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

British Association for American Studies


Issue 93 Autumn 2005


Issue 93 Autumn 2005


As incoming editor it is a particular pleasure to welcome you to the latest edition of American Studies in Britain in this, the fiftieth year of the British Association for American Studies. The celebrations kicked off at this year’s annual conference at Robinson College, University of Cambridge, and will draw to a close at the 2006 event at the University of Kent. When BAAS was founded, the international importance of the United States was never more apparent, but the pioneering scholars who established the Association were still taking something of a professional gamble. American Studies was then in its infancy: many historians questioned whether the United States even had a history while American literature still occupied a liminal position on many literature courses.

Half a century later, we can see just how far-sighted the first pioneers were. Even allowing for fluctuations in student numbers and tastes, the study of the United States remains phenomenally popular. Secondary school pupils read The Catcher in the Rye and To Kill a Mockingbird and write about the civil rights movement. At dozens of third-level institutions, courses on American literature, history and culture are over-subscribed. The news that Michael O’Brien had won the Bancroft Prize for 2005, American history’s most prestigious award, came as a terrific boost to BAAS in its jubilee year, and set the tone for an exceptionally vigorous and friendly conference at Cambridge. Although this award was above all a tremendous personal achievement, it does reflect the strength of British scholarship on the United States.

While BAAS has never been more successful, its role has also never been more important. Go into any bookshop in the country, and you will find shelves groaning under the weight of polemics either attacking or defending the United States. Turn on the television or the radio, and you will hear heated discussions on America’s place in the world. The vital importance of American Studies in Britain has rarely been more striking, and it is a tribute to the strength and depth of our organisation that in universities across the country there are so many scholars working on so many diverse issues. So in this, our fiftieth year, we pay tribute to the founders, who built BAAS into the thriving and collegiate organisation that we know today.

To celebrate the success of the Association in its jubilee year the Executive Committee elected to launch a series of travel awards, which will be open to senior BAAS members: the Founders’ Awards. These awards will complement the already successful BAAS Short Term Travel Awards which are offered annually to our thriving postgraduate community. Named after the founders of BAAS, the awards offer assistance for short-term visits to the United States during the year 2006-07. They are open to BAAS 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 will be awarded for the study of subjects where the principle aim is the study of American history, politics, society, literature, art and culture. The closing date for applications for these prestigious awards is December 15, 2005. You will find an application form for the Founders’ Awards at the back of this issue of ASIB and further details on the BAAS website:

Catherine Morley
Department of English Studies
Oxford Brookes University
Gipsy Lane Campus

BAAS Annual Conference: Cambridge, April 14-17, 2005

Chair’s Report

Following my election as Chair of the British Association for American Studies in April 2004, my first months seemed to be dominated by media reports about the closure of American Studies programmes and the alleged unpopularity of the United States amongst British undergraduates. Along with other members of BAAS I spoke or corresponded with journalists from the Financial Times, the Guardian and other publications, and against my better judgement I began to worry about the state of American Studies in Britain.

These worries faded quickly. The restructuring of undergraduate provision by university administrations, and the rising cost of undergraduate degrees (especially those including an additional year spent abroad) have contributed to perceptions of a weakening of American Studies in Britain, and some commentators were rather too hasty in their presumption that opposition to the policies of the United States government had translated into a decline in the popularity of American Studies.

American Studies in Britain is stronger than ever, and this 50th anniversary conference bears witness to the strength and depth of our vibrant research culture and teaching provision. The organisation has 600 members (including 194 postgraduates). The quality of the work done by these scholars is recognised by funding bodies, and my cursory review of the websites of the British Academy, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and the Economic and Social Research Council showed that American Studies projects secured awards totalling almost £350,000 over the past year. Success in American Studies has been rewarded by British universities, and over the past year a number of BAAS members have been promoted to chairs and professorships: Trevor Burnard at Sussex, Rob Singh at Birkbeck, Iwan Morgan at the Institute for the Study of the Americas, Roberta Pearson at Nottingham, Mark Jancovich at East Anglia, and Jon Roper at Swansea. Perhaps most impressively, Michael O’Brien (Cambridge) has been named as one of three joint-winners of this year’s Bancroft Prize in American History, and has been short listed for the Pulitzer Prize for his two-volume Conjectures of Order: Intellectual Life and the American South, 1810-1860.

BAAS continues to play a vital role in encouraging excellence on American Studies research and teaching. The annual conference provides a venue for the presentation of research by postgraduate students, young scholars and more experienced academics, and the resulting exchange of ideas and information is the lifeblood of our subject community. At the conference BAAS awarded ten research and travel awards worth £7,500; the Ambassador’s Awards for the best essays by a school student, an undergraduate and a postgraduate; the BAAS Postgraduate Essay Prize, and the inaugural BAAS Book Prize. Ian Scott and Carol Smith coordinated the judging of entries for all of these, and they and the judges were impressed and heartened by the range and quality of American Studies research in Britain.

One of the most important tasks facing the BAAS Executive Committee is to preserve and enhance the excellence of this research community. We approach this by representing American Studies as best we can out with our subject community, and by supporting teaching and research within. We spent a good deal of time over the summer approaching major scholars and preparing nomination forms for the relevant sub-panels for RAE 2008, spurred on by the appointment of former BAAS Chair Professor Judie Newman as chair of one of the fifteen Main Panels. Since then the Executive Committee has been consulted by the Economic and Social Research Council, the Higher Education Funding Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Board, and I am grateful to my colleagues for their work in developing responses to consultations on a variety of issues relating to our discipline, such as the transition of the AHRB to Research Council status, and possible strategic programmes to be sponsored by the new AHRC.

On behalf of the Executive Committee and all BAAS members I would like to thank the Cambridge hosts and organisers of the 50th anniversary conference, especially Dr. Sarah Meer, Professor Tony Badger, and Mrs. Ann Holton, who have worked so very hard and have been so extremely generous in making this such a memorable conference. At the conference we were joined by honoured guests including Mr. David T. Johnson, Chargé d’Affaires at the United States Embassy; Professor Marc Chénetier, the Chair of the European Association for American Studies; and Professor Shelley Fisher Fishkin, President of the American Studies Association. And fifty years on from the very first BAAS conference, founding committee member William Brock joined us along with other early members. The life and blood of this conference are the academic papers given by members and guests, the spirited discussions over tea, coffee and wine, the exchange of ideas and the ready collegiality that make this a favourite conference, and our fiftieth anniversary meeting has been an invigorating event.

Another important part of BAAS’s work involves publication. With the support of Joe Mottershead at Cambridge University Press, and under the gentle care of editor Jay Kleinberg and Associate Editor Susan Castillo, the Journal of American Studies is thriving. Edinburgh University Press’s Nicky Carr continues to guide and support the BAAS paperback series, co-edited by Carol Smith and myself. An exciting new initiative is taking BAAS back to its earlier publication history, by developing new materials for use by schoolteachers: this will be a web-based digital resource, making it easily available to teachers and students across the UK. Meanwhile, under Graham Thompson’s expert care the BAAS website has become a much-used and increasingly valuable resource, and our newsletter American Studies in Britain has continued to thrive.

On a less explicitly academic front, members of BAAS regularly provide a public face for BAAS and American Studies in Britain. The presidential election in November prompted a flurry of media interest, and members of the Executive Committee provided expert opinions on this and a variety of issues, and we spoke with and to national newspapers, national and local radio and television, and even the British Forces Broadcasting Service.

Like any good ‘State of the Union’ address, the message here is a triumphal one. It is my firm belief that teaching and research amongst the members of Britain’s American Studies community are of the very highest quality. The members of the BAAS Executive Committee work very hard on behalf of the subject community, and we are grateful for those who support our efforts on your behalf. I would like to express my gratitude to a number of people and organisations. Dan Sreebny, Minister Counsel for Public Affairs, and Dennis Wolf, Cultural Attaché, have both reached the end of their terms at the American Embassy in London. Together with Sue Wedlake, Cultural Affairs Assistant, they have been very good and generous friends to BAAS. In addition to supporting local conferences, they have subsidised postgraduate attendance at this conference; they have helped fund short-term travel awards, and they have supported the Ambassador’s Awards. We wish Dan and Dennis well in their next postings, and offer them our most heartfelt thanks.

But most of all I want to thank the members of the Executive Committee for their tireless work on your behalf: Heidi Macpherson as Secretary; Nick Selby as Treasurer; Carol Smith as Vice-Chair and Chair of the Publications Sub-committee; Ian Scott as chair of the Development Sub-committee; Tim Woods as chair of the Conference sub-committee; committee members Jude Davies, Clare Elliott, Sarah MacLachlan, Catherine Morley, Martin Padget, Graham Thompson, and Peter Thompson; and ex-officio committee members Jay Kleinberg, Ian Ralston, Kathryn Cooper, George Conyne, Ken Morgan, Jenel Virden and Sue Wedlake.

Minutes of 2005 BAAS AGM

The 2005 AGM of BAAS was held on Saturday 16 April at Robinson College Cambridge at 3pm. There was a short delay to the meeting because of overrunning sessions, but the meeting became quorate at 3:30 and elections commenced.

Secretary Heidi Macpherson (to 2008)*
Treasurer Graham Thompson (to 2006)†
Committee Richard Crockatt (to 2008)
Jude Davies (to 2008)*
Will Kaufman (to 2008)
Catherine Morley (to 2007)†

*Not eligible for re-election
†Fulfilling an unexpired term

The Treasurer began his report by circulating copies of the draft audited accounts, which he asked the AGM to approve. There were no questions about the accounts. Phil Davies proposed that we accept the accounts, Martin Padget seconded the motion, and it was carried unanimously. NS then offered a short report about his five years as Treasurer. When he was first elected, BAAS had 450 members. This year, the total number of members has hit 600 (though there are a significant number who have yet to amend their standing orders and so are not considered fully paid up members until they do so). NS humorously suggested that his experience showed that neither banks nor academics were infallible in relation to finances, but he also noted that he had enjoyed his five years as Treasurer and wished his successor well.

Thanks were extended to NS for his work over the last five years and he received a round of applause. NS also wished to record his and BAAS’s thanks to Margo Hunter at the Hook Centre in Glasgow for her administrative support, particularly in relation to the maintenance of the database.

The Chair provided a report of his activities in his first year as Chair as well as the current state of American Studies. He noted in particular that the first few months of his tenure appeared to be dominated by media reports about declining interest in American Studies. His experience, however, suggested that the picture was much more positive, and he offered the following evidence of the health of the discipline:

The organisation has 600 members, almost a third of which are postgraduate students.

A review of the websites of the British Academy, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and the Economic and Social Research Council revealed that BAAS members secured awards totalling almost £350,000 over the past year.

Over the past year a number of BAAS members have been promoted to chairs and professorships: Trevor Burnard at Sussex, Rob Singh at Birkbeck, Iwan Morgan at the Institute for the Study of the Americas, Roberta Pearson at Nottingham, Mark Jancovich at East Anglia and Jon Roper at Swansea. The Chair asked for any omissions to this list to be notified to him for incorporation into next year’s report.

Michael O’Brien (Cambridge) has been named as one of three joint-winners of this year’s Bancroft Prize in American History, the most prestigious prize for US History, for his two-volume Conjectures of Order: Intellectual Life and the American South, 1810-1860.

The Chair noted that one of the most important tasks facing the BAAS Executive Committee is to preserve and enhance the excellence of the American Studies research community. The Executive has responded to this overarching task this year in a number of ways, including:

Offering STAs, essay prizes, and the new BAAS Book Prize. The entries for these competitions testify to the quality of research by students and academic staff, as well as the health of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in American Studies and its constituent disciplines.

Supporting the Annual Conference as well as regional and postgraduate conferences around the country.

Contributing to discussions and nominations for the American Studies and Anglophone Area Studies panel (Unit 47) for RAE 2008. The Officers of BAAS met in the summer to discuss possible nominations, and recommended a number of scholars to this panel and to cognate panels. Former BAAS Chair Professor Judie Newman was appointed Chair of one of the fifteen Main Panels. The membership of Unit 47, chaired by Professor Paul Cammack of MMU, includes many BAAS members and several of BAAS’s nominees (panel members include Professor Chris Bailey (Newcastle); Dr. Susan Billingham (Nottingham); Professor Susan Castillo (Glasgow); Professor Richard Godden (Sussex); Professor Mark Jancovich (UEA); Professor Scott Lucas (Birmingham); Dr. Heidi Macpherson (UCLAN); Professor Anthony McFarlane (Warwick); Dr. Jonathan Munby (Lancaster); Professor Simon Newman (Glasgow); Dr. Diana Paton (Newcastle); Professor Peter Stoneley (Reading); Professor Helen Taylor (Exeter); Dr. Betty Wood (Cambridge) and Professor Tim Woods of Aberystwyth).

Contributing to discussions and consultation documents by the Economic and Social Research Council, the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the Arts and Humanities Research Board (particularly in their transition from AHRB to AHRC).

SN has himself attended meetings for subject area heads and learned society heads on BAAS’s behalf, including one for the AHRB held at the Globe Theatre. SN reported that one third of proposals for new interdisciplinary initiatives had come from BAAS or BAAS members, and that nearly 90 million pounds sterling is now available through what will be the AHRC.

