Rachel Gillett is a tenured Assistant Professor in Cultural History at Utrecht University, teaching modern Europe and empire. Her research focuses on race in France, on popular culture, and on the black Atlantic from a French perspective. Her book At Home In Our Sounds: Race, Music and Cultural Politics in Interwar Paris, (OUP 2021) examines questions that continue to inform her work: How can one be both black and French? Was/is black solidarity more important than national and colonial identity? How does gender intersect with "race"? And how does music-making function politically? She has also written about World War I and anticolonial activism. Her current research examines the role of Hip Hop in European politics and identity, as part of a broader engagement with the history of racialisation and belonging in Europe. Another research strand examines global perceptions of France as a land of liberty. She maintains an active membership of the Decolonisation Group @Utrecht University, which she co-founded and formerly organised. Currently Rachel is PI on a large NWO consortium project entitled Re/Presenting Europe, which examines popular culture, representation, diversity, and belonging in Europe and the Netherlands. The consortium includes over 52 organisations ranging from Universities, Research Institutes and Grassroots Organisations to afterschool programs, and Hip Hop Schools.
Prior to joining the faculty at Utrecht Rachel graduated from Northeastern University with a Ph.D. in World History, and taught and served as the Assistant Director for Undergraduate Studies in the History and Literature Concentration at Harvard University. She received her undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in English and Honours in History, from the University of Otago, New Zealand.