Sir Malcolm Bradbury, 1932-2000
At the time of his death Malcolm was working on three projects: a three-part drama-documentary based on the wartime encounters of Churchill and Roosevelt, a novel dealing with the travels of the Vicomte de Chateaubriand, and a second novel concerning the CIA’s financing of Britain’s post-war literary culture. The first was an Anglo-American TV enterprise, a big-budget affair—which it needed to be, given that the first episode required two battleships. The second appealed to him because Chateaubriand wrote his much-embellished account of his transatlantic adventures in Norfolk—in a house well known to Malcolm by virtue of belonging to a fellow Norfolk novelist and friend, Elizabeth Jane Howard. The third project intrigued him for personal reasons, not that he had ever knowingly received CIA money but because of the way American largesse (and who could say through what labyrinthine channels it came?) had shaped his own career and that of a whole generation of British American Studies scholars.
Malcolm came from what he once described as ‘that strange hinterland just above the working but not quite safely into the middle classes’. He started life as a sickly child. (He later became one of the first adults to undergo open-heart surgery.) Instead of playing games he spent a great deal of time in libraries. The 1940s were austere times: fuel was in short supply, sources of entertainment were few, and libraries warm places to linger. Even paper was rationed. Yet, surprisingly, in his local library he found generous deposits of literary reviews—The Kenyon Review, The Hudson Review, Partisan Review, even The American Scholar. How they came to be in a little Nottinghamshire library he did not enquire. But whatever the fairy godmother responsible (USIS?), they caught his attention. He was especially struck by the way Jewish writers—Saul Bellow, Delmore Schwartz, Norman Mailer, and Bernard Malamud—spoke up for humanistic values in spite of the horrors of the times. To Malcolm it seemed that American writing had an energy, a sense of intellectual abundance, not found in contemporary British writing.
In 1950, Malcolm went on to the University of Leicester, not even a proper redbrick but a provincial appendage of the University of London. American Literature was not on offer, literature as a whole being deemed to have ended sometime around the end of the nineteenth century. However, in his second year he did win a summer-vacation scholarship to visit the US and Canada with a view to comparing their broadcasting systems with that of Britain. The trip began with a two-day, land-hopping flight across the Atlantic in a canvas-topped Icelandic Airlines Dakota, one of whose engines failed along the way. Presumably this scholarship was not CIA-funded because on arrival at New York he learned that the awarding body had run out of money. He and his fellow travellers were given the choice of flying back to Britain or remaining penniless in North America. Having a ticket for Toronto, Malcolm took the latter option, spending most of the summer working for a gardening contractor mowing suburban lawns. With his earnings in his pocket he returned to New York. He had allowed himself a few days to see the sights before re-boarding his Dakota, but on arrival it turned out that the flight had been delayed for several days. So for a week he husbanded his money, slept at the YMCA, wandered the streets, sat on park benches, subsisted on 25 cent breakfasts at Horn and Hardart Automats, and attracted the attention of suspicious policemen.
Malcolm’s second visit, in 1955, began in an altogether more stately fashion. It paralleled the experience of a whole generation of aspiring scholars, journalists, writers, scientists, and politicians—practically the whole of Britain’s future elite—who travelled to America as Fulbright Fellows, bearing full-sized chest x-rays in sealed envelopes, and visas issued on the understanding that they were neither ‘perverts’ nor intent on overthrowing the United States Government by force. Then, and for many years afterwards, taking money out of Britain required Treasury approval, granted only in cases deemed of national importance. This was a category insufficiently broad to include scholarship, or, as in Malcolm’s case, teaching commas and full-stops to football jocks at Indiana University. But in those days American beneficence seemed limitless. So too did American plenitude. It impressed Malcolm the moment he stepped on board the Queen Mary. Even in economy class, the meals were of an amazing sumptuousness by the standards of post-war Britain. It struck him even more on arrival in New York. America was a wonderland of consumer splendours. Wandering into a friend’s kitchen he marvelled at the gadgets it contained. There was, he discovered, even a grinder in the middle of the sink for disposing of kitchen refuse. His astonishment conveyed itself to his host’s father, who, taking a chicken out of the refrigerator, thrust it down the grinder. Together they stood and watched it slowly disappear down the gurgling hole. ‘At that moment’, Malcolm later wrote, ‘I knew that I had seen America, and that it worked’.
After provincial Britain he found life in the United States liberating. It was not just the size and wealth of the country that impressed him but its optimism and openness to new ideas. His students were no great shakes, but among the faculty he found friends, and on trips he encountered fellow writers. It was in Indiana, Malcolm later claimed, that he first began to feel like a writer rather than like someone who merely wrote. Magazines accepted his stories. He bought a car for ten dollars and drove out West. The world, it seemed, was his oyster.
Other trips followed. In 1958-59 he spent a year at Yale on a BAAS scholarship, working on his Manchester PhD, and was offered a post in the English Department. Instead, his fiancée Elizabeth not much relishing the idea of life in New Haven, he returned to England, got married and took up a job teaching in the University of Hull’s extramural department. Two years later he moved to Birmingham, where he became involved in the foundation stages of Richard Hoggart’s Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies. This led him to think about ways of linking literary studies to history and sociology. Much of the most interesting work on interdisciplinary approaches had come out of America—Henry Nash Smith’s Virgin Land, R. W. B. Lewis’s The American Adam, and David Potter’s People of Plenty. It was thus a natural step, in 1965, for Malcolm to move to the University of East Anglia, where interdisciplinarity was built into the curriculum and, again with US financial assistance, moves were afoot to create an American Studies sector within what up to that time had been a School based on English History and Literature.
East Anglia had other attractions. One was a creative writing course run by Angus Wilson that Malcolm eventually took over. Another was his colleagues’ close association with BAAS and EAAS. It was largely as a result of the efforts of Chris Bigsby and Harry Allen that the Amsterdam-based, undemocratic and somewhat secretive EAAS (sitting, it was rumoured, on an accumulated fortune deriving from successive American grants) was persuaded to open its books and assume its present shape. As these UEA-EAAS links blossomed, Harry having been elected the first new-style EAAS President, Malcolm found himself becoming as much a Mid-European as a Mid-Atlantic Man. Soon he was as much at home in Hamburg and Budapest as in Boston and Denver. British Council assignments helped. But it was as much through his American interests as his British that he became involved in Eastern Europe. He loved travel, parties, and intellectual stimulation, all of which life behind the Iron Curtain, in spite of its privations, proved able to supply in abundance. Eastern Europe, he found, was full of oddities—strange people and peculiar situations—a treasure trove for a comic novelist like himself. It was presumably his absence on these travels that led to someone pencilling on the wall of one of UEA’s toilets: ‘QUESTION: What is the difference between Malcolm Bradbury and God? ANSWER: God is everywhere. Malcolm Bradbury is everywhere except here’. Although an inveterate traveller he was a singularly disorganised one, being in the habit of leaving passports, lecture notes and pieces of clothing in his wake. Having departed on one expedition he rang his wife Elizabeth to say ‘I’m at Liverpool Street Station. Where am I going?’ When Angus Wilson heard the story he said ‘I could have told him where he’s going. He’s going to the top’.
And to the top Malcolm went, as his knighthood and the avalanche of tributes from all over the world that followed his death bear witness. He was, of course, primarily a writer. What he wrote covered an extraordinary range: novels, TV and film scripts, literary history and criticism, stage plays, poems, satires, parodies, reviews, anthologies. His output was prodigious. Whenever one called on him, whether at home or in his office, he was writing. When he found time to read was a mystery. While working with him on the successive editions of our jointly-edited Introduction to American Studies I was continually astonished by his ability to sit down and re-write long passages of other people’s prose in what seemed the blink of an eye. It was high-handed, but no one ever complained. Perhaps our contributors were agreeably surprised by what they appeared to have written.
‘Human flesh’, The New York Times obituary quotes Malcolm as saying, ‘was intended as a highly imperfect and disappointingly mortal carapace for housing something a good deal better, the human mind’. Often it seemed that what went on inside his mind was more real to him than what went on outside. One of the most perceptive things he wrote about himself was in Unsent Letters, supposedly in reply to a question about how to be a writer’s wife. He advises his fictional correspondent against seeking to be either a muse or a fellow writer. Muses are fickle and writers are rivalrous. A writer’s wife, he explains, should dedicate herself to coping with the real world, paying bills, booking flights, dealing with the telephone, leaving the writer free to pursue the life of the mind. The tone is facetious but the portrait he paints of a writer’s ideal marriage and of a wife’s role within it bears a remarkable resemblance to his own and to the part played by Elizabeth in running an increasingly large establishment and keeping him regularly supplied with tobacco money.
Malcolm could never remember if he was present at the foundation of BAAS in 1955 or whether his first conference was the following year, but he was certainly a member virtually from the start and for a long time chaired its publications committee. He enjoyed BAAS conferences as much for the conviviality of late night drinking as for their formal sessions. Partly because writing is such a lonely business, but also because he was naturally gregarious, he delighted in the travel, the company, the beer, the gossip, the liberation of being away from his typewriter, the sense of participating in a moveable feast that brought old friends together once a year in diverse places and agreeably scholarly surroundings. Those who encountered him, whether over the bottles of wine he brought to dinner or in the bar afterwards, will recall the warmth of his company, his relish for new ideas, his amusement at other people’s pomposities, and his own lack of pretentiousness.
Although ill for almost a year, Malcolm continued to work with undiminished energy. Seeing him at the keyboard of his typewriter reminded one of the man at the Wurlitzer organ in the cinemas of his youth. The impression of virtuosity and versatility was alike. Only, instead of notes cascading out, it might be anything from episodes of Inspector Morse to reflections on the nature of post-modernism. Perhaps the Churchill-Roosevelt drama-documentary will one day appear on our screens, always providing someone can be found to put together the later episodes (and two battleships can be rustled up). The two novels, alas, were left in too unfinished a state for anyone to perform a like service. His friends will miss his congenial company. His distinctive chuckle will no longer be heard at late-night conference gatherings. The world, in short, has become a poorer place.
Report on PGCE Applications and American Studies Students
As a result of concern expressed by American Studies colleagues regarding a perceived evidence of bias against American Studies students in the admissions process for teacher training places, Philip Davies as Chair of BAAS undertook to write to all PGCE providers regarding their entrance criteria. In a letter sent in February of this year, Professor Davies noted that UCET, TTA and DfEE guidance did not preclude American Studies graduate applications, and asked individual providers to indicate their own stance towards American Studies students. The responses were mixed.
Of the 60 institutions approached, 22 provided replies within the deadline set by Davies. Responses were received from Anglia Polytechnic University, Bristol, Brunel, Exeter, Kingston, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool Hope, Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, Newcastle, North London, Nottingham, Nottingham Trent, Reading, Southampton, Sunderland, Sussex, University of Wales/Aberystwyth, University Wales/Swansea, Warwick and West of England. Their responses have been collated into a report here.
PGCE providers were aware that their responses would be circulated amongst the American Studies community; it is perhaps for this reason that several of the responses tended towards a political blandness. The most common response was that quality candidates from any field—so long as they fulfilled individual requirements—were welcomed; unfortunately, these responses rarely included detailed prospectuses or application information. Where they did so, their own requirements seemed to make it difficult for single honours American Studies students to pursue their courses. Joint or combined honours students appeared to fare better, especially when they had English or History as a complementary subject. This implicit bias against single honours American Studies students was sometimes the result, universities suggested, of increased competition for places, especially in History and the Social Sciences; as a result, it was possible for particular institutions to interpret DfEE guidelines quite rigidly. A number of universities commented that while DfEE had indicated that places were not restricted in principle, this was not always the case in fact; indeed, one went so far as to suggest that ‘DfEE have and TTA are being a little disingenuous’ when they claim that American Studies students are not being barred from PGCEs. Another suggested that ‘despite protestations of the DfEE that entry can be very flexible… providers are in competition with each other and that makes us cautious’. A third institution acknowledged that their entry requirements appeared restrictive, but pointed to DfEE and Ofsted instructions. Ominously, the letter ended on the final note, ‘I have no doubt that the messages you receive are very different to those that we receive, but we must act upon our own understanding of the situation’.
The fact is, American Studies is not a National Curriculum subject; the nearest to it are English, History, and Social Sciences, the three most popular and generally over-subscribed subjects on a PGCE. As one provider ruefully reported, ‘were mathematics included in American Studies, the situation would be different!’ Thus American Studies students face stiff competition for limited places, though two institutions (Leicester, Bristol) indicated that applications for English were falling, and American Studies students would have a better chance in that area. Conversely, Aberystwyth indicated that an American Studies degree would not be considered sufficient preparation for an English PGCE, but might be for a History one; clearly no general consensus exists.
On a more encouraging note, two universities positively welcomed American Studies applicants. The University of Nottingham was ‘delighted’ to accept them, precisely because of their interdisciplinarity. Indeed, Nottingham very clearly signalled that any rumour about American Studies students’ ineligibility for PGCE places was untrue. Swansea also favourably responded, saying that, on their History PGCE course, ‘some of our best students in the past have been American Studies students’ who ‘did indeed possess the cross-discipline skills mentioned in your letter’.
Reading also provided a positive response, and had a history of taking American Studies students on its History PGCE. Furthermore, they rightly acknowledged that ‘someone doing a pure Ancient History degree (even though acceptable as a ‘History Degree’) also has many gaps’ in National Curriculum knowledge, and is, therefore, no different from an American Studies applicant. However, as with most institutions, Reading required that applicants demonstrate that 50% of their degree was in History. Indeed, the requirement for 40-50% of an applicant’s degree to be in a National Curriculum subject was quoted by Aberystwyth, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool Hope, Manchester Metropolitan, Newcastle, Nottingham Trent and Sussex. MMU indicated that the 50% requirement was a discretionary one, in that each case was examined individually; however, most universities seemed to suggest that this was not a very flexible requirement. Helpfully, some gave strategies for American Studies students to prove that their degree was eligible; this information comes under ‘Strategy’ later in this report.
Nottingham Trent gave figures for primary PGCE applications which bear repeating. For 50 places, they had 289 applications, of which 9 included American Studies, 3 of whom were offered a place. While these are small numbers, percentage-wise this is a favourable result. Newcastle also suggested that primary PGCE places would be open to American Studies students. For secondary PGCE places, they recommended that applicants contact the relevant tutor in the first instance. Aberystwyth also welcomed American Studies applicants onto a primary PGCE.
Other responses were somewhat mixed. Brunel was willing to consider American Studies applicants, but did not provide any concrete details. Manchester, though noting that their courses were oversubscribed, indicated a willingness to receive applications from American Studies students. Sunderland would take American Studies students for History or English, provided they had a relevant A level, a good percentage of their degree in either subject, and a 2.1 average overall. Manchester Metropolitan University noted that American Studies students ‘need to make a strong case and demonstrate explicitly the relevance of their studies to the training subject’. Liverpool Hope confirmed that ‘in principle, applications from students with a degree in American Studies can gain access to ITT PGCE Secondary Courses’.
Some institutions clearly preferred to take American Studies students onto History degrees, others onto English or Media Studies. The information below is subject-specific.
Aberystwyth, Exeter, Kingston, Reading and Southampton were open to students doing a History PGCE. (Aberystwyth did not, however, support American Studies students doing English.) Exeter and Sussex both noted that from 2001 they are providing PGCE History with Citizenship, which American Studies students with significant history elements in their degrees might wish to undertake. This route would be easier than a straight History route. Exeter also stressed the importance of the Political Science elements of an American Studies degree.
The University of North London was prepared to take American Studies students onto its PGCE English with media/drama secondary course, so long as they could ‘demonstrate an ability to understand and critically analyse texts and show a knowledge of some texts taught in schools e.g. Shakespeare and those authors on the A level English Lit syllabuses’. Sussex was willing to consider American Studies students in principle, but would prefer students with a joint degree in English and American Literature; American Studies students would have to prove their case, and only ‘high-calibre’ candidates were likely to be taken on. Bristol indicated that English was soon to be designated a ‘shortage’ subject and, with additional independent or on-line study, American Studies students might be eligible for a place there.
Helpfully, a number of universities offered concrete advice to students who are seeking places. Most focused on the GTTR form which students were asked to use to its fullest. As one tutor noted, ‘the clearer an applicant can be about the areas studied in his/her application, the more likely she/he is to be considered for an interview’. This also included the need to stress A level and any other subject-relevant background. A clear knowledge of National Curriculum topics was essential, as was, often, experience in schools, especially for primary PGCE applicants. As Newcastle noted, ‘we strongly recommend that candidates spend some time working alongside teachers in schools prior to application (and certainly before interview) to get a feel of the demands and expectations of modern primary teaching’.
Reading noted that applicants should indicate that they ‘have strategies in place which will allow them to gain the knowledge base they require for National Curriculum’ if it appears that their degree does not offer this. Furthermore, any compensatory skills or additional strengths should be highlighted; for American Studies students, this might include a focus on multi- or interdisciplinarity. Finally, of course, contact with the relevant tutor was seen as an essential way of gauging whether or not an application was likely to be looked upon favourably.
The message appears to be: American Studies students need to do their research before applying for PGCE places in order to avoid disappointment. They need to be upfront about their skills and knowledge base, highlighting National Curriculum subjects and selling themselves as thoroughly as they can. Clearly, joint or combined degree American Studies students may be better able to fulfil universities’ PGCE criteria depending on their other subjects plus some elements of their American Studies degree. Single honours students might have trouble achieving a 50% designation of National Curriculum subjects, and so need to be counselled early in their degrees on appropriate optional modules if they wish to pursue a teaching position, or at least be prepared to work independently to achieve a larger knowledge base. One strategy may be that students should pursue a dissertation with a title that can be ‘read’ as focusing on a National Curriculum subject (while maintaining, of course, the interdisciplinary focus which is often a requirement of final year projects in American Studies). The more knowingly a candidate approaches the application process, the more likely a teacher training institution will be to perceive the ‘additional strengths’ that can balance any partial lack of National Curriculum subject base.
Report compiled by Heidi Macpherson, Central Lancashire, from materials collected by Philip Davies, De Montfort.
American Studies, Placements and Residence Abroad
(with thanks to Phil Davies) It is becoming very apparent that placement procedures are coming under increased scrutiny in the general process of racking up processes of monitoring within higher education. For example, anyone who includes placements within their provision of the possibility of study abroad as part of their degree provision will need to look at the ‘QAA Draft Code of Practice: Placement Learning’. This can be found at http://www.qaa.ac.uk/public/cop/COPplacement/letter.htm. As John Randall points out in the covering letter: ‘This is a section of the overall Code of Practice which is being prepared by the QAA’. The draft code also points out that all institutions should be able to demonstrate their adherence to the code within one year of its publication.