SN offered his thanks to colleagues for their work in these areas, particularly to Ian Scott and Carol Smith for organizing the judging of the many prizes now offered. In relation to the 2005 Conference, SN thanked the Cambridge hosts and organisers, especially Professor Tony Badger, Dr. Sarah Meer, and Mrs. Ann Holton, who had worked very hard and had been so generous in making it such a memorable conference. SN noted that honoured guests at the Conference included Mr. David T. Johnson, Chargé d’Affaires at the United States Embassy; Professor Marc Chénetier, the Chair of the European Association for American Studies; and Professor Shelley Fisher Fishkin, President of the American Studies Association, as well as William Brock, one of the original founders of BAAS.

SN reported that another important part of BAAS’s work involves publication. With the support of Joe Mottershead at Cambridge University Press, Editor Jay Kleinberg and Associate Editor Susan Castillo, the Journal of American Studies is thriving. Edinburgh University Press’s Nicky Carr continues to guide and support the BAAS paperback series, co-edited by Carol Smith and the Chair. The Executive is supporting a new initiative, a web-based digital resource, developing new materials for use by school teachers. Graham Thompson has ably edited American Studies in Britain, and the BAAS website has become a much-used and increasingly valuable resource; indeed, a Google search for American Studies lists the BAAS website as its first hit, which is testament to GT’s hard work in this area.

The Chair also noted that members of BAAS regularly provide a public face for BAAS and American Studies in Britain. The presidential election in November prompted a flurry of media interest, and members of the Executive Committee provided expert opinions on this and a variety of issues, speaking with and to national newspapers, national and local radio and television, and even the British Forces Broadcasting Service.

The Chair closed by thanking a number of people and organisations, including Dan Sreebny, Minister Counsel for Public Affairs, and Dennis Wolf, Cultural Attaché, who have both reached the end of their terms at the US Embassy in London; Sue Wedlake, Cultural Affairs Assistant at the Embassy; members of the Executive Committee for their tireless work on behalf of the American Studies community, particularly Heidi Macpherson as Secretary and Nick Selby as Treasurer, both of whom have been on academic leave during the year but continued to commit significant time to BAAS; Carol Smith as Vice-Chair and chair of the Publications Sub-committee; Ian Scott as chair of the Development Sub-committee; Tim Woods as chair of the Conference sub-committee; and committee members Jude Davies, Clare Elliott, Sarah MacLachlan, Catherine Morley, Martin Padget, Graham Thompson and Peter Thompson; and ex-officio committee members Jay Kleinberg, Ian Ralston, Kathryn Cooper, George Conyne, Ken Morgan, Jenel Virden and Sue Wedlake. Final thanks were extended to Phil Davies, the former Chair, who remains an invaluable resource for the entire community, but especially for the Executive Committee itself.

Tim Woods offered a verbal report on the business of the Conference Subcommittee, noting that its principal focus is on organizing and overseeing the annual conference, a task made more complex over the last year because the 2005 conference inaugurates the 50th anniversary celebrations. A vote of formal thanks was again offered to Tony Badger and his colleagues, particularly Sarah Meer, Ann Holton, and the many others, including postgraduate students, who worked behind the scenes to help the conference run smoothly. TW offered additional thanks to Simon Newman and Jenel Virden for helping to read submissions for panels and proposals. The conference itself was stimulating, with a large number of papers and delegates and excellent plenary lectures by Kwame Anthony Appiah and Shelley Fisher Fishkin; the Eccles Lecture by John Dumbrell directly following the meeting was expected to be just as stimulating. TW noted in particular the number of long-time members who had made a special effort to attend this 50th anniversary conference.

TW reported that the next BAAS conference, which rounds out the 50th anniversary celebrations, will be held at the University of Kent at Canterbury 20-23 April 2006. A Call for Papers was produced for the conference pack and was announced at the reception hosted by Kent. Thanks were offered to the Vice Chancellor of the University of Kent at Canterbury for funding the reception on the first evening of the conference.

TW reported that the 2007 conference will be held at the University of Leicester and the 2008 conference will be held at the University of Edinburgh. Negotiations are well underway for the 2009 conference, and the successful applicant will be announced shortly.

Carol Smith was unable to attend the AGM but congratulations were extended to her and to Jude Davies on the birth of their daughter Rosa. The Secretary read out CS’s written report.

Thanks to the General Editor Prof. Ken Morgan, this has been a busy and fruitful year for the collaboration between Microform Academic Publishers (MAP) and BAAS. Recent developments include:
1. The final set of reels of the Liverpool Customs Bills of Entry has been released (140 reels in total).
2. The Jamaican Papers in the Slebech Collection has just been released (with a short introduction by Prof. Morgan) (12 reels).
3. Dr. Vassie has contacted the Merseyside Maritime Museum about microfilming the recent deposit of Davenport Papers.
4. Contracts are being exchanged between Dr. Vassie and the British Library to microfilm the Edward Long Papers, one of the most important sources for eighteenth-century Jamaica. Prof. Morgan will be the Special Editor for this project.
5. Dr. Vassie is liaising with Dr. Carolyn Masel (formerly of the University of Manchester) about publishing a further instalment of material on the English supporters of Walt Whitman.

Dr. Roderick Vassie is our new contact with MAP and brings new ideas and an enthusiastic interest to the project. As part of this, BAAS members will soon be able to receive a 10% discount on all orders placed directly with MAP. BAAS and MAP are keen to extend the range, and members are encouraged to contact Prof. Morgan or CS if they know of interesting projects which might be useful for this series.

EUP-BAAS Series EUP continue to be pleased and supportive of the BAAS paperback series. Sales remain strong and all titles continue to be co-published in the States. Dr. Mark Newman’s The Civil Rights Movement was published in 2004. Newly commissioned and or in the process of research/writing during 2004/5 are books on Native American Literature, Immigration to America and African American Visual Arts. In production now and the next to be published is The Civil War in American Culture by Dr. Will Kaufman. The editors will consider and advise on any ideas and are particularly looking for titles covering the short story, the city and any aspect of American music and television.

JAS Over the last year, the journal has continued to publish outstanding national and international scholarship in the American Studies field, which thanks to our new relationship with CUP, BAAS members now receive as part of their annual subscription to BAAS. One highlight this year was the special issue on black civil rights. Three editorial board members, Prof. Hart, Prof. Tallack and Prof. Badger, have all served their allotted time with sterling work and have been thanked on your behalf; new members are in the process of being approved. The Editor and Associate Editor are also coming to the ends of their 5-year terms of office. BAAS members are invited to contact Prof. Jay Kleinberg and Prof. Susan Castillo to discuss these posts and consider applying. Further details about applications will be published in the ASIB and are available in the conference packs.

ASIB/WEB SITE It was reported that there had been a delay in publication of the last ASIB because the printers had had a series of break-ins. Thanks were extended to Graham Thompson and Clare Elliot for remedial action such as notification of the problem and publication of the newsletter on the BAAS website. Apologies were offered for this delay. It was also noted that BAAS would be seeking a new editor for ASIB. This will be advertised electronically. Further thanks were offered to Graham for his editorship, and to Clare Elliott for taking over the mailbase so effectively.

US STUDIES ONLINE Thanks were offered to Dr. Catherine Morley for her successful and vibrant editorship of US Studies Online. Following the electronic advertisement of the position, it was offered to and accepted by Elizabeth Rosen for a period of 18 months in the first instance. She and CM will complete the handover after Easter.

BAAS Book Award It was reported that in the first year of the BAAS book prize, there were 9 eligible entries. We have an outstanding winner, Professor Richard King, from a strong field as was ably outlined by Phil Davies at the Conference Banquet. Thanks were extended to the Judges, Prof. Davies, Prof. Castillo and Prof. Lucas for the exemplary process they instituted in addition to the many other calls on their time.

Ian Scott offered a short report on the activities of the Development Subcommittee, noting that it had been an extremely busy year, coordinating all of the prizes and awards, including the new awards announced in 2004, as well as those to be launched in 2005. IS offered thanks to Sue Wedlake, Dan Sreebny and Dennis Wolf from the US Embassy, for helpful guidance and financial assistance to make the awards possible. In the coming year, new STAs were to be launched which would be open to all members, in addition to the postgraduate STAs currently available. The number of applications for awards this year was extremely healthy and of a high quality, which required the Executive to seek additional judges both from within and outside the Executive Committee. IS noted that he is interested in hearing from BAAS members who would be happy to sit (anonymously) on judging panels for any of the awards that BAAS offers. A formal call will go out later this year in relation to the prizes, announcing a new closing date of the end of January so that all awards can be coordinated in the same time frame and announced at the Conference. IS would like all members to continue to encourage their students to apply for funding and prizes, and thanks were offered to institutions and individuals who supported the awards.

IS noted that the Development Subcommittee has been able to offer financial assistance to a whole series of initiatives over the last year, including one-day conferences, colloquiums, and symposiums and regional activities. IS named a representative selection, including the Eccles Centre conference on the US Election, the American Studies Centre Schools’ conference on elections at Liverpool, the “Becoming Visible” symposium, BAAS Northwest events (one in conjunction with Caribbean Studies in the North), and SASA seminars, as well as the annual BAAS postgraduate conference, this past year held in Birmingham. Next year’s event will be at Sheffield, and the conference organizers, Anne Marie Evans and Elizabeth Boyle, were already undertaking publicity for it. IS offered particular thanks to Clare Elliott, the BAAS postgraduate representative, for her hard work in disseminating information to this important constituency.

IS reported on the chief initiative of the last 12 months, the Schoolteachers’ Initiative. He reminded the AGM that at the banquet, BAAS had presented its inaugural Ambassador’s School Essay Prize. This is a very important prize to encourage young scholars in the field, and is one element of BAAS’s plan to foster links with schools and colleges up and down the country. BAAS has received funding from the US Embassy to support the Schoolteachers’ Initiative, which is built around a web-based portfolio of events, information and material to encourage American Studies interest at this level, particularly at A level. IS asked members to contact him if they have any ideas of how to contribute to this initiative, or if they had materials that might be of use.

IS reported that he had succeeded Jude Davies on the Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies Advisory Board, and urged members to contact him with any concerns they may have. He will offer a fuller report on the LLAS activities next year when he has been able to attend more meetings.

Libraries and Resources:
Ian Ralston was unable to attend the AGM because of illness, but provided an emailed report which the Secretary delivered on his behalf. HM reported that the main emphasis for the work of BLARS this academic year has been on the re-launch of the former Libraries Newsletter, now entitled Resources for American Studies. The journal will be in a larger format with a wider range of reviews and articles that will be of value and interest to librarians, lecturers and postgraduate students. Thanks were offered to the US Embassy for the support they provided in order to make this possible. Colleagues who felt that they could contribute an article or review of a new database or other form of electronic resource, or a hard text review, were urged to contact the magazine editor, Dr. Matthew Shaw at

HM also reported, on IR’s behalf, that there has been one significant change to the membership of the committee this year. After many years as Secretary of BLARS, Richard Bennett resigned due to personal reasons. On behalf of all the Committee, sincere thanks were recorded to Richard for all the work that he undertook. To date, the post of Secretary remains vacant. It is hoped that this will be resolved at the next meeting in May.

The EAAS representative Jenel Virden reported that in the two days before the Conference, the EAAS committee had been meeting at Clare College, Cambridge. JV reported that the proceedings from the Bordeaux Conference, entitled “The Cultural Shuttle: The United States in/of Europe” had just been published.

EAAS business over the year included making decisions on requests from various national associations to join EAAS. An Israeli association was offered the opportunity to become an Associated Member (but not a full member because Israel is not in Europe). Associations in Georgia and Bulgaria have been asked to provide further information on their requests before they can be confirmed. EAAS finances are strong, and under the care of the Treasurer, Hans-Jürgen Grabbe, a new and more transparent review of the accounts has now been undertaken.

JV announced that EAAS offers travel grants to postgraduate students for intra- European and transatlantic travel. This year, awards went to two Polish students and one Romanian student, in amounts from 450-2500 euros. BAAS postgraduates are eligible to apply for these grants and should be encouraged to do so. Further information is available on the EAAS website,

The website has been improved and updated, with a new logo. It remains an important resource, especially since the EAAS Newsletter is now published solely in electronic format on the website. Although this has not been without its problems, the next issue is due out shortly and will contain information about the panels for the 2006 EAAS conference. EAAS is considering a proposal to put a European American Studies journal on line as well, and a search for an on-line editor is commencing.

The next EAAS conference will be held in Cyprus, 7-10 April 2006, and the following year, JV will attend a meeting at Wittenberg on BAAS’s behalf. The 2008 conference will be held in Oslo.

1. Phil Davies (Eccles Centre) reminded delegates that the Eccles Lecture followed the AGM and that his colleagues from the British Library would be present to answer any questions delegates may have, including Matt Shaw, the editor of Resources for American Studies.
2. A member drew the AGM’s attention to the CFP for the SASA conference, which will be held on 8 November 2005 at the University of St. Andrews. Postgraduates were particularly invited to attend.
3. Alan Rice (UCLAN) updated members on the AMATAS project, which is now in its final year, having been taken into the English Subject Group this year. There were three conferences over the year, with the last one in Warwick on pre-20th century literature. The final AMATAS event is a book launch of the Issues in Americanisation volume edited by George McKay, Jude Davies and Neil Campbell. This will be held at Preston on May 13, just before the joint BAAS Northwest/Caribbean Studies in the North seminar to be held between 12:30-6:00pm. This is a free event, with Professor James Dunkerley from ISA and others speaking. Contact Alan Rice on for more details.
4. Alan Rice also updated members on the Slave Trade Arts Memorial Project, which raised £60K in Lancaster. The memorial will be unveiled on July 11, and a message about this will go out on the mailbase. Anyone who is interested should contact Alan Rice. A dedication ceremony follows in October.
5. Clare Elliot (BAAS Postgraduate Representative and mailbase coordinator) announced that there is a sign-up sheet on the notice board for members who would wish to receive information through the mailbase.

