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

British Association for American Studies


meeting 243


meeting 243

BAAS Executive Committee Meeting: June 18, 2005

Minutes of the 243rd meeting of the Executive Committee, held at University of Glasgow on June 18, 2005.

1. Present

S Newman (Chair), C Smith (Vice Chair), H Macpherson (Secretary), G Thompson (Treasurer), R Crockatt, J Davies, C Elliott, W Kaufman, S MacLachlan, C Morley, M Padget, I Ralston, I Scott, G Thompson, J Virden.


K Cooper, J Kleinberg, T Woods

In attendance

G Conyne

2. Minutes of the Previous Meetings.

These were accepted as a true record.

3. Matters Arising

CS thanked everyone for their kind words, and the bouquet of flowers, on the birth of Rosa.

There were no other matters arising.

4. Chair’s Business

a) The Chair began by circulating some of the interesting enquiries he had received over the last quarter. These are becoming ever more varied.

b) The Chair noted the following promotions, appointments, and nominations: Martin Halliwell has been promoted to a Chair in American Studies at the University of Leicester; Professor Jay Kleinberg has been appointed to the International Board of the American Studies Association; and Robert H. Tuttle has been nominated as American Ambassador to the Court of St. James.

c) The Chair was invited to attend two events at the U.S. Embassy: the Reception for Departing Fulbright Scholars on June 16, which he was unable to attend, and the reception to bid farewell to Dan Sreebny, Dennis Wolf and Kimberley Murphy on June 7, which he was able to accept. JV, IS, Phil Davies, and Paul Giles also attended. On behalf of the Committee, SN thanked the Embassy officials for their willingness to work so closely with BAAS and for their support, and noted our desire to work successfully with the next incumbents of those positions.

d) The Chair received a message from Marc Chenetier, thanking Jenel, BAAS and Cambridge for hosting a successful EAAS series of committee meetings.

e) SN reported that Carol Smith was the only candidate for Vice-Chair, and thus has been elected for a second one-year term.

f) The Chair has been contacted by Sam Spicer, the IMAX Education Officer at the Science Museum (London), regarding a lecture by Dr. Paul Roches to accompany the December 2005 première of Magnificent Desolation: Walking On The Moon. The lecture will consider the conspiracy theories surrounding the Apollo moon landings; details of the event have been published on the BAAS email list.

g) SN has been contacted by Dr. David Gale, the Project Manager for Benchmarking Academic Standards at the QAA, who has written to the Chair regarding arrangements for the review of subject benchmarking statements. Area Studies will come up for review in 2007, and UKCASA and BAAS are listed as Subject Bodies to be consulted. SN circulated the information he had received. We will need to begin thinking about this at the next committee meeting.

h) SN noted that the tables ranking universities and programmes have been published by the Guardian and the THES. American Studies is not well represented in the latter’s table of ‘What Graduates Do?’ Our students go on to a wide range of professions, and this hasn’t been reflected. CS suggested that SN ask how institutions “rate” AS students (i.e., as AS or by a cognate discipline), so that we are fully aware of the picture, since sometimes, pathways are not necessarily clear. There is some concern over the percentage of respondents which may lead to inaccuracies in the figures. Niall Palmer (Brunel) and Kasia Boddy (UCL) have tracked student destinations in the past, and it was suggested that SN contact them to discuss their results.

i) The Chair has sent a message to all American Studies heads of departments and programmes, requesting updated contact information, feedback about current recruitment into 3 and 4 year programmes; and JYA programmes, and announcing a meeting of American Studies heads of department to be hosted by the ISA and organized by BAAS on 23rd September. SN noted that there has been a good level of response so far, with many respondents noting a concern over declining numbers. SN hopes to receive more information about this in September. It was noted that it would be useful to have this as an annual meeting. SN would appreciate, by email, agenda items for the meeting.

j) The RAE have now announced the membership of all of the sub-panels. John Dumbrell (Leicester) represents American Studies on subpanel 39 (Politics and International Studies), as does James Dunkerley (ISA); Ian Bell (Keele) and Susan Manning (Edinburgh) are on subpanel 57 (English Language and Literature); Susan-Mary Grant (Newcastle) is on subpanel 62 (History); and Martin Barker (Aberystwyth) is on subpanel 66 (Communication, Cultural and Media Studies). In mid-July RAE 2008 will be publishing the draft criteria and working methods for all RAE panels and sub-panels (
). It is important that we review these for all relevant sub-panels, and BAAS can then provide any feedback by the mid-September deadline. SN asked for a volunteer to be a focus person for responses for this. CS has agreed to do this. Thanks were extended to her.

