Reader in American History and Culture, University of Kent

John Wills is a scholar in American Studies/Cultural Studies. He studied at Warwick University and Bristol University, 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 interests bridge several disciplines, most notably history, sociology, cultural studies, and game 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 a piece on the Grand Canyon. He is co-author of Invention of the Park: Recreational Landscapes from the Garden of Eden to Disney's Magic Kingdom (2005) and The American West: Competing Visions (2009), and author of Conservation Fallout: Nuclear Protest at Diablo Canyon (2006), US Environmental History: Inviting Doomsday (2012), and most recently, Disney Culture (2017) with Rutgers University Press. John has just completed a new monograph tackling depictions of America in video games, entitled Gamer Nation (forthcoming). He is also at the British Academy Summer Showcase (June 2018) exhibiting his latest video game research.


  • –present
    Senior Lecturer in History, University of Kent