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Current Postgraduate Research Students

Mark McLay supervises 1 postgraduate research students. If these students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

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Dr Mark McLay

Lecturer in 20th Century US History

Mark McLay

Bowland College



Research overview

My research primarily centers on the evolution of the United States post-1960s, with a specific emphasis on the country's political, societal, and cultural polarization since then. To this end, I have been writing the regular American Carnage Substack which explores US polarization throughout history and how it can help us understand modern American politics.

I am currently leading a project that seeks to understand the continuous polarization in the U.S. during largely peaceful and prosperous 1990s. As part of this project, I am currently writing an article on gay rights in the 1990s.

With extensive experience and expertise in U.S. Elections, I have been actively involved in numerous public engagement events, especially during election years. 

Another significant area of my research is the impact of military conflicts on American politics, society, and culture. I pay special attention to the Vietnam War and the Iraq War, analysing their transformative effects on the nation.

Additionally, I have niche interests in the historical aspects of sleep, fertility/surrogacy, and neuroscience. 

PhD supervision

I am delighted to talk to any students interested in conducting a PhD in post-WWII US history or any of the interests I list above.

Career Details

In 2016, I received my PhD in History from the University of Edinburgh, before taking up lecturer positions at Glasgow Caledonian University (2015-2018) & the University of Glasgow (2016-2021).  

In January 2022, I joined Lancaster University as Lecturer in 20th Century US History.

Current Teaching


HIST360 - American Carnage: The United States in the Age of Polarisation, 1960-Present

HIST269 - The Quagmire: The Vietnam War in US History and Culture, 1964-1975

HIST300 - Dissertation

HIST251 - Writing History: Questions, Methods, Conclusions

HIST119 - 1968, Dates Module


HIST456 - Restless Giant: The United States at Home and Abroad in the Post-Cold War Era, 1992-2016

PhDs Examined

Shona Thompson, 'Spectacular Pain: Violence and the White Gaze in American Commemorative Culture', 2022 

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