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British Association for American Studies


AGM 2003


AGM 2003

BAAS 2003 Annual General Meeting

Minutes of the 2003 Annual General Meeting, held at University of Wales, Aberystwyth on April 13, 2003.

Treasurer – Nick Selby (to 2006)
Committee – Janet Beer (to 2006), Ian Scott (to 2006), Tim Woods (to 2006)

The Treasurer circulated a draft of the audited accounts, which was approved. There was limited discussion regarding the old Leeds Building Society Account. NS reported that he is still attempting to trace the account. PD reported that BAAS has rationalized accounts significantly over the last several years. NS asked members with information on the account to contact him directly. Steve Mills asked NS to contact members who hadn’t returned giftaid forms.

The Chair provided a comprehensive report of the year’s activities for American Studies as a discipline. The report included mention of:

1. Media enquiries on American Studies topics, ranging from the BBC to The Malay Straits Times, as well as coverage of American Studies in the THES (including ‘Don’s Diary’)

2. American Studies under threat at Keele and BAAS’s vigorous response

3. The passing of key American Studies colleagues, including three former chairs: Frank Thistlethwaite, Dennis Welland, and Peter Parish. The chair was also sad to report the deaths of Alan Conway and Duncan MacLeod.

4. Consultation with professional and academic bodies, including the Commission on the Social Sciences, the Arts and Humanities Research Board, the Higher Education Funding Council, the British Academy, the Economic and Social Science Research Council, the QAA, and the Standing Conference on Arts and Social Science

5. The launch of the Area Studies Network

6. Several conferences and projects, including the AMATAS project, the EAAS conference in 2002, the BAAS postgraduate conference at Sheffield.

7. The short term award and other prizes, to be announced at the Conference Dinner

8. Promotions, appointments, and other successes for BAAS members

9. The success of journals related to American Studies, particularly the Journal of American Studies, and American Studies On Line, with newly or soon to be launched journals such as Comparative American Studies, Journal of Transatlantic Studies, and Atlantic Studies: Literary, Cultural and Historical Perspectives on Europe, Africa and the Americas.

10. Thanks to the members of BAAS who volunteer their time, particularly on the BAAS Committee. Special thanks were extended to the Treasurer, Secretary, and subcommittee chairs, as well as Janet Beer, Mike McDonnell, Celeste-Marie Bernier, and Nick Selby whose current terms of office were completed (JB and NS were subsequently re-elected to their positions).

11. A welcome to the Transatlantic Studies Association who joined BAAS in Aberystwyth.

12. Thanks to the US Embassy for support of postgraduate attendance, STAs and other proposals.

13. Final thanks to the organizers of the conference, including the conference subcommittee chair, Mike McDonnell, the conference convenor, Tim Woods, his colleagues on the faculty at Aberystwyth, and Moira Shearer and the Aberystwyth conference office

The Secretary announced that the Committee wished the membership to consider whether we should bring forward a formal amendment to the Constitution to restrict BAAS prizes (including STAs and Essay prizes) to BAAS members. The Secretary stressed that an amendment could not be proposed for this year, but only for the 2004 meeting, and that the Committee, having had long discussions about the issue, wished to gauge the full membership’s feelings on the matter. Arguments for and against the restriction were both expressed. Arguments for restrictions included ensuring that our members benefited from our generosity; arguments against included the fact that all research in American Studies strengthens the discipline, whether or not the researchers were formal members of the organization. A proposal to restrict the prizes was passed by a 2 to 1 majority. The Secretary will discuss an appropriate wording of the amendment with Charities Commission and will bring forward the formal amendment next year.

Conferences: Mike McDonnell thanked Tim Woods and Moira Shearer and the administrative staff at Aberystywyth for their efforts at organizing the 2003 conference, and he extended an invitation to members to give feedback on the conference, directed to the Secretary, Heidi Macpherson. Next year’s conference, organized by Sarah MacLachlan, will be held at Manchester Metropolitan University from 15 to 18 April. The following year, Cambridge will host the 50th anniversary conference. The Committee is currently looking for future bids for future conferences, with Nottingham a possibility for 2006. The Chair of the Conference subcommittee will circulate announcement inviting bids. MM closed by thanking the association for an enjoyable three years on the committee.

