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

British Association for American Studies


Meeting 235


Meeting 235

BAAS Executive Committee Meeting: June 28, 2003

Minutes of the 235th meeting of the Executive Committee, held at Rothermere Institute, Oxford on June 28, 2003.

1. Present

P Davies (Chair), H Macpherson (Secretary), N Selby (Treasurer) J Beer (Vice Chair), J Davies, J Kleinberg, S MacLachlan, C Morley, I Ralston, I Scott, C Smith, G Thompson, P Thompson, J Virden

Apologies: S Castillo, K Cooper, S Newman, T Woods

2. Minutes of the Previous Meetings.

NS noted typographical corrections on the minutes from the last meeting as well as the minutes of the AGM. These were corrected. The minutes were then accepted as a true record and will now be posted on the website.

3. Matters Arising

Any actions noted on the last minutes which have yet to be completed will be appended to the action list below.

4. Chair’s Business

A) The chair thanked the RAI and Peter Thompson for hosting us in Oxford and welcomed the new members, including co-opted members, to the Committee. Kath Cooper has agreed to be co-opted for another year, having first been co-opted in 2000. The Committee may wish to start thinking about other teachers’ involvement from 2004 onwards.

B) Chair’s activities since the last meeting included sending thank you letters to retiring Committee members and to the Aberystwyth conference organizers; he also sent a letter informing Robert Cook of his Miller Prize. Allan Lloyd Smith of the Miller Centre is working on revising the wording of the eligibility criteria for the Miller Prize.

C) On behalf of BAAS, PD has attended the following meetings or events: ALSISS Committee of Academicians; the retirement reception for Prof. Gary McDowell (IUSS); the IUSS Board meeting. PD reported that the Institute is on going and still planning events and a full programme, but no part-time students are being recruited for next year, only full time ones. There was some concern expressed over the future of the Institute, but JB noted her involvement with the review of the Institute, and assured the Committee that the terms of reference for the review are positive.

D) PD also attended UEA conference “In Our Time”; the Regional Studies Association conference; the International American Studies Association conference in Leiden; a reception at the residence of Glyn Davies, a Minister at the US Embassy; the Centre for American Studies lecture at the University of Leicester; the “Challenges to the Modern Presidency” conference at the British Library; and the Bryant Lecture at the BL. He was unable to attend Fulbright reception.

E) PD has received correspondence from Alan Dobson, who emailed to thank BAAS for its help in facilitating the Transatlantic Studies Association’s participation at Aberystwyth conference.

F) PD reported that the ASIE which announced the 2004 conference workshops is now out. JV is arranging for corrections to be made to the BAAS entry. A number of Committee members noted that they had yet to receive their copies. It is likely that this is because of problems with the address labels. PD and JV reminded the Committee that the information is available on the new EAAS website.

G) PD reported that the free distribution of EJAC to members has started.

H) PD reported that a PhD student has asked for advice on postgraduate supervision, which he circulated to the Committee. Committee members should send suggestions to him of possible names.

I) Dates for next conference have been passed to CUP and acknowledged.

J) PD circulated an announcement regarding a meeting for a new umbrella Area Studies organization to be held 5 November in London.

K) PD received an update from UCN, which reported that American Studies staff there will be located in the new School of Social Sciences. Thanks were extended to BAAS for their intervention on UCN’s behalf.

L) PD received an update from Peter Boyle regarding the progress of the students who are currently undertaking the BAAS graduate assistantships at the Universities of Virginia and New Hampshire. The reports for each student were very positive, and the scheme will need to be taken forward again, with awards presented at the next BAAS conference. HM and JV will once again be involved in the interview process. There was some discussion about interview procedures. HM to contact Peter Boyle.

M) PD reported that the organization of a proposed Pan American Teaching Conference has been delayed. There is a postponed LTSN conference that might feed into it. The issue is ongoing.

N) PD discussed the AHRB call for bids on ring-fenced awards. JB reported on the initiative. 19th century American literature doesn’t have sufficient scholarship, and 18/19th century American history are under-researched. JB will put together the “Expression of interest” form, with the title, “American Literature and History in the long 19th Century”, and a 150 word outline of the subject area. There was a general discussion regarding the nomination of four evaluators, who could give impartial views of subject area, but who were not immediately connected to the subject area. Particular consideration was given to a number of individuals JB and PD to progress.

