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 role as co-founder and co-organizer of the Decolonisation Group @Utrecht University and is involved in decolonial initiatives within and beyond Utrecht University.
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.