Reader in American History and Culture, University of Kent

John Wills is a scholar in American Studies/Cultural Studies. He studied at Warwick University (BA History and Politics) and Bristol University (MA Contemporary History and PhD in American Environmental History), before teaching in the Sociology Department at the University of Essex. In September 2005, he took up a post at the University of Kent, teaching in the School of History and the Centre for American Studies.

His research and teaching interests bridge several disciplines, most notably history, sociology, and cultural studies. He works on environmental, cultural and visual topics, in particular 1950s American society, popular tourism and nuclear landscapes, Disney and theming, California, environmental protest, cyber-culture and digital culture, and Hollywood.

In 2003, John won the C.L. Sonnichsen Award for best article in the Journal of Arizona History for his study of donkey management in the Grand Canyon. In 2005, he co-authored a book on global park culture (Invention of the Park: Recreational Landscapes from the Garden of Eden to Disney's Magic Kingdom), while in 2006 the University of Nevada Press published Conservation Fallout, a look at nuclear protest in California. In 2009, he co-authored The American West: Competing Visions, published with Edinburgh University Press. In 2012, John completed his fourth book, entitled US Environmental History: Inviting Doomsday, exploring disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the BP Deepwater Horizon Spill. His latest work entitled Disney Culture came out with Rutgers University Press in March 2017.


  • –present
    Senior Lecturer in History, University of Kent