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

British Association for American Studies


Meeting 238


Meeting 238

BAAS Executive Committee Meeting: April 17, 2004

Minutes of the 238th meeting of the Executive Committee, held at Manchester Metropolitan University on April 17, 2004.

1. Present

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


K Cooper, P Thompson, T Woods

In Attendance

S Wedlake

2. Minutes of the Previous Meetings

These were accepted as a true record.

3. Matters Arising

There were no matters arising.

4. Chair’s Business

A) The Chair circulated a report on eleven recent activities and engagements that he has fulfilled where he has been able to publicize BAAS. Not all of these invitations were received as Chair of BAAS, and all but one were funded without recourse to BAAS funds. These events included the following: a memorial service for Professor Richard Neustadt; a guest lecture at the regional Historical Association; a meeting of the Committee of Academicians, Academy of Social Sciences; Pembroke College memorial event for Mary Eccles; lunch with Dan Sreebny; presentation to the Area Studies conference hosted by the LTSC in Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies; presentation to a conference on the 30th anniversary of Watergate in Florida; presentation to the Orlando Museum of History, Florida. Detailed mention was reserved for the following: PD attended the formal inauguration of UK Council of Area Studies Associations (UKCASA) where he was elected Chair, with support of BAAS. PD also reported on the successful “Elections on the Horizon” conference, which he convened at the British Library, and which attracted over 100 people from the UK, the US, Germany, Austria and Sweden. A book is planned as a result. In addition, PD convened a workshop and chaired a parallel lecture at the EAAS conference in Prague.

B) PD also reported on several media contacts, including several publications in the THES (a piece on the US elections by Huw Richards, separate items on American Studies and Area Studies, and a Soapbox article on American Studies). PD also reported on an interview with Good Morning Wales on the Iowa caucuses; an interview on CNN on the State of the Union and the 2004 elections; an interview by the Press Association in relation to Janet Jackson’s performance at the SuperBowl; an interview by Leicester Mercury’s technical reporter on Americanisation and the use of the internet. In addition, PD was contacted by Princess Productions (tv) as an expert on US presidents and scandals, as well as by Stryker McGuire of Newsweek on the state of American Studies. Additional media opportunities came from the BBC on various fronts, mention in the Guardian “Don Your Way” review of De Montfort University, and publication of a Contemporary Review article on BAAS.

C) It was agreed that the Committee should invite THES reporters, particularly Huw Richards, though he works independently, to the 50th anniversary conference. JB suggested that the Committee should invite the new editor, John O’Leary, as well.

D) Following the last meeting, PD continued the discussion with CUP in relation to JAS subscription as requested. CUP replied on Tuesday, agreeing to BAAS’s proposal in full. The Treasurer will be able to make the following proposal to members at the AGM: from January 2005, full membership of BAAS to include delivery of JAS. Full membership (including JAS) £41. Student membership with JAS £28, Student membership without JAS £13. These rates will be maintained for three years, if members vote for this. JB wished it to be recorded that the Committee was very impressed with CUP and their generosity.

E) PD reported that the Eccles Centre is sponsoring a plenary lecture at the 2004 conference, and offered to sponsor one at the 2005 conference on the same terms. JB reminded the Committee that we had discussed having a Fulbright presence, and suggested a joint Eccles Centre/Fulbright plenary address. It was agreed that S Wedlake and PD would discuss this with Fulbright, but that if Fulbright were not interested in the proposal, the Eccles Centre would sponsor a lecture.

