Dr Lucy O’Sullivan BA, MA, DPhil

Dr Lucy O’Sullivan

Department of Modern Languages
Assistant Professor in Modern Languages

Contact details

206, Ashley Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Feedback and office hours

Please email me to directly arrange a meeting: l.osullivan@bham.ac.uk


  • DPhil, Medieval and Modern Languages, University of Oxford
  • MA in Hispanic Studies, University College London
  • BA in Spanish and Italian, Trinity College Dublin
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


I did my BA in Spanish and Italian at Trinity College Dublin, before going on to complete an MA in Hispanic Studies at University College London and a DPhil in Modern and Medieval Languages at the University of Oxford. Before taking up my post at Birmingham, I held teaching posts at the University of Warwick and the University of Oxford.


I teach optional modules on Spanish Caribbean and Latinx visual and literary culture and on Mexican and Chicanx art. I also supervise final year dissertations on a range of topics relating mostly to Spanish American, Spanish Caribbean and Latinx visual culture (including propaganda, muralism, street art).  

Postgraduate supervision

I would be delighted to hear from students interesting in exploring the below topics:

Visual propaganda and the relationship between art, politics and protest
The relationship between visual culture and violence
Any aspect of visual culture (including but not limited to muralism, photography, painting, printmaking, posters and other public forms of art) in a Spanish American or Latin American context

I would be happy to offer supervision on any aspect of Mexican or Chicanx visual culture, including the visual and material cultures of Catholicism in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. I particularly welcome comparative, interartistic and interdisciplinary topics and/or projects with a strong historical dimension that may involve archival research.


Find out more - our PhD Hispanic Studies  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


My research interests lie primarily in Mexican visual culture. My current book project explores the role of images (including photographs, prayer cards, prints, murals and film footage) during a period of religious conflict in Mexico spanning from the Cristero War (1926-1929) and the so-called "segunda Cristiada" to the rise of the far-right Catholic Sinarquista movement in the late 1930s. I am primarily interested in the ways that images are used to narrativise violence and mobilise actors in conflict situations.

My first book Diego Rivera and Juan Rulfo: Post-revolutionary Body Politics (1922-1965) comparatively examined contrasting representations of the body in the visual and literary works of Diego Rivera and Juan Rulfo to trace evolving intellectual and artistic interpretations of post-revolutionary nationhood in Mexico from the euphoria of the 1920s to the phase of intellectual disenchantment beginning at mid-century. It analyses canonical as well as previously overlooked essays, murals, illustrations, photographs, films and literary texts against a historical backdrop constructed from print media, correspondence and previously unexamined archival materials to provide a multimedia history of Mexico’s shifting post-revolutionary cultural, political and intellectual landscapes during these decades of societal transformation.

Research networks and organisations: Association of Hispanists of Great Britain and Ireland (AHGBI), Latin American Studies Association (LASA), Society for Latin American Studies (SLAS), Association for Latin American Art (ALAA), UK Latin American Historians Network (UKLAH), Historians of Catholic Mexico (HISTCATMEX). 


Recent publications


O'Sullivan, L 2022, Diego Rivera and Juan Rulfo: Post-revolutionary Body Politics (1922-1965). Visual Culture, vol. 3, Legenda, Oxford. <https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctv2dzzrgg>


O'Sullivan, L 2024, 'Martyrdom in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction: The Photograph as Testimony and Trace in Mexico’s Cristero War (1926–29)', Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 1-19. https://doi.org/10.1525/lavc.2024.6.1.1

O'Sullivan, L 2021, 'Photographic postcard commemorating Antonio Verástegui', MAVCOR Journal, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 1-9. https://doi.org/10.223322/mav.obj.2021.7

O'Sullivan, L 2019, 'Diego Rivera and Juan O’Gorman: post-revolutionary architectural anatomies', Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies: Travesia, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 253-275. https://doi.org/10.1080/13569325.2019.1616166

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

O'Sullivan, L 2019, The Politics of the In-Between: The Negotiation of Urban Space in Juan Rulfo’s Photographs of Mexico City. in AL Massidda & NHD Geraghty (eds), Creative Spaces: Urban Culture and Marginality in Latin America. 1 edn, University of London Press, London, pp. 31-54. https://doi.org/10.14296/519.9781908857699

View all publications in research portal