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

British Association for American Studies


meeting 240


meeting 240

BAAS Executive Committee Meeting: September 25, 2004

Minutes of the 240th meeting of the Executive Committee, held at Manchester Metropolitan University on September 25, 2004.

1. Present

S Newman (Chair), C Smith (Vice Chair), H Macpherson (Secretary), N Selby (Treasurer) K Cooper, J Davies, C Elliott, J Kleinberg, S MacLachlan, I Ralston, I Scott, P Thompson, J Virden, T Woods


C Morley, M Padget, G Thompson

2. Minutes of the Previous Meeting.

Minor typographical errors were noted and corrected.

3. Matters Arising

There were no matters arising.

4. Chair’s Business

a) The Chair began by circulating materials he had received since the last meeting, including the AHRB strategy for research; NCUP Themed meeting on the Changing Role of the Professor; requests for new members of the Academy of Social Sciences.

b) SN noted that one of the founding members of the Association, Professor J R Pole (Rhodes Professor [Emeritus], Oxford) remains very active in the international scene and has just had a book translated into Mandarin; The Pursuit of Equality in American History (1993) will be published in Beijing early in 2005. Professor Pole is working on other projects as well: a revised version of the lecture on American Irony that he gave as a plenary at the Oxford BAAS conference in 2002 will appear in this summer’s edition of the literary magazine Raritan, and his edition of The Federalist (containing annotations on all the historical, literary and other references in the text) will be published by Hackett (Cambridge, Mass.) in November 2004. The activity of founding members is to be commended.

c) SN noted the following promotions and appointments: Roberta Pearson, Professor of Film at Nottingham; Mark Jancovich, Professor of Film at UEA; Dick Ellis, Professor of American Studies at Birmingham.

d) As Chair of BAAS, SN has participated in a number of media events. He was interviewed on the Richard Bacon programme on BBC Radio Five (29 August, on anti-Americanism and American Studies); by The Scotsman (3 September, on ‘The Alamo’); by British Services Broadcasting Service (3 September, on US presidential election and foreign policy); and by Radio Lancashire (15 September, on the electoral college and the presidential election).

e) SN reported that, following a story in the Financial Times by Rebecca Knight (26 August), Polly Toynbee published an op-ed piece in the Guardian linking the perceived decline of American Studies programmes to American Foreign Policy. In email correspondence with Judie Newman and Phil Davies, she admitted that American Studies was just a peg to hang the piece on, and was quite supportive, and BAAS officers agreed that a robust response was necessary. SN’s letter (plus various others) was published in The Guardian on 28 August. SN proposed that BAAS invite Polly Toynbee to the conference in Cambridge. The Committee supported this proposal.

f) SN reported that he has been appointed to the AHRB Peer Review College for American Studies, effective September 2004 for a three-year term. Other members of the subject community appointed to the 500-member Peer Review College include Ian Bell, Richard Godden, Howell Harris, Susan Manning and Judie Newman. BAAS is well represented on the panels that oversee the Peer review College: Janet Beer is a member of Research Panel 3 (Literature), Pete Nicholls is a member of Postgraduate panel 3 (Literature), Richard King is a member of Research Panel 4 (History), and Jay Kleinberg is a member of Postgraduate Panel 4 (History).

g) SN reported that on 12 July 2004, he met with James Dunkerley, to discuss the Institute for the Study of the Americas, and to coordinate Latin Americanist/Canadianist/Caribbeanist/US Studies nominations to the RAE Panel.

h) On 3 August 2004, SN submitted a response to the ESRC Consultation on Future Priorities, setting out and defending American Studies. He also announced that Marina Moskowitz (Glasgow) has received a two year fellowship from the ESRC.

