Hilary Hall

School of History, Philosophy and Digital Humanities

Research student


Thesis title: The newspaper comic strip in the making of American mass culture, 1900-1935.




Thesis abstract:

My doctoral research investigates the depiction of white ethnicity in American newspaper comic strips in the Progressive era.

I focus on the portrayal of Southern and Eastern European 'new immigrants,' asking where they were placed within the racial hierarchies of this period, and what effect this had on popular perceptions of their fitness for American citizenship.

Concerned by the effect that the influx of 'new immigrants' would have on the American character, the political discourse of the Progressive era was preoccupied by the comparative traits of people with different racial, national and religious backgrounds.

Influenced by the rise of eugenic thought, and the findings of the Dillingham Commission (a body set up by Congress in 1907 to investigate the impact of mass immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe and Asia), the 1924 Immigration Act restricted immigration levels to 150,000 per year.

My research will examine how these developments were reflected in popular discourse, and how this insight can build on existing scholarship around how race was learned in America.

  • PhD History, University of Sheffield, 2012 - present
  • MA in American History, Sheffield (part-time while I worked as a business analyst and project manager)
  • BA in History at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge from 2004-2007


Teaching activities

University of Sheffield Teaching Assistant: 

  • HST118 American History: From Settlements to Superpower