Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professor Lynn M. Hudson, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA

Lynn M Hudson profile picture

Race, Nation and Belonging: A Black American Expatriate in Britain

1 Apr - 1 Jul 2019


Lynn M. Hudson is an associate professor of history and affiliated faculty member in African American Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She earned an M.A. in history from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and her Ph.D. in history with a minor in women’s studies from Indiana University. Her areas of specialization include U.S. history, African American history, women and gender history, the history of the U.S. West, and public history. She is the author of The Making of ‘Mammy Pleasant’: A Black Entrepreneur in Nineteenth-Century San Francisco (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2003), which was awarded the Barbara Penny Kanner Prize from the Western Association of Women Historians; and “`Strong Animal Passions’ in the Gilded Age: Race, Sex, and a Senator on Trial,” Journal of the History of Sexuality (January/April 2000): 62-84, which was awarded the Joan Jensen-Darlis Miller Prize from the Coalition for Western Women’s History. Her forthcoming book, West of Jim Crow: The Modern Roots of Racial Segregation (University of Illinois Press, 2019) documents the ways California was an innovator of methods to control, contain, and restrict African Americans. It charts the myriad practices that African Americans and their allies employed to survive and resist segregation. Hudson’s career as a scholar and teacher reflects her commitment to interdisciplinarity; she has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in history, women’s studies, ethnic studies, and African American studies departments at several institutions including the University of California, San Diego and California State University at San Luis Obispo. Before teaching at UIC she was chair of the history department at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She recently served on the Organization of American Historians committee for the Darlene Clark Hine Award for the best monograph in African American women’s history.

Project Summary

This research focuses on the history of Marie Battle Singer (1910-1985), an African American expatriate and the U.K.’s first black psychoanalyst. Singer studied with Anna Freud at the Hampstead Child Therapy Clinic, eventually earning a Ph. D. at the University of London, and opening a private practice in adolescent psychotherapy on Harley Street. In the 1960s, she moved to Cambridge where she was a fellow at Clare Hall and a lecturer in the University’s psychology department. Singer wrote extensively about the changing nature of race relations; from her position as an American abroad she was repeatedly struck by the manifestations of racism in her new home. Yet Singer was equally aware of the opportunities she had in Britain that would have been denied her in the U.S. This project investigates how Singer navigated black identities and race relations in the U.K. and the U.S. in the post-war era. This biography of a black American expatriate provides a rare opportunity to get at questions that form the core of Black Studies in the twenty-first century: How did members of the African diaspora shape ideas of blackness, citizenship, and nationhood, in twentieth-century Britain? What is the significance of national borders in the creation of black communities? How do racial politics move across the black Atlantic?

During her stay in Bristol, Prof. Hudson will be hosted by Dr. Dorothy Price (History of Art)