Dr Sarah Trott

Lecturer in American Studies and History

School of Humanities, Religion & Philosophy

E: s.trott@yorksj.ac.uk

T: 876 593

Dr Sarah Trott

I joined York St John University in August 2019 as a Lecturer in American Studies and History. I am also the MA Coordinator for American Studies. Previously, I worked for almost a decade as a lecturer in American Studies at Swansea University.

My teaching and research background fall within the interdisciplinary field of American Studies. My undergraduate and postgraduate degrees are all in American Studies. My PhD examined the impact of war trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder upon American post-World War I crime fiction, with a specific focus upon the British-American writer, Raymond Chandler. I conducted my doctoral research at the University of California, Los Angeles, the Bodleian Library, Oxford, and with the Department for History and Heritage at the Canadian Archives in Ottawa, Canada.

I am also a US-UK Commission Fulbright Fellow, having completed the award at New York University in 2010.


Further Information



I currently teach the following undergraduate modules:

  • 1AS200 American Foundations
  • 2AS201 Slavery to Freedom
  • 2HI504 Age of Anxiety: Culture and Society 1929-1960
  • 3AS200 Cinema of Conflict

I am also the MA American Studies Coordinator and teach the following MA modules:

  • MAS001 Critical Approaches to American Studies
  • MAS002 Negotiated Territories: Cityscapes
  • MAS003 Transnational Border Crossings





My interdisciplinary research is grounded in field of American Studies and lies at the intersection of culture, history, politics, and social memory. My work focuses on the impact of war in 19th and 20th century America, with a secondary concentration on subversive culture. My monograph, published with the University Press of Mississippi (2016), challenged the American canon, arguing a case for the work of crime fiction writer Raymond Chandler to be located and read alongside the great work of the Lost Generation. By taking into account the impact of wartime post-traumatic stress disorder upon American crime fiction I introduced the original concept of ‘War Noir’ to the study of American literature.

I have two main strands of research. Firstly, my current research expands upon the notion of ‘War Noir’ and continues the themes introduced in my first book by examining the work of key 20th century war veteran writers in the field of US crime fiction. For this, I have drawn upon the writers James Crumely and Charles Willeford in particular, but will also be examining the work of Walter Mosley, Mickey Spillane, Ross Macdonald, Elmore Leonard, and Robert B Parker.

My second strand of research examines the mourning function of American popular culture following the September 11, 2001 attacks. Titled “Speaking for the Dead” the research examines how (sub)conscious motifs of the attacks have been embedded within contemporary US culture as a means to interpret, understand, and grieve the tragic events of that day. The project is endorsed by the Library of Congress, the Board of Directors for the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Fund, the National 9/11 Memorial in New York City, and Columbia University, and has been shaped by personal discussions with Hart Hanson and Kathy Reichs (creators of Fox TV’s popular series 'Bones'). The research aims to investigate how ‘speaking for the dead’ has - literally and metaphorically - become the archetype for a new mode of political culture, whose entire premise is based on death, mourning, and remembrance.

I also regularly contribute blog posts for the American crime fiction magazine ‘The Strand’ in order to reach a wider non-academic audience. In November 2017 I was commissioned by Andrew Gulli, the Managing Editor of The Strand, to write the Afterword to accompany a previously unpublished short story by Raymond Chandler, which featured in Issue 53 (2017) of the magazine. As a result of this, numerous media outlets in the US called attention to my research. Demonstrating its wide-ranging impact, my work was mentioned in, among other online and print mediums, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Guardian, and the Smithsonian Magazine.





  • War Noir: Raymond Chandler and the Detective as Veteran in American Fiction. University Press of Mississippi. 2016.

Peer Reviewed Articles

  • “Remembrance, alas, is a tricky business”: Critiquing the Established Biographical Account of Raymond Chandler’s World War One Experience (forthcoming, European Journal of American Studies, Winter 2019)
  • ‘A “lost crowd”: Reconfiguring the Harlem Renaissance as a post-war “lost” generation.’ Comparative American Studies, Volume 11, Issue 4 (December 2013), pp. 434-447

Book Chapters

  • ‘Los Angeles as No Man’s Land: World War One Trauma in Raymond Chandler’s Detective Fiction’, in Kramer, Kaley and Evans, Anne-Marie (eds.) The City in Time and Literature (forthcoming). Palgrave.
  • ‘The Detective as Veteran: Recasting American Hard-Boiled Writing as a Literature of Traumatic War Experience’ in McVeigh, Steve and Cooper, Nicola (eds.) Men After War. Routledge. 2013. pp. 130-151

Commissioned pieces

Conference Papers

  • “Raymond Chandler, War Trauma, and the Lost Generation,” American Literature Association symposium "Criminal America: Reading, Studying and Teaching American Crime Fiction", Chicago, IL., 3-4 March 2017.
  • “Recasting American Hard-Boiled Writing as a Literature of Traumatic War Experience,” Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association, New Orleans, LA, 1-4 April 2015.
  • “Reconfiguring the Harlem Renaissance as a post-war ‘lost’ generation”, Popular Culture Association/ American Culture Association, Chicago, IL, 16-19 April 2014.
  • “The Detective as a Veteran of American War”, American Literature Association, San Francisco, CA, 24-27 May 2013.
  • “Hard-boiled fiction, Vietnam, and ‘War Noir’”, British Association for American Studies, University of Manchester, 12-15 April 2012.
  • “James Crumley, Vietnam and ‘War Noir,’” Queen’s University Belfast, States of Crime: The State in Crime Fiction Conference, 17-18 June 2011.
  • “Raymond Chandler’s Detective and Post-Combat Trauma,” British Association for American Studies, University of Central Lancashire, 14-17 April 2011.


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