The AGM concluded at 4:15pm.

BAAS Requests

BAAS Database of External Examiners

The Secretary of BAAS, Heidi Macpherson, holds a list of potential external examiners. If individuals would like to put their names forward for this list, please email her on Include the following information, in list form if possible:

Name and title
Affiliation with complete contact details including address, telephone, fax, and email Externalling experience (with dates if appropriate)
Current externalling positions (with end dates)
Research interests (short descriptions only)

By providing this information, you agree to it being passed on to universities who are seeking an external for American Studies or a related discipline. Should you wish your name to be removed in the future, please contact the Secretary.

Any university representative interested in receiving the list should also contact the Secretary. BAAS only acts as a holder of the list; it does not “matchmake”.

Paper copies can also be requested by sending a letter to:

Dr. Heidi Macpherson
BAAS Secretary
Department of Humanities (Fylde 425)
University of Central Lancashire
Preston PR1 2HE


The Edinburgh University Press /BASS book series continues to be a vibrant success in publishing books in all areas of American Studies in Britain with co-publishing deals in America. Recent publications are The Civil Rights Movment, Mark Newman and The Vietnam War in History, Literature and Film, Mark Taylor. Forthcoming are The Twenties in America, Niall Palmer, The Civil War in American Culture, Will Kaufman and Contemporary Native American Literature, Rebecca Tillett.

The series editors (Simon Newman – and Carol Smith – ) welcome new proposals at any time. They will be happy to advise and shape proposals and are particularly seeking books on the American short story, American music (all types) and the American city and its representations.

US Studies Online: The BAAS Postgraduate Journal

US Studies Online is seeking articles on American literature, culture, history or politics for upcoming issues. US Studies is a refereed journal and submission guidelines can be found at our website:

Letters to the Editor

What follows is a response to an observation made by Dick Ellis on an ASA list-serve to the assertion: ‘I know that programs in Britain, for example, have seen a drop in enrollments due to the U.S.’s actions in Iraq. In light of previous editorials and letters to the newsletter, ASIB thought it might be of more general interest and Dick Ellis kindly agreed to its publication. He has very slightly adapted his list-serve posting.

With respect to falling enrollments in the UK on American Studies courses, the story is more complex than anti-US/Americanism in the light of Iraq. The Iraq adventures are probably a contributory factor to a fall in enrollments, which so far has not (yet) become massive. But other factors need to be weighed.

Firstly, I think it is important to guard against seeing responses to the US in ‘monolithic’ terms. Much more often people’s responses in the UK (and, I believe, elsewhere) are congeries of mixed feelings, involving:
— attraction/repulsion to the mythic stress US culture places on freedom, individual expression, self-reliance and even at times an anarchic celebration of the self and (sometimes) an accompanying preparedness to voice dissent — and media expressions of these mythic traits;
— attraction to diversity and its problematic cultural expressions and social consequences;
— attraction/repulsion to celebrity and its excesses;
— attraction/repulsion to consumer(choice)ism;
— mistrust of/attraction to US/American soft-power;
— fear of US/American hard-power interventions (the imperial turn) and their consequences;
— dislike of the US’s poor environmental policies;
— doubts about the status of US/American democracy in the face of corporate influence (especially financial influence);
— mistrust of US fundamentalism and its various expressions (use of capital punishment; absence of gun-control; anti-abortionism).

In other words I think popular cultural responses in many countries (including the UK) still buy into exceptionalist discourses — not wholly without justification — and this complicates things. The US/America continues to trade successfully on its dialogic cultural capital (desire/disillusion). By and large I’d say many young UK residents, as they newly become more and more independent consumers, still find this US imaginary headily seductive, though more fearful about the possibility of rape — sometimes decisively so (if you can bear this metaphor).

Secondly, one needs to bear in mind the recent and continuing introduction of student fee increases in the UK. Most US/American Studies courses in the UK require a fourth year of study in the US from students and this makes their debt larger at the end of their course. Some students are put off by this; others still want to go to the States.

Thirdly, one needs to bear in mind the dire under-funding of universities and colleges in the UK (and everywhere?). Like all Area Studies courses, American Studies is interdisciplinary, making it expensive to run (think of journal subscription costs alone). Frequently also American Studies is not taught in individual, ‘stand-alone’ departments, but by ad hoc ‘teams’. This makes it quite cheap to shut American Studies programs down (with, for example, the American Literature specialist redeployed to teach American Literature courses in the English Department, as part of an Anglophone Literature provision). Several UK American Studies programs have closed down in this way. Students who cannot leave their home area then cannot take American Studies (and so numbers fall).

Fourthly, one needs to bear in mind what might loosely be called the ‘crisis’ in ‘Area Studies’ (here viewing American Studies as an Area Study). The ASA’s increased emphasis on internationalisation/ism is in part a response to this. In an increasingly global world where the US economy and US corporations are simply less dominant though still often influential or formative, globalization (from above AND below), its compression of distance and its facilitation of exchange (such as digital exchange) are regarded as more important as a set of intellectual issues. Courses addressing these sorts of issues are, simply put, rivals. Area Studies can seem too wedded, by virtue of their very labels, to ‘place’, and so less attractive
(even outmoded). What Area Studies are going to do about this constitutes the ‘crisis’.

So: yes, Iraq and its ugly spin-offs like Abu Graib, Guantanamo and Homeland Security, BUT — and it’s a very big BUT — in a way, enrollments, though falling, are bearing up surprisingly well.

R. J. Ellis 29 July 2005

Background References

Albrow, Martin (1997) The Global Age. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Appadurai, Arjun (1996) Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization.
Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Barber, Benjamin R. (1995) Jihad vs. McWorld. New York: Ballantine.
Bauman, Zygmunt (1998) Globalization: The Human Consequences. New York: Columbia
University Press.
Beck, Ulrich (1997) Vad Innebar Globaliseringen? Missupfattningar och Mojliga
Politiska Svar. Gothenberg: Daidalos. Rpt. as What Is Globalization?, trans. by
Patrick Camiller, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2000.
Cheah, Pheng (1998) ‘Given Culture: Rethinking Cosmopolitical Freedom in
Transnationalism’. In Pheng Cheah and Bruce Robbins, eds. (1998) Cosmopolitics:
Thinking and Feeling Beyond the Nation. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Fiskin, Shelly Fisher (2005) ‘Crossroads of Culture: The Transnational Turn in
American Studies’, American Quarterly 57.1 (March): 17-58.
Friedman, Thomas (1999) The Lexus and the Olive Tree. New York: Farrar, Straus and
Giddens, Anthony (2002) Runaway World. London: Profile Books.
Gillman, Susan, Kirsten Silva Gruesz and Rob Wilson (2004) ‘Worlding American
Studies’, Comparative American Studies 2 (3): 259-270.
Hall, Stuart (1997) ‘Old and new identities, old and new ethnicities’, in King,
Anthony D. King (ed.), Culture, Globalization and the World-System: Contemporary
Conditions for the Representation of Identity. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota
Hardt, Michael and Negri, Antonio (2000) Empire. Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard
University Press.
Herod, Andrew, Gerard Ó. Tuathail, and Susan M. Roberts Eds. (1998) An Unruly World?
Globalization, Governance and Geography. London: Routledge.
Kroes, Rob, Robert W. Rydell and Doeko F.J. Bosscher, eds (1993) Cultural
Transmissions and Receptions: American Mass Culture in Europe. Amsterdam: VU
University Press.
Kennedy, Liam and Scott Lucas (2005) ‘Enduring Freedom: Public Diplomacy and U.S.
Foreign Policy’, American Quarterly 57.2 (June): 309-334.
Lenz, Günther (1999) ‘Toward a Dialogic of International American Cultural Studies’.
Amerikastudien 44.1: 5-23.
Lott, Eric (2000) ‘After identity, politics: the return of universalism’. New Literary History, 31: 665-680.
Ong, Aihwa (1999) Flexible Citizenship: The Cultural Logic of Transnationality. Durham: Duke University Press.
Pieterse, Jan Nederveen (2004) Globalization or Empire? New York and London: Routledge.
Ritzer, George (1998) The McDonaldization Thesis: Explorations and Extensions. London: Sage Publications.
Robbins, Bruce and Pheng Cheah eds (1998) Cosmopolitics: Thinking and Feeling Beyond
the Nation, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Rosenau, James N. (2003) Distant Proximities: Dynamics beyond Globalization. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.
Rowe, John Carlos (2002) The New American Studies. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Roy, Arundhati (2004) An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire. Cambridge, MA: South End Press.
Schueller, Malini Johar (1998) U.S. Orientalism: Race, Nation and Gender in Literature. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.
Smith, Neil (2005) The Endgame of Globalization. New York and London: Routledge.
Soja, Edward (1989) Postmodern Geographies: The Reassertion of Space in Critical
Social Theory, London: Verso.
Spivak, Gayatri C. (1993) Outside in the Teaching Machine. New York and London: Routledge.
Stead, William T. (1972) The Americanization of the World: Or the Trend of the Twentieth Century. New York and London: Garland.
Sumida, Stephen (2003) Where in the World is American Studies? Presidential Address to the American Studies Association. American Quarterly 55.3: 333-352.
Trask, Haunani-Kay (1999) From a Native Daughter: Colonization and Sovereignty in Hawaii, Hawaii: Hawaii University Press.
Twitchell, James B. (1999) Lead Us Into Temptation: The Triumph of American Materialism. New York: Columbia University Press.
Yue, Ming-Bao and Jon D. Goss (1995) ‘Introduction to de-Americanizing the ‘Global’: cultural studies interventions from Asia and the Pacific’, Comparative American
Studies 3.3 (Winter): 251-266.

Reflections on American Studies: The 50th Anniversary Conference of BAAS

The 50th Anniversary Conference of BAAS was a perfect opportunity for a look back at how it was founded and how it has developed over the last few decades. To the Association’s great credit it offered considerable space at the Conference for a productive meeting of old and new perspectives, of looking back but also looking forward, of reflexive and reflective reasoning and argument on where BAAS in particular and American Studies in general have come from and where it might be going. In order to understand why the discipline is the way it is, we as historians should have the capacity and the maturity to discuss all the factors that have acted on it over time. Three panels in particular addressed BAAS’s history and the intellectual and political background to American Studies as a post-war phenomenon in European academia. Several papers were given from those who were involved in the Association’s early years and subsequent expansion, such as Michael Heale, Owen Dudley Edwards, and Louis Billington. Others, including Howard Temperley and David Adams, were also in attendance to offer their views.

The panel entitled American Studies as a Cold War Project contributed to this process of re-evaluation. The intention of the three speakers on the panel – Inderjeet Parmar, Ali Fisher, and myself – was to look at the political, economic, and strategic interests that lay behind the promotion of American Studies. Inderjeet examined the socio-economic and political identity and aims of the major American Foundations which provided much of the financial support for promoting the discipline within European higher education. Ali focused on the delicate processes of negotiation that took place between on the one hand those in USIA and the Foundations and on the other hand the academics who would eventually found BAAS. I gave an analysis of the development of American Studies in the Netherlands and how its promotion by USIA and US Foundations coincided with periods in the 1960s and the 1980s when the United States regarded the country as a key ally.

On the face of it this would appear to have been a straight-forward series of papers on intellectual history during the Cold War, albeit with a critical edge. However, it would be an understatement to say that our presentations provoked some sharp reactions from the floor during question time. One senior colleague responded that he felt as if his integrity as a free-thinking intellectual was being directly questioned by Inderjeet’s apparently determinist argument. I received a prolonged and determined salvo from another BAAS veteran accusing me of demeaning to the point of slander the reputation of Dutch historian J.W. Schulte Nordholt (the words ‘prostitute’ and ‘dirty money’ were used). Clearly, even though others had also given critical takes on American Studies during the Conference, we had crossed an invisible line that all of a sudden made it very personal. This result was unfortunate and deserves some further reflection.

Any study of the history of American Studies has to analyse at some level the role and interests of the American actors involved in this process. The kind of patronage we examined in our papers is well documented and offers an interesting perspective on the role and influence of US public diplomacy in the academic world. Whether we like it or not, this promotion was carried out with a purpose: To ensure that the United States had an informed audience abroad whose understanding of the interests and motives of that country could be explained sympathetically through the media and/or education to local audiences. As is the case with any country’s public diplomacy programme, the promotion of American Studies was politically motivated and related to particular long-term strategic objectives. The assumption from the American side was that these well-meaning activities should necessarily lead to such positive results. Embassy correspondence often included this assumption when referring to the disbursement of Fulbright grants, for instance.

In presenting these positions, we were not questioning the legitimacy or integrity of American Studies as a subject, or its practitioners, in Britain or any other country. What we wanted to argue was that the discipline did not begin or develop in a political vacuum, and that the 50th anniversary of BAAS was a good time to reflect on these origins. Ideas are never free-floating, they are developed and transformed in a broad political, economic, and socio-cultural context. On the other hand, ideas are also based on traditions and personal experiences which have a longer gestation period. It is one thing to demonstrate, as we did, the underpinnings of US support for American Studies. It is quite another to jump to the conclusion that this means everyone involved in that process were dupes of a grand propaganda campaign in support of US foreign policy. That we certainly did not and would never say. We investigate the relevant links, but we also respect the level of autonomy that is present in intellectual work. I can categorically state that the research Inderjeet, Ali and myself have carried out over recent years has always gone against this simplistic and determinist version of intellectual history during the Cold War.

