Rob Fitt

Rob Fitt

Department of History
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD title: Neolympics: Race, Nation, and Neoliberal Culture at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games
Supervisor: Dr Nathan Cardon; Dr Michell Chresfield; Dr Heather Dichter (International Center for Sports History and Culture, De Montfort University). 
PhD History

Qualifications

  • BA War and Society
  • MA Contemporary History

Biography

I am a social and cultural historian of race, identity, and ideology in the 20th Century US, with specific interests in the post-1945 history of conservatism, education, neoliberalism, and activism.

My MA dissertation ‘Texan Textbooks: Cranks, Conservatives, and the Contest for America in High School History, 1976-1986’ examined how conservative activists in Texas achieved dominance over the content of America’s high-school history curriculum. The dissertation was awarded the Royal Historical Society Rees Davies Prize 2019.

Teaching

  • American Survey, 1865-2001 
  • History in Theory and Practice

Research

I use Los Angeles’ 1984 Olympic Games to explore the idea of neoliberal culture. That is, how the doctrines of individualism, competition, and the extension of free market ideology to all realms of everyday life were manifested culturally during the rollout of neoliberal economic policies in the 1970s and 1980s. At the heart of neoliberal culture lay contested ideas about race and national identity; a tug of war over defining “America” and the meaning of race at the denouement of the Cold War.

Other activities

  • Co-convenor of Study States, a monthly reading group for researchers and postgraduates working within American Studies, where we meet to discuss a range of interdisciplinary works (photography, art, short text) on a given theme. In association with the American and Canadian Studies Centre.
  • Member of HOTUCS (Historians of the Twentieth Century United States) & British Association of American Studies.

Publications

  • Rob Alex Fitt (2020) 'Black Veterans, Politics, and Civil Rights in Twentieth-Century America: closing ranks', Social History, 45:2, pp. 271-273.
  • Rob Alex Fitt, 'Conservative activists in Texas have shaped the history all American children learn', The Washington Post, 19th October 2020.