F) PD reported on the RAE consultation document (previously circulated via emaiL) on “Panel Configuration and Recruitment” which was published in March. Sub-panel 48 is “English Language Area Studies (incorporating American Studies)”; what appears to be meant is “Anglophone Area Studies.” A response is needed by mid-May (May 19tH). The Latin Americanists are unhappy with the current structure. PD has not heard from the Canadianist community. James Dunkerley is going to be at the conference, and it was suggested that contact be made with him on the issue. One suggestion was to lobby for a panel called “American Studies incorporating other Anglophone area studies” which would allow US Studies, Comparative Studies, Caribbean, Canadian, Latin American, etc. and would also give a home for the very few other Anglophone Area Studies. The new Chair and Executive are going to have to take a considered view and act on this consultation very quickly. The Post-AGM Executive should take the remit of this discussion onwards. SN suggested we needed to get an idea of how the Committee feels at present. JK was concerned that the RAE has been problematic for American Studies, with decreasing numbers of entrants; but the methodological approach is key, rather than the language base for Area Studies. SN suggested that panel L is effectively Area Studies. JB argued that the title was problematic, and a variety of suggestions were put forward, including Studies of the Americas, but the problem remained for such Area Studies as Australian Studies. Other suggestions focused on transnational issues, “American Studies and Anglophone Area Studies” (but this precluded Canadian Studies to a certain extent, amongst others) or on turning around the order of the phrase: “American Studies and English Language Area Studies.” If BAAS gets agreement from Latin American, Canadian, and Caribbean colleagues, a joint response would be best. BAAS is listed as an association to be consulted in relation to this, as well as UKCASA. After a considered discussion, the Executive agreed that the new Chair should formulate a response based on this discussion and discussion with peers in other related fields just after the conference.

G) PD noted that the new UK Council of Area Studies Associations has agreed a Constitution and has elected its officers. PD is Chair (with the support of BAAS colleagues). Tony Chafer is Treasurer, Dick Ellis is Secretary, and Mike Smith is Vice Chair. Founder member Associations will shortly received a letter asking them to join by making a donation to UKCASA of between £50 and £150. Many Area Studies Associations are very small groups. American Studies is one of the larger groups, and PD hopes that it will join, and that its founding donation will reflect its size and health. Treasurer will receive a letter and joining form in the next few weeks. The Committee supports a donation of £150. The Treasurer is now empowered to make that donation.

H) PD reported that the International American Studies Association has approached BAAS, inviting it to become a national member. IASA would like 10% of membership charges. This would be roughly £3 per full member, less for student members. Each member would then be able to go to the conference as members and therefore have the benefit of reduced conference fees. The other membership benefits are less clear at present. The previous conference was good, and the Ottawa conference looks as if it will also be a good conference. JV asked if there was a similar benefit to joining ASA. PD reported that Bob Burchell had arranged an agreement that we can, without cost, go to the ASA conference as members (and their members can come to BAAS conference as members). JB suggested that this be published in the newsletter and that the new Chair reinforces this connection with ASA at the earliest opportunity. In relation to IASA, it was felt that the benefit of joining on those terms is not clear enough yet, since they have yet to publish a journal, which makes the £1300 approximate fee too high. It was agreed that a letter would go out to them, noting that the expense was too high, but indicating willingness to discuss and encourage other kinds of links with IASA.

I) PD noted that BAAS had had a request from AHRB to nominate people for the peer review college, and that this had been done by announcement on mailbase, for individuals to self-nominate. A number of Americanists put themselves forward.

J) PD announced the following promotions or awards: Richard Carwardine has become the first non-American to win the Lincoln Prize-the most generous book prize in American History. The new Professor of American Foreign Relations at Nottingham is Matthew Jones. Liam Kennedy has been offered the new Chair in American Studies at University College Dublin. Peter Stoneley received a Chair at Reading. Simon Newman received the American Studies Network book prize. Congratulations were extended to them all.

K) PD offered thanks on behalf of the Committee to JB for again helping to organize the Executive meeting at Manchester, noting how invaluable the location has been in recent years. Thanks were also extended to Sarah MacLachlan and the MMU team for mounting an ambitious and top quality conference programme.

L) JK offered thanks to PD for all his work to BAAS as chair and as member in relation to the cause of American Studies. The Committee concurred.

5. Secretary’s Business

A) The Secretary circulated correspondence received, including notice of the Academy of Social Sciences AGM and an invitation to the CBS Center for the Study of the Americas in Copenhagen.