In effect, what foundations do well is to establish the large structures and networks – academic infrastructure – in areas of academic enquiry identified as vital to American national interests; they select key existing institutions for investment, as well as particular scholars and/or groups of scholars for research leadership; fund research and publication projects and programmes; fellowships, seminars and conferences for training and dissemination of a school; and professional societies for developing academic community cohesion, interchange and career development. The resulting network is extremely attractive to much of the best scholarly talent, doctoral candidates, and university administrations. It is designed to produce – within broad boundaries – knowledge and scholarship that is appreciative, understanding and supportive of US power and influence, though it does not always do so. The network, however, maximises opportunities for the production of US-friendly knowledge.

Perhaps part of the misunderstanding lay in our presentation, that we did not sufficiently outline our conclusions based on the evidence we delivered. But the impression of those of us on the panel, and confirmed by others who were also present, was that the three papers complemented each other perfectly: Inderjeet on the identity and interests of US elites, myself on the projection of those interests abroad, and Ali on the subtleties of negotiating those interests in another country. There was definitely enough there for a solid debate afterwards. Let us be perfectly clear – there is no Inquisition here. We don’t all need to suddenly display our philanthropic grants around our necks. In the past I have been the grateful recipient of a Netherlands-America Foundation award for archival research in the US, which from a determinist perspective should mean my work supports the agenda of a group of powerful New York Republicans; while Inderjeet has received grants from George Soros’s Central European University for a project on the role of US foundations in combating anti-Americanism. However, if we move away from such simplistic determinism, we can sustain a worthwhile debate and reflection on how patronage has operated in the academic realm, and in relation to American Studies in particular. If the beginnings of that debate at the Conference were awkward and painful, let us hope that this has broken the ice for more sober reflection. To that end, the three panellists are currently writing a joint article based on our presentations which we hope to submit for consideration for publication to the Journal of American Studies.

On a final note, on behalf of the three of us I would like to thank the organisers of BAAS 2005 for a great event. For myself, my first visit to a BAAS conference, it was certainly a memorable one, and I hope the first of many.

Giles Scott-Smith, Roosevelt Study Center, Middelburg, The Netherlands


The latest newsletter is out now. Issue number 54 May 2005 is available on-line only at This has the latest news on the upcoming 2006 conference in Cyprus.

Cyprus Conference 2006
The EAAS conference will be held in Nicosia, Cyprus from 7-10 April 2006. The workshops have been selected and announced in the newsletter. Anyone wishing to present a paper needs to apply to the appropriate workshop chair by 1 September 2005 with an abstract and proposal. PLEASE see the on-line newsletter for full details of workshops and workshop conveners at

The French education and research authority is running a web site with academic electronic journals and the EAAS hopes to start a new, fully refereed e-journal. It will include 1 to 2 issues per year and the EAAS board is currently looking for an international editorial team, including chief editor. Articles will be anonymously double referred and written in English. Anyone interested in applying for the editorial board or for the editorship should contact Marc Chenetier by 15 October at or

AS Network Book Prize
The American Studies Network of EAAS is running their bi-annual book prize in time for the 2006 EAAS conference in Cyprus. Anyone who has published a book in 2004/05 and wants to enter the competition should send three copies of the book, in English, to Prof. Zbigniew Lewicki, American Studies Center, Warsaw University, Al Niepodleglosci 22, 02653 Warszawa, POLAND by 1 December 2005.

The EAAS mailing list is available to any subscribers to circulate information on conferences, research or anything pertaining to American Studies. The EAAS-L is moderated by Jaap Verheul, Utrecht University, The Netherlands and anyone wishing to contribute to EAAS-L please send your messages to and to subscribe to EAAS-L fill out the form available at

BAAS Member Publications
Any member of BAAS who wishes to have their recent book or article publications advertised in the EAAS newsletter should send full publication details to the BAAS rep, Jenel Virden, at and I will be sure to include it in the next EAAS newsletter.

News From Centres


Over the last eighteen months the FDTL Americanisation and the Teaching of American Studies (AMATAS) project having secured additional funding from HEFCE has taken its expertise into the English Subject Area. With the dedicated support of the English Subject Centre, the project ran three mini-conferences in London (October 2003), Bristol (March 2004 and Warwick (September 2004). The project team would like to particularly thank Pete Rawlings at University of the West of England and Stephen Shapiro from University of Warwick for their intellectual support and dedication which meant that the events were a great success. Paul Giles, Richard Ellis, George McKay, Jude Davies, Neil Campbell, Will Kaufman, Heidi Macpherson, Susan Manning and Wil Verhouven from the Netherlands were keynote speakers who contributed excellent ideas that talked about the importance of the intercultural and the transnational in the teaching of English and for the first time the project made substantial contributions relating to the pre-twentieth century period. Overall, the project in its Transferabilty phase made contact with a further 22 institutions and encouraged networking between sometimes isolated academics working on ideas somewhat marginalised within their own institutions.
The AMATAS project continues to have an impact through other organisations, networks and curricula. The book Issues in Americanisation and Culture (eds. Campbell, Davies and McKay) published by Edinburgh University Press in the Transferability phase is already a key text in Cultural Studies, American Studies and English courses at first year level at University College, Winchester and University of Central Lancashire. Transferability. The team showcased it and Neil Campbell’s excellent Landscapes of Americanisation book to new and appreciative audiences during Transferability. Also, the website now includes new resources on teaching Literature through the intercultural and the transnational.
The website will continue to be hosted on the University’s website and under its own URL until the end of 2007. The LLAS subject centre has agreed to host the website from the end of the project and we will hand it over during 2007.
End users will be able to gain access to project products and expertise through the American Studies team in the Department of Cultural Studies at UCLAN. Dr. Alan Rice will be the contact person and will coordinate responses to end users who want copies of the Landscapes of Americanisation book or have other queries about the project.

In conclusion, I would like to thanks all those in BAAS and throughout the American Studies community who have been so fundamental to the undoubted success of the project over its nearly five year lifespan from our external evaluators Deborah Madsen and Dick Ellis, through partners Neil Campbell, Jude Davies and Alasdair Spark, those at the LLAS and English Subject Centres (especially Ben Knights and Siobhan Holland), collaborators Scott Lucas, Steve Mills, Stephen Shapiro and Pete Rawlings and others too numerous to mention.

Dr. Alan Rice
Project Manager AMATAS
Reader in American Cultural Studies
Department of Humanities
University of Central Lancashire

American Studies Centre (JMU) Annual Report 2004-2005

This academic year has proved to be yet another busy and also productive time for the ASRC and once more indicates the healthy state of the study of the USA in the UK, particularly at secondary school level.

ASRC Conferences and Lectures:
The topic for the annual ASRC schools conference, held at the Maritime Museum in Liverpool on October 13th, was the 2004 Presidential Election. As with previous Election themed conferences, requests for places far exceeded those available. A capacity audience of 200 A level American Government and Politics students were presented with lectures by Dr.Eddie Ashbee (Center for the Study of the Americas, Copenhagen Business School) on the Electoral Process and the 2004 Election; Dr. Niall Palmer, (Brunel University) on the Role of the Media in Presidential Elections and Dr.Jon Herbert (University of Keele) on Foreign Policy and the 2004 Election. The final session was to involve presentations of the Republican and Democrat platforms, followed by a debate between representatives from Republicans Abroad and Democrats Abroad. However, due to last minute problems, the Republican representative was unable to attend. Despite this, Chris Hansen for the Democrats gave the audience an informed and invaluable outline of the issues and policies of the Kerry camp. The questions that followed from the floor again indicated the high level of interest and knowledge of the students. This active interest again bodes well for the future of this A level study of the US.

Prior to this event, the ASRC in late September, in conjunction with Liverpool Museums, welcomed back the Native American performer and educator, Dennis Lee Rogers. This was the second visit Dennis has made to Liverpool in recent years and as with his previous visit a mixed audience of students and others interested in Native American issues and culture were presented with a full and varied day. On this visit Dennis brought with him the endorsement and full support of the Navajo Nation Elders to act as an Official Ambassador. After presenting an illustrated lecture concerning life on reservations and the problems faced by Native Americans, Dennis then spoke of the rich variety of Native cultures. In the afternoon session and after changing into traditional dress, Dennis sang a selection of Navajo songs and then gave a performance of Navajo dance. A full report of this event will be carried in the September issue of American Studies Today.

The ASRC also acted as host for a lecture from visiting US Professor, Donald Miller of Lafayette College. Well known for his writings on World War Two, Professor Miller delivered a riveting lecture entitled ‘World War II and American Memory’ to a packed audience of staff, students and guests. Rather than focusing on the machines or strategies of war during his lecture, Professor Miller instead examined the impact of the fighting on the bomber crews of 8th US Airforce, other US and Japanese military personnel and civilians caught up in the conflict. The result was an illuminating discourse, which while debating the moral and military justifications for events such as dropping the a-bomb on Hiroshima, never lost sight of the human cost of the War.

Two other events involving ASRC staff are worthy of brief note. Resources Co-ordinator David Forster and Director Ian Ralston took part in the inugural American Studies Alumni conference at the Salzburg Seminar in Austria. Not only did it provide a welcome opportuntiy to return to the splendid surroundings of the Seminar, but also to establish contacts with American Studies colleagues from across the world and renew old contacts. Ian Ralston also presented a paper on European Persepctives of American Motorcycle Culture at the American Popular Culture Association annual conference in San Diego California.

ASRC Web site (ARNet) and American Study Today magazine:
This year has seen a substantial increase in the number of hits to the ASRC web site. The period June 2004 to early June 2005 saw a total of nearly 3 million recorded hits. The busiest month was April (2005) when close to 64,000 were recorded. Work on developing the site continues. The hard copy magazine, American Studies Today (now also available in PDF format on the ASRC web site) continues to grow and is being sent this year to a record number of subscribers.

Requests and student visits to the ASRC:
The level of information and research support requests received by the ASRC remains at the high levels of previous years. These have again included contacts from the media, particularly the BBC. Although the number of external groups visiting the ASRC for study days has declined very slightly, the number of requests for ASRC staff to present lectures at schools involved with the study of the US has increased. This may again be due to the logistical problems many schools face over ‘out of school’ visits.

Pam Wonsek:
This year has, however, been marked by the sad loss of one of the ASRC’s greatest supporters and friends. Pam Wonsek, Deputy Chief Librarian at Hunter College (CUNY) and a senior member of the ASRC’s US based Advisory Panel, died after a short illness in May. Pam had been an active supporter of the ASRC’s work for nearly ten years. She had contributed to both ARNet and American Studies Today, most notably with her excellent article on the use of the Internet for American Studies research. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her as a true internationalist and a person of immense generosity and fun.

The Schools Conference for the academic year 2005-6 will again consider the American political scene. The specific topic areas were agreed on after close consultation with teachers of American History and US Government in order to directly address the needs of their students. Issues surrounding the Imperial Presidency, Special Interest Groups, Voting Behaviour, and Congressional Powers will be looked at by John Dumbrell (Leicester), Jon Herbert (Keele), Eddie Ashbee (Copenhagen) and Colleen Harris (Manchester).

Finally, the ASRC would like to thank all of those who have supported our work this academic year. This not only applies to all our conference speakers, but also to The British Association for American Studies (BAAS), The Public Affairs Office of the US Embassy (in particular Dennis Wolfe and Sue Wedlake) and to colleagues and students at Liverpool John Moores University and Liverpool Community College.

Ian Ralston (ASRC Director). June 2005
Web site:

Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford: News, Events and Plans

When a professor from another English university was giving a talk at the Rothermere American Institute in Oxford last year, he joked that the building seemed so empty of students he was tempted to transport it back to his own institution, where it could be put to more immediate pedagogical use. Since the RAI does not run an undergraduate programme in American Studies, there is probably a fair amount of uncertainty in BAAS circles about how exactly the RAI envisages its role in relation to the subject in Britain, so it may be worth trying to clear up some of these misconceptions.

The RAI’s mission is to provide a hub for research in American history, politics and literature, linked to teaching at the postgraduate level. The Vere Harmsworth Library, which has taken over the American collections formerly held in Rhodes House as well as adding new materials, is housed within the Institute and provides a comfortable workspace for scholars. The traditional faculty structure at Oxford is one factor inhibiting the development of an interdisciplinary American Studies programme, but, more compellingly, we feel that American Studies as an academic framework predicated upon the idea of a geographically bounded area, a discrete and independent national domain, has diminished relevance in a twenty-first century era of internationalisation and globalisation. There are fewer and fewer American Studies programmes in the United States, for example, although as a method, a discourse which inflects and illuminates other disciplines, the subject is clearly as vibrant as ever. There are many existing institutional models for work in American Studies that cuts across different disciplines: Harvard, for example, currently organises its American Civilization programme around collaboration between faculty in different departments, and the RAI is moving towards something like this arrangement, which will, we hope, also have the advantage of giving postgraduate students more intellectual flexibility and versatility in the job market. We have also been discussing with Oxford’s newly-established School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies how the RAI might contribute in the future to a different kind of area studies involving collaboration with, for example, the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies, the African Studies Centre and the various other area studies centres in Oxford.