i) SN is planning to attend the ASA in Atlanta in November as head of a national organization. He asked the Committee to consider what it wants from ties with the ASA, and to forward any ideas to him by the end of October. JD wanted to ensure that we set up long-term links, particularly since Shelley Fisher Fishkin, the current ASA president, with whom BAAS has close ties, will be stepping down next year. TW would like to stress the usefulness of American exchanges for US students. JD would like to stress the organizational links between national American Studies associations, noting that BAAS should be the first point of contact in Britain. SN reported that SFF is trying to set up links in Eastern Europe and Asia with specific institutions (Georgetown with Beijing, for example).

j) SN noted that nominations for membership to the various RAE panels for RAE 2008 were due by 15 September. In a meeting with the officers, a number of nominations were put forward which conformed with the various official and unofficial rules of nomination, such as ensuring a third of the panel members have prior experience and ensuring that nominees would still be working colleagues in 2008. SN is clear that what BAAS needs to consider next is the position of American Studies, since the vast majority of our members will not be submitted under the American Studies subpanel. We need to ensure that funding bodies don’t assume that the size of the submission is the same is the size of the cohort. We also need to try to make sure that cross-referencing to the American Studies panel is undertaken, wherever appropriate. CS noted that it is good to isolate specific elements in the written submission—and suggested that BAAS come up with a form of words as a method of supporting colleagues in other disciplines who are writing their subject’s RAE submissions. Other suggestions included a briefing at the Cambridge conference, which would fulfil a number of functions, not least showing BAAS’s proactive approach. In addition, BAAS might produce a small pack to show how subject knowledge is cross-disciplinary. This would be helpful for colleagues in department/subject groups who are debating whether or not to submit under the American Studies subpanel. It is clear that BAAS must take a leading role in disseminating information, both to help colleagues strengthen their submissions and to enhance funding opportunities.

k) SN reported that JD’s term as a representative on the Subject Centre Advisory board has finished, and Ian Scott has agreed to replace JD.

l) SN announced that the named £1000 Short-Term Travel Awards previously discussed had been agreed, and that information about the awards should go on the web and via email on the mailbase. BAAS is keen to encourage people to propose larger projects. Priority is given to applications from postgraduates and from new members of staff, but BAAS will encourage all UK-based members to apply.

m) SN noted a number of upcoming conferences, including the postgraduate conference at Birmingham (6th November), the foreign policy conference (5th November) and the SASA conference at the University of Dundee (2nd November).

5. Secretary’s Business

a) The Secretary noted that increasingly, correspondence is coming via email, and distributed to relevant colleagues the same way. During this quarter, the Secretary did not receive any items for distribution that hadn’t already been circulated.

b) HM reported on actions taken as Secretary, including updating records with national surveys; signing the official Accounts; distributing calls for papers, conferences, and information; adding to the Externals’ List (which is growing slowly); forwarding information to the Treasurer regarding membership queries, particularly from lapsed members; liaising with Northwest BAAS; and directing people with research queries to appropriate sources.

c) HM reported that she had worked with the other officers on the RAE panel nominations.

d) HM attended the JAS editorial board meeting in London and met with James Dunkerley to discuss the new Institute for the Study of the Americas. This was a fruitful meeting, and HM noted that ISA is keen to take a leading role in defending and promoting American Studies. To that end, their publishing arrangements, previously based around Latin American Studies, will be opened up to American Studies colleagues. HM has agreed to help ISA promote its new initiatives.

e) HM was interviewed by The Daily Telegraph regarding American Studies and anti-Americanism, but it does not appear that The Daily Telegraph published an article on the issue.

f) HM reported that Catherine Morley has received her PhD and has just been appointed Assistant Director of Academic Programmes at the Rothermere, and has offered the Rothermere as a site for the next meeting.

