Dr Gina Denton

Dr Gina Denton


I became a Lecturer in U.S. History at the University of Leeds in September 2017, having previously served as a Teaching Fellow in the School since September 2015.

Having completed a BA in History (1st Class with Honours) and an MA in Race and Resistance (Distinction) at the University of Leeds, I obtained my PhD research from the same institution in 2015, which was funded by the AHRC. Whilst conducting my doctoral research, I spent 2011-12 as an Honourary Fellow at the Centre for Research on Gender and Women at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 


  • Postgraduate Professional Development Coordinator

Research interests

My research interests and expertise are in the history of the modern United States - with a particular focus on women’s, gender and feminist history; African American history; and the history of social protest.

These three themes come together in my current book project, Mother Power: Women's Activism and the Politicisation of Motherhood Since the Sixties. Based on extensive archival research in the U.S. and U.K., this project argues that ideologies of motherhood played an integral role in motivating women's activism in 1960s, '70s and '80s America. Focusing on the anti-Vietnam War, welfare rights, anti-busing and anti-abortion struggles, it explores how activists from across the political spectrum deployed maternal symbolism to advance their goals. In doing so, Mother Power demonstrates the enduring appeal of maternalism during the 1960s and beyond, ultimately serving to disentangle this female political tradition from its traditional association with the respectability politics of the early twentieth century. It also underscores the flexibility, malleability and diversity of maternalist politics - illustrating how women combined longstanding forms of maternal protest with direct action tactics popularised during the 1960s, and comparing how activists from a variety of different backgrounds understood and used motherhood differently. Moreover, by demonstrating that maternal activists could be active participants in the struggle for women’s liberation, it challenges the popular assumption that motherhood and maternalism were antithetical to second wave feminism.

I am also interested in the history of feminist archives and their relationship to contemporary feminist activism - and I am involved in the international, collaborative project Feminist Archives, Feminist Futures (FAFF).

I am committed to public engagement, and am involved in several ongoing projects in collaboration with external partners, which seek to reach audiences outside the academy.


'"Neither guns nor bombs - neither the state nor God - will stop us from fighting for our children": motherhood and protest in 1960s and 1970s America,' The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics and Culture, 5.2 (2012), 205-228

'Mothers Joining Together in Sisterhood: Women Strike for Peace and the National Welfare Rights Organization in the 1960s and 1970s,' Journal of the Motherhood Initiative, 3.2 (2012), 121-133

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD History
  • MA Race & Resistance
  • BA History

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA)
  • British Association of American Studies (BAAS)
  • Historians of the Twentieth Century United States (HOTCUS)
  • Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement (MIRCI)

Student education

I teach a range of modules in modern U.S. history - particularly histories of race and gender - at Levels 1, 2, 3 and MA.

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="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>