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Dr Kevin Yuill

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Expert for press contact

Associate Professor of American History

My primary interests are in the intellectual history of the United States. I am interested in fundamental alterations between citizen and state in American history and their expressions in policy. I have explored issues including race and equality in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, attitudes to suicide and death, and attitudes to the possession of firearms.

Teaching and supervision

I am Research Student Manager for Media Studies and Humanities. I teach undergraduate modules in American History, American Studies, Methodology of History, and current issues in American culture and society. I have also taught methodology and the history of suicide on MA History.

I am currently Director of Studies for Achille Castrogiovanni. Two of my students, so far, have completed their PhDs:

  • Dr. Mark Beachill, "The Shifting Meaning of Race in the Political Culture of the USA", awarded 25/10/2016.
  • Dr. Daniel Crew, “Published Sheet Music as a Political Research Tool in American Politics”, awarded 11/2/2015.

Research interests for potential research students

I am happy to consider topics related to American history –particularly those of race and civil rights – of the late nineteenth or twentieth centuries. I am also very happy to consider students who wish to look at suicide, euthanasia, and/or assisted dying from an ethical or historical angle.


My research interests are broad but generally involve the shifting relationship of the citizen to the state in the United States (and, to a lesser extent, Britain) in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Having published a book and several articles on themes relating to race, I published, this year, an article on the contribution of liberals to the racial restrictions of the 1924 Immigration Act. I hope to complete in the coming months a book on the 1924 Immigration Act and its impact upon racial identity in the twentieth century.

In the past, I have researched the Nixon administration's recasting of race relations, how gun controls affected African-Americans in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and how the issue changed from a liberal/radical cause to a conservative cause between 1968 and 1980.

I have also researched the movement for assisted dying, which expresses a constellation of interesting changes in the relationship of citizens and the state. In a recent article about suicide and euthanasia in the press at the turn of the last century, I show how the concept of assistance with suicide did not exist, even amongst those who thought suicide completely justified in the face of a terminal illness, and how euthanasia focused on the needs of society rather than those of the individual, making the way the issue has arisen since the 1970s historically distinct.


Number of items: 33.


Yuill, Kevin and Boer, Theo (2021) Een liberate, humanistische kritiek op een 'voltooid leven'-wet (A liberal, humanist critique of a 'completed life' law). Filosofie & Praktijk, 42 (4). pp. 7-16. ISSN 0167-2444

Yuill, Kevin (2021) “America must remain American”: The Liberal Contribution to Race Restrictions in the 1924 Immigration Act. Federal History.

Yuill, Kevin (2015) The Unfreedom of Assisted Suicide: How the right to die undermines autonomy. Ethics, Medicine, and Public Health, 2015 (1). pp. 494-502. ISSN 2352-5525

Yuill, Kevin (2015) The spectre of Japan: the influence of foreign relations on race relations theory, 1905–24. Patterns of Prejudice, 49 (4). pp. 317-342. ISSN 0031-322X

Yuill, Kevin (2015) Book Review: David Scott FitzGerald and David Cook-Martín . Culling the Masses: The Democratic Origins of Racist Immigration Policy in the Americas. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2014. American Historical Review.

Yuill, Kevin (2014) In the Shadow of the 1924 Immigration Act: FDR, Immigration, and Race. Immigrants and Minorities, 32 (3). pp. 183-205. ISSN 0261-9288

Yuill, Kevin (2009) Another Take on the Nixon Presidency: Richard Nixon, Drugs, Affirmative Action and the Silent Majority,. Journal of Policy History (Spring 2009).

Yuill, Kevin (2008) Constructing Country: Fakery and "Strictly American" Music; Part 2. Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture, 8 (4). ISSN 1547-4348

Yuill, Kevin (2008) Creating an American Music: A Critical View of the Origins of Country; Part 1: The UnCountry Beginnings of Country Music. Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture, 8 (4). ISSN 1547-4348

Yuill, Kevin (2007) Jim Crow Moves North: The Battle over Northern School Desegregation, 1865–1954 ‐ By Davison M. Douglas [Book review]. History, 92 (308). ISSN 1468-229X

Yuill, Kevin (2007) Lawrence R. Jacobs and Theda Skocpol (eds.), Inequality and American Democracy: What We Know and What We Need to Learn (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2005 [Book Review]. Journal of American Studies. ISSN 0021-8758

Yuill, Kevin (2005) In the Wake of Terry Schiavo, the Real Slippery Slope. Journal of Cancer Pain & Symptom Palliation, 1 (2). pp. 7-9. ISSN 1543-7671

Yuill, Kevin (2003) Dean J. Kotlowski. Nixon’s Civil Rights: Politics, Principle, and Policy. By Harvard University Press. 2002 [Book review]. History, 88.