O) PD announced new appointments: Richard Godden has been made Chair at Sussex University, and Edward Ashbee has been made Associate Professor in American Studies at the Copenhagen Business School. Congratulations were extended to them.

5. Secretary’s Business

A) The Secretary circulated a paper on details of correspondence received, including the following: Notices of Academy of Social Sciences AGM and minutes, and various reports from them, including: Honorary Treasurer report; Honorary Secretary report; Annual Report; Report to the Director; two Summary reports; Interim Summary of Results; and Summary of Key Findings; The Academy of Social Sciences “One Voice” Response to Current Debates paper; The White Paper Response from the Academy of Social Sciences. HM also received and circulated monthly e-circulars from the UK/US Centre and minutes of the 9 January AHRB Subject Group meeting.

B) HM reported that since the last meeting, she had updated BAAS records with annual surveys and had updated the external examiners’ list. She intends to send another mailbase notice to ensure that people are aware of the list.

C) HM reported that she had consulted the Charity Commission regarding the restriction of STA awards to BAAS members. The Committee studied the correspondence received. It was not deemed necessary to change the Constitution, but it was decided that BAAS will state that preference for such awards may be given to BAAS members. The guidance notes will therefore need to be revised.

D) HM noted that actions taken on behalf of BAAS since the last meeting also included updating the Charity records at the end of May with the names of the new trustees.

E) HM received an inquiry from a member of the public regarding a particular coin issued in California in the 19th century; IS agreed to investigate the matter.

F) HM reported that Barry Cooper, a History teacher at Epsom College, had enquired about cultural tours of the USA; IR agreed to contact him in relation to this.

G) HM noted that she had acted as the BBC contact point for a new programme on America in May 2003.

6. Treasurer’s Business

A) The treasurer reported that current membership is as follows: fully paid up: 438, including 125 postgraduates; still to renew: 168, including 77 who still needed to renew their Standing Orders. NS will do a mailshot to all non-renewed members this summer.

B) NS reported that BAAS balances are as follows: Current: £2687; Conference: £6827; Lib. Res.: £1101; Ed. Dev.: £2302; STA: £23,270; Deposit: £12,659. Total £48,846. (RBS Jersey £14,548).

C) NS circulated a draft letter requesting a £10,000 grant from the US Embassy to help with the conference. The letter included a full breakdown of costs. The Committee approved it.

D) NS reported his correspondence with Elizabeth Clapp regarding the MBAAS account. There is a balance of £276.96 in that account, which should be forwarded to BAAS shortly. NS is pursuing this.

E) NS is still pursuing the Halifax (old Leeds) Building Society Account. The latest information is that in February 1996, the account gained interest of £11.27. NS is to contact Alun Munslow to see if he closed the account.

7. Development Subcommittee (PD reporting)

A) PD chaired the subcommittee in SN’s absence. The subcommittee recommended that BAAS award £200 to ASRC at Liverpool John Moores towards their annual conference, which was agreed by the full Committee. Deborah Appleton at Glasgow, who is organizing the BAAS postgraduate conference, sent a letter requesting funds. PD reported that our standard grant is £100, but that we need a full outline of costings. JB suggested that we raise the standard grant to £150 for postgraduate conferences. This was agreed. Susan Manning sent a full application for the “Across the Great Divide” Symbiosis Conference requesting £150 to subsidize postgraduate attendance. This was agreed. The Eccles Centre made a request for £100 for a conference for teachers on 21 October (£50 each to two UK speakers). This was agreed. The Institute of US Studies sent information about a postgraduate conference to be held 25 October, with the request that BAAS publicizes the cfp. This was agreed; information is to go out on the Website and on the mailbase.

B) PD reported on the progress in relation to the Ambassador’s Award publicity. Several draft posters were circulated to the subcommittee; JV will be working on taking that forward. The posters also advertise the STAs and BAAS essay prize, and BAAS membership.

C) Prior to the meeting, SN circulated an email regarding BAAS’s response to the Roberts’ Report. He then drafted a response, but would like more input. PT remarked that we had moved into a “defence of subject” position. JK agreed that this position was important, especially for small subjects. PD and SN to move this forward.

D) Under AOB, IR gave an update on ASRC at LJM, noting the need to defend and develop the Centre.

