Promoting, supporting and encouraging the study of the United States since 1955

British Association for American Studies


Meeting 234


Meeting 234

BAAS Executive Committee Meeting: April 11, 2003

Minutes of the 234th meeting of the Executive Committee, held at University of Wales, Aberystwyth on April 11, 2003.

1. Present

P Davies (Chair), H Macpherson (Secretary), N Selby (Treasurer) J Beer (Vice Chair), C-M Bernier, S Castillo, J Davies, J. Kleinberg, M. McDonnell, C Morley, S Newman, C Smith, G Thompson, P Thompson, J Virden


Kath Cooper

2. Minutes of the Previous Meetings

These were accepted as a true record.

3. Matters Arising

JV circulated copies of the SCASS Standing Conference on Arts and Social Sciences “one voice ” document response to Roberts’ review on funding for research.

4. Chair’s Business

A) The chair circulated correspondence received, including email from Derrick Murphy, chief examiner in history at A Level, regarding Collins history publications for school, reporting on a series of biographies of Americanists (JFK, LBJ and FDR); an email from Joe Mottershead regarding CUP non-appearance at Aberystwyth (books and journals will be displayed); JB asked that we ensure he diarizes the dates so that this doesn’t happen again, and PD agreed to do so.

B) PD reported that the QAA Higher Quality March 2003 issue refers to having consulted subject associations regarding nominations to Subject Benchmarking advisory group; when challenged, it became clear that they are still consulting CCASA, but this was not successful. Thus they relied on CUDAH to nominate for American Studies. JD wondered if this would open up a discussion for a replacement of CCASA. PD reported that at LTSN there had been a proposal for a replacement. JD reported it is still ongoing and at its early stages, but Maureen Perrie is on board. The proposal has our support in principle.

C) PD reported that he has responded to the British Academy circular on emerging and endangered subjects. A letter has previously been circulated to the committee and is available in the records maintained by the Secretary for consultation.

D) PD reported that Howard Temperley has informed him that the memorial service for Frank Thistlethwaite will be at Norwich Cathedral 4 October 2:30pm

E) PD reported that the latest American Studies Library Newsletter (ASLN) was recently circulated

F) The Commission on Social Sciences Report was received and circulated, and will be held by the Secretary. There was substantial coverage in the THES

G) John Canning, academic coordinator for Area Studies for LTSC, sent email announcement of new publication, ATLAS: Area Studies Project Bulletin, on pedagogy of Area Studies, disseminate news, publicize events. The Committee ensured its support. John Canning’s email suggesting co-sponsoring a Pan-American Teaching Issues conference with the LTSC and BAAS; this conference would include Canadian, Caribbean, Latin American and American Studies. PD asked for responses from Committee. There was general consensus that this was a good idea. PD mentioned that the BL may be available as a venue. MM to chase up through conference sub-com.

H) PD reported on initiatives being taken by the School of American Studies at Keele, and on developments at University College Northampton. Related correspondence is filed with the minutes.

I) PD announced the following promotions, appointments, and items about AS in the news: Neil Wynn has been appointed Professor of American History, University of Gloucestershire; Douglas Tallack has been appointed Chair of Universitas 21 steering group; Jenel Virden has been appointed to the Board of Examiners for ESRC Training Board. Sue Currell published an article on teaching AS with IT in the 28.03.03 edition of the THES.

J) The chair offered his sincere thanks to all members of the committee and the subcommittees for their work, contributions, and support over the last year.

5. Secretary’s Business

A) The Secretary circulated a paper on details of correspondence received, including the following: CCUE email Circulars form March and April; Bulletin and leaflet for UCL College Art Collections; invitation to 9 April Conference for ACSS regarding the response to White paper; Rothermere Institute circulars.

B) HM noted that actions taken on behalf of BAAS since the last meeting included responding to requests for mailing lists and other BAAS information, updating records with annual surveys, and compiling a list of potential external examiners. This list is slowly taking shape.

C) The Secretary reported that these minutes, after approval, will be posted on the BAAS website in the interests of transparency. In some cases, reserved items will not be posted but will be kept in the official records that the Secretary maintains.

6. Treasurer’s Business

A) The treasurer reported that current membership is as follows: fully paid up, 421; 176 still have yet to renew or change standing orders. 75 of those are still standing order people. NS will place a copy of information regarding this in conference packs or on the conference stand, as well as gift aid forms.

