to begin to appreciate the scale of contributions made by the academics and creative practitioners within the Faculty of Humanities. Each of the titles I have called up are, of course, interesting in their own right. However, it is when you see them assembled you begin to appreciate the value of a strong faculty. We often perceive researching and writing as solitary pursuits, but academic work is highly collaborative, shaped by predecessors and peers. It is an interesting exercise to gather on my desk some of the work produced by colleagues within the same institution. It crystallises the major contributions of UEA staff in shaping the Americas research community.

Naturally, this is only a slim and subjective selection of some of the items the British Library holds as printed books. Many more titles are held electronically. I would encourage you to use the UEA portal for yourself to find the next article or book for your reading room basket. Or, you could start with some of the following:

  • Frederik Byrn Køhler, ed., Chicago: a literary history (2021) held at YC.2022.a.8030
  • Thomas Ruys Smith, Deep water: the Mississippi River in the Age of Mark Twain (2020) held at YD.2020.a.98
  • Tessa McWatt, Shame on me: an anatomy of race and belonging (2019) held at YK.2020.A.1784
  • Rebecca Fraser, The Mayflower generation: the Winslow family and the fight for the new world (2017) held at YC.2018.a.11495
  • Jos Smith, The new nature writing: rethinking the literature of place (2017) held at YC.2017.a.5592
  • Tim Snelson, Phantom ladies: Hollywood horror and the home front (2015) held at YC.2016.a.7045
  • Malcolm McLaughlin, The long, hot summer of 1967: urban rebellion in America (2014) held at YC.2014.a.4894
  • Jacqueline Fear-Segal and Rebecca Tillett, eds., Indigenous bodies: reviewing, relocating, reclaiming (2013) held at YC.2014.a.653
  • Rachel Potter, Obscene modernism: literary censorship and experiment, 1900-1940 (2013) held at YC.2015.a.877
  • Una Marson, Selected poems, ed. Alison Donnell (2011) held at YC.2012.a.3527
  • Alison Donnell, Twentieth-century Caribbean literature: critical moments in Anglophone literary history (2006) held at YC.2006.a.4763
  • Steven Hooper, Pacific encounters: art & divinity in Polynesia 1760-1860 (2006) held at YD.2010.b.1173
  • Nick Selby, Poetics of loss in the Cantos of Ezra Pound: from modernism to fascism (2005) held at YC.2007.a.6115