University of Reading cookie policy

We use cookies on to improve your experience, monitor site performance and tailor content to you

Read our cookie policy to find out how to manage your cookie settings

Mara Oliva

  • 100
  • Associate Professor in Modern US History & Digital Humanities Academic Champion

Digital Humanities Community of Practice Lead

Module Convenor: US Foreign Policy and the Environment: from Nixon to Obama

                                         The American Century

                                         The US and the Cold War

                                         The US and China in the Historical Context, 1882-1989

Areas of interest

I am a political historian and a digital humanist. I work at the intersection of history and digital technologies. My research focuses on twentieth-century US history, particularly the US presidency, Soft Power, Climate Change Diplomacy, the Environment, New York and Urban Heritage. I am also the University of Reading’s Digital Humanities Academic Champion. In my role, I promote an understanding of Digital Humanities as a discipline within the University, and the integration of cultures and principles from Digital Humanities into wider research practice. I lead the Community of Practice and provide mentoring and subject-specific advice for digital research projects

Postgraduate supervision

I am supervising PhD research on:

  • Aid, Oil and Human Rights: Re-evaluating U.S.-Guatemalan Relations, 1981-1986 (Richard Bolzano)
  • The Relationship between the United States and the Italian right-wing during the Nixon Administration (David Cardillo)
  • The San Francisco Ballet Company and the Cold War (Martha Hayakawa)
  • Representations of Race and Gender at the World’s Fairs and Expositions, 1983-1916 (Doug Stoke)


Previous PhD Supervision:

  • Spies, Civil Liberties, and the Senate: The 1975 Church Committee (Dr Dafydd Townley, funded GTA studentship 2015-2018)
  • Cultural diplomacy and the Anglo-American 'Special Relationship' in the Middle East (Dr Darius Wainwright, 2016-2019)





Academic qualifications

2012, PhD in United States Studies (pass, no corrections), Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London, UK.

Awards and honours

External Funding

  • 2023, British Library Eccles Centre for American Studies Fellowship.
  • 2023, British Academy Knowledge Frontiers Follow-up Grant: Co-I for Project: Researching the felt and lived experiences of in/security: a methodological exchange.
  • 2021, British Academy, Co-I for Project: Researching the felt and lived experiences of in/security: a methodological exchange.
  • 2021, British Academy, Co-I for Project: The Vulnerability Studies Network.
  • 2020, British Academy UK-Canada Knowledge Transfer grant. Project: US Environmental Security.
  • 2020, British Association of American Studies/US Embassy Small Grants. Project: Women and BAME Women in US Foreign Policy.
  • 2020, AHRC/UKRI Engaging with Government Programme 2020.
  • 2020, Institute for Economic and Social Research and Policy, Columbia University, New York City, Digital History Fellowship.
  • 2017, British Association of American Studies Research Grant.
  • 2014, Scouloudi Historical Award, Institute of Historical Research.
  • 2014, European Association for American Studies Small Research Grant.
  • 2010, Fulbright Award.
  • 2009, Royal Historical Society Individual Research Grant.

Research Awards

  • 2020, Society of Historians of US Foreign Policy Global Scholar award for paper: “A Public Diplomacy Failure: Eisenhower and the US press in China”
  • 2019, ECR Research Output Prize (second prize) for Heritage & Creativity Research Division, University of Reading, for monograph: Eisenhower and American Public Opinion on China (Palgrave MacMillan, 2018)
  • 2017, UROP Supervisor of the Year Award, University of Reading
  • 2017, UROP Project Award for Heritage & Creativity Research Division, University of Reading (student: Beth Snyder)

Teaching Awards

  • 2021, Winner of the RUSU Excellence Award, Academic Tutor, University of Reading.
  • 2019, Nominated for the RUSU Teaching Excellence Award, University of Reading.
  • 2018, Nominated for the RUSU Teaching Excellence Award, University of Reading.
  • 2017, Nominated for the RUSU Teaching Excellence Award, University of Reading.
  • 2015, Nominated for the RUSU Personal Tutor Award, University of Reading.
  • 2015, Winner of the RUSU Research-led Teaching Award, University of Reading.

Professional bodies/affiliations

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Peer Review Editor: Digital Humanities Quarterly

Associate Editor: Humanities and Social Sciences Communications

Book Proposal and Manuscript Reviewer for Oxford University Press

Book Proposal and Manuscript Reviewer for Palgrave MacMillan


Twitter: @maraolivaPhD

Impact and public engagement

 Appearances on BBC Radio 4, BBC5Live, BBC Radio Ulster, TRT

Articles for the Conversation, the Geopolitics, Corriere della Sera and Alem-Mar

Contribution to 2021, House of Commons, Foreign Affairs Committee, “A climate for ambition: Diplomatic preparations for COP26” report.


Loading your publications ...