This code on placement learning is intended to cover the ‘many forms’ available, ‘e.g. short, extended; full-time, part-time; paid, unpaid; and studying or working abroad’, in various locations, including ‘the enrolment of students on a course at an overseas university’. The placement code was distributed to ‘heads of HEIs’ for comment in December 2000, immediately before the Christmas break. You may already have seen the document if it has been distributed in your institution. However it is clear that some heads of HEIs have not associated the title ‘placement learning’ with ‘study abroad’. The deadline for feedback was 16 February 2001.
It may be that the new code on placements will lead to many of us rethinking our placement abroad procedures. If this is the case, then it may be worth considering drawing on the extensive developments that have occurred in recent years in terms of developing best practices in residence abroad. For example, preparation for residence abroad for students has been extensively developed in recent work by three FDTL (Fund for the Development of Teaching and Learning) Languages Projects, but it has been recognised that the materials and methods developed and the best practice identified can be equally useful for students in other disciplines for whom study abroad forms part of their course. While these students may not have language learning as their principal motivation for spending time abroad they will certainly find themselves involved in cross-cultural exchanges and will encounter the many practical challenges of living, studying or working abroad.
It is now perhaps simply not enough to argue that students will learn about the culture, society and mores of the USA simply by the very process of being sent to America for a sustained period. This ‘osmotic theory’ of the benefits of placement abroad has been increasingly criticised in the QAA reviews that have occurred-especially in languages, where placement abroad was identified as an area in which best practice should be much more widely disseminated and adopted (though it also has to be said that the American Studies QAA did not highlight this issue). It is very probable that any future teaching/learning review processes in American Studies will want to examine this area much more intensively. And, anyway, it might be reasonably argued that we owe it to our students to enable them to get as much as they can out of their placment abroad, and the principle of ‘osmosis’ just does not guarantee this. It is perhaps the case that just ensuring our students are enrolled upon appropriate modules in the American University to which they are to be sent is not enough. (After all, we are not sending them to the USA solely to study modules taught by Americans in America, are we?)
To this end a workshop on residence abroad was set up in November last year by the Subject Centre in Language, Lingusitics and Area Studies. This drew upon the work done by two of the main residence abroad FDTL projects-LARA (Learning and Residence Abroad), Rapport (Residence Abroad at Portsmouth)-and the Interculture Project at Lancashire. It was intended to help staff prepare their students for residence abroad and to better integrate that experience into their course as a whole. It also considered issues relating to the accreditation of study abroad (this segment being led by Phil Davies and reciprocally offering some best practice guidelines to Language teachers who had often not considered these issues in as much detail as American Studies lecturers). Each project presented its work, concentrating in particular upon those aspects of it that related most closely to the needs of non-linguists. There were also case study presentations from non-language specialists who have experience in this field.
For further details of the projects see:
It is just not possible to summarise all that occurred in the fascinating workshop that resulted, from which Phil Davies and I learned a great deal. (I will, however, summarily observe that Phil and I were the only two Americanists at this workshop, despite its being extensively publicised on the BAAS mailbase.) What follows, instead, are two articles drawing upon the FDTL projects (by Sylvie Toll & John Dunn and Celia Roberts). These are proceeded by a brief summary of some preliminary activities that a number of different institutions undertaken to prepare students for residence abroad that were identified as best practice in the QAA in Languages. LARA expands on some of the following. You might what to consider which (if any!) of the following would be worth adopting/adapting.
- Introducing Learning Agreements. This involves a one-hour briefing session and two one-hour sessions with each student on an individual basis prior to departure, to draw up individual agreements on what they are seeking from studying abroad. On return students are debriefed on a one-to-one basis. This provides a possible way of assessing ‘transferable skills’. The Learning Agreement can be given credits.
- Introducing Learning Packs. Produce a pack of study materials with tasks to perform and return to the department at regular intervals whilst abroad. Again this could be credit-rated.
- For students going to a host university, exploring the issue of the marks awarded at the host university being out-of-kilter with marks awarded at the ‘home’ university. Prepare a pack or give some sessions familiarising students with the academic expectations of the host university and that university’s academic culture (what sort of classes are used; how to make the most of them; the host’s library structure). This can be accompanied by some tasks to be performed during the period of residence abroad, perhaps tasks playing to the particular strengths of the host university (e.g., special collections). Again, credit rating is a possibility.
- Releasing staff to work on learning packs for the period of residence abroad. This could be a mix of learning tasks, diaries, log-books, etc. Again, credit rating is possible.
- Devising a new, more detailed student report-possibly coupled to a staff visit during placement.
- Devising a new residence abroad module for students-the careers and international office might be able to help set this up-elements could include:
- Practical information sessions.
- Elements of intercultural learning.
- Background information.
- Exercises to help students identity the kinds of transferable skills they might hope to acquire from residence abroad.
Plainly, this should be credit rated and ideally would involve work when on placement.
- Running a free, compulsory, weekend residential workshop on residence abroad, with sessions on all aspects of the year abroad, from role-play games exploring cultural issues or problem solving, to practical sessions on banking, insurance etc. Credit rating might be possible.
- Making staff development your first move rather than curriculum change. Enrol key staff on the LARA Residence Abroad Project’s distance learning module and organise a number of sessions during the year for staff to suggest and explore different models of residence abroad preparation, for later discussion by the whole department.
- Introducing a new course in Ethnography involving basic ethnographic skills and training students to observe the new culture in which they would find themselves as well as taking a close look at their own. This could involve an ethnographic project to be taken during the residence abroad period and be accredited on return. This could well include a learner agreement (see below) and would be credit rated.
- Having a ‘Residence Abroad Fair’ at the start of Year Two and, perhaps, a follow-up event near the end of the year. Set up in the fair stalls/information points, ‘staffed’ by returning and/or exchange students for each of the exchange universities. Get as much information from returning students (including getting them to bring material back with them). Other activities linked to this could be Q&A sessions with returning students, careers services sessions, guest speakers (employer extolling exchange programme’s benefits; visitors from host university, etc.).
- Introducing learner agreements to establish learning and personal objectives for students during their time abroad. This will require group sessions and individual discussions both before and after residence abroad. Could be credit rated.
What follows are descriptions of part of the activities of two of the FDTL projects on residence abroad.
Acquiring Intercultural Competence
A module for the Period of Residence Abroad. Developed within the context of the ‘Interculture Project’, http://www.lancs.ac.uk/users/interculture/about.htm, the module is presently piloted at the University of Central Lancashire.
From 1997 to 2000, three FDTL projects on the Period of Residence Abroad (PRA) were developed concurrently: the RAPPORT project based at Portsmouth, LARA, based at Oxford Brookes and the Lancaster-based Interculture Project. Whereas the first two projects had quite broad remits, the Interculture Project focused on mapping out obstacles hindering students’ intercultural competence and on defining how they might best be prepared and supported.
The module described below was designed in the final year of the project in order to provide an appropriate vehicle for the pedagogical use of the ‘deliverables’ of the project. These include two large databases of student accounts of residence abroad, intercultural incidents, quizzes and a substantive report on the use of diaries as a learning tool. The module offers Year Abroad Tutors a model for developing a structured progression for students through the whole experience of residence abroad—before, during and after.
Owing to the original remit of the Interculture Project, the databases of students’ accounts of their experiences relate to sojourns in France, Spain and Germany. However, the module itself is adaptable to all students preparing to go abroad: its present intake in the Department of Languages at the University of Central Lancashire includes students preparing to go to China, Japan and Mexico. The programme relates to the practice of sending students on a year abroad, be it to a country where a foreign language is spoken predominantly or to an anglophone country.
The starting point for the module is the argument previously presented by Paige, Bennett, Jordan & Roberts, Cormeraie and others, that capability in one’s culture is a necessary starting point for developing cross-cultural capability. As a framework, the module uses Byram and Zarate’s ‘Savoirs’ model of Intercultural Competence.
The module, which is divided into two parts, spans the three stages of preparing for, experiencing and returning from the Period of Residence Abroad (PRA). Preparation during the semester preceding the PRA consists of twelve workshops. Since de-briefing is an integral part of the programme, the PRA is followed by six sessions, mostly in the workshop format.
The module as a whole is divided into five broad areas:
- diary and portfolio as tools for monitoring one’s intercultural learning
- introduction to cultural identity
- stereotypes and critical incidents
- sociolinguistic awareness and competence
- expectations, objectives, motivation
Tutorial support is provided by a Module Tutor, a Student Services Counsellor with a solid background in intercultural issues, Foreign Language teachers for the areas concerned by the PRA, and a Careers Tutor (following the PRA).
Students keep a personal log/diary, reflecting on the impact of the course and the experience of the residence abroad. The learning log spans the entire length of the module and forms the basis of an analytical account which is to be written at the end of the second half of the module.
A portfolio of activities is compiled during the semester preceding the PRA. Tasks include results of searches on PRA project websites, fieldwork undertaken in the area of sociolinguistics—English and the Foreign Language as appropriate—and a brief report on the impact which the first half of the module has had on the intercultural learning process.
The ‘Introduction to Cultural Identity’ forms the basis of three two-hourly workshops. The first two workshops (Topic One) deal with ‘The Self; Issues of Conformity; Norms of Behaviour’ and are led by a Student Services Counsellor. Although these workshops are not expected to be invasive, it is important to avoid a ‘DIY’ approach. Overall, the aims and objectives are to review meanings of ‘culture’, to define ‘home culture’, to enable students to understand the concept of intercultural awareness and identify causes of intercultural misunderstandings. This implies facilitating the process of self-reflection in terms of attitudinal issues, judgementalism, ethnocentrism: this is when long held assumptions are unpacked and challenged—awareness often only comes when these are challenged.
‘Subcultures and Micro-communities. Personal Sociogram’ (Topic Two) aims to challenge the idea of a ‘macro-culture’, by demonstrating that many cultures exist under the umbrella of one ‘culture’. It also gives the students the opportunity to reflect upon their adherence to diverse social circles and aims to enable them to develop attitudes and strategies which will help them adapt, via their own sociogram, to life in a foreign country and operate autonomously in that country.
The ‘Stereotypes and Critical Incidents’ workshops further address the issue of stereotyping, contrasting representations of the British to stereotypical representations of others. Intercultural Incidents are discussed and students reflect upon their preference for open ended or single solution incidents. The aims of these workshops are to challenge views which may hinder intercultural competence and to discuss the usefulness of certain stereotypes.
The area of ‘Sociolinguistic Awareness and Competence’ consists of two topics: ‘Linguistic Diversity in Home Culture’ and ‘Linguistic Diversity in Host Culture’. The former topic is eminently suitable for students preparing to spend their PRA in an anglophone country. The aim is to consider the importance of sociocultural factors which influence the choice of language used and to discourage students from making assumptions about linguistic correctness in encounters.
‘Expectations, motivations, objectives’ are key factors in the experience of residence abroad and feature in the programme both at preparation stage and on return. The workshops aim to enable students to clarify their objectives for personal and professional development, to identify opportunities offered by the PRA, to recognise personal skills affecting their ability to adapt to living abroad, to increase the potential for acquiring transferable organisational skills and enhance their employability.
On return, a Careers Tutor leads a workshop to enable students to define and audit the skills they acquired during the PRA and to translate those employability skills into real-life applications.
The assessment format consists of a portfolio (prior to the PRA), a presentation (as part of the de-briefing on return) and an analytical account based on the personal learning log (to be submitted at the end of part two of the module).
Full details of the module, suggested learning activities and all project ‘deliverables’ can be accessed on: http://www.lancs.ac.uk/users/interculture.
Sylvie Toll (Module Tutor: email@example.com)
John Dunn (Head of Counselling, Student Services: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Cultural Studies and Language Learning: An Ethnographic Approach to the Year Abroad
- A taught module of 45 classroom hours in the second year of a four year languages degree (prior to going abroad). Combined basic anthropological and sociolinguistic concepts with a methodological component introducing ethnographic techniques. Weekly assignments-data collection & analysis. Students write a ‘home ethnography’ assignment as part of the assessment of this module-applying the ethnographic methods they have been taught.
- An ethnographic study while abroad. Students go to two different countries, each for about 5 months and do an ethnographic study in one of the two, usually the first. Undertake extensive fieldwork, produce a highly focused textual account of a particular group or set of practices in that country. Visited by Ealing lecturer.
- Writing up the ethnographic project (in the foreign language) on return from abroad (5-7,000 words) Tutorial support given. Project counts as part of the final degree.
Introduction to Ethnography Module Course Units:
- Preparing for fieldwork
- What is an ethnographic approach?
- Non-verbal communication and social space
- Shared cultural knowledge
- Families and households
- Gender relations
- Ethnography of education
- Participant observation
- Ethnographic conversations
- Ethnographic interviewing
- From data collection to analysis
- Data analysis-2
- National identity and local boundaries
- Language and social identities
- Local-level politics
- Belief and action-1: symbolic classification
- Belief and action-2: discourse and power
- Writing an ethnographic project
Example activity from unit 4: ‘Shared cultural knowledge’
Four people sitting together in a restaurant get up from the table, having paid the bill, and leave a few coins on the table. As three of them leave the restaurant, the fourth goes to the ‘Ladies’. When she returns, she scoops up the money left on the table. What is going on?
Example activity from unit 16: ‘Belief and action-1: symbolic classification’
Eating Habits: Taste or symbol?
Agar M (1986), Speaking of Ethnography. Sage Publications.
Barro, A, Byram M, et al (1993), ‘Cultural studies for advanced language learners’, in Graddol, Thompson & Byram (eds) Language Culture. BAAL Papers 7. Multilingual Matters.
Barro A, Jordan S & Roberts C (1998), ‘Cultural practice in everyday life: the language learner as ethnographer’, in Byram & Fleming (eds) Language Learning in Intercultural Perspective. CUP.
Hammersley, M & Atkinson, P (1983), Ethnography: Principles in Practice. Tavistock.
Jordan, S & Barro, A (1995), ‘The effect of ethnographic training on the year abroad’, in Parker & Rouxeville (eds) ‘The Year Abroad’: Preparation, Monitoring, Evaluation. CILT.
Roberts, C (1994), ‘Cultural studies & student exchange’, in Byram (ed) Culture and Language Learning in HE. Multilingual Matters.
Roberts, C, Byram, M, Barro, A, Jordan, S, & Street, B (Forthcoming), Language Learners as Ethnographers. To be published by Multilingual Matters later this year.
Spradley, J (1979), The Ethnographic Interview. Rinehart & Winston.
Representative statements from students:
- We’re living this ethnography project 24 hours a day, so we couldn’t stop if we wanted to… it’s made me much more aware of not just what people are saying, but also of how they’re saying it… I’ve been casting my net wide to get a feeling for what I want to look at, which has made me do a lot more, talk to people a lot more and go to places I would never have gone to otherwise.
- [At college] you get loads of facts. Most of it isn’t your own, but this is all my own, none of this is anyone else’s.
- I am more aware of the way I observe people, and observe myself in relation to those people.
- Their project [other Ealing students] was something that they could just go home after lectures and do for an hour or two… finish and that’s it, switch off. They would be researching it in books or whatever as well as pamphlets… But… ethnography is something you had to do all the time, so I felt it made my time there more productive for me.
- If someone goes abroad doing an ethnographic project, she is going to be talking all the time… the most I got to talk was when I did the interviews. I am really glad I did it because it was a conversation as well as the project… I would never have had the guts to go up to people to speak to them if I had not done ethnography.
- I like words. I like the use of words. I like playing with words. And before ethnography, I suppose I didn’t know that the same word would have to certain people slightly different meanings… I would tend to use the dictionary’s interpretation of certain words and okay, that’s very interesting, but what is even more interesting is how people see that word, rather than what the dictionary says.
- It did help because it forced me to go and talk to people, which I wouldn’t have done. I would have quite happily sat down at my desk and done my law work, taken my books. I would have quite happily done that because I felt so cut off when I arrived in Germany, that that’s basically what I would have done.
- The first thing is I think my language improved… because it made me approach situations differently. It made me more bold where perhaps I wouldn’t have been before. Regardless of my ability in the language I’d just, like, go for it, and so that helped ultimately.
- I think the greatest thing was that I really did get to know the people I was writing about… I think I got to know a lot more German people that way than I would have done doing another project-because you’re more involved. I mean you have to speak and you have to listen. I mean it’s not a matter of going to the library-you know get some books out and just sit in the library, you know you have to meet people and talk to people and that’s what I liked about it really… you get more enjoyment, more satisfaction yourself in doing it because you know it’s your own work, you know you’ve done it yourself and you really do know what you’re talking about… I had to listen a lot because I couldn’t record so I was really relying on my notes, which at the beginning I found quite difficult but later I sort of was able to take notes and if I wrote them up quickly afterwards I usually got most of the information.
- I started seeing things which I used to see all the time but never interpreted… which was presumably one of the main aims… looking for meaning and patterns and clues.
- It had never occurred to me before the project to look at things from other people’s point of view. That’s one thing I overcame through this ethnography project, not to use your own vision, your own terms to describe things as a first resort. It was a huge step not only to see and speak to people but communicate with them in their own terms which was an excellent thing and one of the long lasting effects.
- Another general effect it has had-the preparation and the whole ethnography terminology-is the effect of enabling me and I suppose all of us to handle ambivalence, ambiguity which is an important language learning skill.
- I think I learned to look at things differently, more carefully, not just to pass up things, not just to sit there and let it wash over me because I could have easily done that.
- [Here] … it’s more or less stuff out of a text book… there… it is you and the place, it is you and the people, you can’t not write yourself into it. I am the one doing the interviews, I am the one doing the observations.
- The element of being graceful or having grace came into it. So they were saying ‘well, that’s what differentiates them you know, they have to have grace’. So, I was thinking, I’ve got to look at this dance and I spent hours and hours-I mean I couldn’t tell you how many-maybe 20 or 30 a week-just watching the dance and trying to distinguish the elements of what ‘having grace’ meant.
Annual BAAS Conference 5-8 April 2002, Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford
The BAAS Annual Conference will be hosted in 2002 by the new Rothermere American Institute at the University of Oxford from 5-8 April, in conjunction with St Anne’s College. No over-arching theme has at present been set for the conference, but we hope it will encompass as many aspects of the study of the United States as possible, including its history, society, literature, culture, politics, law, economy and international relations, through a varied programme of lectures, panel discussions and poster sessions. There will also be opportunities to explore the cultural attractions of Oxford itself, such as the Ashmolean and University Museums, walking tours of the colleges or the nearby Blenheim Palace and Park.
Further details regarding registration and the call for papers will be announced nearer the time, but please contact the BAAS Conference Secretary, Andrea Beighton, with any queries or suggestions in the meantime at: Rothermere American Institute, c/o Mansfield College, Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3TF or email email@example.com. Our progress with conference preparations will also be advertised on the RAI website at www.rai.ox.ac.uk and on the BAAS website at http://cc.webspaceworld.me/new-baas-site.
