Professor Andrew Warnes

Professor Andrew Warnes


I am a scholar and teacher of American literature, with a particular interest in histories of desire, and particularly in histories of food desire. For my PhD, later published as Hunger Overcome? (2004), I argued that African American writers, including Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright and Toni Morrison, expose hunger as an instrument of social and racial control.

A second book, Savage Barbecue (2008), argues that writings from colonial America and the heart of the British Empire flooded the native Caribbean word barbacoa with alien and Eurocentric associations, none of which bore any relationship to actual Amerindian practice: it ends with the white American ambush of the White House that famously followed Andrew Jackson’s election in 1828. A third book, American Tantalus (2013), shows that reflections on the torment of insatiable desire, or what Scott Romine calls a "grammar of thwarted longing," is a hallmark of the American tradition.

I also have an interest in writing about music (from the Harlem Renaissance to UK postpunk) which I return to from time to time.

My focus today is on the American origins and the continuing evolution of the supermarket system. How the Shopping Cart Explains Globalization (2019) traces the constant juggling of individualism and mass distribution that such stores have always doone, and recently I have related this history to new COVID restrictions. I work with food scholars from other disciplines at Leeds and around the world, and my future work will remain invested in these established and emerging interests in race, literature, consumer culture and food justice.

From February 2020 to summer 2021 I served as interim Head of the School of English. I have also held other major administrative roles, including Director of Postgraduate Studies and Director of Student Education.

Research interests

My current interests are in the following areas:

  • the global food system and the American genesis of the supermarket
  • the consumer society, individualism, and mass supply
  • the African American intellectual tradition
  • ideas of abundance and the environment
  • American literature of the twentieth century 
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD Leeds 2002
  • MA in American Literature (distinction) Leeds 1998
  • BA in American Studies (first class hons) Lancaster 1995

Professional memberships

  • British Association of American Studies
  • European Association of American Studies
  • Associate Member of the Bauman Institute
  • N8 Agrifood Partnership

Research groups and institutes

  • American Studies Research Group

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>