Ian Scott

Ian Scott


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Personal profile


I am Professor of American Film and History and the SALC Director for Social Responsibility and Internationalisation. During 2015-16 I was Assistant Associate Dean for Internationalisation in the Faculty of Humantities, and in 2016-17 I was Distinguished Visiting Professor in Film and Culture at Central Washington University in Washington State. At CWU I worked in the Film School teaching practical filmmaking and industry-led classes for aspiring graduates into the Hollywood industry. The position emerged from work on, and the profile of, the film, Projections of America (2015), for which I was script editor, senior historical advisor and contributor. Projections was broadcast on ARTE in Europe and PBS America in the UK and is now available on DVD and streaming through Amazon in the United States.

Projections has been an ongoing project examining propaganda films from World War II. The film took its cue from my discovery of and research into previously unseen films, revealed in my book, In Capra's Shadow: The Life and Career of Screenwriter Robert Riskin (University Press of Kentucky, 2006). In 2021 a newly revised paperback, Robert Riskin: The Life and Times of a Hollywood Screenwriter will be published by Kentucky updating the In Capra's Shadow book. I am also currently working on a major monograph provisionally titled, A Better Tomorrow: Transatlantic Propaganda from World War II to the end of the Cold War examining the in-depth relationship between American and British film and policy makers over more than half-a-century. A recent article emerging from the research ("Pride and Joy:Propaganda Wars, ‘Projections of America’ and the Dismantling of the Office of War Information") was published by the Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television in 2019. 

In 2020 I contributed to the making of the acclaimed BBC Radio 4 series, The Californian Century, narrated by Stanley Tucci. Other current research includes new articles on cinematic surveillance politics through accounts of the activites of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. as well as a chapter on director Costa-Gavras in MUP's New Perspectives series. My assessment of new 'Cold War' movies and America's renewed obsession with Russia is featured in a chapter for Cold War II, edited by Tatiana Prorokova and published by the University of Missisisippi. An extract from the chapter has just been published by The Daily Beast (https://www.thedailybeast.com/author/ian-scott)

I have contributed to the Library of Congress National Film Preservation Board's list of the most significant movies of all time with Frank Capra's It Happened One Night (1934), now part of the National Film Registry and accessible at the Film Preservation Board's websitehttps://www.loc.gov/programs/national-film-preservation-board/film-registry/index-of-essays 

I am publishing an edited collection, Art, Culture and Ethics in Black and White: 100 Years of D.W. Griffth's The Birth of a Nation for MUP in 2021, edited by myself, Dr Douglas Field and Dr Jenny Barrett. I regularly contribute to the leading American film magazine, Cineaste, and make regular broadcasting appearances on radio, from BBC Five Live and Radio Manchester through to Heart/Smooth and LBC Radio.  

I received my undergraduate degree in Politics and History from Manchester Metropolitan University in 1988, an MA in American History and Institutions from the University of Keele in 1990, and a PhD in California politics also from Keele in 1996. I have taught American Studies at Crewe and Alsager College (later Faculty of MMU), Keele and the Open University. I joined the staff at Manchester in 1994 and was Programme Director for American Studies from 2000-2003. Over extended periods between 2001 amd 2013 I was also Admissions Officer for English and American Studies and the American Studies MA Programme Director in 2014.

I sit on the editorial board for the War, Culture and Society series with Bloomsbury Press. I served on the Peer Review Panel of the Arts and Humanities Research Council between 2008-12. I was the Conference Coordinator for the annual meeting of the British Association for American Studies (BAAS) at Manchester in 2012 and sat on the Executive Committee of the association between 2003 and 2009. I was chair of the Awards Committee for five years in that period. I have been External Examiner and External Validator of degrees at the universities of Glasgow, Swansea, Northumbria and Liverpool Hope, among others.  

Further information

Supervision areas:

I would be delighted to work with graduate students interested in any aspects of film culture and history, especially those with interests in political movies, screenwriting and/or aspects of authorship theory. In addition, students wishing to conduct research,into the political, social or cultural history of California,orinvestigate,sports, particularly football history, would be welcomed.

Current teaching:

At the undergraduate level, I teach various courses on American Political Culture, the History of California and Film and Politics in America as well as Introductions to Early and Classical Cinema.

At the postgraduate level, I have taught courses on American Cultural Studies and Screen Studies core courses as well as contributing my own specialist course, Authorship and the Studio System in Hollywood.

Professional Activity:

I was an elected member to the Executive Committee of the British Association for American Studies 2003-09 and chair of the Association's Awards Committee 2005-09. I am a member of BAAS, of the American Politics Group and of the Historians of Twentieth Century America Association 

Book Awards and Distinctions

Hollywood's White House was the Ray and Thomas Browne Popular Culture Association (PCA) Book of the Year for 2003. Why We Fought was a Choice book of the year for 2008. Projections of America won numerous accolades including Best Documentary at the Dallas Video Fest in 2016. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

External positions

Distinguished Visiting Professor, Central Washington University

1 Sept 201630 Jun 2017

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Digital Futures


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