The role of the RAI, then, is to complement, facilitate and enhance postgraduate teaching and research. The American politics seminar, convened by Des King, meets regularly at the RAI, and the faculty held a conference at the RAI last year on “Political Parties in the U.S. Senate,” with many speakers brought over from America. The History Faculty currently offers a one-year Master’s programme (M.St.) in the History of the United States, which features, among other attractions, a seminar in early American history held jointly by videoconference with the University of Virginia. Taking place at 5pm in Oxford and 12 noon in Charlottesville, this seminar allows students on both sides of the Atlantic to share the transatlantic expertise of Peter Onuf, Peter Thompson, and other early Americanists (the technology is remarkable; John Elliott said that he thought someone was rustling papers on the table beside him, but it turned out to be somebody in Virginia!). Along the same lines, the English Faculty will be inaugurating a one-year Master’s course in English and American Studies for the 2006-2007 academic year, which will enable students to take regular courses in English, options in American literature and to write a dissertation which spans English and American Studies in any topic from 1550 to the present day. There will also be a core course in American Studies methods taught by a visiting professor from the United States; Sacvan Bercovitch from Harvard has expressed interest in teaching this course for the first year, although this has not yet been confirmed. More information and details about the application process are available by e-mailing the Assistant Director of the RAI, Laura Lauer:

One of the advantages of the RAI is that, because of its ring-fenced trust funds, it is able to run these academic programmes independently of funding to university departments. Despite the proximity of their acronyms, the RAI is fortunate in not having to bother about the RAE, and it is surely healthy for American Studies in Britain to have at least one academic centre where state-sponsored rules of bureaucratic assessment, honed by the usual threats from university administrations, do not apply. Over the past year, the RAI has hosted a conference on the United States and Global Human Rights, with speakers including Michael Ignatieff (Harvard), Zygmunt Bauman (Leeds) and McCarthur Prize recipient Gay McDougall. We have also continued our series “Transatlantic Dialogues in Public Policy,” featuring prominent speakers from the U.S. and the U.K. debating political issues such as homelessness, reproductive health, higher education and the “special relationship.” The latter debate was joined by former Conservative cabinet minister John Redwood and former U.S. presidential candidate Gary Hart, who himself recently completed a doctorate in political science at Oxford under the supervision of Alan Ryan; the book resulting from Hart’s thesis, Restoration of the Republic: The Jeffersonian Ideal in 21st Century America, was published by Oxford University Press in 2002. The annual Esmond Harmsworth lecture in American Arts and Letters was given this year by Joyce Carol Oates, who gave a memorable and unusual address on 19th May on the writer’s craft, emphasising in particular the value of hatred as a spur to literary creativity. Oates also gave a seminar on her own work during the morning of her visit, when postgraduate students from all over the U.K. and Ireland had a rare opportunity to interrogate the author about her work. Among many other events was a conference organised in collaboration with Timothy Garton Ash and the European Studies Centre on “Europeanisation and Americanisation,” discussing whether they were fundamentally the same thing or “rival projects”; this conference (which by mischance clashed with the BAAS conference in Cambridge) featured former editor of the Observer Will Hutton, the Minister for Europe, Denis McShane and cultural historian David Ellwood. Anat Pick, a former postdoctoral fellow of the RAI who now works at the University of East London, also organised a lecture series on “posthumanism,” with contributions from Neil Badmington (Cardiff), Cary Wolfe (Rice), Erica Rundle (Yale) and several other speakers.

The major event for the upcoming autumn term (10-12 November) will be an international conference on “The Reagan Years,” considering the historical, political and cultural legacy of the Reagan presidency. We feel that now is a good time to reconsider the Reagan decade, as it passes gradually from living memory into the realms of history. Keynote speakers will include Tom Wolfe, New Journalist and author of the famous 1988 novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities (and also, incidentally, the holder of a Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale); Jack Matlock, appointed by Reagan as the last American ambassador to the Soviet Union; and Dan Rather, the recently retired CBS News anchor, who was a major participant in the events of that era as well as a commentator on them.

The RAI has only been open four years, and the next stage in its evolution will involve integrating its programme more systematically within the academic structure of Oxford University and the wider world of international American Studies. There is much work still to do, but it seems likely that American Studies in the twenty-first century will be a radically different kind of enterprise to what it was in the second half of the twentieth, and the challenge for everyone involved in the subject, not just in Oxford, is going to be to think through ways in which the conception of area studies can be reconfigured within a post-national framework. As a matter of policy, the RAI’s library and general events remain open to the public, and further details on the RAI’s academic schedule, as well as its programme of postdoctoral and senior fellowships, are available on the website:>.

Paul Giles, Director

S.T.A.M.P. Slave Trade Arts Memorial Project, Lancaster

Lancaster was the fourth largest slave port in Britain and around 200 voyages left the city in the eighteenth century. Between 1750 and 1790 alone Lancaster merchants were responsible for the forced transportation of approximately 24,950 Africans across the Atlantic and into slavery in the West Indies and the Southern States of America. The Slave Trade Arts Memorial Project (STAMP) was inaugurated in September 2002. The aim of the project is to make sure that future generations have local spaces where they can effectively remember those whose lives were blighted by the Slave Trade.

This partnership between the City Council, Museums Service, County Education Service and the campaigning group Globalink with myself from University of Central Lancashire as academic advisor has led to a grant from the Millennium Commission and from the Arts Council in the North-West as well as numerous small grants from local and county councils (total c.£60,000) for an art work on the quayside to commemorate the lives of those 24,000 and more slaves shipped on Lancaster slavers in the eighteenth century. The project has made links to continuing issues of global inequity and poverty by highlighting issues of Fair Trade/Slave Trade. STAMP has worked with a number of artists, schools and community groups to increase public awareness of the slave trade and has developed a series of commemorative events and performances from 2003-2005 which will culminate in a permanent memorial to the Africans who were transported on board Lancaster ships, to be unveiled in October 2005 on Columbus Day. With the city’s Litfest, we have distributed 24,950 copies of Dorothea Smartt’s specially commissioned poem Lancaster Keys to schoolchildren in the County – each copy representing one of the enslaved taken in Lancaster ships. After a training day for teachers and artists in May 2004 led by Dr. Hakim Adi and Professor David Richardson, we have facilitated a series of free art and performance workshops in primary and secondary schools in Lancaster and its environs on the topics of slavery, racism and global poverty caused by these legacies using a range of local North-western artists that aim to leave a legacy and build knowledge in the local community about its past. At the moment the local Maritime museum is hosting an exhibition based on the students’ work produced for the project.

Various community groups have also been involved including vulnerable young people in the care of Lancashire County Council who helped with casting the memorial itself. We appointed a lead artist coordinator Suandi from Black Arts Alliance in Manchester in 2004 and the public artist for the project is fellow Mancunian Kevin Dalton Johnson. His powerful sculpted works have addressed issues of contemporary racism and black Atlantic history and his designs for the monument are dynamic and intriguing. We are all very excited about the possibility of having the first specifically designed permanent memorial artwork to enslaved Africans at a British quayside site. In fact we have been granted permission to site the memorial in a prime spot with wonderful historical resonances, just outside the Maritime Museum, the eighteenth century Customs House building in Lancaster. The project has already raised awareness of the issues of slavery and its aftermath prompting a series of letters in the Lancaster Guardian as planning permission was sought and granted at the City Council in early 2005.

The statue will be unveiled and there will be a Civic reception on Columbus Day (October 10) in the early evening. The American Embassy has generously sponsored the visit of our special guest Professor Preston King. It is especially pertinent that Professor King is our guest of honour as he taught at Lancaster University in the 1990s during his four decade exile from the United States that only ended with a Presidential Pardon from President Clinton in 2000. His involvement in the Civil Rights and global human rights movement together with his local connections make him a uniquely qualified individual to speak at the inauguration of the memorial (see ). Any BAAS member able to be with us on the 10th October (from 16.30) at this unique event is welcome. Please do contact me at the address or on the email below as we need numbers so that we can provide enough African food for all!!! The next BAAS newsletter should have a photograph of the memorial and pictures from the dedication event.
Dr. Alan Rice
Academic Consultant to STAMP
Dept. of Humanities
University of Central Lancashire

Exhibition Review, Impressionism Abroad, Royal Academy, London, Until 11 September 2005

David Brauner, University of Reading

Anyone who has visited the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (as I have been fortunate enough to do twice in the past three years) will have been struck both by the richness of their collection of French Impressionist paintings and by the range of work by their American contemporaries that demonstrates their influence. Those who have also seen the Isabella Gardner Museum, and the Fogg Museum just across the river in Cambridge will probably have realised that the enthusiasm of Bostonians for Impressionism was truly something of a historical phenomenon. The ‘Impressionism Abroad: Boston and French Painting’ exhibition aims to pay tribute to, and contextualise this phenomenon, charting the relationship between Boston collectors and artists and the French painters whose work they championed.

For a non-specialist like me, the paintings in this collection seem to fall fairly neatly into three main categories: those by famous, canonical French Impressionist painters (Degas, Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir – and that honorary Frenchman, Sisley); those by their equally canonical, if not quite so popular, predecessors (Boudin, Corot, Daubigny, Diaz De La Pena and Millet); and those by their rather lesser known American contemporaries and disciples (Benson, Breck, Bunker, Cole, Hale, Hassam, Hunt, Major and Perry). There is, however, one figure who eludes/elides these definitions. As this exhibition makes clear, John Singer Sargent is by no means the only American artist to have experimented with Impressionism, but he was one of the first, and certainly the most successful. There are many pleasant discoveries to be made in this exhibition among the American Impressionists: Denis Miller Bunker’s The Pool, Medfield celebrates the American landscape in a much subtler, but at the same time more vibrant manner than the overblown, strained attempts at sublimity of earlier American artists such as Frederic Church and Thomas Cole ; Lila Cabot Perry’s Open Air Concert is compositionally unusual and striking; and Childe Hassam’s urban scenes are delicate and evocative. However, the finest American paintings on view here are, predictably enough, the Sargents.

Fishing for Oysters at Cancale, painted when Sargent was just twenty-one, is an astonishingly accomplished painting: the handling of the light and the water, the daring prominence of the sky (that occupies nearly half the space of the canvas), the deftness of the composition, all attest to Sargent’s precocious talent. However, Sargent was of course most famous for his society portraits. It’s a shame that there is only one example in this exhibition, Helen Sears, which is hung next to Manet’s breathtaking Street Singer (arguably the finest painting in the whole exhibition) and inevitably suffers slightly from the comparison. Nonetheless, it’s easy to see why Sargent was such a prolific and successful painter of this genre: every brushstroke in this painting is both boldly free and carefully restrained at the same time. Impressive as both these paintings are, however, it is the other two Sargents in the exhibition that occupied me longest, because of what I see as their symbolic resonance for the exhibition as a whole. Both are paintings of artists at work in the French countryside; both feature an additional female figure, seated some distance from the painters. In the famous work Claude Monet Painting by the Edge of a Wood, however (borrowed from the Tate Britain), the French Impressionist is depicted, sitting down, in the act of painting, his work-in-progress in full view; the female figure, though her features are indistinct, appears from her attitude to be looking either at Monet or at Sargent, or both. In contrast, Denis Miller Bunker Painting at Calcot shows the American Impressionist standing back from his canvas (which is facing away from the viewer of Sargent’s painting), deep in (troubled?) thought; the female figure is sitting by the riverside with her back to him, ignoring both Bunker and Sargent. Moreover, the light and colour in the painting of Monet are characteristically Impressionist, whereas the palette of the painting of Bunker is darker, its green and brown hues reminiscent more of the ‘Barbizon’ paintings of Corot et al than of their successors.

It is possible, I think, to see in these paintings an allegory of the relationship between the French and American Impressionists. For with the notable exception of Sargent, in the end this exhibition confirms that the Americans were never quite able to emerge from the long shadows cast by their French counterparts. Most American Impressionism is clearly inspired by, but never quite matches the inspiration of, the French Impressionists: the French painters were the masters (often literally, since many of the Americans studied under them) and the Americans the pupils. You only have to look at Monet’s Meadow with Haystacks near Giverny alongside Lilla Cabot Perry’s The Old Farm, Giverny, for example, to notice the crucial differences. Their representations of the sky are particularly revealing: whereas Perry’s is a static, flat block, detached from the rest of the painting, simply filling in space at the top of the canvas, Monet’s is part of the landscape: dynamic, animated, full of variations of texture and tone. Such differences are also evident in the juxtaposition between the ‘Barbizon’ painters and the Impressionists. Although their devotion to landscape painting undoubtedly paved the way for the Impressionists in the sense of legitimising their subject matter, what struck me during this exhibition was not the affinities between the two schools, but rather the disjunction between the sombre realism of the earlier painters and the exuberant painterliness of the later ones. My favourite painting from the ‘Barbizon’ school in the exhibition was in fact not a landscape painting at all, but Corot’s beautiful portrait Woman with a Pink Shawl, which seems to me closer in spirit and execution to Degas’ unfinished Ballet Dancer with Arms Crossed than any of the landscapes of his contemporaries are to those of Degas’ peers.

Overall, then, this is a fascinating exhibition, which serves as a useful introduction to American Impressionism for the uninitiated, but the real gems on view here are by the French Impressionists and Sargent and it makes a more persuasive case for the prescience of Bostonian collectors of Impressionism than for the brilliance of its practitioners.