8. Publications Subcommittee (JB reporting)

A) JB noted that she had received a full report on BRRAM activities from Ken Morgan, who had attended the morning meeting. The Barham papers project had been put on hold because Lord Clarendon, the owner of the manuscripts, had refused permission for the microfilming. The Edward Long project was advancing and may be released in mid-2004, and the Nathaniel Phillips papers have now been contracted. BRRAM hopes to contract a project on the US Civil War but has no specific commitments as of yet. The Walt Whitman sales had been disappointing. BRRAM hopes to increase its library sales. Anyone with ideas of contacts should get in touch with KM. KM will write up a notice for the ASIB. JK is to look into advertising rates for JAS.

B) JB reported that the EUP series is going well. CS circulated a handout on sales and production. The Taylor book is in production, and books by Newman and Hultheser are under contract. Books by Kaufman and West have both been approved, and a number of proposals are in various stages of readiness. There was a request from EUP about a discount and subscription system for BAAS paperbacks, with a proforma distributed to members. The meeting agreed to allow this venture to proceed; CS to take forward.

C) JB reported that the next ASIB deadline is 15 August. The current issue has fewer conference reports than had been hoped for, but another call will go out soon. There had been a number of requests for advertising flyers for the next issue.

D) JB noted that submissions to JAS are somewhat down. JK reported that this may have something to do with the increasingly segmented nature of the market, with new journals appearing in specialized areas. It was agreed that editorial board members and BAAS Committee members should make approaches to individuals if they hear a good paper—and encourage them to submit it to JAS. JK is reported that she is writing to all those who were invited to “revise and resubmit” their articles to encourage them to do so.

E) JB asked colleagues to suggest names for the 2005 JAS lecture. The 2004 lecturer will be Prof. Phil Morgan from Johns Hopkins University, a specialist in slavery, who was strongly recommended by the Early Americanists. The title of his paper will be announced shortly. The 2003 lecture by Emily Budick was well received; Prof. Budick is in the process of revising it for submission to JAS.

F) JB reported on the progress of the “Theses in American Studies” project. It has been decided that the most appropriate site of publication for this is now the spring issue of the ASIB; GT is to draft a notice for the next issue, asking students or supervisors to send information on work in progress and recently completed PhDs. CM reported that IUSS is also working on a similar project. GT is to liaise with them.

G) JB closed by noting that the web page is running smoothly, and asked for thanks to be minuted to our Webster, Graham Thompson.

9. Conference Subcommittee (JD reporting)

A) Tim Woods sent his apologies, and Jude Davies chaired the subcommittee in his absence. JD reported that feedback on the 2003 BAAS conference at Aberystwyth had been positive. JD is to act as contact point for all feedback, positive or negative, which can feed into subsequent conferences.

B) JD reported on progress in relation to the 2004 conference at MMU. Because of the necessity of hotel accommodation at £50 a night, costs will go up. However, all rooms are double rooms, thus allowing for sharing and the lowering of costs. Current figures are as follows: full residential single occupancy, £275; full residential double occupancy, £200; non-residential £125. The situation for postgraduates has yet to be finalized, but it is proposed that there be an upfront discount, rather than a later refund, at a set number (48 subsidies of £100 each, making the rate for postgraduates who share accommodation £100).

C) There had been a full email discussion of proposed dates for the 2005 Cambridge conference, and concern over the fact that the proposed dates were in term time for many universities. It was suggested that the dates be moved to 14-17 April, a Thursday-Sunday format. The Committee approved this decision; TW to liaise with Cambridge.

D) JD reported that TW is still consulting with Nottingham to check whether they still want to organize the 2006 conference. There has also been a bid from Sussex. PD reported that interest has also been expressed by Leicester, Kent and Worcester, and a formal call should go out on email, as per the actions list of the last minutes.

E) PD asked about paper offers for MMU. Numbers are low at the moment, but this is to be expected. Further advertising is required. NS is to include a CFP in the next membership drive.

10. Libraries and Resources Subcommittee (IR reporting)

A) IR reported that the next subcommittee meeting is on Thursday, 3 July, at John Moores. At this meeting, Victoria Roberts and Pippa Harris are coming up to talk about the Portal Project at the IUSS.

B) IR noted that he and Duncan Heyes at BL have discussed extending the content of newsletter. They have solicited articles from librarians in US, and have decided to include book reviews from the American Studies Resource Centre.

C) IR reported that the US newspaper database continues to be successful, and that the US Embassy has put links to it. Other good projects are following on, which will hopefully involve IUSS and Eccles Centre.

