Lucy O'Sullivan


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I would be delighted to hear from students interesting in exploring the below topics:

Visual propaganda and the relationship between art, politics and protest
The relationship between visual culture and violence
Any aspect of visual culture (including but not limited to muralism, photography, painting, printmaking, posters and other public forms of art) in a Spanish American or Latin American context

I would be happy to offer supervision on any aspect of Mexican or Chicanx visual culture, including the visual and material cultures of Catholicism in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. I particularly welcome comparative, interartistic and interdisciplinary topics and/or projects with a strong historical dimension that may involve archival research.


Research activity per year

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Personal profile


I did my BA in Spanish and Italian at Trinity College Dublin, before going on to complete an MA in Hispanic Studies at University College London and a DPhil in Modern and Medieval Languages at the University of Oxford. Before taking up my post at Birmingham, I held teaching posts at the University of Warwick and the University of Oxford.

Research interests

My research interests lie primarily in Mexican visual culture. My current book project explores the role of images (including photographs, prayer cards, prints, murals and film footage) during a period of religious conflict in Mexico spanning from the Cristero War (1926-1929) and the so-called "segunda Cristiada" to the rise of the far-right Catholic Sinarquista movement in the late 1930s. I am primarily interested in the ways that images are used to narrativise violence and mobilise actors in conflict situations.

My first book Diego Rivera and Juan Rulfo: Post-revolutionary Body Politics (1922-1965) comparatively examined contrasting representations of the body in the visual and literary works of Diego Rivera and Juan Rulfo to trace evolving intellectual and artistic interpretations of post-revolutionary nationhood in Mexico from the euphoria of the 1920s to the phase of intellectual disenchantment beginning at mid-century. It analyses canonical as well as previously overlooked essays, murals, illustrations, photographs, films and literary texts against a historical backdrop constructed from print media, correspondence and previously unexamined archival materials to provide a multimedia history of Mexico’s shifting post-revolutionary cultural, political and intellectual landscapes during these decades of societal transformation.

Research networks and organisations: Association of Hispanists of Great Britain and Ireland (AHGBI), Latin American Studies Association (LASA), Society for Latin American Studies (SLAS), Association for Latin American Art (ALAA), UK Latin American Historians Network (UKLAH), Historians of Catholic Mexico (HISTCATMEX). 


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