B) HM reported on actions taken as Secretary, noting that her main role revolved around information flow. She has updated our records with national surveys (Gale, etc.); distributed calls for papers, conferences, etc. through the listserve; continued to add to the externals list; forwarded minutes and Committee membership information to the Accountant for the end of year report; attempted to track down old BAAS publications for members and the general public; forwarded information to the Treasurer regarding membership queries; put a notice of the AGM in ASIB; facilitated initial discussions of the revival of Northwest BAAS; liaised with the BBC about speakers on American Studies issues for their programmes; and liaised with postgraduates about opportunities in BAAS and/or the American Studies community.

C) HM asked the Committee to be proactive in seeking nominations for the Committee at the Conference, as five vacancies had arisen on the Executive, as well as the Chair and Postgraduate member.

6. Treasurer’s Business

A) The Treasurer reported that current membership figures stand at 547 members, including 174 postgraduates.

B) Balances on 14/4/2004 are as follows: Current account: £1921, Conference £9626, Lib. Res. £1215, Ed. Development: £1918, STA £20463, Deposit £21224, making a total of £56367. In addition, the RBS Jersey has £14548, and US dollar account has $2406. There is a slight problem in that accounts for Jersey which NS is following up, and therefore the RBS figure is the September figure. The purpose of the RBS figure was discussed; it is there to pay potentially outstanding debt, if BAAS is ever wound up. The Committee has empowered the Treasurer to look into moving the account for better return and easier communication.

C) The Treasurer circulated draft copy of the Accountant’s Annual Report. NS noted that it is still pending clarification on the Halifax (old Leeds) Building Society Account, but BAAS have yet to hear back. BAAS hopes to recover £674. The Accountant was awaiting the end of year balances, but this has now been confirmed. NS is pursuing final paperwork for the Midland BAAS account, which was wound up. There was also one more fraudulent payment to O2 but this was now recovered. JV asked how much BAAS pays the accountant, and NS reported that the figure was £1233.

D) NS’s written report included information on the JAS subscription offer, but this was already covered under the Chair’s report. PD noted that changing the subscription fees was a big job for the Treasurer, and that the Executive will need to take a pro-active role here. NS queried what will happen to the members who already subscribed to JAS; they will need a refund, and NS is to discuss this with CUP. SN discussed the issue of Direct Debits again, and NS is to pursue this further.

E) Since the last meeting, NS has been in touch with Masoud Yazdani of EJAC about BAAS’s continuing involvement with EJAC after last year’s agreement to send the journal free to our membership. MY was keen to continue to offer the journal to our members and suggested a figure of £1 per copy plus the cost of postage, which would be about £3 a year. The Committee felt that although it was a generous offer, we cannot move to it at present given the potential change to membership fees in relation to JAS. In telephone discussions, a fall back position was announced, which was that Intellect could offer journal to BAAS members for £10 a year, provided that BAAS could mail that information out to members. The Committee felt that it support the £10 offer and a mailshot with ASIB. NS is to liaise with MY.

F) In relation to Gift Aid, NS is still awaiting forms R68 (2000) and R68 (New Gift AiD) from the Inland Revenue to allow us to start claiming Gift Aid. NS will telephone them next week.

7. Development Subcommittee (SN reportinG)

A) SN was pleased to report on a variety of prizes awarded in the last few months, and offered thanks to all of the judges, who volunteer their time and remain anonymous. The winner of the BAAS Postgraduate Essay Prize was announced as Paul Edwards from Nottingham for his essay, “Reimagining the Shopping Mall.” The Ambassador’s Awards went to the following students: undergraduate award went to Mark Brighouse (Merton College, OxforD) for “American Foreign Policy 1880-1914: The Relative Importance of Economic, Strategic and Psychological Factors”; the postgraduate award went to Brad Jones from the University of Glasgow for “American Revolution in a Trans-Atlantic Landscape: Loyalty and Identity in Glasgow during the Revolutionary Era.” All essays and prizes are judged anonymously. There was a discussion about the future of the Ambassador’s Awards, which the Executive hopes will continue. If so, it was agreed that in future, it might be helpful to have the subject of the prize more open. The publicity for the Awards has been very good for BAAS, and the Embassy was thanked for its role in relation to this.

