Despite already being Dr. Laura Ellyn Smith, I am a presidential historian who has taken the slightly eccentric decision to embark on a second doctorate! My DPhil project at Oxford University analyzes the U.S. imperial presidency and seeks to challenge the conception of only associating the expanse of executive power with the modern presidency. My aim is to present the presidency as a continuum, citing connections between presidents from different eras and emphasizing the power of precedent.
My first doctorate was a Ph.D. in History from the University of Mississippi, where the university awarded me; a Teaching Assistantship Scholarship, an Arch Dalrymple III Dissertation Fellowship and a College of Liberal Arts Summer Assistantship. My thesis was entitled “Populism and Democratization in the Presidential Election of 1832.” Whilst U.S. History through 1877 was my major field of focus, I also undertook comprehensive exams in the U.S. South and the Global Cold War. This broad expertise has come in handy while teaching 20th century U.S. race relations and politics part-time at Canterbury Christ Church University.
I have had six peer-reviewed journal articles published, enjoy writing op-eds for The Washington Post and have been interviewed by journalists for comment on U.S. election and presidential politics. If you are interested in reading some of my work, you can find my page on Women Also Know History.
Presenting at a variety of international and regional conferences is also an activity I enjoy and I hope to be able to travel to conferences again soon! To see the list of conferences I have participated in access my ORCiD page for an expanded CV.
To see me in action as part of a panel on 19th century U.S. political history, feel free to take a look at this video.
I gained a Distinction in my MA in U.S. History and Politics at University College London and the university awarded the Americas Excellence Award. I graduated with First Class Honors for my BA in American Studies with a Year Abroad from the University of Leicester.