James Brookes is a Ph.D. candidate at Great Britain’s University of Nottingham, where he completed a B.A. and M.Res. in American Studies in 2013 and 2015 respectively. During his undergraduate study he spent a year abroad in the U.S. at the College of William and Mary.
James’ undergraduate dissertation was an examination of the significance of tintype portraiture in relation to Civil War soldiers. He recently completed his M.Res. thesis, which studied the uses of photographic portraiture by Federal soldiers as a means to better manage the trauma of the Civil War and as a means to reimage the figure of the citizen-soldier. His Ph.D. research will recognise the significance of varying forms of visual culture produced and utilised by rank-and-file soldiers in bettering our understanding of the conflict. The thesis will examine these democratic forms of visual culture and how they stood in opposition to conventional, mainstream representations of the Civil War.
James also engages in Civil War living history across both Europe and the U.S. and acts as an assistant to an itinerant nineteenth century historical photographer.