Yuill, Kevin (1998) The 1966 White House Conference on Civil Rights. The Historical Journal, 40 (1). pp. 259-282. ISSN 0018-246X

Book Section

Yuill, Kevin and Boer, Theo (2021) Assisted dying and Covid-19. In: Death, Grief and Loss in the Context of COVID-19. Routledge. ISBN 9780367647322

Yuill, Kevin (2017) From Virtuous Armed Citizen to "Cramped Little Risk-Fearing Man": The Meaning of Firearms in an Insecure Era. In: The Second Amendment and Gun Control: Freedom, Fear, and the American Constitution. Routledge, Abingdon, Oxfordshire. ISBN 9780367887476

Yuill, Kevin (2013) Better die fighting against injustice than to die like a dog: African-Americans and guns 1866-1941. In: A Cultural History of Firearms in an Age of Empire. Ashgate Press, pp. 211-230. ISBN 978-1-4094-4752-8

Yuill, Kevin (2010) Germany's Gun Control Laws are Ineffective in Preventing Crime. In: Gun Control. Gale-Cengage. ISBN 0737747285

Yuill, Kevin (2006) Refuting Arguments in Favour of Physician-Assisted Suicide. In: Euthanasia. Greenhaven Press.


Yuill, Kevin and Street, Joe (2017) The Second Amendment and Gun Control: Freedom, Fear, and the American Constitution. Controversies in American Constitutional Law . Routledge, Abingdon, OX. ISBN 9781138706286

Yuill, Kevin (2013) Assisted Suicide: the Liberal, Humanist Case Against Legalization. Palgrave MacMillan. ISBN 9781137286307

Yuill, Kevin (2006) Richard Nixon and the Rise of Affirmative Action The Pursuit of Racial Equality in an Era of Limits. American Intellectual Culture . Rowman and Littlefield. ISBN 9780742549975


Yuill, Kevin (2015) Views on the News - GUN CONTROLS. [Video]


Yuill, Kevin (2016) From his warm, tear-stained hands...Obama’s plan to Do Something about guns threatens ordinary Americans. [Online article]. Brendan O'Neill, www.spiked-online.com.

Yuill, Kevin (2015) No one should need permission to die: The right to refuse treatment is not the same as the right to demand death. [Online article]. Brendan O'Neill, www.spiked-online.com.

Yuill, Kevin (2015) Beware the assisted suicide bomber: Right-to-die campaigners are now using death to promote their cause. [Online article]. Brendan O'Neill, www.spiked-online.com/.

Yuill, Kevin (2015) Assisted suicide: behold the wisdom of the Commons [Online article]. Brendan O'Neill, www.spiked-online.com.

Yuill, Kevin (2015) Virginia: the culture of complaint turns lethal [Online article]. Brendan O'Neill, www.spiked-online.com.

Yuill, Kevin (2015) The narcissism of assisted suicide: A shocking case shows that assisted suicide is about more than alleviating suffering. [Online article]. Brendan O'Neill, www.spiked-online.com.

Yuill, Kevin (2015) Controlling guns, controlling blacks: Those demanding gun control post-Charleston need a history lesson. [Online article]. Brendan O'Neill, www.spiked-online.com.

Yuill, Kevin (2015) The death penalty is wrong – even for terrorists [Online article]. spiked Ltd, www.spiked-online.com.

Yuill, Kevin (2015) The case of Tom Mortier shows how euthanasia advocates will never stop at the terminally ill [Press article]. The Daily Telegraph.

Yuill, Kevin (2015) We cannot have "zero suicides" if we allow euthanasia [Press article]. Telegraph Media Group Limited.

This list was generated on Wed Sep 28 07:41:16 2022 BST.
  • The history and ethics of suicide, euthanasia and assisted suicide
  • American race relations in the twentieth century
  • The history of firearms and firearms controls
  • The civil rights movement in the 1960s and 1970s
  • American political history, particularly the Nixon and Johnson presidencies

I frequently appear on radio programmes as an expert on American politics and assisted suicide. Most recently I appeared opposite Lord Falconer in a series entitled ‘Steelmanning’ on BBC Radio 4 (13 Jan 2021), BBC Radio 4’s Four Thought programme (2020) and Radio 4’s Moral Maze (three times).

I have been interviewed as an expert for the Dutch newspaper Trouw, the Danish publication Kristeligt Dagblad, and the Belgian publication, Knack, and cited in the Sunday Times and Telegraph. I was invited speaker at debating societies at Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, Exeter, UCL., and University College, Dublin.

I was an invited panellist at the British Library event, You're Fired'? Reviewing the Trump Presidency at the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library 21 Jan 2021.

I have been an invited speaker at numerous festivals, including the Hay Festival (2016), Battle of Ideas (every year since 2011), Sunderland Literary Festival (2017), and Belief and Beyond Belief festival at the Southbank Centre 4 March, 2017.

Last updated 16 November 2021