B) SN reported on further discussions in relation to the BAAS teaching assistantships and the 50th anniversary conference. The University of Virginia is happy about having a postgraduate panel at 50th Conference where BAAS pays fees but not travel. Peter Boyle has yet to take the offer to New Hampshire, because they wanted faculty space and/or a plenary, but this is not possible. SN is to discuss this further with PB and Tim Woods.

C) SN reported on the School teacher’s initiative. The Embassy is paying for teachers to come to the 2004 conference, and the State Dept. is paying to create a guide for American Studies teachers, and will fund several meetings with school teachers. Discussions are ongoing regarding the form of the Guide, but thoughts are around websites rather than publishing a book which may be soon out of date; it is important that this should be seen as a teaching resource website. SN extended thanks to Kath Cooper, Ian Ralston and Ian Scott for their work on the initiative.

D) HM asked about extending the co-optation of the current teacher member. IR suggested that with so many initiatives at present, it would be wise to keep KC on, if she agrees to be coopted. The Committee empowered the Secretary to approach KC about remaining on the Committee for a further year.

E) JK asked that BAAS make formal representations to the Vice Chancellor at Brunel regarding the American Studies closure. PD suggests that the new Chair should liaise with JK and other Americanists at Brunel, which had one of the oldest American Studies Departments in Britain. NS is an external at Brunel and he has written to Steven Schwartz and received a reply, which he circulated. The Executive’s consternation and disquiet at this closure was deeply felt, and the Executive requests that the incoming Chair continues correspondence with Brunel University. SW reported that if any future AS Departments are under threat, the Embassy can also write letters to Vice-Chancellors. SC suggested that it is important for us to support the discipline and our colleagues in many various ways, including in relation to the RAE. PD reported that there are roughly 45-50 places offering American Studies at undergraduate or postgraduate level, but that who offers the programmes is under some flux. CS suggested contacting Heads of AS departments and asking, confidentially, about the state of their programmes so that BAAS can be proactive rather than reactive, and it was agreed that the new Chair should do this when he is introducing him or herself to the Heads. It was noted that ASIB is also a good place to share these ideas, and there was a discussion about an annual directory of Americanists, both within and outside of American Studies departments.

8. Publications Subcommittee (JB reportinG)

A) JB circulated the CV of a potential new member of the Editorial Board of CUP; the Committee agreed with the nomination, and the Secretary will write formally to CUP on this matter. JK is very pleased with CUP’s proposal for linking BAAS and JAS more fully and reported that the August issue is a special issue on African-American civil rights and resistance, complete with a review essay on Martin Luther King. Two names were put forward in relation to the next JAS lecturer, and the Committee is in favour of these nominations.

B) GT reported that though there had been plans to change the Website provider, this had not proved possible. GT had established BAAS email addresses for Committee members who had asked for them, and the Committee noted how helpful they found the website to be. In particular, pamphlets were considered a very good resource-GT is to contact others to get electronic copies for the website, if possible. Most popular hits continue to be ASIB and the newspaper database, and there has been a noticeable increase in hits on website over the last few months: 213 unique visitors per day for last month.

C) GT discussed with Dick Ellis a website for publishing the table of contents for various American Studies journals. JV suggested EAAS as a logical site for this, rather than just BAAS. GT is to pursue this further.
D) The next ASIB deadline for copy is August 1st.

E) JB noted that this would be her last report since she was standing down from the Committee. The Committee offered thanks to JB, and NS thanked JB for her previous work as treasurer.

9. Conference Subcommittee

A) TW was not able to attend the meeting because of personal reasons, but hoped to attend the conference, and JV reported on an email she had received from TW. Sarah Meer has been announced as the contact at Cambridge, but there was concern that there hadn’t yet been a CFP (later it was discovered that a CFP had gone out in the conference pacK). It was agreed that TW should contact Tony Badger about arrangements. JV and SW are still planning to go to Cambridge to look over the plans. Mike Sewell is also going to be involved, and Ann Holton.