Conference Report BAAS 2001, University of Keele Staffordshire
This was a great success, standing as one of the biggest conferences BAAS has ever organized, and a conference with the most papers being delivered, ever. Many thanks on behalf of BAAS to John Dumbrell and all his helpers for the hard work inevitably involved.
The Conference Dinner saw, as usual, the announcement of the Marcus Cunliffe Award (Eric White); the John D. Lees Award (Nicola Caldwell); the Short Term Travel Award winners (Anne Kirby, Paul Marshall, Gabriella Treglia, Tatiani Rapatzikou, Joe Street, Stephanie Bateson); the BAAS essay prize winner (Martyn Bone); and the Arthur Miller prize winner (Nick Selby, for his ‘A Columbus of the Imagination’, European Journal of American Culture 19.2 (2000): 96-115. Certificates were presented in association with these awards. CUP donated a book to be presented to John Dumbrell in thanks for his acting as convenor of the conference. During the banquet diners generously contributed between £300-400 to launch the Bradbury Award.
At the Annual General Meeting Phil Davies was re-elected Chair and Carol Smith (Winchester), Graham Thompson (De Montfort) and Susan Castillo (Glasgow) were elected to the Executive.
The Report from the Chair to the Annual General Meeting of the British Association for American Studies, April 2001
The fact that 2000 was an important presidential election year gave me the opportunity to make a number of media appearances, as part of which I always tried to emphasise my role as Chair of BAAS. Having spoken on BBC Wales, BBC Scotland, the Asian Radio Network, local radio stations all around the UK, BBC News 24, and done an hour on BBC News Online, I knew that we had hit the jackpot when a producer from the ‘Today’ programme called. I was grilled for some considerable time on the most arcane details of US politics. I handled all the questions, pithily, without bluster—tight, self-contained responses making clear points. Then after a pause I heard, ‘That’s all really good—now, do you know anyone in the UK who could answer these questions just as well as you, but with an American accent?’
Fortunately the Association does not need the appropriate accent in order to be heard. Through the past year BAAS has continued to have a role in various national consultations. We have had a presence at a number of meetings, including a British Academy conference on Humanities, Social Sciences and Government Relations, and AHRB consultative symposium on the funding of research and postgraduate study. Ongoing projects by the British Academy and ESRC have included consultation with the Association. We take for granted that the exchange of information, and representation of American Studies interests through these consultations is always worthwhile, but it is not always tangible. It is gratifying, though, that when ESRC published its Thematic Priorities, research of the US experience was specifically mentioned in several places.
The effect of the Association’s contacts with the Quality Assurance Agency have been particularly notable in recent years. In 1997 without the action of our community American Studies would have been classified as a sub-theme of English. Instead we now have sitting a QAA Subject Benchmarking Group in Area Studies, which has brought together colleagues in American Studies and other Area Studies, and which has consulted widely with the Area Studies community, in the process of drafting a productive benchmark for the future of our subject. The QAA is also in the process of developing a Code of Practice for ‘placement learning’, to include study abroad. When it became clear that some colleague had not received the draft code, the Chief Executive of the QAA, John Randall, moved rapidly and most helpfully to create a clear channel for comment to be made by the American Studies community.
Our memberships of the Academy of Learned Societies in the Social Sciences, and the Standing Conference on Arts and Social Sciences, give BAAS additional broad-band links into educational policy-making. The Co-ordinating Council of Area Studies Associations has had a very quiet period, but we are ready to take an energetic part in any reinvigorated Area Studies umbrella group. Meanwhile the Learning and Teaching Support Network in Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies, especially the Area Studies section, has begun to develop as a valuable element in the subject landscape. There are, no doubt, still times when BAAS is not included in consultations where its contributions would be valuable, and we are all grateful when any member of BAAS brings any significant matter to general attention. The e-mail links that we maintain with American Studies programmes, and with the BAAS membership, have proved most valuable in this regard.
Consultation is a multilayered process. With the help of data from UCAS the Chair was able in a recent American Studies in Britain to update his earlier analysis of American Studies recruitment patterns into higher education. There is clearly a healthy interest in American Studies topics, but this is catered for in many ways—single, joint and combined honours degrees, major or minor elements of degrees, elective elements of degrees that are not called American Studies. Students sometimes arrive with knowledge from the American elements in History, Politics or Literature A/AS levels. Our secondary school members inevitably teach about the USA within a single discipline environment. Higher Education members can be either Americanists inside American Studies programmes, or within other named departments. Some are intellectually driven by the interdisciplinary possibilities of the subject, while others are engaged with a particular disciplinary approach focused on the USA. BAAS represents, and must continue to bring together, all of these practitioners of American Studies.
After consultation with BAAS, the Careers Research and Advisory Centre Degree Course Guide in American Studies, aimed at year 12/13 students and their teachers, was redrafted, including the insertion of a reference to BAAS. But the fear has been expressed that school teaching has itself become harder for American Studies graduates to enter.
Enquiries by Professor Douglas Tallack elicited opinions from the Department for Education and Employment, and the Teacher Training Agency that regulations relating to teaching entry to the national curriculum were in no way intended to discriminate against American Studies graduates. The Chair was prompted to attempt a survey of teacher training opportunities, and wrote to 59 providers of secondary teacher training in History and Literature. The responses so far received (over 20) have covered an interesting spectrum, from ‘some of our best PGCE students in the past have been American Studies graduates’, to the ‘DfEE and TTA are being a little disingenuous’. Even Schools of Education in institutions that also teach American Studies did not take a unified line, and American Studies programmes would be well advised to take this on at a local level. Perhaps the most valuable responses have explained how a student might best use the application form and process to enhance their chances of entry, and all of this advice will be included in the report that will be published for BAAS members.
The BAAS internet presence, managed by Professor Dick Ellis and Dr Graham Thompson, also hosted two virtual discussions between students nation-wide, and the former US Ambassador, Philip Lader. The relationship between the US Embassy and the academic community was very positive during Ambassador Lader’s term at the Court of St James, and we look forward to continuing this under the new administration. There is a regular change of personnel in foreign service positions, and we also have a new Cultural Attaché, Carol Lynn McCurdy. Recent Attachés, Robin Berrington and TJ Dowling, have been most helpful to BAAS. We are particularly grateful for the grant that has allowed us again this year to support postgraduate students attending the conference. I look forward to working with Carol Lynn, and the Assistant Cultural Attaché Matthew Gillen, while they are based in London. Our relationship with the Embassy has also benefited from the sheet anchor provided by Sue Wedlake, the UK assistant in the Embassy’s Cultural Office.
Our post-graduate representative on the BAAS executive Celeste-Marie Bernier, in collaboration with Dr Paul Giles, took on the management of the BAAS essay prize and the Short Term Awards scheme. They engaged in energetic promotion of these competitions, and, as one of the judges, I can confirm that the quality of Short Term Award entries was very high, leading the judges to make eight awards in December 2000, to be used during the current year.
The maintenance of the Short Term Award scheme depends entirely on continuing and growing donations to the Short Term Award fund. Many members donate annually when they renew their membership, and some generous individuals donate more regularly by standing order, including on a monthly basis. All award recipients, past and present, are grateful for this support. It is one small but absolutely direct way in which we can foster young and upcoming talent. I have asked my colleagues to consider ways in which funds can be raised to protect and maintain the programme of Short Term Awards. All your own ideas, contributions and donations will be very welcome.
As well as our own successful annual conference in Swansea, which was reported very positively in the THES, the Association co-operated on the annual November colloquium at the US Embassy, held in association with the American Politics Group. This year’s speakers were Tim Hames, leader writer of the Times, former Senator Gary Hart, Professor David Mayhew of Yale University, and the Chair of BAAS, whose challenge was to provide an analysis of the presidential election result even though at the time America was unable to provide one.
Among the year’s special successes was the launch of the ‘Americanisation’ FDTL project, managed by our colleagues at the University of Central Lancashire in co-operation with the American Studies programmes at the University of Derby and at King Alfred’s College in Winchester. Another superb launch was the publication of the digital ‘book’ that has resulted from the collaboration of Americanists at Nottingham and Birmingham Universities.
Member achievements in the past year include the promotion to Professor of Chris Bailey at Keele, Susan Castillo at Glasgow, John Dumbrell at Keele, Scott Lucas at Birmingham, George McKay at Central Lancashire and David Seed at Liverpool. Philip Melling was made Reader in the American Studies programme at Swansea. Robert Garson (Keele), Esther Jubb (Liverpool John Moores), Philip Davies (De Montfort) and Celeste-Marie Bernier (Nottingham) all became Fellows of the Salzburg Seminar. The Salzburg Seminar is held in one of the main shooting locations used years ago for ‘The Sound of Music’. In between challenging intellectual sessions, Fellows drift to the terrace overlooking the lake and mountains and almost inevitably find themselves humming a suitable tune.
Janet Beer (Manchester Metropolitan), Mike Heale (Lancaster), Mick Gidley (Leeds) and Helen Taylor (Exeter) have all served as members of AHRB review panels, with Helen serving in the Chair. Jay Kleinberg (Brunel), Judie Newman (Nottingham), Maggie Walsh (Nottingham) and Philip Davies (De Montfort) were elected Academicians of the Academy of Learned Societies in the Social Sciences. This latter elevation includes the right to put more letters after one’s name: AcSS. All those so honoured received a letter pointing out that the ‘c’ is quite important. In my case, presumably having received the letters for reaching my fourth decade of repeatedly mis-predicting US election results, I have my doubts about this instruction.
Malcolm Bradbury, who last gave a wonderfully entertaining paper to this conference just three years ago, and who last year was honoured with a well-deserved knighthood, died in 2000. Those who knew him well testified repeatedly to his charm and generosity. I chaired that last Bradbury session at East Anglia in 1997, and spent part of the morning with him. I was totally engaged by his wit, and intellectual curiosity, his questions as much as his answers, his warmth towards his colleagues and his love for his family, as the conversation ranged over research, teaching, children, farming and pubs. I left Norwich that day wishing I knew him much better. I did learn enough to say that everyone in American Studies lost a friend, whether or not we knew him personally. Malcolm’s wife and sons have agreed to a proposal from BAAS to name a Malcolm Bradbury Short Term Travel Award for the best award annually in American literature. Donations to this fund in memory of Malcolm are welcome.
The recent, unexpected death of Professor Mark Kaplanoff has shocked and saddened all his friends and colleagues at Cambridge and beyond.
The Chair was invited to the Charter meeting of the International American Studies Association, sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, and held in Bellagio, Italy. It was hard work on Lake Como in Spring. As one colleague said of a slightly glazed looking photograph, ‘It catches a moment of spirituality in a week of intense effort’. The effort, by an international team brought together by Professor Djelal Kadir of Pennsylvania State University, resulted in the launch of the IASA. Professor Douglas Tallack and Dr Paul Giles have accepted invitations to serve on the executive committee of IASA, and BAAS is pleased to have hosted a panel by the group, who are aiming for their own first conference in a couple of years time.
In October 2000 I convened a speakers’ event at De Montfort University in advance of the US election. I invited my friends and colleagues, and I chaired while they spoke cogently and intelligently, engaged with audience, entered into debate, and predicted the election result (and resulting messy epilogue) with such startling accuracy that my credibility with the students at De Montfort has been enhanced remarkably without any serious effort on my part. Reflected glory—don’t knock it.
It is the same at BAAS. Susan Castillo has converted the BAAS Newsletter into American Studies in Britain, and passed it on to its new editor, Dick Ellis, in fine form. Douglas Tallack and Mick Gidley, ending their terms as elected committee members this year, have had enormous impact throughout the past six years they have served in those positions. I am pleased to point out that Mick will remain for another year as BAAS representative to EAAS. Karen Wilkinson, probably the first postgraduate student to be elected direct to the Executive of BAAS, has added immensely to our discussions, and set an example of enthusiasm that was a challenge to match. The subcommittee chairs, Douglas Tallack, Janet Beer, Iain Wallace and Simon Newman, the Association officers, Jenel Virden, Nick Selby, and Janet Beer, and the other elected and co-opted Executive Committee members, Paul Giles, Dick Ellis, Heidi Macpherson, Celeste-Marie Bernier, Mike McDonnell, Richard Gray and Kathryn Cooper, have worked consistently for the benefit of BAAS. They in their turn have drawn on the support of the subcommittees and other BAAS members who have given time and resources willingly. Any success that the Chair has to report is wholly a reflection of the combined and continuing effort of this American Studies community.
Philip John Davies
Conference Reports, Keele 2001
The following section consists of reports of events and papers delivered at the BAAS 2001 annual conference held at Keele University.
Peter Boyle (University of Nottingham) Exchange Programmes Talk Shop
Two main topics were covered, namely, BUTEX (British Universities TransAtlantic Exchange Association) and the establishment of new exchange partners. Annette Kratz, Head of the International Office at the University of Keele, which since February 2001 has hosted the BUTEX Secretariat, outlined the work of BUTEX and recommended that those who wished further information should visit the BUTEX web site when it becomes accessible in May at www.butex.ac.uk/butex
A brief discussion was held on the problems of establishing new exchange partners or increasing the number of students exchanged with existing partners, a problem which the University of Sussex was facing as a result of expanding its intake of American Studies students. Different views were expressed on this matter. Some recounted experiences of great difficulty in trying to recruit new partners—the American universities who were approached expressing no interest since they already had a sufficient number of exchange partners in Britain and were developing new exchanges in such countries as Australia rather than Britain. Others stated that, with a little perseverance, it proved not too difficult to find new exchange partners, while some American universities were quite willing to expand the number of students on existing exchanges. It was thought, however, that American universities which were available for new exchanges or expansion were not always of a high academic quality. Also the process of pursuing new exchange partners could be quite time-consuming, which made it possible for a department which had administrative assistance for exchanges, but more difficult for departments in which exchange programmes were run by academics.
Peter Boyle stated that an Exchange Programmes webpage had now been established on the BAAS website, which can be visited at http://cc.webspaceworld.me/new-baas-site. Details of the exchange programmes of about fifteen institutions are listed on the webpage. Exchange tutors in institutions which have exchange programmes and which are not listed on the webpage are urged to send details (names of exchange partners, length and timing of the period of study on exchange) by e-mail attachment to Graham Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Useful information as well as comment and opinion on matters related to exchange programmes, should similarly be sent to Graham at the above e-mail address.
The Exchange Programme Talk Shop follows from similar lunchtime meetings at the BAAS conferences at Glasgow and Swansea. It is hoped that Talk Shops at the annual conference and the BAAS webpage will provide a useful means for the communication of information and stimulation of discussion for exchange tutors.
Americanisation and the Teaching of American Studies Project (AMATAS)
The Americanisation and the Teaching of American Studies Project (AMATAS) held its launch party on the Saturday of the conference. Professor Philip Davies, Chair of BAAS welcomed the project as an excellent initiative by the University of Central Lancashire and consortium partners at Derby University and King Alfred’s College, Winchester, and urged all present to make use of the project, its website, workshops and resources. Over 60 academics representing about 30 institutions were present to hear project manager, Dr. Alan Rice, outline how important debates around Americanisation are to the subject in Europe. He described how the debate about the liberating potential/hegemonic power of the USA and its culture is a constant background noise in the British media. The project hoped to help interpret this background noise through workshops it is delivering which will be available from September 2001. These cover a large range of topics from Hollywood and Nazi Germany through Theorising Americanisation to TIME International, and will be available for American Studies providers in Britain. They will be outlined in a booklet available over the summer. He described how the project could either fit into existing curricula or could be brought in to provide dynamic external perspectives. The project is an exciting development in American Studies and is designed to benefit not just the project team but also the whole community. The project can be contacted through Dr. Alan Rice, Project Manager, AMATAS Project.
Individual Conference Paper Reports, Keele 2001
Yesim Basarir (Dokuz Eylul University, Izmir, Turkey): ‘Tales of Convergence: Writing and Identity in Paul Auster’s The New York Trilogy and Dialogic Perspective’
In The New York Trilogy Paul Auster questions the reflexive potentials of authorship and how the act of writing can problematise the conception of identity. He appropriates the generic patterns of mystery fiction to his literary quest to demonstrate that writing itself is a process of ‘investigation’ or ‘data-gathering’ toward the end of bringing the disparate pieces together for a coherent vision. Metaphorically speaking, the authorial act of text-building is nothing but acting as detective by collecting items of private observation and filling in the missing parts of text-as-suspense. The convergence of detective hero and writer can be better understood in the light of Bakhtin’s theory of dialogic interaction/exchange between the author (self) and the hero (other): In City of Glass Auster transforms his authorial self into a fictional character of his own creation, Daniel Quinn. Still more, Quinn takes on the identities of other characters whom he investigates throughout the text, converging and merging with their voices and paces. This penetration of one character into the domain of the other continues in the last book of the volume, The Locked Room, where the nameless narrator is gradually absorbed into the life and works of his old friend, Fanshawe, in his investigatory dialogue with the past. The red notebook where Quinn records his private observations in City of Glass is deleted by the end of The Locked Room which suggests that writing and/or investigation has come to a full end and the case is closed. In both books, the reader observes that neither the text nor characters can preserve their physical boundaries and integrity; that both are inclined to obliterate themselves as the volume declares its physical finitude.
Anne-Marie Ford (Manchester Metropolitan): ‘Emily Dickinson and Elizabeth Barstow Stoddard’
Following his first meeting with the New England poet, Emily Dickinson, Thomas Wentworth Higginson wrote a letter to his wife in which he compared Dickinson’s family with the fictional representations of New England families in the novels of Elizabeth Barstow Stoddard. Aside from this chance remark, there are a number of similarities in the lives and works of Dickinson and Stoddard, both of whom grew up in small New England towns. They were women who were deeply conscious of their own sexuality, and in their writings interrogated sexual boundaries and conventional religious values, employing unconventional, elliptical language. Both failed to achieve success, or in Dickinson’s case attempt it, in their own lifetimes. Their inconoclastic vision of literary production was one which was to prove problematic for their age. Stoddard’s novels, published in the 1860s, recount stories of New England life in which self-reliance, isolation and strangeness are synonymous with the landscape itself. Like Dickinson, she challenges our view of literary production in the mid-nineteenth century. Her unconventional prose style, and her focus on erotic desire and the sensual female, were to prove an unnerving experience for the readers of a time and place which also, paradoxically, inspired her New-Angled vision.
Francesco Gonzalez Garcia: ‘The Quest for an Illusion in Toni Morrison’s Paradise’
Undoubtedly, complexity is one of the main features in Toni Morrison’s Paradise but this complexity makes the novel one of the greatest achievements in the history of African American Literature. The concept of Paradise and its meaning in the novel is essential in any study of the book. In my opinion, most of the characters in Paradise share a common feature: the quest for an illusion. In this way, Ruby, the town, has to be studied according to this idea. Ruby seems to be a kind of Utopian illusion. It is considered a new Promised Land, and most of its inhabitants think that this town cannot show or tolerate any mistake or ‘misbehaviour’. Then, illusion of freedom and Utopian democracy becomes a reality in which submission and oppression seem to be the only possible attitudes. At the same time, the meaning of the Convent is very controversial because opposing ideas such as Purgatory and Paradise can be applied to it according to different points of view. The Convent is the place where different women arrive looking for their own illusion: the quest for identity as women. Finally, I have tried to analyse the idea of tradition as an ‘unreal’ paradise and an excuse in order to justify violence and aggressiveness as a common attitude in many people (mainly men) in Ruby. In short, the paper tried to show how Toni Morrison plays with complexity in Paradise when the readers try to apply the title of the book, Paradise, to the different characters and realities in the novel.