Lisa Rull, University of Nottingham

The sunlight that hides the story
Initially, many works now associated with French Impressionism were considered radical and incomprehensible by both critics and the public alike. Yet now an exhibition of works associated with this 19th century style practically guarantees a crowd-pleaser. On a drizzly summer’s morning in London, the thought of wallowing in colourful flecks of sunlight, water and landscape certainly drew early crowds to the doors of the Royal Academy. But once inside, you could sense that viewers were potentially entering into a somewhat unfamiliar and perhaps unexpected narrative: one they were not entirely able or willing to acknowledge.

The clues for both this mix of expectations and some of their confusion are present in the exhibition title, even as this same title proves itself inadequate to conveying the nuances of the display: “Impressionism Abroad: Boston and French Painting.” The magnet of “Impressionism” is there, but the subtitle of “Boston and French Painting” suggests broader concerns. Certainly, the descriptor ‘French Painting’ is far more accurate than just ‘Impressionism’, including as the show does work by earlier painters with much darker palettes such as Corot, Millet and a curiously odd landscape processional by Diaz in the manner of Theodore Rousseau. But what this exhibition is truly about is the cultural development of American bourgeois taste. It is about the transatlantic journey of 19th century art and those ‘figures of agency’ – artists, pupils, enthusiasts, advisers, and collectors (many of these roles frequently overlapping) – whose journeys ultimately shaped one particular public collection: The Boston Museum of Fine Arts [BMFA].

Purchasing the catalogue, the emphasis on agency is clearly expressed in positioning the biographical notes on the collectors ahead of those of the artists exhibited. (Though in some instances – especially Joseph Foxcroft Cole, William Morris Hunt and Lilla Cabot Perry – they could easily be present in either list). Yet the narrative of how the “open minded, quietly sophisticated, well travelled and well heeled Bostonians” (13) developed their private and public taste is boldly made throughout the entire display. Indeed, the largest interpretation/information panel of the show is situated to face towards the entrance and is dominated by a potted history of the BMFA, along with photographs of its buildings and displays in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As with that august institution, the art on show here at the Royal Academy may be mostly French, but the principal narrative attempts to focus on the development of taste, the creating of a new type of import/export relationship between and amongst artists and ‘agents.’

Thus, for any scholar interested in questions of patronage, particularly of American taste and sensibilities (certainly anyone who has enjoyed the work of T.J. Jackson Lears or Lawrence W. Levine), this exhibition attempts to capture these historical relationships. Whilst art historians may squabble over the artistic merits of those American artists influenced by French Impressionism, it is hard to deny the important cultural role played by American ‘figures of agency’ in establishing and encouraging the shift away from prizing Old Masters.

Nevertheless, as a style of painting popularly perceived to be entranced by the play of light upon surfaces, walking through the exhibition it was hard to escape the feeling that many visitors correspondingly experienced the show almost completely as surface. For all that the curator and organisers apparently wanted to focus on questions of ‘agency,’ the paintings draw the crowds: more particularly, the familiar talents of Monet and other French Impressionists. Focusing on the images of beguiling European landscapes, ‘agents’ and ‘agency’ became adjuncts rather than integral to understanding both the images and how audiences came to be looking at them.

So it is Monet who decorates the catalogue front cover, poster, gallery guide, and brochure, just as he came to dominate the collections of Boston’s finest homes (and thus ultimately the BMFA). The most often repeated line from reviews and discussion of the show was that in 1892, Monet was so well appreciated in the Boston region that all twenty-one paintings for his first one-man exhibition in the US, in Boston, came from local collections (28). All through the exhibition, it is Monet and his pals who draw the longest pauses of contemplation and discussion, despite an attempt by the audio tour guide to proportionally comment on American and European images. Yes, there were fine examples of work by familiar names such as John Singer Sargent and Childe Hassam, but Philip Hale’s sickly green Pointillist vision of a “French Farmhouse” (c.1893) diminishes many of the better negotiations with French influences. Ultimately Monet’s brightness casts a shadow over many of the other works, especially the Americans, from under which the bold attempt to tell a different story about agency struggles to establish proper roots.

Without the headphones, and aware of the distance between exhibition experiences and curatorial intentions, it was still fascinating to move through the display observing how the captions tried to emphasise the curatorial focus on agency and relationships rather discussing the techniques or content of the artworks themselves. Of course, this sometimes verged on the perverse, as with the caption for Dennis Miller Bunker’s “The Pool, Medfield” (1889). The catalogue discussed Bunker’s application of French techniques, yet the short exhibition caption spoke solely about the life and work of Arthur T. Cabot, who purchased the work in 1912. There was no mention of Bunker, or his application of “the vocabulary of modern French painting to his native landscape” as cited by the catalogue (108). For me, this conflict between the different levels of commentary and the images presented encapsulated the idea there were two exhibitions taking place here. Although at times the curatorial narrative of agency was clearly entwined with the images, it was hard to resist the feeling that many visitors were just too seduced by the play of light to take in nuances of shade within that vision or their dissemination within Boston society.

Travel Award Reports

Anne-Marie Evans, University of Sheffield

Centennial Conference for The House of Mirth sponsored by the Edith Wharton Society, Marist College, Poughkeepsie, New York, 23-25th June 2005.

It was not without some trepidation that I boarded the plane to JFK on 22nd June in order to participate in a conference celebrating and exploring one single novel, Edith Wharton’s bestseller, The House of Mirth (1905). This naturally meant that everyone attending would not only be Wharton scholars but also experts on this one particular text and it was both disconcerting and exciting to meet the critics whose work constitutes much of current Wharton research.

Marist College is situated on the beautiful banks of the Hudson River and this idyllic and peaceful setting provided an ideal backdrop to the conference, with the famous Mills Mansion (reputedly the base for Wharton’s Bellomont) only a few miles away. My paper was in the first panel on the first day, and examined the relationship between Wharton’s novel and Ellen Glasgow’s little known New York text, The Wheel of Life (1906). Using the original reviews of the text, I argued that there was a correlation between the two novels in terms of each author’s differing exploration of consumerism and female autonomy. By placing their heroine within the dangers of the growing cult of consumerism, Wharton and Glasgow are able to critique and condemn materialist culture, frequently utilising the language of the financial marketplace, while the New York landscape provides a hedonistic backdrop to each novel, allowing an assessment of urban consumerism and its gendered implications. Traditionally neglected from sustained academic attention, Glasgow’s The Wheel of Life provides a useful comparative lens through which to re-assess, re-read and reconsider The House of Mirth.

The question and answer session was extremely useful and I was pleased to see my research met with interest. I was asked some stimulating questions on issues such as, for example, female individualism and the rise of the New York department store and the differing critical perceptions of heroine Lily Bart. The feedback I received afterwards was encouragingly positive and I feel my project has hugely benefited from this experience. I was lucky to hear some fantastic and thought provoking papers during the rest of the conference, examining The House of Mirth in terms of the racial issues it debates, the pedagogical implications of its role in the classroom and (particularly intriguing)Wharton’s potential influence on Sex and the City. Delegates were also able to listen to a presentation by two off-Broadway directors who have recently adapted the novel for the stage, and there was also a showing of Terence Davies well received 2002 film adaptation starring Gillian Anderson. Before going, I was unsure how successful a conference exploring one single text could be but the opportunity to study Wharton’s text in-depth and from different perspectives was truly invaluable. I would like to record my thanks to BAAS for making this trip possible.

Holly Farrington, Middlesex University

Thanks to a generous short-term travel grant from BAAS I was able to travel to the United States and attend the 35th annual Popular Culture Association conference in San Diego, California, from 23rd-26th March 2005, where I gave a paper on the jazz musician Louis ‘Satchmo’ Armstrong. I was also able to travel on to New York, where I visited both the Schomberg Centre for Research into Black Culture in Harlem, and the Louis Armstrong House and Archives in Queens. Having completed a Ph.D in July 2004 in jazz autobiography (“Bringing me to where I am”: Jazz Autobiography in Context), I am currently doing post-doctoral research into the jazz aesthetic in twentieth-century American culture. This was my first visit to the US and I would like to thank BAAS for allowing me this amazing opportunity.

The PCA conference was undoubtedly the largest conference I had attended, with over 2000 delegates and 555 panels in total. There were delegates from all parts of the US, a select few from the UK, and even some who had made the journey from Thailand. The conference organisers are to be congratulated for their ability to run twenty panels at the same time, and for a perfectly managed program which typically began at 8am and ended at 9.45pm with no lunch or dinner breaks! Panels were diverse and the selection I was able to attend offered a fascinating insight into this new and fast-moving field.

My paper, which was entitled ‘”Little more than a round of Vaudeville antics”? Louis Armstrong as Cultural Icon’, ran on Thursday in the 4.30-6pm slot, when thankfully I had finally recovered from my jetlag. Our panel, which included papers on Keith Partridge (David Cassidy’s alter-ego) and fan magazines, was entitled ‘Celebrity Culture: Creation, De-creation and Re-creation of Celebrity’, and all papers were well-received. I explored Armstrong’s status as a icon, discussing his public and private personas, and the reflection of these personas in his three autobiographies. Following all three papers, the panel and audience engaged in an enlightening discussion on celebrity culture and iconicity.

After leaving San Diego, I travelled to New York, where I was able to fulfil a long-desired dream and visit Louis Armstrong’s former house, now a museum, in Queens, one of the suburbs. Armstrong lived there with his fourth wife Lucille from 1943 until his death in 1971. I spoke at length with Michael Cogswell, the director of the house and archives, and also met a couple from Leicester who had actually been to an Armstrong concert when he visited the UK in 1956.

I also visited the Schomberg Centre in Harlem where I was able to add the finishing touches to an article on the jazz bassist Charlie Mingus and the Beat poet Kenneth Patchen recently submitted to the Journal of American Studies for consideration. The Center has outstanding collections on African-American culture, literature and music, including sound recordings of Mingus’s band accompanying various poets from the jazz-poetry era of the 1950s and early 60s.

I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to BAAS for allowing me to undertake such an exciting and valuable trip.

Sinéad Moynihan, University of Nottingham

I was delighted to receive the Ambassador’s BAAS Short-Term Travel Grant in support of my PhD research, especially in this special year of the Association’s fiftieth anniversary. My dissertation explores narratives of passing, particularly recent narratives of racial passing. In my first year, I was fortunate to discover the novels of Robert Skinner, a little-known New Orleans-based writer of crime fiction, whose work now forms a key part of my thesis. The travel grant enabled me to travel to Louisiana to accomplish three main goals related to my research on Robert Skinner: an interview with the author, delivering a paper on his work at the Louisiana Historical Association Annual Meeting and carrying out socio-historical research into New Orleans of the 1930s, the setting for Skinner’s novels.

The interview with Robert Skinner took place at his office in the library of Xavier University, New Orleans on 16 March 2005. I spent two-and-a-half hours in the author’s company, discussing in detail his six novels. We explored, in particular, his literary influences and his reasons for setting the novels in the 1930s. This interview will be invaluable for enhancing my chapter on Skinner. I also hope to publish it as an interview article, since no scholarly work on Skinner exists yet. He was very helpful and assured me that he would be happy to cooperate further if necessary. As University Librarian, Skinner was able to introduce me to Xavier’s archivist, Lester Sullivan, who has delivered and published several papers on Louisiana’s Creole identity. With Sullivan’s help, I located some useful resources in the library’s Special Collections.

I then travelled to Lafayette for the annual meeting of the Louisiana Historical Association, where, on a panel devoted to New Orleans in fiction, I delivered a paper on Robert Skinner’s novels. I was delighted to be able to introduce Louisiana scholars to Skinner’s work, especially given that one of the other presenters on my panel spoke about William Faulkner, a highly canonical writer. None of the Louisiana specialists I met had heard of Robert Skinner. The commentator for the panel was Barbara Ewell, co-editor of Louisiana Women Writers: New Essays and a Comprehensive Bibliography. She made some helpful insights into my work, and also pointed me towards an Alice Dunbar-Nelson short story of which I wasn’t previously aware. I also had an opportunity to meet, and listen to the papers of, several important Louisiana scholars, including Alecia P. Long, author of The Great Southern Babylon: Sex, Race, and Respectability in New Orleans, 1865-1920, a work of particular relevance for my own research.

The last week of my trip was spent researching and gathering resources to enhance my chapter on Robert Skinner. My key areas of focus were: Louisiana’s unique racial history (specifically, the changing definitions of the term “Creole” over time), crime in New Orleans in the 1930s and, more generally, New Orleans as a literary setting. I took the St. Charles streetcar uptown to spend time at Tulane University’s Louisiana Collection and at Loyola University’s Special Collections, respectively. I also found the Historic New Orleans Collection, located on Chartres Street in the French Quarter, particularly useful.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the judging panel of the BAAS STA competition for awarding me the Travel Grant. The trip was intellectually stimulating, and has provided me with ample material for further exploration of Robert Skinner’s oeuvre.

Neil Sparnon, Anglia Polytechnic University

SAC got all the glory. Not only did the Strategic Air Command have the biggest and most expensive aircraft, the heaviest bombs and that cigar chomping, publicist’s dream, Curtis E LeMay to keep it in the spotlight, even the satire it inspired has become part of the academic mainstream. Stephen Twigge and Len Scott’s Planning Armageddon is underscored with quotes from Peter Sellars’ Dr Strangelove, ‘The film illustrates and illuminates many key issues on the command and control of nuclear weapons’ claim their Gibbonesque footnote. At the height of their power, from the mid1950s to the early 1960s, SAC aircraft dominated the military thinking of the US and its allies. In the event of hostilities, and crucially, before their outbreak, the primary mission of US forces was to safeguard SAC’s ability to deliver the Emergency War Plan – everything else was secondary.