6. Treasurer’s Business

a) NS circulated a report on membership and balances. Membership figures stand at 554 members, 175 of which are postgraduates. This is the highest they have ever been, and includes a number of previously-lapsed members. NS reminded the Executive to make sure colleagues who change affiliations let NS know so that their membership records can be kept up to date.

b) Balances on 21/09/04 are as follows: Current account: £2582, Conference £9626, Lib. Res. £766, Ed. Development: £169, STA £19,850, Deposit £19,975, making a total of £52,968. In addition, the RBS Jersey has £14,712.74, and US dollar account has $2406.

c) NS noted that the year end accounts have been received from the accountants, countersigned by NS, HM and PJD and returned to the accountants. The relevant information from these accounts has been submitted to the Charities Commission as part of BAAS’s annual submission. The Accountants want the Executive to consider a risk assessment of areas of vulnerability, and to review the level of reserves that we currently have. Given the 50th anniversary, it may be worth considering how to disperse funds to promote the event. Suggestions from the Executive included scholarship funds, subsidizing conference costs, funding awards/bursaries for studying towards an American Studies PhD, and a special issue of JAS to commemorate the 50th anniversary. This issue could incorporate the key note speech and papers presented at the conference (all, of course, subject to the standard peer review process). Another option would be co-publication as a paperback book. These matters were discussed in detail. JD noted that the letter from the accountants suggests a long-term change rather than a short-term reaction, and suggested a Working Party on funding special projects. TW agreed with JD, stressing, for example, how expensive PhD bursaries are; the Committee would need to consider carefully any big or long-term investment. TW would prefer to devise something that would raise the profile of American Studies with schools or with applicants going to study at British universities, such as a prize for the Best American Studies undergraduate. IS noted that the Development Subcommittee needs to think about how to fund the Schoolteachers’ Initiative. NS noted that BAAS would need to think about the levels of continuing funding, so we can earmark specific amounts of funding year on year and take a long-term view. Our risk assessment could be precisely focused on conferences, since conferences might make a loss (which is why the off shore account was originally set up). It was generally felt that projects should be decided on their merits. CE would like to see further support for postgraduates. SN noted we are committed to making the conference affordable for postgraduates and our other members. It was agreed that a Working Party would be set up to look at these issues, and that it would include the Treasurer, Ian Scott, and Jay Kleinberg.

d) NS reported that since the last meeting, he had made successful bids to the Embassy for the named Short-Term Travel Awards, to celebrate the 50th anniversary (5x£1000, totalling £5,000); the Ambassador’s Awards (£1000 for the postgraduate essay award, to include travel and accommodation subsidy; £500 for the undergraduate essay award, as a cash prize, and publicity costs of £1000, totalling £2,500), and for conference support (postgraduate/teacher bursaries, 50x£100, totalling £5,000; Committee expenses, £2,000; publicity, £600, totalling £7,600 overall). Thanks are extended to the Embassy for their generosity.

e) NS is pursuing the possibility of subscription by Visa/Maestro/Switch, and is awaiting further information from the bank.

f) There was an additional attempt to defraud the accounts via direct debits, but this was thwarted.

g) NS reported that there has been no further correspondence from EJAC regarding their publishing proposal.

h) NS noted that GiftAid is still in process; he was awaiting year-end accounts.

i) NS reported that, following Polly Toynbee’s Guardian article last month, which in turn followed the FT piece about declining interest in American Studies programmes amongst students, he took part in a live discussion with Toynbee on BBC World Service, and was interviewed by The Daily Telegraph’s Liz Lightfoot.

j) NS reported that a mailshot will go out soon regarding new subscription rates.

k) When asked about the old building society account, NS noted that passbook details are still being chased.

7. Development Subcommittee (IS reporting)

a) IR reported that the Schoolteachers’ Initiative is ongoing; he met with KC and other teachers on 15 September. Key members of the team setting this up include IR, IS, CE, and KC. They are in a position now to consider website funding and personnel, and will ask colleagues to be involved, contributing to and distributing information about the project over the next few months. It is hoped that by the date of the next BAAS Executive meeting, key personnel will be in place, and that a session or sessions at Cambridge will be taken forward. There is a need to consider continuing funding over and above the Embassy funding. Hard copies of publications may be a possibility. IS is to contact GT about the project.