Paul Grainge (University of Derby): ‘Remembering the American Century: Media Memory and the TIME 100 List’
As part of the well-attended panel on ‘Culture Industries, Cultural Identities’, Paul Grainge focused on questions of global media, considering a series of Time special issues, published in 1998 and 1999, estimating the ‘people’ and ‘person’ of the century. Reading the series politically, the paper argued that Time engaged in a process of historical summary and cultural remembrance that serviced Henry Luce’s prophesy of an American Century, but that also aestheticised a national value system claiming primacy within the current, and prospective, climate of contemporary globalisation. The paper, entitled ‘Remembering the American Century: Media Memory and the TIME 100 List’, made two related arguments. Firstly, it situated the series in the context of Time magazine’s own, rather destabilised, position as a news source and shaper of public opinion. Secondly, it considered how the series developed a particular ‘common sense’ about the meaning and memory of the century, measuring individuals according to their relative advancement of, or impediment to, Time’s cardinal values of ‘free minds, free markets, free speech and free choice’. Critically, the article moved from the question of media economy to that of cultural and representational politics, complementing a provocative panel session on cultural life in 1990s America.
Sam Hitchmough (Canterbury Christ Church University College): ‘Missions of Patriotism: Joseph Jackson and Martin Luther King’
Presenting one of two papers in a session exploring the personality, philosophy and strategy of Martin Luther King by comparing him with another major figure in his life, Sam Hitchmough discussed the complex relationship between King and the Reverend Joseph H. Jackson, the powerful Chicago Baptist leader and King opponent. Joseph H. Jackson is often treated slightingly as a symbol of reaction in studies of King and the Civil Rights Movement, but he was an influential figure who merits close attention. Jackson, president of the National Baptist Convention, had once been a family friend, but had opposed King since 1961. The pre-eminent black leader in Chicago, and close to Mayor Daley, he was a major influence in the city when King took his campaign there in 1966. He may have had personal animosities towards King, but both men were deeply patriotic, despite differing on where the initiative in civil rights should come from: Jackson, with his faith in the NAACP and individual effort, wanted to work in an evolutionary way within the political system; King in contrast wanted to confront it. To Jackson, King’s methods were illegitimate and liable to produce a destructive backlash, and his opposition (as in denying the use of church facilities) served to delegitimise King and seriously hamper the Freedom Movement in Chicago. (Report by Michael Heale, Session Chair)
Elizabeth Ann Jacobs (University of Wales, Aberystwyth): ‘Multiculturalism and Chicana Poetry’
Part of the panel on Woman, Nationhood, Immigration and Expatriation, this paper situated selected poetic works by Chicanas (Mexican American women) within the context of debates surrounding national identity, constitutional democracy and multicultural politics in the United States. The first part of the paper contextualised Chicana poetic production in more specific terms in relation to the political and cultural dynamic of multiculturalism by discussing some of the major practical and theoretical issues surrounding the debate. Distinctions were drawn between the contrasting aims of multiculturalism as a radical theory of politics, global multiculturalism and the ‘melting pot’, while drawing attention to the structural position of the Mexican American community in the United States. The paper then went on to focus on selected poetic texts by Gloria Anzaldúa and Evangelina Vigil. These were read as offering diverse and representative responses to a range of multicultural issues, including women’s place within the political economy, the transnational migration of capital and labour and the multicultural aspects of Chicana/o literary expression. The paper also drew attention to the ways in which Chicana texts call into question and revise the patriarchal ideology characteristic of el movimiento, the cultural nationalist movement associated with Mexican Americans’ civil rights struggles during the 1960s and 1970s.
Will Kaufman (University of Central Lancashire): ‘Exploring Englishness and Britishness through an American Studies Lens’
This paper explored the contributions that discussions in American Studies have made to current debates about the constructions of Englishness and Britishness. Problems of English and British national identity, lately explored by Anthony Easthope and others, were referred back to conceptions of American exceptionalism uttered as early as de Crèvecoeur. Questions of Britishness versus Englishness-uncertainties arising from globalisation, Celtic devolutionary pressures, the UK’s membership in the EU, and the exportation of English identity-were mirrored in the American experience of globalisation, multiculturalism, regionalism, and shifting sites of cultural power and locations of identity. The perception of a ‘post-British identity’ was further explored through the prism of Paul Giles’s recent and forthcoming work on transnationalism in American Studies. The threatened dissolution of a perceived, unified British national identity-known to have galvanised at least three generations of Conservative politicians into near-hysterical rhetorical backlash-was paired with the American anxiety that found expression in (among other sources) Arthur Schlesinger’s The Disuniting of America and Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind.
Bill Lazenbatt (University of Ulster): ‘Pudd’nhead, Racechange and All that Jazz’
This paper offered a comparative reading of Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson and Morrison’s Jazz, exploring in part the complex pattern of intertextuality that exists between the two texts. Concentrating on the characters of Tom Driscoll and Golden Gray it argued that Morrison produces a racially positive version of Twain’s tale of switched identity and its attendant racial ironies. The predictable Twain ploy of ‘twinning’ was extended to suggest that Morrison, in responding to several Twain texts with a similar programme of re-writing, might herself feature as his ‘dark twin’. Further, Guber’s Racechanges was used to establish an even firmer creative relationship between the two writers. Musical dimensions too were involved in contrasting Twain’s borrowings from the crudely reductive ‘coon’ stereotype of minstrelsy with the later text’s blending of blues and jazz as particular black genres which enhance identity and encourage race pride. The paper suggested that Twain’s musical analogy remains in caricature and in a ‘blackface’ physical judgement of the individual; in contrast, Morrison’s musical analogy celebrates blackness, since the ethos created in Jazz is one which reflects the positive urban experience of the Harlem Renaissance and speaks instead of the reaffirmed humanity of her characters.
Peter Ling (University of Nottingham): ‘King and Gandhi: Models of Non-violence’
Peter Ling focused on the spiritual and non-violent beliefs of King and Mohandas Gandhi, whose example helped to inspire the American preacher. Both Gandhi and King believed that non-violence could force the oppressor to change, Ling argued, but in practice their campaigns showed more signs of a psychological transformation of the oppressed. They both recognised that non-violent direct action could both exploit factionalism inside a regime and damage its international standing. King learned about Gandhian non-violence between 1957 and 1960, but his reputation suffered in the early 1960s as Gandhian tenets were put into action by SNCC and CORE activists. The Birmingham campaign then gave him an opportunity to publicise his non-violent credentials. Several of Gandhi’s campaigns addressed economic grievances, inviting comparison with King’s Chicago campaign. Both emphasised the need for campaigners to maintain discipline, although King could never bring himself to follow Gandhi’s use of the fast-not to protest LBJ’s bombing of Vietnam. After all, they sprang from different cultures and possessed different personalities-King did not follow Gandhi’s example of voluntary celibacy either! (Report by Michael Heale, Session Chair)
Anthony Mann (University of Brighton): ‘Coping with widowhood in post-Revolutionary New England: Ann Appleton Storrow and Harmony Hall, 1794-96’
Ann Appleton Storrow was born in 1760 into the extended Wentworth clan, the dominant family of late colonial New Hampshire. In 1777, she married a British prisoner-of-war and embarked on a seventeen-year transatlantic odyssey to England, Jamaica and Canada in search of economic security. Widowed in 1794, she settled first with relatives in Boston before moving to Hingham to establish Harmony Hall, a residential school for girls. By her death, early in 1796, the school was over subscribed. Ann had prospered alone. This paper, based on letters held at Massachusetts Historical Society, explored particularly the engendered constraints within which Ann lived and the resources she used in her widowhood. Ann drew upon three key resources: her extended family, her own limited financial resources and finally her social skills, the cultural capital required to gain trust and win support from Hingham’s leading families and potential customers. It was the third of these resources that proved most valued, allowing Ann to borrow money necessary to her school’s success. Drawing on a rare collection of letters from Ann to her young daughter, the paper concluded with an insight into the rigid self-discipline she would require of her own children.
Brian Miller (University of Bristol): ‘The Transatlantic Cultural Nexus in Publishing before the advent of the Transnational Conglomerate Corporation’
This paper dealt with the transition from a largely social means of commissioning and fostering the production of books (parties held by or with publishers, book editors, authors and agents, in Manhattan and in London) towards a more internalised corporate process from the late 1960s on. Transatlantic ‘Society’ existed in part to facilitate professional contacts, and it is suggested that this process was at its height in publishing in the interwar, wartime and (for thirty years) postwar periods in the twentieth century, succeeded by the rapid advance of mergers and buy-outs as formerly independent publishers became corporate subsidiaries, and individual editors had to defer to the dictates of marketing, sales, and accounting departments. Thus the nature of transatlantic contact in one branch of culture became radically different as it became corporatised.
Mark Newman (University of Derby): ‘The National Council of Churches and the Civil Rights Movement in McComb, Mississippi’
Between 1964 and 1966, the National Council of Churches operated the McComb Ministers’ Project in southwest Mississippi. The National Council’s ability to deploy northern ministers, attract national publicity and communicate its concerns to high-ranking federal officials helped curtail the worst excesses of segregationist violence that plagued McComb during the summer of 1964. Project volunteers, who served for a week, assisted the Council of Federated Organisations, an alliance of the state’s civil rights groups, in citizenship training and voter registration. Over a dozen ministers were arrested as they accompanied African Americans who attempted to register. With little success, NCC clergymen tried to persuade local white officials and white ministers of the justice of the Civil Rights Movement’s goals and approach. Before NCC budget cuts forced its termination, the McComb Project had initiated nine Head Start centres for deprived preschool children in Pike County, solicited and administered bail funds for movement activists, established three co-operatives, and recruited black children to desegregate McComb’s white schools. Along with COFO, the project acted as a catalyst that led African Americans to challenge discrimination and inequality.
Tatiana Rapatzikou (University of East Anglia): ‘The Art of The Matrix: The Fusion of Electronics and Human Consciousness’
This paper discussed the imagery of The Matrix using a sequence of OHPs. It argued that the film interrogates the concept of Virtual Reality through an action which forms an extended mind game. Extensive use was made of the film’s storyboards which reflect the film’s strategy of estranging the viewer from familiar reality. Examples were given of how images shift from the mechanical to the biological and of how shading and closeup helped the film’s special effects. Among other themes analysed here were technological paranoia and body invasion. Above all, the notion of synthetic pleasure was discussed, taking bearings from critical commentary by Claudia Springer and Slavoj Zizek. Strong thematic links between all three papers helped to give this session a tight coherence. (Report by David Seed, Session Chair)
Lisa Rull (University of Nottingham): ‘A biographical pursuit of “Peggy Guggenheim”’
This paper discussed the problematic relationship between art and life as evidenced in portrayals of art collector and dealer Peggy Guggenheim (1898-1979). Despite being a crucial figure in the shift of avant-garde cultural practices from Europe to the USA in the mid-twentieth century, this socioeconomically-enabled Jewish American woman has proven a difficult character for histories to deal with. My opening section briefly summarised the treatment of Guggenheim in biography (where her sexual relationships have dominated discussions) and art historical texts, including histories of patronage (where apart from studies of her collection, her personal relationships with artists and advisors have dominated). I then outlined the possibilities for recontextualising Guggenheim within her broader cultural moment, discussing the usefulness of ‘personal genealogy’ as development of the form ‘critical biography’. Instead of reading achievements as effects of personal experience, ‘personal genealogy’ reads all the available texts-including popular auto/biographical and anecdotal material-with and against each other, challenging singular finalised explanations of the subject. The paper concluded by applying this model to a preliminary study of Guggenheim’s reasons for opening a commercial sales gallery, Guggenheim Jeune, in 1938. Ironically, in the subsequent discussion the responses both concerned Guggenheim’s personal relationships (plus ça change).
Liana Sakelliou (University of Athens): ‘H.D.’s Poetry: A Palimpsest on Her American Origins’
H.D. is an American who spent most of her life outside of her native land, yet it continued to be an influence on her poetry. Her early life in Pennsylvania was described, emphasising her upbringing in the Moravian religion. Her general American intellectual heritage can be seen at work in the simple style of the first Imagist poems written after she moved to London in 1911. Images in effect superimpose on images in the manner of a palimpsest. Even though she is usually categorized as an Imagist her poetry continued to grow and change. In her middle period (1920-WWII) the Moravian religion can be seen as a direct influence. In it the deity is feminine, and the poetry of this period presents a heightened sense of the feminine and of H.D.’s life. Her poetry expands to allow emotions to be superimposed on images and on other emotions. Then, from WWII onward, her poetry develops to create new myths of the feminine. She explicitly uses symbols and references to the Moravian religion to rewrite fundamental myths of Western culture, and recreate the idea of a woman. In each of these three periods H.D.’s American background is a guiding influence, her poetry itself being a palimpsest on it.
William Schultz (University of Athens): ‘“What is the Fate of the Self in the American Technological Landscape?” Some Indications in Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’
In the future described by Philip Dick the self is endangered. The dominance of media images and the replacement of direct human contact by media minimise the self. The use of the mood organ disintegrates the self into separate emotions while it relinquishes its self-control. Television shows and the religious fusion device respectively create popular feeling and ideals of life, both of which only reinforce the self-effacing conditions. Furthermore, the relationship of the human bounty hunter to the androids he kills becomes ambiguous, a fact which shows that the self is created in turn by its own creations. Throughout the book, there is a subplot of the bounty hunter wanting to earn enough to buy a living animal, though he ends up with only an electronic toad. The diminished sense of self and life becomes poignant. With Dick’s warnings in mind, I refer to the ideas of philosopher Susanne Langer, psychologist Rollo May, and sociologist Philip Slater to state measures to counter the dangers ahead for the self. To retain their humanity, people (Americans) need to preserve a sense of place and community, need to find personal meaning in work, need to engage in ritual and cultural activities, and need to have an interpretation of the meaning of life.
David Seed (University of Liverpool) : ‘Medical Technology and the Control of Violence in A Clockwork Orange and The Terminal Man’
This paper, illustrated with video clips from the two movies, examined the ways in which these works intervened in the ongoing public debate over medical intervention in convicted criminals. Anthony Burgess and after him Stanley Kubrick satirised the use of aversion therapy as removing the capacity to choose and therefore the subject’s moral sense. The topic was contextualised with brief discussions of B.F. Skinner and electronic brain stimulation. In comparing the novel and film versions of The Terminal Man it was argued that Michael Crichton’s heavy focus on hospital procedures made it impossible for him to develop the Gothic potential in his subject, whereas the film deployed a wealth of science fiction and Gothic allusions to present the medical treatment as a transgressive invasion of the self, leading ultimately to death.
Margaret Shaw (University of Wales, Lampeter): ‘The Postmodern Neo-melodramatic Television Text as a Challenge to the Post-Feminist Rhetoric of the 1980s’
This paper posed questions about the limits of a post-feminist label in relation to David E. Kelley’s 20th Century Fox television production of Ally McBeal. It questioned whether this series is representative of the post-feminist cultural turn, in that it is part of the American anti-feminist/post-feminist impetus since the 1980s; or, alternatively, whether it is more usefully seen as part of a postmodern cultural process, contained within a neo-melodramatic structure and informed by1990s feminist anxieties in American feminist identity. Through an analysis of the ‘Pilot’ episode of Ally McBeal, Shaw suggested that Ally McBeal should not be seen as a post-feminist text, and questioned the appropriateness of the term post-feminist in relation to contemporary television texts such as Ally McBeal and Sex and the City. The paper went on to suggest that this text is more appropriately seen as a postmodern, neo-melodramatic text, with all that implies. It further suggested that the phenomenal success of Ally McBeal depends upon strategies of mystification, ambiguity and incompleteness in terms of the construction of and audience identification with its central protagonist, at multiple levels and in complex ways. The neo-melodramatic medium, as it has evolved in the 1990s, is available to a diverse, multi-gendered, active audience and Ally McBeal’s success in achieving this commercial imperative is reflected through the strategies which construct its text’s multiple levels of appeal.
John Shapcott (Keele University): Jack Kerouac and Writing the Beat Environment’
Jack Kerouac’s 1950s texts were read as significant precursors of a developing Beat environmental agenda. His prose, poetry and letters were located within a form of Western Buddhism. His development of spontaneous prose was considered as translating from an urban to a rural environment. Referencing Old Angel Midnight, reader response was seen as analogous to the jazz improviser’s extemporaneous decision-making as sentient response to survival in the natural environment. Dharma Bums was positioned as the first of Kerouac’s published novels to look to nature for the raw material of textual construction. It stands within a tradition of nature writing spanning Fenimore Cooper through to Gary Snyder. The paper followed textual mouse droppings across three novels in mapping a recognition of ecological and spiritual interconnectedness. By the time of Big Sur’s 1961 publication, Kerouac’s mice were seen as prefiguring those emerging environmentalist texts-in particular Silent Spring (1962)-detailing the adverse effects of pesticides. Kerouac’s adaptation of the haiku form was explored in the context of epistolary exchange. They were read as challenging notions of literary categorisation and crossing boundaries of ecopoetic representation to offer a sense of dwelling, and empathy with animal being.
Michael Spindler (De Montfort University): ‘The Birth of Veblen’s Theory’
This paper focused on four of Veblen’s early articles-‘The Economic Theory of Women’s Dress’, ‘The Instinct of Workmanship and the Irksomeness of Labor’, ‘The Beginnings of Ownership’, and ‘The Barbarian Status of Women’,-which share an emerging interpretive framework. Influenced by Lewis Morgan and other anthropologists Veblen sets out to theorise the source of central elements in contemporary social life, introducing his key terms, as well as his dualistic model of cultural evolution-the shift from a peaceable industrious phase to a predatory phase. He traces the ‘irksomeness of labor’ to the status differentiation in the predatory phase between exploit and productive work, and the notion of private property to ‘tenure by Prowess’, principally the seizure of female captives. From this arose ownership-marriage which is the origin of the patriarchal household. It is the wife’s role which endows her dress with an economic dimension, for it advertises the pecuniary strength of the home through ‘conspicuous expensiveness’ and ‘conspicuous waste’. The paper concluded that Veblen’s project in these articles was a radical, demythologising one. By focusing on various givens in social and economic thought, conventionally regarded as ‘natural’, he was able to demystify them and expose them as cultural artefacts.