5. Secretary’s Business

a) The Secretary circulated correspondence received, including the British Academy Policy review on E-Resources. Other correspondence has been circulated via email.

b) HM reported on actions taken as secretary, noting that after the initial flurry of activities after the conference, this has been a quieter quarter than usual. HM has helped direct people with research queries to the appropriate sources, and issued another call for people to access and update their entries on the American Studies Research Portal as requested at the last meeting. She has distributed calls for papers, conferences, research queries, etc. through the listserv; updated our records with national surveys/records esp. in relation to the STAs and other awards (and has already fielded questions about the 2006 awards); forwarded information to the treasurer regarding membership queries, especially from lapsed members; and written thank you notes to the conference secretaries.

c) In addition, she has been in contact with Mick Gidley about the old BAAS textbook series he edited, and as a result of these discussions, offered Longman permission to quote from a specific text for a book that they are publishing. HM organized the call for a new ASIB editor and liaised with Ray Ryan at CUP about a closer working relationship between CUP and BAAS (see Publications report below).

d) With the other officers and Ian Scott, HM has checked on the value of our postgraduate prizes. We will revisit this discussion in the September meeting.

e) HM has informed EUP that GT is the new treasurer, so royalty cheques should go straight to him in the future. She has also written to CUP regarding our JAS editorial board nominations, and informed them that GT is the new Treasurer.

f) In relation to the BAAS archives, HM has passed the archive document onto GT, and this is now listed on the website. She also met with the Chair to sift through old documents, and two more boxes of material are now ready to be sent to the archives. These are mostly subcommittee minutes and the like from the late 1990s and very early 2000s. HM reported that Michael Heale had written up a report on the BAAS chair audiotapes. She and SN proposed that BAAS ask Michael Heale to interview the three former chairs, Richard King, Judie Newman, and Philip Davies, who were not included in the original undertaking. The committee approved this measure, so HM will write to MH shortly. It was also proposed that BAAS look into transcribing the tapes and digitizing them. This was also approved. HM will take a lead on this matter.

6. Treasurer’s Business

a) GT reported that he had had a successful handover meeting with NS and is now in receipt of all of the relevant documents for his new position. Everything appears to be in order. The process of changing the signature at the bank is still ongoing but should be completed for the next meeting, and expenses can still be paid.

b) GT will offer a fuller report, with membership and account figures, in September, but if there are any queries in the meantime, he is happy to discuss this with individual Committee members.

7. Development Subcommittee (IS reporting)

a) IS reported that on BAAS’s behalf, he had put in an application for £14,000 for funding from the US Embassy for 2005-06. IS has been told that a “significant chunk” of that money has been approved, but he is awaiting written confirmation of the amount. The delay is likely to be due to the changeover of staff. If he hasn’t received confirmation by July, he will contact the Embassy again.

b) IS reported that the subcommittee had discussed the STA awards. This year, the winners of the named STA awards had received £1000 in recognition of the 50th anniversary celebrations, but the subcommittee felt that to continue to do that year on year without any guarantee of external funding would not be practical or desirable. The subcommittee felt that giving away more £500 awards would be more valuable in the long run. For 2006, BAAS could potentially offer fifteen £500 awards. The Committee as a whole approved this position. IS reported that the subcommittee will revisit the BAAS postgraduate essay prize amount in September, and that the publicity for the prizes is not affected by any decision to vary the amount awarded.

c) IS reported that he has received two funding bids. The first was from IR for the Schools conference to be held in October. This annual conference has been a big success over the last few years. The subcommittee recommended that BAAS award £150. The Committee endorsed this. The second funding bid came from Eric Kaufman at Birkbeck, for a conference on New York Intellectuals to be held in May 2006. The conference organizers proposed to invite 5 overseas speakers and the bid was to cover the cost of one of the speakers, at £700. The subcommittee felt that this amount was well in excess of any funding BAAS had offered in the past, and also noted BAAS prefers to support postgraduate attendance at conferences. The subcommittee therefore recommended that BAAS offer £250, subject to the assurance that postgraduates could attend at low or no cost. This was agreed.

d) IS reported that he is a member of the Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies Board on BAAS’s behalf, and that Dick Ellis is the chair of the subpanel for LLAS. The Area Studies component has not fitted in easily to what it is doing, since most of its activities and funding are language based; therefore, there needs to be a new initiative that has Area Studies as a primary focus. A number of the most successful initiatives that they are involved with could be perfectly replicated for Area Studies as well. IS is to go back to the leading people (John Canning, Phil as chair of UKCASA, and a few others) who might be able to coordinate a plan that will get Area Studies initiatives off the ground. Committee members should contact IS with their ideas. IS also reported that James Dunkerley at ISA is trying to put together a stand alone PhD research methods course through the AHRC.