b) IR reported that the Development Subcommittee had 5 requests for funding to consider. The Scottish Association for Study of America (SASA) requested funding for their yearly conference at Dundee on Nov. 2. They asked for £200 as in 2003 to help postgraduate travel costs, keynote speakers and panel chair costs. Development Subcommittee would like to endorse it, though they did note that the flyer had BAAS in small letters and a condition of the funding would be to make the BAAS logo more prominent. BAAS Northwest requested funding for a joint meeting with the Caribbean Research Seminar in the North to be scheduled for May. They request £150 for refreshments and travel expenses. IS submitted an additional request for a total of £150 for funding all of the 2004-05 BAAS Northwest series of seminars in conjunction with local universities. BAAS Northwest hopes to reach a diverse audience of teachers, academics, and non-BAAS members. CS thought the proposal was a good one but wanted the Development Subcommittee to ensure that all regional associations are treated fairly. The Library and Resources Committee has decided to revamp newsletter; “Resourcing American Studies” is the new title, which will cost about £1000 to produce. The Committee has an Embassy grant of £800 and requests £200 from BAAS to ensure that this production can go forward. The BAAS Postgraduate conference in Birmingham submitted a funding request of £100 so that the current registration of £12 for postgraduates could be reduced to £9 to encourage more participation. The Executive Committee supported each of these five funding recommendations.

c) IR noted that the postgraduate conference in November was originally due to be held at Reading, but that Birmingham has taken over the planning of the conference at very short notice; BAAS thanks Birmingham for its assistance. Publicity has been an issue and the programme of events is not yet clear. There was concern over the information on the website, which was incorrect, and further concern that the proposed title might dissuade literary studies students from attending. Changes are due to be made to flyers and web information.

8. Publications Subcommittee (CS reporting)

a) CS reported that the BRRAM editor, Ken Morgan, could not attend the Subcommittee meeting, but he will send an email report which will be distributed later.

b) CS noted that the EUP series continues to do well. Mark Newman’s The Civil Rights Movement has been published by both EUP and Praeger in the USA, and a proposal on Black masculinities has gone to readers. The editors would like more proposals, and will ensure that another call for proposals will go in the spring newsletter.

c) CS reported that the JAS editorial board meeting was held on 24/9/04. CUP is happy with new relationship with BAAS. There will be a new on-line reviews section—and colleagues with ideas for areas to review should contact JK for more information. The reviewer database has grown. A special issue on 19th century literature is in the pipeline, and it was agreed that the proposal for a conference special issue should be outlined and taken forward if feasible. CS reported that submissions of articles had risen, with rates of acceptance for UK scholars remaining higher than for US scholars or scholars from the rest of the world. As previously noted, Shelley Fisher Fishkin has agreed to give the JAS/CUP lecture at Cambridge. From now until next meeting, the Publications Subcommittee is looking to nominate and approve 4-5 new members of editorial board. JK is to contact Joe Mottershead and CS soon regarding the exact figures, taking into account retirements from the board. It is particularly important to consider esteemed colleagues in popular culture/cultural studies/ politics/ international politics and to follow the procedures agreed this summer between CUP and BAAS in relation to the nomination of editorial board members. Confidential suggestions for appropriate board members should be forwarded to CS and JK in the first instance, who will liaise with each other about potential candidates and bring CVs to the next meeting for detailed consideration. JK would also like the Committee to begin planning for her succession so that it works smoothly (her term ends on 31 December 2006).

d) CS noted that the BAAS website has been redesigned and upgraded to conform to the latest disability regulations.

e) CS reported that the next newsletter is due out soon, which will have the 50th anniversary questionnaire (there will also be an online version). The spring deadline is 7 January 2005; this is before the next meeting, so colleagues will need to ensure that they send any material to GT before then.

f) CS reported on discussions about the US Studies On Line editor. CM’s term on the BAAS Committee finishes in spring and as noted, she now has her doctorate. Thus it makes sense to look for a successor. CM will edit the next 2 issues, and CS will put out a call for a new editor, working closely with CM and GT on the appropriate details, including a job description. Applications, by letter and CV, will have a deadline of 1 December.