However the primacy of the Strategic Air Command was often at the expense of other United States Air Force (USAF) units, in particular those assigned to tactical operations. These forces lacked SAC’s political and financial leverage when establishing overseas bases and consequently were less able to insulate themselves from the regions in which they were located. Not only was their impact upon these regions more pronounced as a result, but the potential for local issues to affect their operations directly, was greater.

The east of England, East Anglia, is a good example of such a region. Considering it too vulnerable for its major forces, by 1952 SAC had virtually deserted it for safer, especially constructed, bases around Oxford. In its stead, came tactical, atomic armed forces intended to support NATO on the European battlefield. Though between 1952 and 1954 these were NATO’s only atomic capable forces, their history is one constant shortage and compromise.

The Peter Parish award enabled me to explore this interaction more fully at the archive of the USAF at Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama. Concentrating on the papers of their senior commanders and the unit histories of USAF forces based in the region, I sought to piece together how, for example, East Anglia’s housing shortage affected USAF and NATO atomic alert status, local sensitivity to noise and compulsory land purchase affected safety, training regimes and ultimately operational capabilities, and how the USAF monitored and responded to the political temperature of the region in which it was based.

Through this interaction, the research has also explored the extent to which the USAF viewed Britain in regional terms, each with its own set of factors that affected operational considerations. By identifying these factors, the research delineates how the experience of USAF forces in each was different, and how, in turn, the Cold War experience of each region was unique.

My thanks to the BAAS for this award, without which I would have been unable to travel, and to my Director of Studies, Dr John Pollard, for his good offices and assistance. Especial thanks to my Virgil for this trip, Dr Alexander Lassner of the USAF’s Air University at Maxwell for his untiring support, endless patience and what hope will be, enduring friendship.

Inaugural BAAS Book Prize

Presentation by Chair of Judges, Professor Philip John Davies, April 2005

I have to declare an interest. The judges and the entrants in this first contest for BAAS’s ‘book of the year’ are generally well known to each other. It seems to me that can hardly be avoided in BAAS. This is an association that draws its members to its conferences. This year I note that the conference presenters come from about fifty UK institutions, two dozen states of the Union, and a dozen other nations. Within BAAS networks for the sharing of research, teaching and friendship inevitably form.

My fellow judges, Susan Castillo and Scott Lucas, joined me in the pleasure of reading these entries from our colleagues. I thank Susan and Scott for their engagement, concentration, care, efficiency and for the commentaries from which I have borrowed extensively, and entirely without attribution, in the rest of this presentation.

The constant debate as to whether American Studies is best seen as multi-disciplinary, inter-disciplinary, driven by a focus on the centre, or by incursions from the periphery, help maintain our community in seemingly endless and remarkably innovative exchange. Personally, I have fantasised that one day there will emerge a unified theory of American Studies that will somehow encompass the concepts in the Federalist Papers, hiking down the Grand Canyon, the music of Gwen Stefani and the conversations I remember with the surviving IWW member I met in a theatre kitchen in Helena, Montana. Until that happens these books by our colleagues provide ample evidence of the ideas and creativity that provide the foundation and the growth of our field.

On to the books.

We were pleased to read Mark Newman’s Edinburgh University Press book, The Civil Rights Movement, one of two fine volumes entered into this competition from a BAAS member who is a former winner of the American Studies Network Prize, and who gives here an expert overview of the political and social forces of the time he covers.

I found it a particular delight to receive Tatiana Rapatzikou’s Gothic Motifs in the Fiction of William Gibson, published by Rodolpi, as a BAAS Short Term Award made a small contribution to the production of this interesting perspective on cyberpunk, fantasy and the gothic, some elements of which we have seen being built at earlier BAAS conferences.

Brian Jarvis’ Cruel and Unusual: Punishment and US Culture, a Pluto Press publication, moves across the centuries of American nationhood and across a genuinely interdisciplinary landscape in his far-ranging and thoroughly engaging analysis of the place of punishment in US culture.

The Southwest finds its author this year in Martin Padget, with Indian Country: Travels in the American Southwest, 1840-1935, a volume in which the University of New Mexico Press have managed a quality of production that complements most successfully a narrative that celebrates as well as analysing and providing insight. I liked particularly the reported exchange between Indian Agent Leo Crane and a Hopi elder, when Crane was worrying about the safety of tourists gathered at the edge of a small dance plaza, by a dangerous drop. In abbreviated form: the elder said, ‘these people are your friends, and you do not want them hurt.’ ‘No,’ said Crane, ‘they travel … and come to see your dance.’ ‘Didn’t you send them letters?’ ‘No.’ ‘Well,’ continued the elder, ‘I didn’t send for them. Why should we care about it? Let them fall off.’ Still a tourist in American culture myself, I can’t help but sympathise with the Hopi position.

Issues in Americanisation and Culture, another Edinburgh University Press publication, edited by Neil Campbell, Jude Davies and George McKay, is a collection containing real quality. Comments on Americanisation operate in this volume to open up possibilities in political culture – in particular the concept of the ‘negotiation’ of America.

Mark Newman’s second entry, Divine Agitators: The Delta Ministry and Civil Rights in Mississippi, from the University of Georgia Press is a fascinating and carefully researched study. Simultaneous with its scholarly value, this work has an immediacy that reminds the reader just how important these issues were, and remain.

Addressing another period of southern history, and overlapping issues, Emily West’s Chains of Love: Slave Couples in ante-bellum Louisiana, from the University of Illinois Press, is a considerable piece of scholarly research, adding both to our intellectual and emotional understanding of the life-sapping oppression of slavery, and the day to day resistance of humanity.

The Liberal State on Trial: The Cold War and American Politics in the Truman Years, by Jonathan Bell, and from Columbia University Press, provides new perspectives on the Cold War period, linking the reshaping of the domestic policy landscape in the context of the contemporary foreign policy and conservative opportunism.

Published by Johns Hopkins University Press, The Standard of Living: The Measure of the Middle Class in Modern America, by Marina Moskowitz is a meticulous, solidly researched, and finely produced book. It brilliantly puts together social class, material culture and circuits of distribution into a history of the emergence of the American middle class.

By the end of the first page of Acknowledgements I was already gripped by Richard King’s book, published jointly by the Woodrow Wilson Center and Johns Hopkins University Press, Race, Culture and the Intellectuals, 1940-1970. From the start, he quietly begins to address core texts, and to indicate his considered re-reading of them. King offers an in-depth analysis of the intersections between the discourses of modernism and concepts of race.

This is, in the words of one of my fellow judges, ‘spectacularly good … an amazing study.’ The book offers a powerful argument that is not only significant in the examination of race in recent American history but also invaluable in its contribution to the critique of culture and the intellectual in America after World War II. As another judge said, ‘this is the clear pick.’ The opinion was unanimous.

I am so pleased to invite a former Chair of BAAS to receive this first ever prize for the best book published in 2004 by a BAAS member: Professor Richard King.

BAAS Book Prize 2005

The British Association for American Studies (BAAS) is delighted to announce the second annual book prize. The £500 prize will be awarded for the best published book in American Studies this year. To be eligible for the 2005 BAAS Book Prize, books must have been published in English between 1 January 2005 and 31 December 2005 and authors must be members of BAAS. The prize winner will be announced at the annual meeting of the British Association for American Studies at the University of Kent 20-23rd April 2006. Authors or publishers may submit books, three copies of which should be sent by 1st Dec 2005 to:

Carol Smith
Chair, BAAS Publications Sub-committee
BAAS Book Prize
Faculty of Arts
University of Winchester
Winchester SO22 4NR

Conference and Seminar Announcements

Cartooning The USA

America Through The Pen Of Political Cartoonists
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Conference Centre at the British Library, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Lecture: ‘Cartoons & the War on Iraq’
Professor Chris Lamb (College of Charleston) author of Drawn to Extremes: The Use
and Abuse of Editorial Cartoons in the USA

Panel: ‘The Political Cartoonist in the USA’
Kevin ‘KAL’ Kallaugher (Baltimore Sun, The Economist), winner of the 2004 Thomas
Nast Award, & Matt Davies (Journal-News, White Plains, NY), winner of the 2004
Pulitzer prize for editorial cartooning & the first Herblock Prize for editorial
cartooning, discuss their work and the role of US editorial cartoonists commenting
on politics in 21st century America.

Presentation: ‘Drawing on the Collection: Political Cartoons at the British Library’
Dr Matthew Shaw (US Curator, British Library) introduces an exhibition of political
cartoons taken from the collections.

Panel: ‘Looking Across the Atlantic Through Political Cartoons’
Dr Allen McLaurin (University of Lincoln) ‘America Through British Eyes: the 1940s’
Professor Colin Seymour-Ure (University of Kent) ‘Views of America since Watergate’

Panel ‘UK Political Cartoonists Observing America’
Martin Rowson (The Guardian, & other publications), winner of the Cartoon Arts Trust
political cartoonist award in 2003, and Peter Brookes (The Times), winner of British
Press Cartoonist of the Year award 2002, discuss their work and the role of UK
political cartoonists commenting on contemporary US politics

Pennsylvania Gazette, 9 May, 1754.
Frequently described as the first political cartoon published in an American
newspaper, this cartoon is, with the editorial which it accompanied, generally
believed to be the work of Benjamin Franklin. The editorial exhorted the British
colonies – from right to left, New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania,
Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina – to unite against French aggression from the
Western interior. Benjamin Franklin’s 2006 tercentenary will be marked by events
and exhibitions throughout America.

An exhibition on Franklin is scheduled at the British Library in Spring 2006
Registration £15 (£10 students) includes buffet lunch.
E-mail> or phone +44 (0)20 7412
7757 for a registration form.
Closing date for registration Friday, October 7, 2005.

International Conference on Chicano Literature

Date for proposals: January 30th, 2006

The organization of the V International Conference on Chicano Literature issues a call for papers to be presented at the conference, to be held at the Institute for North American Studies-University of Alcalá, Spain, from 22-25 May 2006.

Proposals should be 300-500 words and should include the information requested below. Proposals should be sent by January 30th, 2006, to Rosa María García-Barroso ( or by fax (34) 91 885 5285.

Both individual proposals and organized panels are welcome. Presentations should be limited to 15-20 minutes. Selected papers will be published. Notification of accepted proposals will be made 20 days after the proposal is received. Definite acceptance hinges on registration. Participants registering after February 20th, are not guaranteed a slot on a panel.

The languages of the conference are English and Spanish.

The theme of the conference will be “Interpreting the Nuevo Milenio”.

Required information

Name :
Organization :
Street Address/P.O.Box :
City :
State/Province/ZIP :
Day Phone/Fax :
email :
I will need audiovisual equipment for my presentation (yes/no):
Indicate which:
Do you need an invitation letter? (yes/no):

Send this information with proposal to or by fax to 34 91 885 52 85

Transatlantic Conflict and Consensus: Culture, History, and Politics

The Maastricht Center for Transatlantic Studies issues a call for papers for its fourth biennial conference on Transatlantic Studies. The conference, entitled “Transatlantic Conflict and Consensus: Culture, History, and Politics”, will be held October 25-28, 2006, on the campus of Teikyo University Holland, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

The organizers welcome submissions covering the gamut of transatlantic conflict and consensus from the fields of literature, sociology, history political science, journalism, cultural studies, and others. The conference organizers hope to engender a multidisciplinary discussion of transatlantic relations.

Submit proposals in English online at Each submission should include a 500-word proposal of the paper that is to be considered for presentation and a 200-word biographical sketch of the author(s), along with other relevant information requested on submission form.

The deadline for submitting proposals is 1 February 2006. Rolling acceptance will be practiced, but authors will be notified the status of their proposal no later that 1 April 2006. Update information, including registration details, will be available on the website. The lingua franca of the conference is English.

Along with presentation of accepted papers, the conference will feature speakers representing the American view of transatlantic relations, a continental European view of transatlantic relations, and an academic overview of the discussion.

Organizing and sponsor institutions of the conference include the Maastricht Center for Transatlantic Studies; Gloucestershire University, UK; and The University of South Dakota, USA. Contact Dr. Neil Wynn at or Dr. Tim Schorn at, or see the conference website, for additional information.

The United States in the 1980s: the Reagan Years

10-12 November 2005

The Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford, will host a three-day interdisciplinary conference examining the subject of the United States in the 1980s. The conference will address the historical, cultural, economic, legal, and social impact of the 1980s upon both U.S. and international culture. Whilst focusing upon Reagan’s America, the conference looks beyond the presidency and the administration to examine wider literary, social, cultural and economic phenomena.

Plenary speakers include Tom Wolfe, Dan Rather and Jack Matlock. Godfrey Hodgson will screen documentary reportage of interviews with the Reagans and the conference will close with a roundtable discussion chaired by Professor Michael Heale.

The conference is free and open to the public though advance registration is required.
A £10 charge applies for lunch at Mansfield College, Oxford.
Full details of the conference, including a provisional programme can be found at
To register please e-mail Ruth Parr at

New Members

John Armstrong is a PhD student at the University of Glasgow. His research interests are in late twentieth century American poetry.

Bruce Baker is lecturer in American History at Royal Holloway, University of London. His research interests are in the social and cultural history of the American South between the Civil War and the Cold War. His past research has focused on folklore, racial violence, Reconstruction and labour organisation.