e) IS reported that the Schoolteachers’ Initiative continues to move forward, and that he is meeting with IR in the summer, with plans to get the webmaster in place at LJM. Other events include IR’s conference and a BAAS Northwest conference for teachers planned for next year. Once the Embassy funds have been confirmed, the subcommittee would like to use some of that funding to support the collation of information from and for schools. This is something a postgraduate might be willing to undertake for a small fee.

f) In relation to postgraduate issues, IS reported on CE’s behalf that the plans for the Sheffield BAAS Postgraduate conference are well underway, and that due to our funding, costs have been kept low at £10 for that conference. In addition, the postgraduate email list is doing very well, and there are plans for a discussion of postgraduate funding opportunities to take place at Kent, following on from a similar meeting at the Cambridge conference. CE will liaise with GC about this.

g) Thanks were offered to CM for attending the Academy of Learned Societies meeting and for offering such a full report, and to JD for standing for election. GT asked if there had been a discussion at that meeting of changes to membership fees, as he has received an invoice that seemed higher than usual. JD is going to the next meeting on Friday, so he will discuss this on BAAS’s behalf and report back.

8. Publications Subcommittee (CS reporting)

a) CS began by offering thanks to HM for reporting on her behalf at the AGM.

b) CS noted that KM is currently in Australia and was therefore unable to attend the subcommittee meeting, but he offered a comprehensive report. Progress has been made on several fronts since the last report from the editor in January 2005, including the following:

1) Agreement has been reached with the Bolton archive on contractual terms for an additional BRRAM issue on the Walt Whitman material there. Filming could commence by the autumn of 2005. Dr Carolyn Masel (now of the Australian Catholic University) has agreed to write an introduction for this release. This is a large collection and it is envisaged that it will be issued in periodic batches of 6-to-10 reels.

2) The British Library has supplied a proforma for the microfilming of the Edward Long Papers. KM signed a Special Editor’s agreement in 1996 to write the introduction for this project, so it is good to see that it now seems to be moving along. The filming will take 2-3 months.

3) A revised agreement has been received from the Merseyside Maritime Museum with regard to the filming of the additional Davenport material. It is hoped that the filming will start this summer.

4) KM is still hoping that one of his colleagues will agree formally to edit a title on British records relating to the USA and WW2.

5) Dr Vassie has suggested (and KM agrees) that BRRAM should now produce PDF booklets for the BRRAM series. They would like to know whether BAAS wishes to provide a logo or template for the title page/frontispiece. GT is to liaise with RV on this matter (see below under any other business).

6) KM has contacted the House of Lords Record Office to see whether the American parts of the Beaverbrook and Lloyd George Papers would be suitable/available for microfilming for the BRRAM series. KM will aim to have a decision before the next BAAS meeting.

c) CS reported that she and RV had discussed BRRAM issues. Dr. Vassie wants more publicity from us (a bigger advert in ASIB for MAP) in exchange for 10% discount for all members; this was agreed at our last meeting. He is also interested in offering digital formats, and wants to revisit the contract between BAAS and MAP. Before the next meeting, CS will work with him on a formal agreement, to be signed by SN, with input coming from the publications subcommittee.

d) In relation to JAS, CS noted that JK was unable to attend, but has confirmed that there will be a special issue of JAS, hopefully in December, for the 50th anniversary. The 4 nominations for editorial board members that we made in April will go to the syndic meeting in June to be confirmed. However, we now need to consider up to 7 new editorial board members across the board: history, cultural studies, literature, etc. CS has asked JK to check the terms again, especially for some of the individuals that we would like to re-nominate. We may need to reconsider some of the names that came forward before. We should look to have 5-6 nominations by September, and Committee members are reminded that no one should be approached directly about the editorial board, but names should be forwarded, in confidence, to CS, JK and SN for further consideration. The next JAS editorial board meeting is Friday 2 September, which SN, HM, GT, and CS will attend.

e) CS noted that the call for applications for the new editor and associate editor of JAS went out on elist, on the web, and in the conference pack, with a deadline of 1 December. Some informal approaches have been made to Susan and Carol, and another announcement is planned for the next issue of ASIB. CS will liaise with JB as the former chair of the subcommittee to ensure that the same process of appointment is followed this time around.

f) CS reported that she and SN have met separately with Nicky Carr. EUP is happy with the series. The booklist is fine, though we need to ensure that popular culture/popular political issues are given sufficient coverage. WK’s book has now been edited and will be an excellent addition to the series: The Civil War in American Culture. Other accepted proposals are being written as we speak. The Palmer book has been delayed slightly but will come in at the end of the summer, and SN will edit it. Thanks are extended to Nicky Carr for her excellent efforts on behalf of the series.