9. Conference Subcommittee (TW reporting)

a) TW reported that the main business of the morning meeting was the Cambridge conference, particularly in relation to accommodation and prices. The biggest single issue is that Cambridge still only has Robinson booked up, which leaves the conference short of about 80 places, working on the assumption that 350 people may attend. Suitable alternatives include Sidney, Sussex or Clare to host up to 80 members. Costs are estimated at £335 for BAAS members, £230 for postgraduates. It is recognized that Cambridge is an expensive place, but these figures are high, particularly for postgraduates. There is a possibility of an additional £10,000 which would cut costs to £310 and £205 respectively. The issue of evening entertainment is as yet unresolved. Cambridge will approach Joe Mottershead (he is a disc jockey and in a band) given this close links with BAAS. TW is to continue to liaise with SM on these matters.

b) TW noted that publicity is well underway. Cambridge colleagues have requested assistance with paper and panel selection.

c) TW reported that the American exchange universities (Virginia and New Hampshire) have been approached about panels, through Peter Boyle. Postgraduate students’ proposals from these universities, should they meet threshold quality, will be accepted for the conference in recognition of our institutional links. Space has been reserved for another panel, on the history of BAAS, to be chaired by Michael Heale. To date 49 papers have been proposed. Kwame Anthony Appiah has confirmed his acceptance of a keynote lecture, as has SFF. The Eccles lecturer has yet to be confirmed. Other special sessions (for teachers, postgraduates, Early Americanists, and US exchange programmes) will need to be advertised and timetabled. Two other potential special sessions, one on grant applications and one for American Studies heads, are possibilities; SN and TW are to liaise with SM to look at inviting representatives from the AHRB and/or ESRC. There was also some discussion of the attendance of the EAAS committee.

d) TW noted that a 50th anniversary event tied to the conference might include a performance by the Reduced Shakespeare Company. The 50th Anniversary Survey will soon be launched on the web. There was some discussion of launching a 50th anniversary scholarship. TW is to contact Sue Wedlake to discuss further any Fulbright involvement at the conference or in relation to the 50th anniversary.

e) TW recommended that the Committee accept the conference bids from the University of Leicester for 2007 and the University of Edinburgh for 2008. The Executive supported these bids, and TW is to contact the bidders with the results.

f) TW reported that according to the current state of accounts, allowing for various minor adjustments, it appears that the MMU Conference account is about £2000 in credit.

10. Libraries and Resources Subcommittee (IR reporting)

a) IR reported that the Subcommittee met on 15/9/04 to discuss the failure of the summer conference and the restructuring of the newsletter. The conference had problems in relation to the programme, timing, and location, and the Subcommittee will take note of these issues in relation to any future plans.

b) It has been agreed to change from a twice-yearly to an annual newsletter, with a different format to reach a broader audience.

c) IR reported that in relation to the 50th anniversary, the Subcommittee plans to write an article on 50 years of resourcing American Studies. IR is liaising with Iain Wallace, John Pinfold and Peter Snow on the writing and production of the article, which will be included the Cambridge Conference pack.

11. EAAS (JV reporting)

a) JV reported that she has sent updated membership information to EAAS.

b) JV noted that the new Chair of EAAS is keen to improve the number and quality of EAAS initiatives, particularly those related to younger colleagues and postgraduates.

c) JV reported that the Ministry of Education of Belarus has closed the European Humanities University.

d) JV noted that the EAAS newsletter is available on the EAAS website. It was agreed that a link should be set up to the newsletter on the BAAS website, given the fact that hard copies of the newsletter have apparently been discontinued, despite resistance to this move from BAAS.