Publications: Janet Beer gave a summary of the past year’s activities within the publications subcommittee. The EUP BAAS paperback series, edited by Simon Newman and Carol Smith, with assistance from Nicola Carr at EUP, continues to produce good quality paperbacks. The editors are always keen to see new proposals. This year also saw a new editor of BRRAM, Ken Morgan. BRRAM has a higher profile on the webite and a number of important projects underway. Members who are aware of good archives should contact Ken Morgan, Carolyn Masel, or Janet Beer with that information. The Journal of American Studies has a new cover, a new reviewers’ database, and two new members on the editorial board, Professor David Seed, and Professor Walter Hoelbling. The website has been redesigned, with many new links and resources, and is currently receiving up to 120 hits a day. ASIB, edited by Graham Thompson, continues to be a source of important information, and US Studies On Line has recently published a selection of papers from the last BAAS postgraduate conference. JB closed by offering thanks to Jay Kleinberg (editor of JAS), Ken Morgan, Simon Newman, Carol Smith, and Graham Thompson.

Development: Simon Newman reported on the year’s activities, noting the central place of the essay prize and the STA prizes, as well as introducing the new Ambassador’s prize. BAAS has sponsored several conferences, including a schools conference, several postgraduate conferences, and work of the Scottish Association, and welcomes proposals in support of conferences year round. As Chair of the subcommittee, SN responded to the HEFCE review of the RAE. Plans for the 50th anniversary celebration are continuing, and members are urged to contact Jenel Virden with ideas. SN offers thanks to Jude Davies for representing BAAS on the area studies network and LTSN.

Libraries and Resources: Ian Ralston, the new library and resources subcommittee meeting chair, began by thanking Iain Wallace, who has now retired, for his long service to committee. He extended thanks as well to Richard Bennet, Duncan Hayes and Kevin Halliwell. IR reported that the newspapers holdings database on the website (which is also available by link as American Resources Center website) has been a popular resource for American Studies scholars. Looking to next year, he reported that plans exist for a new seminar workshop, directed at lecturers, postgraduates, and librarians. He is also keen to enhance membership of committee. PD reported that the library newsletter is free to members who request it; interested parties should contact Ian Ralston or Nick Selby.

EAAS: Jenel Virden made her first report as EAAS representative. She attended her first EAAS meeting Athens, from 20-23 March for meeting, at no cost to BAAS. Next year’s meeting will be held at the conference in Prague from 2-5 April. One issue for EAAS was the selling of mailing lists, which was a much debated topic. JV also reported that the conference proceedings from Graz is soon to be published. The next EAAS newsletter is in press and should be better than the former one which suffered from deadline problems. The latest newsletter will have the Prague workshops listed, and BAAS members can propose papers to those workshops. The EAAS website and logo are being redesigned. The 2005 meeting will be held in conjunction with the 50th anniversary celebrations at Cambridge; the 2006 venue is still uncertain. The Russian Association has been included in EAAS. As a final note, JV recorded that BAAS members have been successful in putting forward proposals for the Prague conference, with 3 stream lectures and 6 workshop proposals to be chaired or co-chaired by British scholars.

1. Jude Davies reported on the AMATAS project for Alan Rice. The project has now finished. Outcomes included the delivery of 23 workshops, a booklet by Neil Campbell, and 2 conferences (one on 9/11 at Winchester May 2002, and one featuring George Ritzer, at UCLAN, in January2003). Copies of the final report of project are available.
2. Sue Wedlake reported that April 2005 is centenary of Senator Fulbright’s birth. The Embassy will be organizing some events, and hopes to link these events to BAAS’s 50th anniversary. Members are invited to contact Sue Wedlake with ideas.
3. BAAS records its thanks again to Tim Woods, Martin Padget, Mike Foley, and Helena Grice for their help in organizing the 2003 conference.