g) CS outlined the negotiations that HM had initiated along with Janet Beer prior to the Cambridge Conference with Ray Ryan of CUP. HM worked closely with Emma Baxter in Marketing at CUP in order to put together a viable proposal. CUP offered three options for a closer working relationship: a) 20% discount on the American Literature and Culture series in return for a free advert in ASIB, managed through an exclusive members’ code; b) a discount in return for a free set of labels; and c) regular limited offer on selected backlists. The subcommittee recommended option A to the full committee. This was approved. CS is to contact Emma Baxter and let her know the outcome of our decision; she will also ensure that Emma Baxter is put in touch with the new ASIB editor.

h) CS reported that the new editor of US Studies Online, Liz Rosen, had suggested a new citation system for the journal, the MLA, as an easier alternative and one that was more html-friendly. The subcommittee felt that the current system should be maintained, but that the information and guidelines should state explicitly what system we use (MHRA), that there is a hyperlink to the website, and that contributors should be urged to look at current articles for individual examples. CS is to contact LR to explain the committee’s decision.

i) CS noted that there had been two excellent applications for the post of ASIB editor. CS, HM, and GT (as former ASIB editor) convened a working party to go through the applications, and as a result of their deliberations, asked Catherine Morley to be the new editor. She has accepted. Congratulations are extended to CM. The handover between CM and GT will need to take place as soon as possible, and the deadline for the next issue (usually early August) will need to be confirmed. CS will write to the unsuccessful candidate informing her of the subcommittee’s decision, but stressing the strength of her application. Thanks were extended to GT for his editorship of ASIB. CS also offered thanks to HM for managing the application process.

j) The latest issue of ASIB was finally distributed in June, and was a smaller issue, due to the fact that information about the conference was redundant and thus deleted. There was a discussion about the current printers and the situation that led to this long delay. It was recognised that the delay was due to issues beyond their control. However, if delays continue to be an issue, we will reconsider our relationship with them. GT reported that BAAS received a small discount of £75 on the last newsletter because of lateness.

k) CS noted that the website continues to run smoothly, and thanks were extended to GT for maintaining this important resource.

l) CS reported on the first BAAS Book Prize, which was a success. However, it was agreed that the deadline needed to be moved forward to 1 December to ensure that judges had enough time to read all of the entries. It was also agreed that the judging panel should be constituted earlier, and there was some discussion about extending the panel to 5 members; this was subsequently rejected as unwieldy and unfair on smaller presses who could not afford to send out 5 copies of a book. CS agreed to write up some guidelines for the prize and for the judging. CS would ask the former judges to comment on the guidelines. The publication subcommittee chair will act as a facilitating chair of the prize committee. PD has indicated his willingness to judge the next year’s prize. It was agreed that a shortlist would be drawn up to choose from, ensuring a broad range of disciplinary backgrounds, and including both Committee members and other BAAS members. SN suggested that the current winner should be asked to join the Book Prize committee. This was agreed. IS noted that we must ensure that all of BAAS awards and prizes (the rest of which are administered by Development) need to have a good pool of potential judges.

9. Conference Subcommittee (SM reporting)

a) SM began her first report as chair of the subcommittee by noting that the Kent conference (20-23 April 2006) is on track and everything is going well. There had been ongoing discussions regarding the establishment of a programme committee, but the Kent organizers felt that they had enough cross-disciplinary expertise already in place. GC will ask for help as and when needed, and will rely on the subcommittee for support.

b) It was agreed that the conference registration form and provisional programme will be sent out separately from the newsletter, to avoid the problems attached with the ASIB delay this year. It is likely that ASIB will still include the conference programme, and it will be available on the web.

c) SM reported that the subcommittee felt that abstracts for papers should be available on line, which was the case for the Manchester conference but not for Cambridge. SM had secured Embassy funding for this project in 2004, and this may be an option this year, or BAAS may seek to underwrite limited expenses in relation to this.

d) SM to contact JK regarding the JAS plenary and PD regarding the Eccles Centre lecture, to ensure that there is a balance of subjects for all three plenaries. It is likely that the JAS plenary will have a Cultural Studies focus. Committee members should contact JK with suggestions, and cc SM into these emails. GC is to contact PD

e) SM reported that accommodation and catering are both in order, with sufficient numbers and venues. There will be 3 levels of accommodation: there are limited numbers of on campus en suite rooms (80), unlimited basic accommodation on campus, and local hotel accommodation, most of which is within 20 minutes’ walking distance of campus (GC suggested that buses may be available to and from hotels.) Cost of hotel accommodation will be around £60/70 pounds which makes an approximate top rate of £325 pounds for hotel accommodation, £265 for en suite, and £200 for basic accommodation. These figures will need to be confirmed. There are also possibilities for hotel sharing. CS commended the subcommittee for keeping the costs down.