D) PD reported that he would write a letter regarding the consolidation of Senate House and other smaller libraries’ collections.

11. EAAS (JV reporting)

A) JV circulated the EAAS 2004 conference workshop list. She will get in touch with EAAS about problems with the newsletter, and send copy for the BAAS website. JV reported that the EAAS website is much improved.

B) JV noted that the 2005 meeting in Cambridge is going ahead, and she will coordinate details with TW and the Cambridge conference organizer.

C) JV reported that the Graz proceedings have been delayed. In addition, the “Stemming the Mississippi” issue of the European journal has been delayed, and Marc Chenetier is no longer the French representative for EAAS.

D) JD asked for an update on the EAAS-IASA relations, which generated a full discussion. Although there are some issues to work through, PD reported that IASA is not an association of associations, but an individual membership association, and thus should not be considered competition. The IASA Conference was good, PD reported, but different from EAAS, with 37 countries represented, many of them outside Europe. IASA serves a different but overlapping constituency. IASA may now have their next conference in 2 years, not as planned in 3 years, in order to avoid overlapping with EAAS.

12. Fiftieth Anniversary Planning (JV reporting)

A) JV suggested that BAAS co-opt Sue Wedlake onto 50th anniversary committee, as well as the Cambridge organizer; the Committee agreed.

B) JV reported that Louis Billington was pleased to be asked to put together a paper on members’ interests, as had been suggested at the last meeting.

C) JV discussed plans initiated by Dan Sreebny for a 50th anniversary CD, and SN’s plans for a survey of BAAS membership. It was decided to send the survey out with the membership list. IR mentioned the PR possibilities, and the fact that the BBC might want to report on that.

13. Any Other Business

A) JB raised the issue of Saturday meetings, noting that professional activities such as BAAS meetings should be held during the working week. In addition, most of our meetings occur outside of teaching times, though it was noted that this might be an issue for the teacher representative. It was agreed to pilot a mid-week meeting from the January meeting.

B) The Committee expressed its thanks to Gillian Fullilove of the RAI who spent the day at the Institute in order to facilitate our meeting.

14. Date of next meeting

There was a long discussion about possible dates and venues. The two main options were 27 September at a London Venue or 4 October at MMU HM subsequently conducted an email poll, and by majority vote, it was decided that the next meeting would be held 4 October at MMU.

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)

Explore the possibility of a Pan American Teaching Issue conference, and availability of the BL as a venue (ref 4g from the minutes of 234)

MM, TW, and PD


Develop set criteria/grid for judging/awarding prizes (ref 7c from the minutes of 234)

JV to liaise with SN


Publicize call for conference bids for 2006 and following (ref 9d from the minutes of 234)

PD to liaise with MM and TW


Liaise with Peter Boyle regarding Teaching Assistantships and interview procedures (ref 4l)

HM and JV


Send out another call for externals to join the BAAS list on the mailbase and ASIB (ref 5b)



Revise guidance notes for STAs regarding preference being given to BAAS members.


In time for the next round.

Correspond with member of the public regarding a Californian coin (ref 5e)



Correspond with Barry Cooper regarding a cultural tour of the US (ref 5f)



Follow up old BAAS accounts (MBAAS and Leeds/Halifax Building Society Accounts) (refs 6d and e)



Publicize IUSS CFP on mailbase and website (ref 7a)

GT (liaise with PD)


Work on Ambassador’s Prize posters and advertising (ref 7b)

JV to coordinate


Draft full response to Roberts’ Report (ref 7c)

SN and PD (full Committee should make representations)


Work on improving the profile of the BRRAM series (ref 8a)

KM to draft notice for ASIB; JK to check on JAS advertising.


Progress new BAAS paperbacks proforma/discount promotion (ref 8b)

CS to discuss with EUP


Draft notice for ASIB regarding Thesis in American Studies topics and pursue publication of details; liaise with IUSS (ref 8f)



Liaise with Cambridge regarding revised Thursday-Sunday dates (ref 9c)



Add 2004 conference CFP to next membership drive (ref 9e)



PD to write a letter in support of London libraries (ref 10d)



Coordinate EAAS meeting with 2005 conference (ref 11b)

JV to coordinate with TW and Cambridge representative


Finalize and distribute survey for 50th anniversary (ref 12c)

SN and JV to coordinate