Shuhei Takada (Kyushu Tokai University): ‘Some Features of Postmodernist Fiction as Illustrated through a Comparative Reading of Thomas Pynchon and Haruki Murakami’
Shuhei Takada offered a comparative discussion of postmodernism as exemplified in the works of Pynchon and Murakami, in relation to such topics as the decline of metanarrative, the degraded status of the human subject, cyborgs and cyberpunk, and the quest for a subjunctive world as refuge from manipulation. The lively subsequent Q&A session focused in part upon the author as detective, notions of surveillance, and the potential criminality of the intertextual process. (Report by Judie Newman, Session Chair)
Graham Thompson (De Montfort University): ‘Douglas Coupland’s Microserfs and Capital’s Transformations’
Graham Thompson argued that although science and technology now stand at the heart of much contemporary cultural criticism, it is the discourse of science together with technological hardware rather than software that have attracted most critical attention. While a similar hardware bias marked the early development of the American computing industry, by the 1990s the development and marketing of software had started to overshadow this hardware. This paper discussed Douglas Coupland’s novel Microserfs as an attempt to come to terms with the transformations produced once value in a capitalist economy is generated not by hardware but by computing software. Such a shift creates various spatial effects once the most important forms of architecture migrate from the spaces that surround us to the code that is invisible to us inside our computers. This paper concentrated on the migration to an architecture of code because of the opportunity it offers to refine a narrative of migration bound up with the American frontier. Thompson suggested some of the ways in which the migration to an architecture of code produces effects in Microserfs that help us understand this migration not as the next stage in an American development narrative, but rather as ‘an odd little nook of time and space’ that is experienced as a period of change and disorientation.
Graham Twemlow: ‘The Displaced America: Edward McKnight Kauffer (1890-1954), Artist and Designer’
The paper discussed the important contribution which McKnight Kauffer made to visual culture in the 20th Century, making reference to the posters and book illustrations on display throughout the conference. Born in 1890 in the USA, Edward McKnight Kauffer came to Britain in 1914 with the intention of establishing a career as a painter. Early in 1915 he began to seek commercial design work and was commissioned to produce two posters for the London Underground Company. The design of these posters marked the beginning of his career as a commercial artist that was to span the next forty years. In 1940, due to pressures placed upon him as an American citizen resident in war-time Britain, he returned to the USA and continued to work as a graphic designer. The paper also addressed Kauffer’s interest in literature and his association with literary society. It remarked on the similar parallel lives of Kauffer and T.S. Eliot, who not only became a close friend but bore a facial resemblance to him. The paper was illustrated by slides showing examples of Kauffer’s work and photographic portraits of him by leading American photographers such as Francis Bruguiere, George Platt-Lynes and Arnold Newman.
Alan Wallach (The College of William and Mary): ‘Thomas Cole’s River in the Catskills As Anti-Pastoral’
In 1843 Thomas Cole completed River in the Catskills, a view looking west from the artist’s house towards the Catskill mountains. Cole painted this view at least eleven times but River in the Catskills differs substantially from his other renditions of the scene. Here the artist has dispensed with framing trees and opened up the landscape. He has also included a tiny locomotive and string of cars, which make their way across a bridge in the middle distance. With few exceptions, scholars have interpreted River in the Catskills as a celebration of harmony between man, nature, and technology, arguing that Cole’s painting is, in the words of one writer, ‘a curious paradox’, that it somehow ‘consecrates’ the railroad in a landscape ‘extolling the pastoral vision of America’. Still, given Cole’s well-known hatred of ‘improvement’ and the wanton destruction of nature, it makes little sense to maintain that the artist would reverse himself in order to produce a painting that might be classified as ‘railroad pastoral’. Instead, I argue that Cole intended River in the Catskills as an anti-pastoral, a visual demonstration of the destruction wrought by the building of the railroad.
Sherryl Wilson (University of the West of England): ‘“It was a mascara runnin’ kinda day”: Oprah Winfrey, Confessional Discourse and the Management of Celebrity’
The paper offers a consideration of the huge popular appeal of The Oprah Winfrey Show. The paper argues that the persona of a talk show host has a significant impact on the way in which the programme is viewed. This being the case, and given that Oprah is the most watched of all TV talk shows, the Oprah persona is clearly of central importance to the programme itself. The paper explores the way in which the Oprah persona is predicated on an ‘ordinariness’ that transcends her celebrity status. Her practice of offering confessions to the audience works to (seemingly) position Oprah in alignment with the invited guests and, by implication, the viewers at home. In addition, Oprah has an affiliation with a group of black feminist writers such as Alice Walker, Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou that is expressed through her various film roles and in advocating their writing to popular TV audiences. The work of these feminists articulates the importance of community ties, and recognises the political potential inherent within everyday experience. This is reflected in Oprah’s performance as a talk show host in which her authority is grounded in the substance of everyday, ‘ordinary’ kinds of struggles. Thus, Oprah adopts a confessional mode of address through which she contains the contradiction of being simultaneously ‘ordinary’ and famous, and which enables her to speak daily to a mass audience on a personal level.
Neil A. Wynn (University of Glamorgan): ‘The “Jazz Age” Revisited Once More’
The image of the 1920s as the ‘Jazz Age’ still survives despite several revisions. Students at all levels appear to find it particularly hard to ignore the influence of Scott Fitzgerald and Frederick Lewis Allen, and images of material growth, consumerism, new morality, new women, and the effects of prohibition retain their appeal. That the prosperity of the decade was neither as widespread nor as general as is often assumed is now almost a truism. Nonetheless the debates about standards of living still continue, and the problem of explaining why the decade appeared to be one of prosperity when millions lived in poverty still has to be resolved. Popular culture, media, and new technological developments offer some explanation, but politics too played apart. While the social and economic history of the decade has long been re-written by writers such as Dumenil who have underlined the continuities between the twenties and the pre-war years in terms of ethnic, racial, and gender experiences, the traditional view of the politics of the period as unremittingly conservative has only recently been dealt with by the revisionists. At the centre of the modified view of the Republican ascendancy, and the standard bearer of what might be called conservatism with a human face, is Herbert Hoover. Hoover’s attempts to encourage housing development and his concerns with child welfare are now well known. More recently a number of writers have found positive things to say about both Warren Harding and even Calvin Coolidge who is now seen as a victim of the hindsight developed in the Depression years. Paul Johnson has suggested that Coolidge’s inactivity was actually a positive policy decision along the lines of ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’. Robert Ferrell has also offered a more positive view of Coolidge than that generally accepted. In this view the politicians of the twenties, faced with economic growth and apparent prosperity, were right not to meddle. However, this logic is flawed-or different lines of historical argument are incompatible. Even if we accept that the Crash and its consequences could not have been foreseen, the problems of the city or the rural community, and of racial and ethnic minorities, were surely self-evident. One reason for federal inactivity (Hoover excluded) was, perhaps, because these problems were still being tackled at a local level. Following a historiographical survey, this paper drew on a variety of archival material, including WPA histories and individual case histories, and examined developments in one community, Bridgeport, Connecticut, in order to consider further some of the ongoing debates concerning the decade. In particular it suggested that social welfare and social policy issues continued to be significant, and moreover had an impact on the lives of many ordinary Americans. However, such developments were couched not so much in the language of Progressivism but shared aspects of the political tone of the ‘New Era’.
Mokhtar Ben Braka (University of Valenciennes): ‘The Christian Identity Movement and Right-wing Militias in America’
The 1996 Oklahoma City bombing brought an intense focus on the hundreds of right-wing militia and related survivalist groups that had formed in at least forty States. Though dating from the beginning of American history, militias proliferated only in the early 1990s. All these extremists, who call themselves Patriots, have in common their hatred of the federal government, which allegedly seeks to deprive average American citizens of their fundamental right to possess firearms. While the claims of these extremist groups often revolve around legal and political issues, their world-view rests on religious foundations. The Christian Identity Movement, the most significant religious manifestation on the extreme right, is based on three key beliefs: white ‘Aryans’ are descendants of the biblical tribes of Israel; Jews are the children of the Devil; and the world is on the verge of the final, apocalyptic struggle between good and evil. This presentation, examined Identity’s doctrinal antecedent-British Israelism, its major organisational characteristics, and links between the Christian Identity Movement and right-wing militias.
William D. Carrigan (Rowan University): ‘The Causes and Characteristics of Mexican American Lynching, 1848-1928’
In the twentieth century, most scholarly works on lynching have focused on African Americans in the American South. Even the most comprehensive works on mob violence have invariably conflated those not of African American descent into the single category of ‘white’. In reality, many lynching victims in the United States have been American Indians, Chinese immigrants, Mexican Americans and other ethnic minorities of the American West. No ethnic minority was lynched in larger numbers than were Mexican Americans. With the exception of a few case studies, mob violence against Mexican Americans has nonetheless received little attention. Historians of the American West have long recognised the violent nature of Anglo-Mexican relations in the United States. Few, however, have attempted to draw their disparate anecdotal evidence together into a systematic set of data on lynching in the West. Based on research into archival materials, government records, Spanish-language and English-language newspapers, published and unpublished diaries, memoirs, letters, and local histories, this essay reveals that at least 575 Mexican Americans were lynched in the United States between 1848 and 1928. This conservative calculation excludes a significant number of reported lynchings where it has proved impossible to verify specific data such as the date and the identity of the victims. An analysis of the data proves that the lynching of Mexican Americans was in truth a persistent legacy resulting from the conquest of the present-day South-western United States. The actions of the lynch mob represented a determined effort on the part of whites to assert their cultural supremacy over the American West.
Rachel Connor (University of Salford): ‘Thresholds of Desire: Bisexuality and Miscegenation in the Fiction of Carson McCullers’
In her paper Rachel Connor examined the intersections between gender, sexuality, race and geographical space in The Member of the Wedding (1946). Drawing on the notion that bisexuality is a ‘politics of location’, Connor outlined the ways in which McCullers constructs a series of bisexual spaces in her novel that trouble fixed definitions of gender and sexuality. Refuting criticism which locates The Member of the Wedding merely as an adolescent (and as a heterosexual) ‘rite of passage’ narrative, Connor suggested that the novel’s ending represents a temporary point in the oscillation between the multiple desiring positions of the main female protagonist. In this sense, McCullers’s text shares resonances with contemporary notions of a bisexual epistemology that constitutes ‘internal conversations about and between the contradictory and perhaps never unified positions within ourselves’ (Jo Eadie). The paper continued by positing that bisexual desire in the novel might be seen as a ‘miscegenate location’. Outlining the racialised discourse underpinning The Member of the Wedding, Connor sought, in particular, to problematise McCullers’s construction of normative heterosexuality as white. Whilst we need to be cautious of using bisexual theory as a universal means of unpicking all binary systems, such a reading challenges totalising categories and the significations of power in traditional constructions of sexual identity. Ultimately, Connor concluded, McCullers’s work offers a way of rethinking the interconnection between the politics of textual practice, (bi)sexual desire and the geographical space of the American South.
Jude Davies (King Alfred’s, Winchester): ‘Intractable Sexuality and Demands for Social Transformation in Chopin, Friedman, and Goldman’
This paper considered two novels from the turn of the nineteenth century, Kate Chopin’s The Awakening (1899), and By Bread Alone by Isaac Kahn Friedman (1901), examining how they can be read as calling for social transformations of various kinds through intertwined narratives of gender, sexuality, ethnicity and class. The paper sought to negotiate current debates on the racial and gendered implications of The Awakening by charting the novel’s utilisation of a range of discourses of identity in connection with issues of bodily autonomy and agency. Particularly troubling are the ways in which Chopin’s depiction of autonomy is imbued with white supremacist codes and assumptions. I argued for a critical response that does not seek to apologise for, ignore, excuse, or redeem these elements. Rather, their acknowledgement can be supplemented by a reading of The Awakening, via the work of Judith Butler on performative sexuality, as problematising notions of self-present, autonomous subjectivity by evoking the structuring power of a heterosexual matrix. The paper continued by charting the workings of sexual desire across ethnicity and class in Friedman’s 1901 depiction of socialists and anarchists, emphasising how Friedman utilised codes of romantic attraction to resolve questions of class and ethnic power. The paper was framed by reference to Emma Goldman, whose political and autobiographical writings suggest a more positive resolution of problems of sexuality and agency.
Ruth Doughty (Keele University): ‘Sewing the Seeds and Fulfilling the Needs of a “Jazz Thing” — Spike Lee: cultural historian or Mo’ than likely missing the point?’
Jazz as a subject matter has been perpetually mistreated by both mainstream and independent cinema. The intricacies and subtle nuances of jazz as music frequently fail to manifest themselves when employed as a filmic subject. Typically jazz films involve stereotypes of over-sexed musicians combining their incurable thirst for women with their uncontrollable need for alcohol and narcotics. Hollywood has too often propagated its jazz heroes as insistently draining their associates with their childlike dependency, heading towards annihilation, as their genius remains unrecognised in an unrelenting world. In 1990, Spike Lee released his long awaited jazz movie Mo’ Better Blues. After Lee had openly criticised previous jazz movies there was great excitement surrounding the African American director’s interpretation of jazz and its players. Much of the anticipation could be assigned to Lee’s father being a working jazz musician and composer. Critics and scholars believed that Lee could offer an authentic insight into the ethos behind the music. Lee’s musical perspective promised a legitimacy previously untold, not directly due to his father’s musicianship but to Lee’s own heritage as an African American. This paper aims to ascertain whether Lee has created an authoritative and faithful portrayal of jazz or whether he is Mo’ than likely missing the point.
Martin Durham (University of Wolverhampton): ‘The Racist Right, the Patriot Movement and the Roots of the Militias’
The paper examined the militias which arose in 1994 following the deaths of 76 people during the FBI’s siege of a community in Waco, Texas. Many accounts have described the movement as racist but, the speaker argued, the evidence for this needs more careful examination. Many in the militias believe in conspiracy theories but these are not necessarily anti-Semitic. Racists are undeniably active within the movement but this should not be taken to mean that they dominate it. Instead, they are engaged in a battle for hegemony with other forces on the right, some of which have adopted a strongly anti-racist rhetoric. White supremacists have seen the militias as an opportunity to gain influence but, it was argued, they have also expressed considerable annoyance that the militias themselves have not taken a racist stance. The paper was one of four examining the militias and the broader Patriot movement of which they are part and the discussion that ensued explored a number of areas in what is a much discussed but too little studied area.
Jo Gill (Cheltenham & Gloucester College of Higher Education): ‘“A Memory of Belief”: Anne Sexton’s “Mystical Poetry”’
Although typically known as a confessional poet, Anne Sexton considered herself to be predominantly a religious writer. This paper took as its starting point, Sexton’s comment: ‘I think in time to come people will be more shocked by my mystical poetry than by my so-called confessional poetry’. The argument of the paper was that what makes Sexton’s ‘mystical poetry’ so ‘shocking’ is the way in which it yokes modern, secular, suburban and frankly sexual experience with the traditions and constraints of the past. The paper proceeded to explore Sexton’s revitalisation, inversion, rejection or transcendence of the figures and precedents (for example, motifs of the ocean/Atlantic crossing) offered by earlier New England writers and her development of a bold and distinctive religious idiom. The paper concluded that Sexton in her ‘mystical poetry’ straddles the boundary between the religious and the sacrilegious, the spiritual and the sceptical. Yet her subject is only ever able to attain the threshold of religious belief (metaphorically, the shore), and is perpetually denied the baptism she seeks.
George Lewis (University of Nottingham): ‘The Science of White Resistance: Wesley Critz George and the Eugenic Approach to Massive Resistance in North Carolina’
This paper concentrated on the intricacies of the southern, white, segregationist response to increased civil rights activity in the South of the United States during the 1950s and early 1960s, the period known as Massive Resistance. By concentrating on one individual segregationist leader, Wesley Critz George of North Carolina, it clearly showed that Massive Resistance was a more complex, multifaceted phenomenon than has often been recognised by historians. Segregationists were not the one-dimensional, monolithic reactionaries often portrayed in the historiography. George, for example, a eugenicist and a Professor of Embryology and Histology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, eschewed many of the more traditional weapons available to resisters in favour of racial science. He strongly believed that Massive Resisters had to reach out beyond the borders of the South in order to win the post-Brown battle for continued segregation, and convince all Americans-not just southerners-that integration would lead to the fall of American civilisation. For George, a reinvigorated racial science was the propaganda weapon with which that battle would be won.
Karen McNally: ‘Frank Sinatra’s 1950s’ Male: Celebrating the Loser in the Era of Success’
This paper considered how Frank Sinatra’s image in the 1950s placed him at odds with mainstream American culture’s promotion of the middle-class, Anglo-Saxon male. The paper established how Sinatra was associated with a working-class ethnicity which distinguished him from ideals of masculinity and lent him an image of alienation from America’s post-war success story. It considered how this persona was constructed via a range of interconnecting influences including Sinatra’s self-presentation, media reaction to his image, and his performances on screen. An examination of Herbert Gans’ The Urban Villagers revealed the extent to which working-class Italian-Americans continued to view Sinatra as a socially excluded outsider, despite the complicating issue of his unparalleled career success. The effect of Sinatra’s earlier career decline as it worked to destabilise his image as a successful male star was explained. The paper considered three film roles in which Sinatra’s image of alienated masculinity is particularly evident. Analysis of key scenes in ‘The Man with the Golden Arm’, ‘Young at Heart’ and ‘From Here to Eternity’ made clear the various elements of class and ethnic alienation reinforced by Sinatra’s extra-cinematic image which combined to characterise Sinatra as a loser in the context of America’s successful, middle-class, post-war culture.
Maria Proitsaki (Goteberg University, Sweden)
My poster was based on two overlapping papers, ‘A “Circus-Freak” and 20,000 Other Migrants in Rita Dove’s Museum’ and ‘Consolidation of Hierarchies of Difference in John Banville’s The Book of Evidence and Rita Dove’s Agosta the Winged Man and Rasha the Black Dove’. In the first paper I examine two poems from Dove’s Museum and interrogate the arbitrariness of the grounds on which othering attitudes thrive. Agosta the Winged Man and Rasha the Black Dove and Parsley expose variable definitions of otherness: Agosta portrays displayable rarities, including a circus freak, a perfectly normal black woman depicted in a painting by Christian Schad (1894-1982), while Parsley highlights how language can ultimately be employed for ethnic discrimination (‘shibboleth’). In my second paper I focus on visual representations of others and explore the hierarchies of difference which are implicit in and govern othering perspectives. I consider possible perceptions of the status of the German painter’s models in Dove’s poem in contrast to the way in which Banville’s protagonist perceives a portrait of a Renaissance lady and a maid he encounters at a friend’s mansion (one of which he will later destroy and the other murder), and trace the hierarchical structures in accordance with which the other is constructed, and representations of otherness take place.