12. Fiftieth Anniversary Planning (JV reporting)

a) JV reported that due to personal circumstances over the summer, she had not been in a position to take forward the proposals from the last meeting. However, she reported on a number of ideas, including ensuring that the celebrations extend beyond the Cambridge conference. Some ideas included a major speaker in London; a 50th anniversary fellowship/travel award to be awarded at Kent; or a series of events and speakers subsidized by BAAS over the next 12 months.

b) JV reported that she will act as a coordinator for the 50th Anniversary Surveys.

c) PT suggested that BAAS sets up a legacy fund, publicized in relation to the 50th anniversary, and ring fenced for scholarships. This idea met with approval, and PT is to draft a notice for inclusion in the next issue of ASIB, in consultation with SN.

d) It was agreed that BAAS will sent out a “call for ideas” in relation to the 50th anniversary, on the mailbase and Web. JV to coordinate.

13. Any Other Business

a) There were no items of any other business.

14. Date of next meeting

15 January at the Rothermere, Oxford, starting at 11am with Subcommittee meetings.

Dr Heidi Macpherson, Secretary.

Phone (office): (01772) 893039 or 893040

Fax: (01772) 892924


Action List (please refer to minutes)


Extend invitation to Polly Toynbee to the conference in Cambridge (ref 4e)



Consider ways to link successfully with ASA (ref 4i)

All committee members to forward suggestions to SN

31 October

Consider ways to support RAE submissions and ensure the profile of American Studies in relation to them; produce a pack of materials (ref 4j)

SN to coordinate responses from colleagues


Liaise with ISA to the mutual benefit of ISA and BAAS (5d)



Constitute Working Party on funding and explore long term funding ventures (ref 6c)

NS, IS, and JK

Before next meeting

Pursue Visa payment options (ref 6e)


Before January

Pursue GiftAid (ref 6h)



Pursue resolution to the missing passbook issue (ref 6k)



Continue developing Schoolteachers’ Initiative and contact GT about joining the team/publishing info (ref 7a)



Send out another call for proposals for the BAAS paperbacks series (ref 8b)

CS and SN

7 January 2005

Make recommendations for JAS editorial board nominations and gather relevant CVs (ref 8c)

CS, JK and SN

31 December

Draw up job description for editor of US Studies OnLine and advertise widely (ref 8f)

CS, liaising with CM and GT

Asap, by 1 November latest

Pursue additional accommodation for Cambridge Conference (ref 9a)

SM and TB with TW


Follow up leads on evening entertainment at Cambridge (ref 9a)

TW and SM


Constitute a paper/panel reading team (ref 9b)

TW and SM

After papers deadline has passed

Advertise special sessions and contact AHRB/ESCR representatives to attend conference (ref 9c)

TW and SM


Contact Sue Wedlake about Fulbright connections (ref 9d)



Write to Leicester and Edinburgh to confirm acceptance of their conference bids (ref 9e)



Liaise with IW, JP and PS on writing an article on resourcing American Studies (ref 10c)


By April

Set up weblink direct to EAAS newsletter from BAAS website (ref 11d)



Draft a statement about legacies and the 50th anniversary celebration (ref 12c)

JV and SN

By January meeting

Draft notice for ASIB on legacies (ref 12d)

PT and SN

7 January

Send out “call for ideas” for 50th anniversary celebrations (ref 12d)

JV and SN


British Association for American Studies

Committee Agenda 241.

The two hundred and forty-first meeting of the Executive Committee of the British Association for American Studies will be held on 15 January 2005 at the Rothermere, Oxford. Subcommittees will meet at 11am prior to the afternoon Executive meeting.

1. Apologies.

2. Minutes of the Previous Meeting.

3. Matters Arising and Review of Action List.

4. Chair’s Business.

5. Secretary’s Business.

6. Treasurer’s Business.

7. Development Subcommittee.

Report from Chair.

8. Publications Subcommittee.

Report from Chair.

9. Conference Subcommittee.

Report from Chair.

10. Libraries and Resources Subcommittee.

Report from Chair.

11. EAAS.

12. Fiftieth Anniversary planning.

13. Any Other Business.

14. Date of next meeting.

Dr Heidi Macpherson, Secretary

Phone: 01772-893039 or 893040

Fax: 01772-892924