B) JD indicated that it is hard to get people to organize conferences. The institution does so much of the organization, but perhaps BAAS can have a bigger role, especially in relation to choosing papers, and become centrally involved in organizing conferences. This hasn’t arisen before because BAAS has always had a lot of confidence in the people doing the organization of conferences, but this is no reason not to be more proactive as a Subcommittee.

C) JB is to introduce Sarah Meer to JV and get Tony to liaise with her. It was agreed that the Conference subcommittee could be a programme committee, which would necessitate other meetings. Some discussion followed about BAAS web publication with ISBN/ISSN from conference papers; TW is to pursue possibilities with the subcommittee and with GT.

D) JV reported that Kent have made a good proposal for the 2006 conference; there are still some details TW wants to discuss, but Kent was recommended to the Committee. The Committee authorized TW to offer the conference to Kent, subject to sorting out minor details.

E) JB formally gave the MMU Vice Chancellor’s apologies for not being able to make the conference.

10. Libraries and Resources Subcommittee (IR reportinG)

A) IR reported that details of the “Cultural Artefacts and American Studies” conference have been finalized and IR has copies of the booking form. It will be held June 15th at the Rothermere Institute. GT will post details on website; information is already available on the American Studies and STAR websites. There will be sessions from colleagues on a Native American photograph project, the immigrant experience, slavery, and theme parks as artefacts. IR offered thanks to everyone who took part in organizing the conference and the Embassy who have offered a grant to cover a substantial element of speakers’ costs.

B) IR noted that discussions regarding the subcommittee’s contribution to the 50th anniversary celebration are pending.

C) IR reported that Duncan Heyes, editor of the BLARS newsletter, has moved to a different section in the British Library. A replacement is now in place, but IR thanked DH formally for all his hard work.

D) IR noted that the BLARS newsletter is currently published twice a year. In order to maximise material, IR has proposed that it is published once a year, and should be widened to increase content in ways that are relevant to all colleagues in AS community. This proposal will be discussed next month. IR appeals to colleagues to feed information on databases and other relevant information to him.

11. EAAS (JV reportinG)

A) JV circulated the EAAS report for the AGM. There are currently 4300 members of EAAS. Accounts are produced but audited internally. JV is to pursue this further.

B) JV reported on the European issue of American Studies journals. JV circulated a copy of the French Revue Francaise D’etudes Americaines “Stemming the Mississippi” which is available for only 9 euros for members. The next national journal to offer the European issue will come from Turkey, followed by Italy.

C) JV noted that the EAAS website is much improved. Currently the web address is but there is a move to change it to and the EAAS logo has now been tendered.

D) JV reported that future member requests have come from Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Israel.

E) JV noted that the 2006 conference will be hosted by Cyprus, or Athens/Thessalonika if there are any problems with the location, and the dates are April 7-10 for 2006. The theme is “Conformism, Non-Conformism and Anti-Conformism in the Culture of the United States.” The 2008 conference will be held either in Oslo or Moscow.

F) JV reported that the Prague conference had gone well-JV distributed the conference programme. There were 373 registrations (Bordeaux had 500) but only 36 were graduate students. PD suggested that all workshop chairs use money for postgraduates. JD indicated an imbalance between stream lectures and workshops (1 in 26 choice of workshops). Some bursaries were available for postgraduates and advertised on EAAS website, which CM made the BAAS postgraduate community aware of, but the newsletter problems made this difficult.

G) JV reported that the Statutes and status of EAAS are under review.

H) JV reported that the American University in Beirut had been awarded $5 million to establish an American Studies Center.

I) The EAAS elections took place: the new President is Marc Chenetier of France and the new Treasurer is Hans-Jurgen Grabbe of Germany.

J) JV reported that the EAAS Grants for postgraduate scholars received matching funds of $12,000 from Fulbright, DC.

K) JV reported that the ASN book prize was awarded to Simon Newman and that the EAAS conference proceedings from Graz, “Nature’s Nation”, were now out, at a discounted rate of 20 euros. In addition, the EAAS history and archives were being established by Walter Holbling.