Andrew Read: ‘Representing Violence in Toni Morrison’s Paradise’
In my paper I identified a tension between form and content in Paradise, caused by the political pressures affecting any African American novelist who writes about black violence. The form delegates interpretative responsibility to the reader, by using descriptions of the massacre of the Convent Women to frame the narrative, and allowing contesting voices to speak differing accounts of the events preceding it within this frame. This ensures that every account can be construed as a cause of the massacre, but none are endorsed as a definitive explanation for it by the limited narrator. However, throughout the text Morrison privileges a particular explanation for the massacre, insisting that the men of Ruby’s violence stems from prejudices and modes of self-fashioning which they have copied from white society. This culminates at the end when touchstone characters are permitted to offer a very certain interpretation of the massacre. Morrison compromises the formal openness of Paradise in this way to ensure that it cannot be interpreted as endorsing traditional stereotypes of African Americans as naturally violent, to suppress the disturbing sense that this brutal act has positive consequences, and that the Convent Women are a necessary sacrifice for the future survival of Ruby.
Theresa Saxon (Manchester Metropolitan University): ‘Place and Displacement in Henry James’s Roderick Hudson’
This paper discussed the significance of transatlantic movements in Henry James’s novel Roderick Hudson between America’s North-eastern corner and the ancient city of Rome, arguing that the Roman and New England settings serve a particular purpose for the narrative structure as a geographic emblem of an antithetical set of cultural forms-the new world of America versus the old world of Europe. The paper further contended that Roderick Hudson, the American artist transplanted to the old world scene of Rome, also functions in the narrative to displace the potential of the ‘American Artist’ to be regarded as a homogenous and unified entity. Roderick Hudson’s wayward excesses act as the antithesis in narrative strategy to another American artist in Rome, Sam Singleton, whose main personal attributes are hard work, patience and thrift. In conclusion, the paper argued that the opposition between these two American artists exemplifies James’s ambivalence to the new world/old world engagement in this novel; Rome does not threaten the American artist with destruction. Roderick Hudson, as a romantic, even melodramatic hero, has overindulged at James’s European ‘banquet of initiation’, and therefore stands as a warning to the American artist at this time to indulge very carefully in the European banquet.
Gerard Selbach (Universite de Paris 5): ‘American University Art Museums: Mission, Management and Funding: The case of the Harvard University Art Museums (HUAM)’
Making up one typology different from other art museums, the HUAM are open to the public but exhibitions are mounted for educational and research purposes involving the collaboration of curators, fine arts faculty and students at Harvard. Their mission statement is specific on acquisition policy and allocation of space. The governance system is that of a university department. The director meets the HU president and members of the Corporation for Finance and Planning once a month and has a PR and fund-raising function, whose objectives are the viability of the museums and their ability to carry out their educational mission. The day-to-day administration is performed by the Assistant Director. Their financial resources come mainly from the return on their $300m endowment, run by the University Company which provides for the museums’ operating budget, each museum being responsible for generating income to cover expenses. Donations, membership fees and money from publications and admissions are also received. Staff recruitment is specific: curators should be interested in research and teaching. The new $85m Museum of Contemporary Art by Renzo Piano will bring about a reorganisation.
Carol Smith (King Alfred’s College, Winchester): ‘White femininity in the White House: Hillary Rodham Clinton’
This paper mapped the gendered, classed, and racial discourses through which Hillary Rodham Clinton’s political career has been frustrated and fulfilled. I argued that, while in some respects Clinton was a beneficiary of social and cultural changes achieved by second-wave feminism, her political profile has also been circumscribed by typologies of class and race. I focused in particular on the signs of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s largely successful strategic deployment of these discourses in her public appearance and media representation. During the 1990s, Hillary’s preferred public persona combined the resonances of the traditional political hostess with the classed and racial heritage of second-wave feminism, and I argued that the ability to sustain this fusion was crucial to the successful Senate campaign of 2000. In closing, I speculated as to how her career will further articulate, and be articulated by, relays between the political body and the Body Politic.
Jill Terry (Worcester College of Higher Education): ‘Univocal Blues to Polyfocal Jazz: Gayl Jones and Postmodern Blackness’
This paper addressed Gayl Jones’s 1998 novel, The Healing. The novel represents a ‘comeback’ for Gayl Jones, as it is over twenty years since she published the controversial and groundbreaking Corregidora. The paper documented a development in Jones’s priorities from the assertion of African American female identity in the 1970s to the performance of identities in The Healing. In Corregidora the first person narrator is a blues singer who testifies to a legacy of abuse originating in slavery through her blues narrative; the novel represented a minority voice breaking silence. Jones releases her Healing narrator from 1970s’ compulsions to repeat the traumas of slavery and engagement with strategic essentialism. The novel constructs an indeterminate textual world where healing concerns faith not truth, and identity is performative not authentic. Jones’s postmodern awareness of the instability of categories of ethnicity and colour is exemplified through improvisatory jazz riffing as The Healing embraces a multi-ethnic range of characters whose colloquial voices are orchestrated through the lead of the narrator as she deliberates on representations of Americanness.
Wendy Toon (Keele University): ‘The Re-education of Defeated Nations: The Importance of Image and American Planning for the Occupations of Germany and Japan, 1944-1946’
Throughout World War II, Americans had contemplated the post-war future of Germany and Japan. There was consensus on only one point: they both had to be changed. A variety of alternatives were discussed ranging from punitive and vengeful policies to those which were educational and advocated reform. Re-education policy, which falls into the latter category, involved baggage. This baggage involved pre-conceived images. This paper discussed some of the images that developed during the war, and how these perceptions of the two enemy countries informed American belief in Germany and Japan’s potential for re-education. Both Germany and Japan were examined in view of the analogous administrative processes and the similarity in the design of policy towards each of the two former enemy powers. This approach was taken because there is little truly comparative work on the two Occupations. As well as neglecting the comparative dimension, studies have also tended to see the process of change in a one-sided way, ignoring the fact that US perceptions and attitudes towards the former enemy countries also developed and changed as a result of interaction between them. This issue is particularly interesting as the racial aspect of American thinking is not as evident in its contemplation of Germany and the Germans as it is of Japan and the Japanese.
Nick Yablon (University of Chicago): ‘Snapshots, Seismographs, and Psychologists: Capturing the Experience of Disaster’
For psychologists such as William James and George Malcolm Stratton, the San Francisco earthquake and fire of April 1906 offered an unprecedented opportunity to elucidate a new ‘psychology of catastrophe’. What particularly concerned these psychologists was whether, and how, traumatic experiences could cohere as discrete visual memories. For James, himself a survivor of the earthquake, the intensity and immediacy of the experience precluded any kind of objective grasping of the event. But his intellectual opponents, chiefly George Malcolm Stratton, disagreed, arguing that memory can in fact function photographically, and that furthermore disasters and other moments of extremity serve to sharpen that capacity. In elaborating this idea of ‘hypermnesia’ (an ‘abnormally vivid or complete memory or recall of the past’), Stratton employed the analogy of a particular kind of photographic effect: the snapshot. Invoking the new handheld cameras such as the Kodak ‘Brownie’, an apparatus widely used in San Francisco during the events of April 1906, Stratton developed a distinctive visual grammar with which to describe the experience of disaster.
Aficionados of ASIB will note there is a new approach to presenting the conference paper reports. This approach is being tested out this year as a way of streamlining publication and enabling ASIB to come out more or less on time. Previously, long delays occurred whilst the editor waited for session reports to come in from Chairs; now the onus is on the individual paper presenters to send in copy to a strict deadline. (It was felt it would be unfair on the individual paper presenters if, by imposing a strict deadline on Chairs, their papers were then left unreported.) The editor, however, would appreciate feedback about how BAAS members view this change, recognising that it makes the conference report less well structured than before.
2001 BAAS Postgraduate Awards
Marcus Cunliffe Award: Eric White (Cambridge University), for work on William Carlos Williams and Contact.
John D. Lees Award: Nicola Caldwell (Lancaster University), for research on the concept of an urban underclass in American society.
Short-term travel awards:
Anne Kirby (University of Wales, Swansea), for research on Native American film and literature.
Paul Marshall (University of Sussex), for research on the 1936 presidential election.
Gabriella Treglia (Cambridge University), for work on John Collier, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1933-45.
Tatiani Rapatzikou (University of East Anglia), for research on William Gibson and science fiction.
Joe Street (University of Sheffield), for research on the Southern Folk Cultural Revival Project.
Stephanie Bateson (University of Sheffield), for research on issues of gender in relation to the American New Left of the 1960s.
Winner of BAAS Postgraduate Essay Prize, 2001: Martyn Bone (University of Nottingham and the English Institute, Copenhagen), for an essay entitled ‘New Jersey Real Estate and the Postsouthern Sense of Place: Richard Ford’s Independence Day’.
BAAS Short Term Travel Grants 2002
BAAS is happy to announce assistance for short-term visits to the USA during the year 2002 to scholars in the UK who need to travel to conduct research, or who have been invited to read papers at conferences on American Studies topics. It is intended that the grants be awarded for the study of subjects where the principle aim is the study of American history, politics, society, literature, art, culture, etc. and not subjects with other aims, the data for which happen to be located in the USA.
The resources available are relatively modest. It is envisaged that grants will be supplemented by funds from other sources. The maximum of each grant will be £400. Although it is recognised that awards under this scheme may need to be supplemented, it is not intended that they should be used to supplement or extend long-term awards. The maximum duration of the award will be twelve weeks; visits longer than twelve weeks will not be considered.
Applications are invited from persons normally resident in the UK, and from scholars currently working at, or registered as postgraduate students at, UK universities and institutions of higher education. Preference will be given to those who have had no previous opportunities for research-related visits to the USA, and to young scholars, including postgraduate students. BAAS particularly welcomes applications from postgraduates needing to visit the USA for research purposes.
Some of the travel grants relate to named awards:
The Marcus Cunliffe Award will be given to the best proposal in the field of American Studies.
The John D. Lees Award will be given to the best proposal in the field of American political studies.
The Malcolm Bradbury Award will be given to the best proposal in the field of American literary studies.
The closing date for applications is 30 November 2001. Travel must take place between 1 February 2002 and 31 January 2003. Awards for travel will not be made retrospectively. Successful candidates are required to provide a brief report of their research trip for publication in American Studies in Britain, and they are requested to acknowledge the assistance of BAAS in any other publication that results from research carried out during the tenure of the award.
Application forms can be obtained from Dr Paul Giles, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, CB3 0DG, email@example.com They will also be available on the BAAS website: http://cc.webspaceworld.me/new-baas-site
The BAAS Paperback Series
The BAAS Paperback series published by Edinburgh University Press continues to flourish. Proposals are still being sought so please do get in touch with either George McKay or Phil Davies if interested.
Titles published so far:
Mills: The American Landscape
Killick: The United States and European Reconstruction
Davies and Smith: Gender, Ethnicity and Sexuality in Contemporary American Film
Williams: Political Scandals in the USA
Madsen: American Exceptionalism
Venn: The New Deal
LeBeau: Religion in America to 1865
Campbell: The Cultures of the New American West
Townsend: Jazz in American Culture
Morgan: Slavery and Servitude in North America
Heale: The History and Politics of Sixties America
The BRRAM Collection
New microfilms brought out by Microform Academic Publishers include:
The Tudway of Wells Antiguan Estate Papers: Thirty reels of documents relating to the Parham plantation, a sugar estate in Antigua. The records cover three centuries, from the time of the glorious revolution through World War One.
The Letter Book of Henry Caner: The Rev Henry Caner (1700-1792) was a leading Church of England clergyman in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Caner wrote several vigorous defences of the Church of England and also suffered in the events leading up to the Revolution.
The Americanisation and the Teaching of American Studies Project (AMATAS)
This Fund for the Development of Teaching and Learning (FDTL) project under the umbrella of the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE) is the first funded teaching and learning project in the area of American Studies. It is housed in the Cultural Studies Department at the University of Central Lancashire with consortium partners at the University of Derby and King Alfred’s College, Winchester. We aim to spread dynamic curriculum ideas on Americanisation throughout the American Studies community and beyond. The project is also available to other subject areas such as English, Area Studies, Cultural Studies, Languages, Visual Arts, Media Studies and Music.
Background information to the Project: Crudely speaking, there are two reactions to the power of America globally. One delights in the liberational potential of American culture, the other feels threatened and reacts negatively to what is seen as cultural imperialism. American Studies as a discipline discusses both these responses and often negotiates between them. The famous Blues scholar, Paul Oliver, describes the life-changing experience of listening to black American G.I.’s on work patrols in East Anglia in the 1940s, and the way this opened a whole continent to him. Conversely the African American writer Richard Wright talks of the malignant influence of American popular culture on the indigenous culture of West Africa in the 1950s. In American Studies such encounters are the lifeblood of some of the most interesting debates in the discipline.
Precise Description of the Project: This project is developing the curriculum of American Studies within such a transatlantic framework. The American Studies teams are similarly interested in the Transatlantic and Americanisation. The aim is to develop teaching focused on studying the impact of the United States in Britain. The curriculum of American Studies is extended by taking America out of itself and considering issues of Americanisation, of the acceptance and resistance of the cultural and/or historical impact of the United States in regions of England. Students may combine class work with a field trip to a relevant local ‘site’ of American influence, and will present a case study of their findings for assessment. Teaching staff will enhance their skills in employing cultural theory in leading the analysis of culture and Americanisation. This is a project aimed at developing the curriculum theme of Americanisation within the American Studies community. It particularly focuses on cultural issues of Americanisation, both the export of American culture and its reception in Britain.
It will build on curriculum strengths in the teaching of Americanisation, the Transatlantic and Cultural Theory at Preston which were identified in the successful 1998 teaching inspection visit. Collaboration with other American Studies providers giving workshops will be a prime output of the project as will a website and occasional newsletter. The workshops will be run by experts in the field of Americanisation from the three institutions who will develop their best teaching practice in the field and disseminate it throughout the American Studies community. There were session dedicated to the project at the 2001 British Association for American Studies Conference at Keele 6-9 April and at the Midlands BAAS Meeting at Nottingham Trent University on 3 March which explained the project and outlined the kinds of approaches it will be foregrounding. In the late summer of 2002 there will be a conference on Americanisation and the teaching of American Studies at Preston which will, amongst other objectives, seek to assess the value of such approaches to the development of the subject and provide a summative account of the impact of the project. The website will provide resources to help with the teaching of Americanisation, exchanging good practice and information, with links to other sites that deal with the topic of Americanisation.
Bulletins from the Americanisation and the Teaching of American Studies Project (AMATAS)
Website up and running
The website for the project went live this week. Do browse through it and be assured the amount of content will expand exponentially over the next few weeks. We are proud of the fact the site has been developed to BOBBY standard so that full access is guaranteed to all users. Now we want your input to make the site as useful a resource as possible. There are three initiatives you can contribute to right away www.amatas.org
1) Americanisation diaries:
One of the ways in which the website will gather material which will be of use to students is to ask academics and others from Europe, Asia and elsewhere to write short pieces on the impact of America on their own communities. These diaries could obviously be visual as well as written or a collage of both—a series of images that illustrate Americanisation (either positively or negatively) in your community or nation. These could be purely informational, witty, cutting or even plain daft. If you would like to contribute just send them direct to AMATAS firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
There will be a prize for the best diaries received and these will be awarded on a quarterly basis starting on 30 April 2000 (subsequent closing dates: 30 June, 31 August and 30 November). The prize will be a book on Americanisation. The judging panel will consist of the Project Director, Manager and Administrator.
If any academics or journalists would like to contribute their already published articles on Americanisation or sections from a book to the website we would love to receive them. It could be great free publicity for your work and useful materials for students in the wider American Studies community. Just write to us here at AMATAS firstname.lastname@example.org
3) Media Log:
We want to keep you all up to date with the latest articles on Americanisation appearing in the world media. This will not be a comprehensive log but will try to keep abreast of major issues and events and commentary on them. Many of the articles so far logged are from the Manchester Guardian. Please feel free to send any other cuttings to us here at AMATAS email@example.com and we will summarise and log them. Please make sure they have the date and place of publication attached.
We now have about 15 workshops organised between the three partner institutions. These sessions, run by experts in their fields, investigate topics ranging from Transatlantic Seaside Resorts, through Hollywood and Nazi Germany, to Brand Identity and Resistance. From September they will become available to American Studies and cognate programmes in Britain. A syllabi pack will be sent out over the summer and the Preston office will co-ordinate links between the providers and clients. We see these as taster sessions in ways of integrating Americanisation into American Studies provision. They might either fit seamlessly into a current undergraduate program or act as a special session to add value to it. For more details about workshops see the website (from June) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Alan Rice
Project Manager, Americanisation Project (AMATAS)
Dept. of Cultural Studies
University of Central Lancashire
Preston, PR1 2HE
The Arthur Miller Centre Prize
The Arthur Miller Centre Prize of £500 is awarded annually by the American Studies Sector at the University of East Anglia for the best journal-length article published on any American Studies topic by a UK citizen based at home or abroad or by a non-UK citizen who publishes their essay in a UK journal, providing that the entrant is a member of the British Association of American Studies in the year of submission.
Those interested in entering an article for consideration should submit three copies of the essay including publication details to the Arthur Miller Centre Prize Committee, School of English and American Studies, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK by 1 March in the year for which they wish to be considered for the Prize.
The Awarding Committee includes a representative from the American Studies Sector at UEA and the Chair of BAAS. In years which include an entry from a member of the UEA faculty, a past winner or BAAS Chair will be invited to take the place of the UEA representative. The winner will be announced at the British Association of American Studies Annual Conference. The Awarding Committee is unable to notify unsuccessful applicants or to return copies of articles submitted for consideration.
Benchmarking American Studies
American Studies is involved in the HE benchmarking exercise as part of the Area Studies benchmarking group. The chair of the benchmarking group is Phil Davies. To view benchmarking statements see: http://www.qaa.ac.uk/crntwork/benchmark/benchmarking.htm
The American Studies draft statement has not yet been posted, but soon will be. Phil Davies has submitted the following report:
Benchmarking Area Studies
The QAA subject benchmarking group in Area Studies held its final drafting meeting before the end May 2001. Since October 2000 the twelve members of the group have met on four occasions, and conducted an extensive email correspondence, on the way to the draft that will be published for consultation by the QAA.
The process has at all stages been interactive. The group’s membership includes colleagues from a wide variety of different area studies and disciplinary backgrounds. After two group meetings, and with the help of the LTSN Subject Centre that includes Area Studies, a day-long consultation seminar was held in London, where feedback on an early draft of the benchmark was presented and discussed. Written feedback was also invited, and received, and the early benchmark draft was made available on the LTSN Subject Centre website and to anyone who enquired.
The Area Studies benchmark group exists because of the efforts of the American Studies community. Protest against the QAA’s 1997 proposal that American Studies be considered a sub group of English was such that the Agency had to look for a different solution. This solution has created a valuable opportunity for whole Area Studies community.