B) NS reported that BAAS balances are as follows: current account £1,064; main deposit account £18,073; conference account £11,127; library resources £451; education and development account, £2,298; STA account, £23,356 for a total of £56,369. There is also a total of around £ 14,500 in the off shore account. NS reported that the accountant raised some concerns about our level of funds and asked NS to make it clearer that BAAS is not running a surplus. NS assured him that the surplus, around £10,000, is balanced by embassy grants. The accountant suggested earmarking money on reserve for specific projects to clarify our position. NS has thus earmarked: £4,000 for web gateway project for last year and £1800 for purchase of new computer. The Library Resources Account is diminishing, so NS transferred £1200 into earmark fund for that, and £3000 for 50th anniversary celebrations. In addition, he gave the accountant details of how embassy monies break down. JK said we should make clear we are building up an endowment fund for the STA. SN enquired about giftaid revenue, which NS reported will go through the STAs.

C) NS reminded HM and PD that they needed to sign the Final accounts.

D) NS reported that postgraduates or teachers eligible for the Embassy bursary need to fill in the appropriate forms and return them to him by 1 June. Total bursary is likely to be about £80, but it depends on numbers who claim. CM to help

7. Development Subcommittee (SN reporting)

A) SN announced that the new Ambassador’s award was advertised in the conference programme, and that BAAS has received a significant amount of money from the Embassy for publicity. BAAS can also publicize our existing awards and STAs with the new award. SN asked for suggestions for posters, etc. SN reported that he had also budgeted for a £100 stipend for judges for these awards and suggested that we combine our current panels and this new award. A possible combination was for STA and the undergraduate award to be judged by the same people, with the BAAS essay prize and postgraduate award being judged by a second group. After much discussion, it was agreed to reserve a decision on this until we have more information regarding entry figures.

B) SN reported that the deadline for the award is early January. It will be supported for one year in the first instance.

C) SN noted that there were 7 entries for the postgraduate essay prize from 4 universities and he offered thanks to judges. Exceptionally, the prize was given to two applicants because the judges felt each was equally worthy. For the STA awards, there were 30 applicants, from 17 universities. The Peter Parish award was given for the first time. In total, there are 4 named awards of £ 500 pounds Winners will be announced at the conference dinner. JV suggested a grid to decide ways of judging, with selection criteria, and agreed to email a version to SN for discussion. The Committee was reminded that judges can be chosen from the full BAAS membership.

8. Publications Subcommittee (JB reporting)

A) JB reported that the BAAS paperback series continues to go well, with a good flow of proposals and completed manuscripts. The call for papers was successful and may be repeated, with reminders regarding the names of the new joint editors.

B) JB thanked GT for ensuring that BRRAM (British Records Relating to America on Microform) had a higher profile on website. She reported that many projects are underway, and that Ken Morgan has completed his first year as editor. KM will visit the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth in April to secure agreement to microfilm the Phillips Papers in the Slebech collection for 2004.

C) JB reported that Professor David Seed and Professor Walter Hoelbling had been invited to join the editorial board of JAS. She also noted that copies of the reviewers’ database were in the conference pack and on the website. There is currently a good flow of articles, but JAS always welcomes more. There’s a new cover from this issue.

D) JB reported that the Website has been redesigned with access to a number of sites, including US newspapers databases. The new look has made it more popular; between April and September, the site averaged 65-70 visitors a day. Currently, it averages over 120, with the resources page the most popular. This year, conference reports can be submitted directly to the website.

E) JB noted that US Studies On Line is thriving and this year has arranged for publication of selected papers from BAAS postgraduate conference.

F) JB recorded thanks to GT for successfully editing ASIB. JV asked why lists of past chairs were no longer included in the front cover. HM agreed to send the list to GT.

9. Conference Subcommittee (MM reporting)

A) MM reported that the 2003 conference had over 200 registered delegates, with more arriving. As predicted, numbers were down for the banquet but the figure was still healthy at 150.

B) MM offered thanks to Tim Woods and Moira Shearer for their efforts, and congratulations to Tim for becoming Dept. of Head recently and for the arrival of his new baby.

C) MM noted that the CFP for the Manchester conference was in the conference pack and that SM was going to bring fliers to the reception.

D) MM reported that the 2005 conference will go ahead at Cambridge, with Prof. Tony Badger as the contact point at present. Informal contacts have been made by more than one university interested in hosting the conference in 2006 and the next few years. It was decided to publicize a formal call for bids on the email list, the ASIB and the website. MM to liaise with GT and PD.

E) MM noted the absence of a delegates’ list for the conference; this was subsequently produced

F) MM recorded formally for minutes thanks to conference committee and all the local conference organizers he has worked with a Chair.

10. Libraries and Resources Subcommittee

A) There was no report on Libraries subcommittee. Ian Ralston has taken over as Chair and will attend subsequent meetings.

11. EAAS (JV reporting)

A) JV reported that she had attended the EAAS Meeting in Athens on March 20 (not paid for by BAAS funds) and that the next meeting would be held 2-5 April in Prague in conjunction with the conference.

