Meet the staff: Jon Watson

Dr Jon Watson is senior lecturer, co-lead of the Critical History degree.

He leads the teaching team for the first-year module introducing students to history and also  teaches in second and third year modules exploring histories of race, racism and anti racism, with a focus on the United States and Europe, and American foreign relations and American domestic politics.

Jon’s teaching is informed by research exploring two areas: African-American politics and protest in California, in particular Los Angeles and the cultural politics of race and race representation in music during the 1960s. He is currently exploring how rock magazines such Rolling Stone explained blues music to readers as the audience for blues transitioned from being predominantly black to predominantly white.

 “My research into histories of antiracist struggles, and the history of the representation of race in the music press are reminders that the recent wave of activism in the United States following the death of George Floyd has a long history” says Jon. “Students are fascinated by exploring both the different strategies of resistance, from political engagement, to nonviolence to more militant calls for revolution and the way that sport, music and fashion have provided vehicles for consciousness raising and protest.”

As well as teaching across the Humanities programme Jon also coordinates the School of Humanities programme’s outreach activity in schools and colleges, including day-long workshops for on the role of that the Royal Pavilion played as a field hospital during the First World War and ‘Big visit’ days where students get to explore a range of different subjects and approaches from across the Humanities.

“Giving younger students an insight into university life is really important – it can support their learning, build confidence about next steps and demystify the university. But it also gives staff and students at Brighton an opportunity to both inspire and support the the next generation too” he says.

See more staff profiles on the School of Humanities Instagram

Read more about Jon’s research 

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