The QAA guides its benchmark groups towards the idea of ‘mapping the territory’ of a subject, giving a general point of reference and positive statement of the subject. While it is clear that subject providers will use the benchmark as a backdrop for programme design and presentation, the process in under no circumstances intended to impose a pedagogical strait-jacket in higher education. The virtues and values of undertaking a programme in Area Studies should be at the core of the benchmark statement. The provision of these initial benchmark statements should itself be part of an ongoing process, with feedback from the community and from observation of the benchmarks in use, leading to future updates and revisions.
The group has used its drafting powers to create a benchmark that celebrates and promotes Area Studies. Subject programmes focus in many relevant ways on multi-disciplinary and multi-skilled approaches to teaching, learning and investigation. The benchmark group has maintained a keen awareness of the importance of providing a framework within which the strength and variety of the subject can be freely expressed.
The drafting process has been a very active exercise in exchange of ideas within the group and with the many members of the subject community who have taken part in the feedback opportunities. The Quality Assurance Agency will publish the consultation drafts of the statements during this summer. Only after a period of consultation will the subject groups and QAA agree the final publication of the benchmark. When the consultation drafts are made available a notice will appear on the BAAS website, so please keep checking
New Opportunities for Collaborative Projects in Central and Eastern Europe: British Academy Announcement
New funding is now available to support joint research projects with Academies in Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union.
Applications are invited for joint projects involving British scholars in collaboration with partners in one or possibly two other countries in this region. The projects should be organised through the framework of the inter-academy agreements, not between individual researchers alone. The British Academy has links with thirteen academies in the region.
Awards are offered for travel and maintenance expenses and have a maximum of £2,500 per year for up to three years.
The closing date for submitting applications is 30 April 2001. The countries covered are Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, and Slovenia. For further information and application forms see the Academy’s website www.britac.ac.uk or consult the International Relations Department on 020 7969 5220 or email@example.com
The British Academy, established by Royal Charter in 1902, is an independent learned society promoting the humanities and social sciences. It is composed of Fellows elected in recognition of their distinction as scholars in the humanities and social sciences.
For further press information:
Jonathan Breckon at the British Academy
020 7969 5263
Fulbright/Kennedy/Frank Knox: Awards and Fellowships Information
The number of international students in the US has been increasing steadily over the years, and the UK has contributed to that trend. During 1999-2000, there were 2,683 students from the UK doing postgraduate work in the US. The overall number of UK students in the US was 7,990—an increase of almost 3% on the previous year. The US is becoming an increasingly popular option for UK residents wishing to further their studies beyond undergraduate level.*
However, securing a postgraduate place at a US institution is not a straightforward process. Not only can competition for places be very high, but the degrees are usually far more expensive than their UK equivalents. It is estimated that only 50% of foreign graduate students in the US fund themselves; the other 50% must look to either university funding (e.g. Teaching/Research Assistantships) or independent sponsoring organisations. The Kennedy, Knox and Fulbright scholarships are examples of the latter.
The Fulbright Awards Programme was established in 1948 by Senator William J Fulbright to promote educational and cultural exchange between the UK and the US. Each year approximately 12-15 postgraduate grants are awarded to EU citizens who are resident in the UK. The grants cover approved tuition fees, a maintenance allowance, and health insurance for the first year of postgraduate study in the US. The programme selects academically outstanding candidates with leadership and ambassadorial qualities. Fulbright encourages applications from all UK universities.
The Kennedy Scholarships are part of the British National Memorial to President Kennedy. They are funded from donations made by the British public following the assassination of the President in 1963. The scholarships (usually 12 each year) are tenable at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They provide one year of full funding (details are on the website) for graduate study in any field offered by either of these institutions. The trustees are extremely keen to receive strong applications from students from all UK universities. Successful candidates will have an outstanding academic record, ambassadorial qualities and the potential to be leaders in their field in the future. Full details of eligibility and method of application can be found on the website www.kentrust.demon.co.uk
The Frank Knox Fellowship awards were first offered in 1944 and are funded by a donation made to Harvard University by Annie Reid Knox in memory of her husband Frank Knox, Secretary of the US Navy. In recent years about six awards have been made annually to British graduate students for study at Harvard. The scope of the fellowships is similar to that of the Kennedy and full eligibility criteria can be found on the website www.franknox.demon.co.uk
For more information on appropriate courses and universities, as well as awards and other sources of funding for study in the US, please contact the US Educational Advisory Service at the Fulbright Commission www.fulbright.co.uk
* Figures from IEE’s ‘Open Doors 2000’.
Anna Mason, Josephine Metcalf and Emma Cooney
Lance Banning/Leverhulme Visiting Professorship
The Leverhulme Trust has awarded to Lance Banning a Visiting Professorship at the University of Edinburgh. During his stay, September-December 2001, he will strengthen the study of America in Scotland, especially regarding the Early National period of American history.
Professor Lance Banning of the University of Kentucky is a major figure in his field. He is the author of numerous publications, including some thirty articles in scholarly journals, such as the William and Mary Quarterly. His books include The Jeffersonian Persuasion: Evolution of a Party Ideology (1978) and The Sacred Fire of Liberty: James Madison and the Founding of the Federal Republic (1995), winner of the Merle Curti Award in American Intellectual History. He is co-editor of the University of Kansas Press book series, ‘American Political Thought’, which has more than twenty items in print.
In the course of his stay in Scotland, Professor Banning will deliver the Leverhulme Lectures. These will be on the theme ‘Revolution and Early Republic’, will reach out to a general audience, and will be delivered at several Scottish universities. The lectures will be given under the organisational umbrella of the BAAS affiliate, the Scottish Association for the Study of America. Professor Banning will also conduct a Master Class for postgraduate students in his field. This will be at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh.
Other events and activities are also planned, and will be announced in due course. To obtain, or ensure receipt of, further information, contact:
Professor Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones
Department of History
University of Edinburgh
WRB, 50 George Square
Edinburgh EH 8 9 JY.
British Library Shock-Horror
The British Library is consulting about a proposal to restrict acquistion of books to those relating to the UK and UK experience. Members may wish to make representations to the Brituish Library about this proposal and its impact on the American Studies community.
US Studies Online: The BAAS Postgraduate Journal Call for Papers
The purpose of this online journal is to enable postgraduate students at British universities to have their work published in a refereed environment at a time when the opportunity for postgraduates to publish in American Studies paper journals in Britain is becoming increasingly limited.
Each issue will try to cover a broad range of topics drawing upon the multi-disciplinarity of American Studies to incorporate History, Politics, Cultural Studies, Literature and Film.
This is a fully refereed e-journal and an editorial board of international standing is now in place.
Essays for the Spring edition of this e-journal are welcome. For more information about the journal, including e-notes for contributors, see http://http://www.baas.ac.uk/main/otherpublications/pgjourn.html
Please submit your articles, in hard copy or electronic format, to:
Department of English
De Montfort University
Leicester, LE1 9BH
Call for Book Reviews for American Studies Today
The American Studies Resources Centre at John Moores University is seeking colleagues who would be prepared to write book reviews for the magazine American Studies Today and for the ‘On line magazine/book reviews’ section of its website. The magazine is distributed to both high school/community college teachers in the UK and abroad, as well as individuals in higher education. The style and approach of any review would need to keep this broad readership in mind. If you are able to assist us, please contact Ian Ralston I.Ralston@livjm.ac.uk or David Forster D.Forster@livjm.ac.uk for details of what books are available.
Reviews should be about 300-400 words long, and submitted either:
a) word-processed single-spaced on A4 paper,
b) as a Microsoft Word or text file on a 3.5” pc disc, or
c) by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org—you could send the text of the review as an attached Word file if you wish.
If submitting on disc, please indicate the filename of the review in a covering note. Your disc will be returned to you.
The deadline for submission of reviews is Friday 9 February 2001. Please note that this deadline is earlier than usual in order to take advantage of the offer to use the services of John Moores media studies students to produce the Newsletter as part of their studies. It is vital that we stick to this deadline, so, if you are unable to complete the review by then, please could you send the book back to me. We would be grateful if you could also please return the book, as obtaining review copies is one of the few ways in which the Centre is able to update the book stock.
American Studies Centre
Liverpool John Moores University
0151 231 3241 (tel/fax)
Diegesis: Call for Contributions
Diegesis: Journal of the Association for Research in Popular Fictions, Winter 2001: Chinese Fictions/Fictions of China
Contributions are sought from those working in the area of popular fiction for this edition, devoted to representations of China and Chinese popular fictions, in the form of scholarly essays (6000-7000 words), short extracts, book/film reviews and short creative pieces. For further information contact:
Dr. Joss West Burnham
Department of Humanities and Applied Social Studies
Manchester Metropolitan University
Crewe and Alsager Faculty
Alsager, ST7 2HL
Request for URL Links by the Transatlantic Studies Network
The Transatlantic Studies Network is establishing a webpage for links to other relevant webpages. If you or your colleagues have URL addresses for websites that are relevant to any aspect of Transatlantic Studies, and you would like them to be accessible as links through the Transatlantic Studies Network, please send the addresses and a brief description to email@example.com
If you would like to subscribe to the Transatlantic Studies Network please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org
EAAS Biennial Conference 2002
‘The United States of/in Europe: Nationhood, Citizenship, and Culture’
22-25 March, in Bordeaux, France. The workshops for this biennial conference will be announced soon. For further information, visit the EAAS website using the link from the BAAS website http://http://cc.webspaceworld.me/new-baas-site
The BAAS/EJAC Postgraduate Annual Conference ‘Another Country: New Locations for American and Canadian Studies’
First call for papers
24 November 2001 at the University of Birmingham, Department of American and Canadian Studies. (Sponsored by The British Association of American Studies & European Journal of American Culture). Send 250 word proposals to: Andrew Green email@example.com
Third MESEA Conference (MESEA: The Society for Multi-Ethnic Studies: Europe and the Americas (formerly MELUS Europe)) ‘Comparative Sites of Ethnicity: Europe and the Americas’
Call for papers
26-29 June 2002 at the University of Padua, Italy.
This conference will highlight the comparative aspects of ethnic sites between the Americas and Europe or within the Americas but with some kind of reference to Europe. In the spirit of MESEA, papers should be informed by a comparison between the Americas and Europe either on a thematic or on a methodological level. Proposals for workshops and papers may engage the following topics, among others: geographies of ethnic urbanisation, politics of location, ethnic authorship, literatures of immigration, ethnicity in literary theory, diversity in the classroom, nationalism and ethnic identities, ethnicity and the media, gendering ethnicity and space, ethno-archeology, sites as concept of criticism, theories of space and ethnicity, the topology of ethnic history or literature, sites of memory, ethnicising religions and culture.
Keynote speakers: Georgio Agamben (University of Venice), A. LaVonne Brown Ruoff (University of Illinois at Chicago), Werner Sollors (Harvard University), Andrew Williams (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hills), Sau-Ling Wong (University of California at Berkeley). Performance by Brenda Dixon Gottschild and Hellmut Gottschild: TONGUE SMELL COLOR.
Only members of MESEA or MELUS US/India may present papers at this conference. For membership information please contact: Dr. Dorothea Fischer-Hornung (Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg), firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
For current MESEA information, please check: www.mesea.org
Deadline for proposals: 10 January 2002. Send your c.v. and a one-page proposal to:
Dr. Heike Raphael-Hernandez
University of Maryland (European Division)
Im Bosseldorn 30
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Miscellaneous Conference Reports
‘Taking Stock: The American Century and Beyond’ BAAS/EJAC 2000 Annual Postgraduate Conference, Manchester Metropolitan University, 18 November 2000 (Conference Supported by BAAS Grants)
This annual postgraduate conference was jointly sponsored by the Manchester Metropolitan University, EJAC and the British Association of American Studies, with each providing support and the Manchester Metropolitan University underwriting the project. Over thirty people attended from various institutions throughout the country, including the Honorary European Trust Scholar at the Centre of International Studies, Cambridge University. Sixteen papers were presented all of which were thoroughly enjoyable, engaging and thought-provoking.
Papers ranged in period and topic, covering such relevant yet diverse areas as the impact of revolutionary war on migratory habits (Daniel Blackie (Brunel University), ‘Disabled Revolutionary War Veterans and Migration in the Early American Republic’); the location/dislocation of identity in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (Theresa Saxon (Manchester Metropolitan University), ‘“Monsieur is an American?”: Henry James’s Transatlantic Type’; Margaret Smith (Manchester Metropolitan University), ‘Philip Roth and the Holocaust’); art and the artist in America (Rob Stanton (University of Leeds), ‘“A Very Private Talent”: Rewriting Art and Solipsism in David Foster Wallace’s Church Not Made with Hands’; Mark Rawlinson (University of Nottingham), ‘Sheeler’s New York Stripped Bare: A Glorified Version of A Brave New World of Technology?’; G. Sami Gorgan Roodi (University of Sussex), ‘The Crisis of the American Dream in Clifford Odet’s Paradise Lost’); the female/feminine as subject (Lisa Rull (University of Nottingham), ‘A Biographical Pursuit of “Peggy Guggenheim”’; Susana Araujo (University of Sussex), ‘The Gothic-Grotesque of Joyce Carol Oates’); narratives of race (Celeste-Marie Bernier (University of Nottingham), ‘“Arms like polished iron”: A Comparative Exploration of Narrative Ambiguities in Frederick Douglass’s Two Versions of The Heroic Slave’; Andrew Warnes (University of Leeds), ‘The Political Uses of Hunger in Richard Wright’s Black Boy’; Mark Whalan (University of Exeter), ‘“A Vision of Health”: Eugenics, Race and Aesthetics in Early 1920s American Culture’; David Stirrup (University of Leeds), ‘Ritual and Community: Representations of Death in Contemporary Native American Fiction’); subverting family, (Ann Hurford (Nottingham Trent University), ‘Hitting the Target: (Re)membering Family Boundaries in Anne Tyler’s Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant’) and developing democracy in the American Century (Charlie Whitam (University of Wales, Swansea), ‘Peace Initiative or Profiteering? The Anglo-American Trade Agreement of 1938’; Naveed S. Sheikh (Honorary European Trust Scholar, Centre of International Studies, University of Cambridge), ‘Another American Century? Political Cosmology, New Worldism, and Contemporary U.S. Foreign Policy’).
The papers collectively engaged with the mighty task of taking stock in the American century and beyond! Between us, we tackled political, historical, cultural and literary issues connected to the conference theme. The panels were consistently stimulating and enjoyable. Thanks are due to members of the English Department at the Manchester Metropolitan University for their support and assistance, Dick Ellis and EJAC for regular assistance, and also the British Association of American Studies as an organisation. We would also like to thank those members of BAAS who turned up to support the conference, particularly Richard King (University of Nottingham) and Richard Hinchcliffe (University of Central Lancashire). Finally, it is essential especially to thank BAAS and the European Journal of American Culture for their support, and all those who gave papers and attended panels for their enthusiasm and active participation at all times throughout the conference.
Margaret Smith and Theresa Saxon, Conference Co-organisers (Manchester Metropolitan University)
‘Nation on the Move: Mobility in US History’ European Historians of the United States Biennial Conference Roosevelt Study Center, Middleburg, Netherlands, 18-20 April 2001
Papers were presented on various aspects of this topic by historians of the United States from many countries, including Norway, Slovenia, Croatia, Poland, France, Sweden, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The papers brought out the profound and varied political, social, economic, religious and ideological implications of the mobility of Americans. Papers covered topics from the colonial period to contemporary America, such as James Baird (USA) on the turnover of overseers on plantations in colonial Virginia; Joseph Smith (UK) on the travels of a British diplomat in the United States in the 1820s; Serge Ricard (France) on squatter expansionism and continental aggrandisement; Giovanni Fabbi (Italy) on black migration in South Carolina in World War I to northern cities and to army camps; Klaus Vowe (Germany) on the Hollywood cult of mobility. The British contingent was well represented with papers, from Rob Lewis (Birmingham), Howell Harris (Durham), Joseph Smith (Exeter), Melvyn Stokes (UCL), David Brown (Northampton) and Louis Billingham (Hull). Both David Adams (Keele), the Founding Father of European Historians of the United States, and Steve Ickringill (Coleraine) chaired sessions, while Peter Boyle (Nottingham) acted as conference reporter.
It is hoped that a volume will be published of an edited selection of the papers, as for previous conferences. The volumes for the first three conferences were available at the Edinburgh University Press stand at the BAAS conference at Keele for a special conference price of £8.00 each. Edited by David K. Adams & Cornelius A. Van Minnen, the titles are: Reflections on American Exceptionalism; Aspects of War in American History; and Religious and Secular Reform in America. The volume of the fourth conference was edited by Sylvia Hilton & Cornelius A. van Minnen, Federalism, Citizenship and Collective Identity in U.S. History (Amsterdam: VU Press, 2000).
The conference of European Historians of the United States held at the Roosevelt Study Center in Middlesburg every second year has become well-established since its first meeting in 1993. The next meeting will be in April 2003. The topic will be announced and a call for papers will be made in due course.
Peter Boyle (University of Nottingham)
D.J. Mulloy, ed., Homegrown Revolutionaries: An American Militia Reader (EAS Publishing, Arthur Miller Centre, Norwich 1999) £12.99, pp.480, ISBN 1-902913-02-7
Gathered here is a range of primary documents, including ‘interviews, pamphlets, articles, essays, congressional testimony, presidential statements, press accounts and monitoring agency reports’, relating to the growth of the militia movement in the 1990s. The aim ‘is to allow the various participants… to speak, in the main, for themselves’. Mulloy sees these militia movements, brought into focus by the Oklahoma bombing (1995), as a broad response to the widespread perception of an America in steep decline and, specifically, as a reaction to the siege of Randy Weaver and his family at Ruby Ridge in 1992, the Waco incident in 1993, and the ‘Brady Bill’ gun control legislation. Drawing on Richard Hofstadter’s The Paranoid Style in American Politics (1963), Mulloy’s ‘Introduction’, and the collection as a whole, amply demonstrate the extent to which conspiracy theories and paranoia have long been the stuff of which American nightmares are made.
Mulloy opens with an account of an interview he conducted with the Missouri 51st Militia in Kansas City. Clustering in the West, but scattered throughout the States as they are, no single group (as Mulloy makes clear) can be representative of the militia. For this group, the Ruby Ridge and Waco incidents exemplify the danger to middle America of what are regarded as an incontinent government and its heavily armed agencies. The responses to Mulloy’s questions, and the conversation in general, oscillate between predictable assessments of the political malaise (‘I don’t think you’d find enough moral ethics in the whole of Washington to fill a gnat’s belly button’) and an exposure to the miasmatic premises of gun culture: Jim, we are told, has ‘probably got 100 guns. Now why would he be any more dangerous tomorrow than he is today?’; ‘You can’t use but one at a time’, offers another.