f) SN asked if there was a possibility of a civic reception in Canterbury; GC will look into this, but noted that evening entertainment included prize giving/banquet, disco, and a musical review by WK. RC notes that he has contact with a professional jazz quartet. Given the success of this year’s disco, Joe Mottershead was suggested for the DJ. Earlier plans to invite the Reduced Shakespeare Company would probably not go ahead, but GC is to contact Sue Wedlake about this before any final decision is made.

g) SM reported that dates for the 2007 conference at Leicester have been provisionally set at 19-22 April. All accommodation (of which there is plenty) will be based on one site away from the central university complex but near where the panel sessions will take place. Fees are provisionally set at £275 for en suite and £235 for standard accommodation. Those fees may well rise slightly given the passage of time. It is likely that the conference secretary will need to book more rooms for panel sessions, as currently there are only 6 already booked. There may be a plenary session and lecture in Leicester itself.

h) As a final item of business, SM noted that she needed to contact Cambridge in relation to the accounts, to check to see whether there is any surplus, or any outstanding bills.

10. Libraries and Resources Subcommittee (IR reporting)

a) IR reported the revamped newsletter, Resourcing American Studies, is due out shortly. It has received a US Embassy grant for the first time. This issue had had to be trimmed slightly because publishing costs were higher than estimates, but any information that is not included will go out in the next issue. If anyone wants to receive a copy automatically, they should contact Matthew Shaw at the British Library ( CE has sent message out on the mailbase in relation to this.

b) IR reported that Iain Wallace, the former subcommittee chair, and John Pinfold (Rothermere) are writing a history of the subcommittee, which will hopefully be published in a future issue. The Subcommittee is still discussing the contribution that they can make to the Kent conference; their next meeting is scheduled for the end of the summer.

c) IR reported that a new Secretary has been elected: Jayne Hoare (Cambridge). HM is to ensure that this information is reflected on the website and in the details of the committee minutes. The Treasurer position is vacant at present. IR is to remind Matthew Shaw to send the newsletter to GT for the BAAS website.

11. EAAS (JV reporting)

a) JV reported that the new issue of the American Studies in Europe newsletter (number 54, May) is now out on line and runs to 46 pages. It can be accessed on

b) JV reported that EAAS is also calling for an editor for a new e-journal which has the support of the French Educational Research Authorities. It will be published in English and be fully refereed, with 1-2 issues per year. Marc Chenetier is currently being trained on the system; EAAS is looking for a team of people to come on board this new project. The application deadline is 15 October. JV will pass details on to GT and CE for the website and the mailbase.

c) JV also reported that the American Studies Network Book Prize, for books published in 2004 or 2005, has a deadline of December. Three copies of publications (in English) are required, and the prize is 1000 euros.

d) JV noted that arrangements are underway for the next EAAS conference, to be held on 7-10 April 2006, in Nicosia, Cyprus. Workshops have been announced (in newsletter), and the procedure to follow is set out there. Individuals must submit abstracts to the workshop chairs by 1 September 2005. SN has been selected to give a parallel lecture, as has Mick Gidley. Six workshops will be chaired or co-chaired by BAAS members: Alan Bilton, William Blazek, Allan Lloyd Smith, Jon Roper, Nick Selby, and Alex Waddan.

e) JV has updated the BAAS details with EAAS, including letting them know that GT is now the treasurer, and this will soon be reflected on the website.

f) JV asked GC to send her the Kent CFP for the EAAS to put on their website, and she noted that BAAS members’ recent publications can go on the EAAS newsletter; JV is to send CE a notice to that effect for the mailbase.

12. Fiftieth Anniversary Planning (JV reporting)

a) There were no substantial new items to report for the 50th anniversary celebrations.

13. Any Other Business

a) GT has found someone who can do the logo for us. Fee negotiations are still underway. Once it has been finished, GT will send the new logo to CS to send to Roderick Vassie for MAP.

14. Date of next meeting

Saturday 24 September, 2005. Venues to be considered: Rothermere, Nottingham, Manchester and UEA. HM to check with JK for Brunel. Other London venues to be explored.

Dr Heidi Macpherson, Secretary

Phone (office): (01772) 893039 or 893040

Fax: (01772) 892970