L) The 2005 meeting is going to be at Cambridge, the day before the BAAS conference begins.

M) Finally, there was a full discussion of the ASE Newsletter. JV expressed concerns at the EAAS meeting, and it was made an agenda item at 2 meetings. BAAS paid 2595 euros last year, or around 6 euros/4 pounds a year per member, and one of the member benefits was considered the newsletter. Many suggested ways forward for the newsletter, given the fact that distribution was a problem. One way forward was to produce it on-line, but there are problems with members without email/web access. At the EAAS meeting, it was proposed that national members keep and photocopy newsletters as needed for those people. A further argument was that everything in the newsletter was on web anyway. This could save 10,000 euros which could be used for other purposes. JV suggested that BAAS cut its subscription, but this was not received well. EAAS representatives argued that subscription wasn’t really based on newsletters, but that it was just a convenient way of sorting out finances. JV reported that her argument was: what is BAAS getting for its money? The answer was: European issues of associate journals, biannual conference, information as a service, student grants, and conference proceedings at a reduced rate. In the end it was resolved that 1) Vice President Gülriz Büken will coordinate whole newsletter. 2) The next deadline is 30 May for next newsletter. 3) There will be a plan for an on-line version with print version for those without access. To this end, BAAS needs to let EAAS know how many copies we would need. JV’s next report to ASIB will be detailed so that BAAS members are fully aware of the current situation.

N) The Committee’s response was that it was important to inform members of the situation. Moreover, SN indicated that our auditor may be uncomfortable with the EAAS accounts not being properly audited, and JV agreed to present our response as an opportunity to help EAAS.

12. Fiftieth Anniversary Planning (JV reportinG)

A) JV reported that ideas for the questionnaire were evolving, and that it would be finalized soon, put on the website and on ASIB.

B) JV reported on the 50th anniversary CD compilation, and it was suggested that it could include favourite song/movie for all membership; a separate Executive CD has been produced.

13. Any Other Business

A) There was no other business.

14. Date of next meeting

28 June at 11am at Cambridge, subject to final confirmation

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)




Invite THES staff, particularly the new Editor to the 50th anniversary celebrations (ref 4c)

Chair and TW


Finalize plenary lecture plans between Fulbright and Eccles Centre (ref 4e)

PD, TW, and SW


Consult widely on the RAE document (ref 4f)

Chair and Full Executive

19 May

Offer donation to UKCASA of £150 (ref 4g)



Re-establish links with ASA, publicizing the member benefit of attendance conference, once re-confirmed (ref 4h)

Chair, to liaise with GT for ASIB and website dissemination


Respond to IASA membership request (ref 4h)



Explore other account possibilities for the funds in the Jersey account (ref 6b)



Finalize accounting for the Midlands BAAS account (ref 6c)



Liaise with CUP regarding current members who subscribe to JAS regarding refunds (ref 6d)



Explore possibility of direct debits subscription collection (ref 6d)



Respond to EJAC query (ref 6e)



Follow up Gift Aid (ref 6f)


Beginning of May

Finalize plans for Univ. Virginia and New Hampshire relating to the 50th anniversary conference (ref 7b)

SN, TW and Peter Boyle


Write to Brunel University in relation to closure of AS programme (ref 7e)



Establish dialogue with AS heads in relation to programmes (ref 7e)



Contact authors of BAAS pamphlets regarding e-versions for the website (ref 8b)



Pursue plans to publish tables of contents of American Studies journals on a relevant website (ref 8c)

GT to liaise with Dick Ellis


Liaise with conference secretaries about planning for 50th anniversary and the 2006 conference, and consider how to involve the Subcom more fully with the planning process, paper selection, publication prospects (ref 9b and c)

TW and Conference subcom


Forward relevant information for BLARS newsletter to IR (ref 10d)



Write up piece for ASIB on EAAS and the newsletter (ref 11m)


By next ASIB deadline

Pursue issue of external auditor for EAAS accounts (ref 11n)