B) JV reported that the EAAS has been approached from Sage and others regarding mailing lists. PD replied that BAAS cannot and does not sell its mailing list, or allow its mailing list to be under the control of others. The address list can only be used under BAAS control, to distribute materials that support members in their profession.

C) JV noted that BAAS has been asked if they want to buy any copies of the conference proceedings of the last EAAS conference from Free University at 25 euros each. After considerable discussion, it was agreed to buy 10 as potential gifts, to be donated to under-resourced libraries, particularly in Eastern Europe, at the discretion of EAAS. JV and NS to coordinate.

D) JV acknowledged that the EAAS committee felt that the last EAAS Newsletter was unsatisfactory. An electronic version was discussed in Athens, but EAAS prefers a paper copy, and notes that the US State Dept. has a printing office in Manila which has printed things for free in the past. EAAS is thus looking into using this facility. JV noted that EAAS wants an up to date list of members in Excel format for the sole purpose of distribution of the imminent edition of American Studies in Europe (NS confirmed this has happened) The deadline for the next newsletter was 6 April, but JV will send information on new members, etc.

E) EAAS is currently working on redesigning their logo and website. JV reported that the Belgian representative, Alain Piette, had told EAAS that they had sought help through the US embassy for redesigning their logo, and JV thought this might be something to remember for the future. In addition, there is a new webmaster, Hans-Jurgen Grabbe of Germany, and a new URL will shortly be in place, (currently

F) JV reported that the European Journal is ready for printing, based on the theme Mississippi, organized by the French Association. It will be published at 9 euros and includes a photo pack

G) JV reported that EAAS are looking for subsidies for postgraduates for the Prague conference.
H) Future EAAS meetings include Prague 2004 and England for 2005 (to coincide with our 50th anniversary celebrations). 2006 might be in Cyprus co-hosted by Greece and Turkey, or in either Athens or Amsterdam.

I) JV reported that EAAS is looking for EAAS subsidy for targeted members, and that there is a suggestion for US ambassadors to come to EAAS

J) Russian Association for American Studies has been unanimously voted into board of EAAS. EAAS recognises the need to come up with some criteria for working out who can become members.

K) For the Prague conference, there are 26 workshops planned, and Britain has a good presence.

12. Fiftieth Anniversary Planning

A) JV reported that the main news was that the EAAS meeting will be held at Cambridge, as noted above.

B) JV has been approached by Louis Billington who has nearly a full run of pre-journal of American studies booklet with articles (1957-67). He offered to write an article about the research interests of founding members of BAAS, perhaps comparing them to current members’ interests. It was reported that the Birmingham archive has first two years of the leaflet, so it’s possible these could also be included. There was some discussion about plenary lecture possibilities linked to this. JV to take this forward.

13. Any Other Business

A) CM reported that interest in BAAS postgraduate conferences was ongoing, and that she had put out an advertisement for more. Glasgow, Keele, and Oxford all replied with interest. As Glasgow had responded first, it was decided to ask them to take this forward for late autumn (Oct./Nov) 2003, with a schedule produced for subsequent years. CM to liaise with SN.

B) JB asked for confirmation of vacancies on the committee; HM replied that the treasurer position and 3 members were up for election; all incumbents were eligible to stand for re-election.

C) PD reported that Gary McDowell had resigned from the Institute of United States Studies in order to take up a named chair at the University of Richmond. He leaves post on the last day in May.

D) MM reminded members of the Early Americanist lunch on Sunday.

E) JV reported that she has workshop guidelines for EAAS to distribute.

14. Date of next meeting

At Oxford, RAI, 28 June at 11am.

Dr Heidi Macpherson, Secretary.
Phone (office): (01772) 893039 or 893020
Fax: (01772) 892924

Action List (please refer to minutes. Does not include information referred to other subcommittees for actioning)




Contact Joe Mottershead regarding dates of 2003 and 2004 BAAS conferences (ref 4a)



Explore the possibility of a Pan American Teaching Issue conference, and availability of the BL as a venue (ref 4g)

MM volunteered to discuss this further with the conference committee. MM has accepted an invitation from TW and PD to be co-opted onto the conference subcommittee.


Remind teacher/postgraduate conference delegates to claim refund by 1 June (ref 6d)

NS and CM

30 May

Develop set criteria/grid for judging/awarding prizes (ref 7c)

JV to liaise with SN


HM to send list of past chairs to GT (ref 8f)



Publicize call for conference bids for 2006 and following (ref 9d)

PD to liaise with MM and TW


Coordinate the purchase of Graz conference proceedings (ref 11c)

JV and NS


50th anniversary discussions regarding article on early research interests (ref 12b)



Contact Glasgow regarding 2003 postgraduate conference, and set up a rota for future years (ref 13a)

CM and SN