The interview has been weakened as primary material by two editorial decisions: Mulloy has ‘removed many’ of his ‘own interventions in the conversation’, and ‘the pauses, repetitions, and momentary losses of thought, which are a normal part of everyday speech’, have been excised in the belief that ‘it is not possible to present the conversation exactly as it occurred’. Mulloy’s interventions cannot be disregarded as somehow neutral, and there are conventions for transcribing speech, however cumbersome these may be for the general reader. Judgements about the acrobatic casuistry and bizarre logic applied by militia groups, as well as the degree to which some of their positions reflect mainstream concerns about the power and unaccountability of federal government, can be made more easily from elsewhere in the material.
For the Missouri 51st, as for many other groups, the Second Amendment right to ‘bear arms’ and the power of Washington are the compelling issues. What also emerges in this volume, as the scriptures of the Founding Fathers are disputed with a cavalier intensity, is the careful fabrication of a continuity with the Revolutionary militia and its victory over the tyranny of Britain now (then) incarnated in the demonic Clinton and his federal cohorts. These ‘constitutional fundamentalists’, as Paul Glaskin calls them, have an eloquent and persuasive spokesman in Jon Roland of the ‘Texas Constitutional Militia’. ‘Democracy’, and its corrosion of the ‘constitutional republic’, is the issue in his ‘The Social Contract and Constitutional Republics’. The problem, Roland argues, is ‘the assumption by the national or central government of powers not delegated to it under the Constitution’. He believes that individual citizens have a duty, underwritten by natural law and the social contract, to bear arms and to defend the community from excessive government. The range and balance of Mulloy’s collection is evident in the ease with which the reader can move from this essay to the inflammatory rhetoric of such items as Operation Vampire Killer 2000 (1992). It is no small achievement that this indispensable book, often in an atmosphere of high fever and stupefying bombast, enables the reader to distinguish, even to arbitrate, between the shifting claims and interests of government officials, watchdogs, and the militias.
Peter Rawlings (University of the West of England)
Louise K. Barnett and James L. Thorson, eds, Leslie Marmon Silko: A Collection of Critical Essays (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1999), xi + 319pp, notes, bibliography, index, cloth, $45.00
In 1977 Leslie Marmon Silko became the first Native American woman to have a novel published in the USA. Ceremony is a successful mingling of myth and realism in which individual sickness is put in the larger perspective of the ravaging of the land near Laguna Pueblo as a result of nuclear testing. (Shamoon Zamir’s 1993 essay on Ceremony is a major exposition of this theme and documents the creation of a National Sacrifice Area.) Silko’s literary career blossomed, attracting prominence beyond New Mexico and honours such as the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas lifetime achievement award.
Admiration of Silko’s multifaceted work has encouraged some of these contributors to strike a personal note. The response (in the Preface) of Robert Franklin Gish, like Silko a Native American from New Mexico, is to observe himself drawn back to ‘primordial intuitions’. Her writings on ethnicity and the land inspire in Gish thoughts about place, storytelling and naming. Subsequently Robert Nelson assesses the part that Silko’s New Mexico homeland has played in her life and work.
Leslie Silko was raised in Old Laguna village close to Route 66 (now Interstate 40) where, as her father the photographer Lee Marmon once told me, people from Laguna used to feed Dustbowl migrants in the 1930s. Her origins are Anglo and Keresan, and her ancestral inheritance is one of cultural interchange, educational achievement, community leadership and—through the Keresan oral tradition—storytelling. Like Gish, Nelson emphasises the way landscape in her formative years shaped her vision and her tales, but he adds her interest in photography (evident in Storyteller, 1981, with its distinctive verbal and pictorial textures) and more especially film making. Later in the volume David Moore notes her exploration of the photographic medium concluding that ‘her concerns with social and ecological justice influence her visual aesthetic’.
Barnett and Thorson’s collection includes essays on Silko’s short fiction and nonfiction, but the bulk of critical writing here is dedicated to her 1991 epic Almanac of the Dead. This is unequivocally an approach to be welcomed for, as Connie Thorson points out in her useful bibliographical essay, Almanac has so far received little examination apart from a few substantial reviews. Chosen topics in this volume include: the tropes of blood and witnessing; fetishism; the role of time in radical fiction; and the representation of homosexuality. Silko defines storytelling as ‘a whole way of being’ which relates individuals to each other as well as to nature and to history. A number of studies explore the formal elements of storytelling such as notebooks (including the ancient notebooks known as almanacs) and a linear geographical map of South-western USA and Northern Mexico which finds its corrupt centre in Tucson, Arizona.
Together these essays convey the richness of Silko’s expansive, prophetic novel. Since the collection takes cognisance of the earlier work, it functions as a necessary summation of a remarkable and still unfolding creative life.
BAAS Short-term Travel Grants: Reports
Tatiana Rapatzikou (University of East Anglia)
I would first of all like to thank BAAS for its kind support. The purpose of my research trip to the States was initially to visit the Eaton Collection of the University of California, Riverside (UCR).
The collection’s extensive catalogued material in the field of Science Fiction, and especially in the field of comic books and graphic novels, made it a worthwhile experience. The wealth of information and graphic novel titles available enabled me to collect much valuable and original material on the art of the graphic novel as well as to appreciate their aesthetic value towards the formation of the cyberfiction aesthetics. The difficulties and frustration arising from the amount and diversity of titles I had to inspect was often eased by the assistance and kindness that I received from the staff and librarians.
Whilst my work in the special collection was in progress, I was delighted to meet the computer artist Jody Zellen in Los Angeles. The meeting took place in her studio/lab where samples from her latest cyberart project, Ghost City, were on display. It was interesting to talk with the artist about the conceptualisation and rendering techniques involved in transforming a literary experience into a visual one via the intervention of the computer medium.
However, the most invaluable contact I made during my research trip was with the cyberfiction writer William Gibson whom I interviewed in Vancouver, Canada. With my entire thesis mainly focusing on Gibson’s novels, the interview and discussion that followed were significant experiences, offering me a different insight and perspective into his works and answering many of my queries that had proved troublesome during my research.
On the whole, during my research trip I managed to gather an amount of invaluable and original information, references, and photocopies. The entirety of the material, together with the interviews, will enable an understanding and appreciation of the visual motifs employed in Gibson’s works, and also facilitate the completion of my thesis.
I would once more like to express my gratitude to BAAS for its help and support for the realisation of this trip.
Joe Street (University of Sheffield)
I received a travel grant to facilitate research into the Southern Folk Cultural Revival Project (SFCRP) papers and the personal papers of Anne Romaine in the Southern Folklife Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Established by Romaine and Bernice Johnson Reagon, the SFCRP intended to use folk culture to promote the aims of the Civil Rights Movement. Developing out of the Southern Student Organizing Committee, it emphasised the value of both white and black culture, and resisted the influence of black nationalism to continue presenting performances from African American and white musicians until the 1980s. I intended to explore the concept behind the SFCRP and discover why and how they utilised folk culture in such a way during the 1960s.
Much has been made of the use and significance of the freedom songs in the Civil Rights Movement. However, until now, almost no research has been conducted on the SFCRP, mainly due to the unavailability of the papers and an indifference to an organisation that found itself out of step with the racial zeitgeist of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The bulk of the material in the SFCRP files was from the 1970s and 1980s, reflecting the relatively small size of the organisation during the 1960s. Similarly, the material in Romaine’s personal papers leaned heavily in favour of her later years. Despite this material being less extensive than I had hoped, I was able to collect enough material on the SFCRP to warrant inclusion in my thesis and I was pleased to discover that this material confirmed my theories about the organisation. In addition, Romaine’s papers contained her notes for an unpublished book on the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. These notes were in the form of interviews with a number of movement activists and contained some valuable information that will be a suitable supplement to my work on the movement in Mississippi.
Since I was able to complete my work on the SFCRP material more swiftly than expected, I was able to take advantage of other excellent material held in the Wilson Library of UNC-Chapel Hill. I examined two fascinating interviews with Septima Poinsette Clark in the Southern Oral History Project, which contained a large amount of material pertinent to my study of the SCLC’s Citizenship Education Project, and a large amount of correspondence between Clark and the Highlander Folk School. Also included in the Southern Oral History project were interviews with Ella Baker and Mary King, which were less relevant to my work, but provided some interesting vignettes. With the help of the Southern Folklife Collection archivist, Amy Davis, I accessed a number of recordings that Guy Carawan made of a 1964 workshop on the role of freedom songs in the Civil Rights Movement. Much of the collection consisted of entertaining recordings of the song meetings, but there was scant material on the workshop discussion groups. However, one of the tapes contained a speech given by activist and comedian Dick Gregory in Greenwood, Mississippi during the Mississippi Freedom Summer. This gave a fascinating insight into the type of material that Gregory used at this time and also included the reaction of his audience, which was similarly illuminating. I am very grateful to Ms Davis for giving me access to these tapes, some of which had not previously been available to researchers. Finding myself with a spare couple of hours whilst copies of tapes were being made for me, I decided to investigate UNC-Chapel Hill’s microfilm holdings of the papers of Fannie Lou Hamer. Knowing that Hamer had been instructed by Septima Clark in citizenship school education, I hoped to locate material on the schools that Hamer had taught. Unfortunately, her collection only featured a limited amount of material on the citizenship education project of the Delta Ministry that Hamer was involved in, and focused almost exclusively on its financial details.
My trip to Chapel Hill provided me with a wealth of useful and diverse material, which will undoubtedly strengthen my thesis in ways that I had not envisaged at the outset. I was also able to meet with postgraduate members of Chapel Hill’s lively and highly regarded history department to partake in some liquid refreshment—a weekly ritual in that part of the world. I wish to offer members of BAAS my most sincere thanks for their generosity in making this trip affordable and express my gratitude to the BAAS Committee for deeming this project worthy of support.
Paul M. Marshall (University of Sussex)
I would like to thank the generous support granted to me from the BAAS, which allowed me to visit the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks to continue research into my doctoral thesis, ‘The Union Party and the 1936 Presidential Election’. The visit to North Dakota was particularly important for my research, as the UND Library holds the papers of the Union Party’s presidential candidate, Representative William Lemke.
The intended purpose of my visit was to seek to understand the extent to which William Lemke had contributed to Franklin Roosevelt’s 1932 presidential election victory; why and how Lemke was distanced from Roosevelt between 1932 and 1936; and how this eventually resulted in Lemke becoming the presidential candidate of a new political party, the Union Party, in 1936. I was not disappointed with the papers I found at the library, which provide a window into the life and workings of a dedicated and hardworking Representative. Of particular importance for my thesis are a series of letters between Lemke and his friends Cornelius Vanderbilt and Covington Hall that spans the entire period of my interest. This correspondence offers an amazing insight into Lemke’s initial enthusiasm for FDR; his frustration as FDR moved away from him; his growing desire from 1934 for a liberal candidate to emerge to oppose FDR in 1936; and his final decision to form a third party and to stand as its candidate.
To date, one of the greatest difficulties with my emerging thesis has been finding a clear link between the death of likely 1936 third party candidate Senator Huey Long in September 1935 and the launch of the Union Party on June 17, 1936. However, I believe that correspondence in the Lemke papers between the Representative and Republican Party Presidential hopeful Senator William Borah has provided this link. I now believe that had Borah won the Republican nomination the previous week, the Union Party would not have been created. The next stage of my research will now be to undertake research into the William Borah papers at the Library of Congress, in order to elaborate upon this link.
In addition to my research into the Lemke papers, I also found a small amount of time at the library to undertake research into the representation of the Union Party campaign in the North Dakota press and in the New York Times. This research has provided a valuable backdrop to my primary research.
Overall, my work in North Dakota produced a large amount of fascinating material, and I thank the BAAS again for their support without which the visit would not have been possible.
David Adams received an honorary D.Litt. from Keele University.
Chris Bailey has been made Professor at University of Keele
Celeste-Marie Bernier (Nottingham) became a Salzburg Fellow.
Susan Castillo was made a Professor at the University of Glasgow.
Philip Davies became a Salzburg Fellow
John Dumbrell was made a Professor at Keele University.
Robert Garson (Keele) became a Salzburg Fellow
Mark Jancovich became a Reader at the University of Nottingham.
Esther Jubb (Liverpool John Moores) became a Salzburg Fellow
Will Kaufman has been made Reader at University of Central Lancashire
Scott Lucas has been made a Professor at the University of Birmingham
George McKay has been made Professor At Univeristy of Central Lancashire
Phil Melling has been made a Reader at University of Wales Swansea
David Seed has been made Professor at Univeristy of Liverpool
Helen Taylor has been appointed to the AHRB board.
The following hold appointments within the AHRB currently:
Janet Beer (Manchester Metropolitan)
Mick Gidley (Leeds)
Helen Taylor (Chair)
New Members of BAAS
Kimberley Anthill (University of Nottingham): Postgraduate.
James Ashmore (The Nottingham Trent University): Postgraduate researching into The Literature of New York City in the 1980s and 1990s.
Jamal Assadi (The Academic Arab College for Education, Haifa): Lecturer, research interest in Saul Bellow.
Jim Barton (University of Nottingham): Postgraduate researching into race and public policy in the urban context.
Robert Busby (Liverpool Hope University): Lecturer, research interests in the American Presidency, scandal politics and public opinion.
Alan Cardew (University of Essex): Director of the Enlightenment in the School of Humanities. Research interests include the founding fathers and the enlightenment/classicism, US architecture, and Jefferson.
Sigrid Clerk (University of Dundee): Postgraduate researching Moravian missionary influence and the Delaware Indians.
Gareth Davies (St Anne’s College Oxford): University Lecturer.
David Deverick (University of Nottingham): Postgraduate working on Ulysses S. Grant as a military commander.
Nathalie Gegout (University of Birmingham): Postgraduate.
David Greenham (University of Nottingham): Postgraduate researching the influence and continuing importance of Romantic aesthetics and philosophy for an understanding of radical American thought.
Francoise Hamlin (Yale University): Postgraduate researching the Civil Rights Movement in Cahoma County, Mississippi.
Jan Hoare (University of Warwick): Postgraduate researching comparatively into slavery in Jamaica and North America.
Larry Hudson (University of Rochester): Associate Professor, researching comparative slavery, race and ethnicity, the Civil War, and African American families.
Rosalind Inglis (University of Nottingham): Postgraduate.
Andrew Johnstone (University of Birmingham): Postgraduate.
Eileen Riddiford (Open University): Postgraduate.
Mara Keire (Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford): Post-doctoral Fellow.
Emma Louise Kilkelly (University of Nottingham): Postgraduate.
Annie Kirby (University of Wales, Swansea): Postgraduate.
Susie J. Lee (Cornell University): Postgraduate researching US Imperialism during the Great Depression.
Anthony Marasco (University of California, Berkeley): Postgraduate.
Eddie Marcus (University of North London): Postgraduate researching the history of critcal commentary on Edgar Allan Poe.
Karen McNally (University of Nottingham): Postgraduate researching masculinity in film, the 1950s, Frank Sinatra, Billy Wilder, star images and the issue of American identity.
Olga Nunez Miret (University of Sussex): Postgraduate.
Debbie Pavitt (Brunel University): Postgraduate.
Monica Pearl (Keele University): Lecturer.
Andrew Preston (Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge): Postgraduate researching US Foreign relations 1898-1999 (especially 1945-1965).
Sarah Robertson (Keele University): Postgraduate researching contemporary Southern women writers.
Julian Salisbury (Keele University): Postgraduate researching the US Federal election commission.
John Shapcott (Keele University): Postgraduate researching the Beats.
David Stirrup (University of Leeds): Postgraduate.
Claire Stocks (Keele University): Postgraduate.
Rachel Van Duyvenbode (University of Sheffield): Postgraduate researching the representation of white women in African American women’s texts.
Astrid Wind (Somerville College Oxford): Postgraduate researching ideas of cultural and political nationalism.
Nicholas Yablon (University of Chicago): Postgraduate studying the history of visual culture (architecture, urbanism and consumption).
Nahem Yousaf (The Nottingham Trent University): Lecturer researching postcolonial literatures/texts.
BAAS Membership of Committees: (including co-opted members and invited observers)
Professor Philip Davies (Chair, first elected 1998, term ends 2004)
Dr Nick Selby (Treasurer, first elected 2000, term ends 2003)
Dr Jenel Virden (Secretary, first elected 1998, term ends 2002)
Professor Janet Beer (first elected 2000, term ends 2003)
Professor Susan Castillo (first elected 2001, term ends 2004)
Professor Dick Ellis (first elected 1999, term ends 2002)
Dr Paul Giles (first elected 1999, term ends 2002)
Dr Michael McDonnell (first elected 2000, term ends 2003)
Dr Heidi Macpherson (first elected 2000, term ends 2003)
Dr Simon Newman (first elected 1999, term ends 2002)
Dr Carol Smith (first elected 2001, term ends 2004)
Dr Graham Thompson (first elected 2001, term ends 2004)
p/grad Ms Celeste-Marie Bernier (first elected 2000, term ends 2002)*
Professor Richard Gray (Editor, Journal, term ends 2001)
Dr Iain Wallace (Chair, Library & Resouces Subcommittee)
co-opted: Ms Kathryn Cooper
Development sub committee
Dr Paul Giles (Chair)
Professor Phil Davies
Dr Heidi Macpherson
Dr Simon Newman
Ms Celeste-Marie Bernier (post-grad)
Dr Iain Wallace (ex-officio)
Publications sub committee
Professor Janet Beer (Chair)
Dr Jenel Virden
Professor Susan Castillo
Professor Dick Ellis (Editor, American Studies in Britain)
Dr Graham Thompson (webster)
Professor Richard Gray (Editor of Journal of American Studies)
Professor George McKay (Associate Editor of Paperbacks)
Professor Richard Simmons (Editor of BRRAM)
Ms Kathryn Cooper (co-opted)
Conference sub committee
Dr Michael McDonnell (Chair)
Dr Nick Selby
Dr Carol Smith
Miss Andrea Beighton (Oxford, Conference Secretary 2002)
Professor Alan Ryan (Oxford, Conference Secretary 2002)
Dr Tim Woods (Aberystwyth, Conference Secretary 2003)
Libraries and Resources Subcommittee
Dr Kevin Halliwell
BAAS representative to EAAS
Prof Mick Gidley (term ends 2002)*
[* indicates this person not eligible for re-election to this position. All co-optations must be reviewed annually.]
Journal of American Studies
Applications are invited from BAAS members for the posts of Editor and
Associate Editor of the Journal of American Studies. These positions are for a 5-year term, beginning 1 January 2002. The Associate Editor is eligible to apply for the post of Editor. Applications, consisting of a curriculum vitae and short statement, should be sent by Wednesday 18 July 2001 to the Chair of the BAAS Publications Sub-Committee, Professor Janet Beer (J.Beer@mmu.ac.uk) at the following address: Department of English, Manchester Metropolitan University, Geoffrey Manton Building, Rosamond St. West, Manchester M15 6LL