Alice Bell is a PhD student at the University of Sheffield. Her interests include modern and contemporary literature, hypertext fiction, literary theory, possible worlds theory and postmodernism.

Jennifer Black is a PhD student at Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge. Her thesis is entitled ‘Women and Politics in South Carolina, 1938-1960’ and her research interests are focused on the local chapters of the League of Women Voters.

Jacob M. Blosser is a PhD candidate at the University of South Carolina where he is completing a dissertation on transatlantic latitudinarian Anglicanism in the long eighteenth century. He is a 2005 Gilder Lehrman/John D. Rockefeller Fellow at the Colonial William Foundation and a 2004 Andrew W. Mellon at the Virginia Historical Society.

Lane Crothers is Professor of Politics and Government at Illinois State University. His research interests include American political culture and political leadership, globalization, American popular culture, and right-wing social movements.

Tara Deshpande is a PhD student at the University of Leeds. Her research interests lie in the concept of nationhood in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature, with a particular focus on gothic literature.

Mark Ellis is a senior lecturer at the University of Strathclyde. His research focuses upon American race relations in the 20th Century.

Jeffrey Farley is a PhD student at the University of Glasgow. He is currently researching Black Music (mainly jazz) and Culture in America and Europe.

Ali Fisher is a postgraduate student at the University of Birmingham. His research interests lie in the development of American Studies in Europe and in the state-private network within the cultural Cold War.

Phoebe Godfrey is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Texas A&M International University. Her interests include American social history in the 1950s, desegregation and the current obscenity laws in Texas. Her writing addresses intersections of race, social class, gender and sexuality/faultlines of power and control.

Afron Jones completed a Masters in US History and Politics at the University of Keele in 2003. He is interested in African-American history, electoral behaviour and voting rights.

Matthew Jones is Chair of American Foreign Relations at the University of Nottingham. His research interests include US nuclear history, US relations with Asian states and societies, Anglo-American relations, and the relationship between race and foreign policy.

Kim Lasky is a DPhil student at University of Sussex researching exchanges between poetry and criticism with an emphasis on contemporary US poets including Rachel Blau DuPlessis and Charles Bernstein.

Jean-Pierre Le Glaunec is a doctoral student at the University of Paris VII where he works on comparative slavery and slave resistance. His thesis will examine runaway slaves in Louisiana, South Carolina and Jamaica from 1800-1815.

Catherine Maddison is a PhD student at the University of Cambridge. Her research analyses African-American activism and political strategies in the post civil rights era through case studies of community leaders in Charlotte, North Carolina and Washington DC.

John Matlin is a retired solicitor who graduated from Brunel University in 2004 with an honours degree in American Studies. He is currently taking an M.Res degree at Brunel that will lead to a PhD. He is researching into the Citizen’s League, a Minnesota state institution which is non-partisan and promotes civic responsibility and good governance.

Keith W. Olson is Professor of History at the University of Maryland, College Park. His primary research interest is in twentieth century US presidential history. In 2003 he published Watergate: the Presidential Scandal that Shook America. His current book project examines Eisenhower and civil rights.

Daniel Owen is a graduate of the University of East Anglia in American history and politics. He is the author and publisher of Oval Office 2008 and an occasional contributor on U.S. affairs for LBC radio in London.

Jonathan Pearson is a lecturer in American history at the University of Durham. He is currently researching the development of the presidential library system and presidential memorialisation and commemration.

Maeve Pearson is a postdoctoral research fellow in American literature at Goldsmiths, University of London, having completed her doctorate at Queen Mary, University of London, in 2004. Her main area of interest is on representations of theories of childhood, particularly in their evolution through utopian socialism and communitarianism in nineteenth-century America. She is currently writing a book on Henry James and the Work of Childhood.

Scott Provon is a postgraduate student at Kings College, London. His research interests include eighteenth-century travel writing and landscape.

Laura Sandy is a PhD student at the University of Manchester. Her doctoral research examines the economic and social role of overseers on the slave plantation in eighteenth-century Virginia and South Carolina.

Dan Scroop is a lecturer in American history at Liverpool University. He is interested in twentieth-century US history, especially the New Deal, liberalism and the politics of consumerism.

Claire Spinks is a student at Middlesex University. Her particular interests include matters of foreign policy, social and welfare issues and environmental policy.

Fionnghuala Sweeney is a lecturer at the Institute of Latin American Studies, University of Liverpool.

Donna Marie Tuck is a PhD student at the University of Nottingham. She is researching slave narratives and neo-slave narratives. She is also interested in the work of Louisa May Alcott and contemporary Southern literature.

Kevin Yuill is a senior lecturer in American Studies at the University of Sunderland, having completed a PhD in American Studies at Nottingham University in 2001. A book based on his doctoral research, entitled Civil Rights in an Age of Limits: Nixon and the Origins of Affirmative Action will be published this year as part of Rowman and Littlefield’s Intellectual Culture Series. He is now researching the 1924 Immigration act and its importance in establishing racial divisions in the United States.

Members’ Publications

Martin Halliwell has two books to be published this October: The Constant Dialogue: Reinhold Niebuhr and American Intellectual Culture (Rowman & Littlefield, 370 pp.) and Transatlantic Modernism: Moral Dilemmas in Modernist Fiction (Edinburgh University Press, 270 pp.) He is series editor of Twentieth-Century American Culture for Edinburgh University Press, which will be launched at the BAAS Conference held at the University of Leicester in April 2007

Members’ News

Dr. Sylvia Ellis has been appointed Reader in American History at the University of Northumbria. Her recent book, Britain, America, and the Vietnam War (Praeger, 2004), was awarded Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2004.

Martin Halliwell was appointed to a Personal Chair in American Studies at the University of Leicester in April 2005 and will act as Director of the Centre for American Studies for a three-year term from August 2005.

Winterthur Research Fellowship Program

Winterthur Museum & Country Estate 2006-2007 Research Fellowship Program.
Residential fellowships available for scholars pursuing topics in American history and art, decorative arts, material culture, and design.
NEH senior scholar grants, Lois F. McNeil dissertation grants, and short-term grants will be awarded, with stipends of $1500 to $3333 per month.
Application deadline: January 16, 2006.
Contact Katherine C. Grier, Director,
Research Fellowship Program, Winterthur Museum,
Winterthur DE 19735

BAAS Teaching Assistantships

Applications are invited for the BAAS Teaching Assistantship in American History at the University of New Hampshire and the BAAS Teaching Assistantship in American Literature at the University of Virginia. Candidates will normally be final year undergraduates, but applications will also be accepted from recent graduates.

A BAAS Teaching Assistantship consists of the award for two years of a Teaching Assistantship, which provides an income sufficient to cover living expenses, plus remission of tuition fees, while the recipient of the Teaching Assistantship pursues graduate study for an M.A. Teaching duties take up approximately half of the working time of a Teaching Assistant, consisting of taking about four tutorial groups for discussion sessions each week and marking essays and exams.

Applications will be received by a BAAS panel, which will draw up a short list for an interview in early December. The recommendation of the panel needs to be ratified by the University of New Hampshire and the University of Virginia. The successful candidates will then be accepted, without the necessity of the very elaborate and expensive process that is involved in applying directly to an American university for a Teaching Assistantship. The successful candidates would begin their studies at the University of Virginia and the University of New Hampshire in September, 2006, for the two years, 2006-2008.

Applicants should send the following by Friday, December 2, to Dr. Peter Boyle, School of American & Canadian Studies, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, NG7 2RD: (1) a curriculum vitae, (2) transcript of undergraduate work, (3) reason for applying (no more than 250 words), (4) two letters of recommendation (in sealed envelopes). Further details can be obtained from the BAAS web site at http://

BAAS members are asked to encourage applications for the BAAS Teaching Assistantships from suitably qualified students.

The BAAS Teaching Assistantship programme was inaugurated in 2002. The first awards were made to Vicky Bizzell (University of Central Lancashire) and Steve Brennan (University of Birmingham), who successfully completed their M.A. in American Literature at the University of Virginia and in American History at the University of New Hampshire respectively in 2004. The current holders of the awards are John Havard (University of Leeds) and Michael Penny (University of Lancaster), who have completed the first year of their M.A. at the University of Virginia and the University of New Hampshire.

At the BAAS conference at Cambridge in April, 2005, three post-graduates in American Literature from the University of Virginia (Wilson Brissett, Swan Kim and Brian Roberts) and three post-graduates in American History from the University of New Hampshire (Edward Andrews, Venetia Guerrasio and Linda Upham-Bornstein) attended the conference and presented papers, at the invitation and expense of BAAS.
It is hoped that further schemes of cooperation between BAAS and the University of Virginia and the University of New Hampshire will be gradually developed.

Peter Boyle (University of Nottingham)

BAAS Membership of Committees

BAAS Officers

The Association is administered by an elected committee (see below), including three officers:

Professor Simon Newman, Chair, Director, American Studies, Modern History, 2 University Gardens, Glasgow University, Glasgow G12 8QQ
Tel: 0141 330 3585
Fax: 0141 330 5000

Dr Graham Thompson,† Treasurer, School of American & Canadian Studies, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD
Tel: 0115 9514269
Fax: 0115 9514270

Dr Heidi Macpherson,* Secretary, Department of Humanities, Fylde 42, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, PR1 2HE
Tel: 01772 893039
Fax: 01772 892924

Executive Committee (after 2005 AGM)

In addition to these three officers, the current committee line up of BAAS is:

Ms Kathryn Cooper, (Co-opted), Development Subcommittee, Loreto 6th Form College, Chicester Road, Manchester, M15 5PB
Tel: 0161 226 5156
Fax: 0161 227 9174

Professor Richard Crockatt, School of American Studies, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ
Tel: 01603 872456

Dr. Jude Davies,* School of Cultural Studies, King Alfred’s College, Winchester, SO22 4NR
Tel: 01962 827363

Ms Clare Elliott,* Postgraduate Representative, Department of English Literature, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ

Dr Will Kaufman, Department of Humanities, University of Central Lancashire, Preston PR1 2HE
Tel: 01772 893035
Fax: 01772 892924

Professor Jay Kleinberg, (Ex-Officio), Editor, Journal of American Studies, School of International Studies, Brunel University, Kingston Lane, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UB8 3PH
Tel: 0181 891 0121
Fax: 0181 891 8306

Dr Sarah MacLachlan, Department of English, Manchester Metropolitan University, Geoffrey Manton Building, Rosamond Street West, Manchester, M15 6LL
Tel: 0161 247 1755
Fax: 0161 247 6345

Dr Catherine Morley,† School of Humanities, Oxford Brookes University, Gipsy Lane Campus, Headington, OX3 OBP
Tel: 01865 484977
Fax: 01865 484977

Dr Martin Padget,† Department of English, University of Wales, Aberystwyth SY23 3DY
Tel: 01970 621948
Fax: 01970 622530

Mr Ian Ralston, (Ex-Officio), Chair, Library & Resouces Subcommittee, American Studies Centre, Aldham Robarts Centre, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool L3 5UZ
Tel: 0151 231 3241
Fax: 0151 231 3241

Dr Ian Scott, Department of English and American Studies, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL
Tel: 0161 275 3059
Fax: 0161 275 3256

Ms Carol Smith,* School of Cultural Studies, King Alfred’s College, Winchester SO22 4NR
Tel: 0196 282 7370

Dr Jenel Virden,* Representative to EAAS, Department of American Studies, University of Hull, Hull HU6 7RX
Tel: 01482 465638/303
Fax: 01482 466107

Professor Tim Woods, Department of English, Hugh Owen Building, Penglais, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Wales, SY23 3DY
Tel: 01970 622535
Fax: 01970 622530

* indicates this person not eligible for re-election to this position.
† Indicates that the newly-elected Committee member is fulfilling an unexpired position due to resignations from the Committee. All co-optations must be reviewed annually.
BAAS Sub-Committee Members

Dr Ian Scott (Chair)
Ms Kathryn Cooper
Professor Richard Crockatt
Dr. Jude Davies
Ms Clare Elliott
Professor Simon Newman
Mr Ian Ralston

Ms Carol Smith (Chair)
Professor Jay Kleinberg
Dr Heidi Macpherson
Professor Ken Morgan (Editor of BRRAM)
Dr Catherine Morley
Professor Tim Woods

Dr Sarah MacLachlan (Chair)
Dr Will Kaufman
Dr Martin Padget
Dr Graham Thompson
Dr Jenel Virden
Dr George Conyne (Kent Conference Secretary, 2006)
Professor Martin Halliwell (Leicester Conference Secretary, 2007)

Libraries and Resources:
Mr Ian Ralston (Chair)
Ms J Hoare (Treasurer) (Cambridge University Library)
Secretary’s position is currently vacant
Ms K Bateman (Eccles Centre)
Dr Jude Davies (BAAS representative)
Professor Philip Davies (Eccles Centre)
Mr D Foster (American Studies Centre, Liverpool John Moores University)
Dr Kevin Halliwell (National Library of Scotland)
Mr J Pinfold (Rothermere Institute)
Matthew Shaw (British Library)
Ms J. Shiel (John Rylands University Library of Manchester)

Memories of BAAS Cambridge 2005 – 50th Anniversary Celebrations

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Simon Newman, Anthony Appiah and Tony Badger

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Shelley Fisher Fishkin and Jay Kleinberg

http://” alt=”Richard King and Philip Davies”>

Richard King and Philip Davies

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Shelly Fisher Fishkin

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Overview of Dining Hall, BAAS Cambridge 2005

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Members of BAAS Executive Committee