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

British Association for American Studies


Issue 97 Autumn 2007


Issue 97 Autumn 2007



August 8, 1974

Good evening.

This is the fifth time I have spoken to you from this Editorial office, where so many decisions have been made that shaped the history of this publication. Each time I have done so to discuss with you some matter that I believed affected the interest of BAAS.

In all the decisions I have made in my editorial life, I have always tried to do what was best for ASIB and for BAAS. Throughout long and difficult periods choosing cover images or wrangling with printers, I have felt it was my duty to persevere, to make every possible effort to complete the term of office to which I was appointed.

In the past few months, however, it has become evident to me that I no longer have a strong enough base to justify continuing that effort. I now believe that my purpose as Editor of American Studies in Britain has been served, and there is no longer a need for my tenure to be prolonged.

I would have preferred to carry through to the finish whatever the personal agony it would have involved, and my family unanimously urged me to do so. But the interests of BAAS must always come before any personal considerations.

From the discussions I have had with the Executive Committee and other departmental leaders, I have concluded that I might not have the resources that I would consider necessary to back the very difficult decisions and carry out the duties of this office in the way the interests of BAAS would require.

I have never been a quitter. To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body. But as Editor, I must put the interest of ASIB first. ASIB needs a full time Editor – particularly at this time with problems we face with at home and abroad.

Therefore, I shall resign the Editorship effective at noon tomorrow. Dr Alison Kelly ( of the Rothermere Institute will be sworn in as Editor at that hour in this office.

As I recall the high hopes for ASIB with which we began this term, I feel a great sadness that I will not be here in this office working on your behalf to achieve those hopes in the coming years. But in turning over direction of ASIB to Dr Kelly, I know that the leadership of ASIB will be in good hands.

In passing this office to Dr Kelly, I also do so with the profound sense of the weight of responsibility that will fall on her shoulders tomorrow, and, therefore, of the understanding, the patience, the cooperation, she will need from all BAAS members.

As she assumes that responsibility, she will deserve the help and the support of all of us. As we look to the future, the first essential is to begin healing the wounds of our discipline, to put the bitterness and divisions of the recent past behind us, and to rediscover those shared ideals that lie at the heart of our strength and unity as a great and as a free Association.

So, let us all now join together in affirming that common commitment and in helping our new Editor succeed for the benefit of all BAAS members.

I shall leave this office with regret at not being able to continue, but with gratitude for the privilege of serving as your Editor for the past two and a half years. These years have been a momentous time in the history of BAAS. They have been a time of achievement of which we can all be proud, achievements that represent the shared efforts of the members.

But the challenges ahead are equally great, and they, too, will require the support and the efforts of BAAS and the people working in cooperation with the newly elected Executive Committee.

For more than seven years in academic life I have shared in the history of this Association. I have fought for what I believed in. I have tried to the best of my ability to discharge those duties and meet those responsibilities that were entrusted to me.

Sometimes I have succeeded and perhaps sometimes I have failed, but always I have taken heart from what Theodore Roosevelt once said about the man in the arena, ‘whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again because there is not effort without error and shortcoming, but who does actually strive to do the deed, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy causer, who at the best knows in the end the triumphs of high achievements and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly.’

I pledge you here tonight that as long as I have a breath of life left in my body. I shall continue in that spirit. I shall continue to work for the great cause of BAAS to which I have been dedicated throughout my years as a postgraduate representative, Editor of US Online, Executive member, Editor of ASIB, and now as Secretary.

To have served in this office is to have felt a very personal sense of kinship with each and every ASIB reader. In leaving it, I do so with a fond farewell and gratitude to all who have contributed to the success of this newsletter.

NOTE: The Editor spoke at 9.01 p.m. in the ASIB Office.

The address was broadcast live on radio and television, but nobody was listening.

Catherine Morley

Department of English

Oxford Brookes University

Gipsy Lane Campus

Oxford, OX3 0BP



BAAS Annual Conference: University of Edinburgh 2008

The 53rd Annual Conference

Call for Papers

There is no overarching theme for the conference, which is a forum for research papers on any subject relating to the United States of America and to early America. Paper and panel proposals on any topic within American Studies, broadly defined, are welcome. The conference will feature papers across a wide range of disciplines, including history, literary studies, political science, cultural studies, film and media studies, and visual culture and art history, among others.

Edinburgh is among the finest cities in Europe. Its Old Town and New Town are World Heritage Sites, and its cultural and historical riches include the castle, museums, and five galleries. The city’s physical setting is notable for its beauty. An example of this beauty is the conference’s location, which is next to Arthur’s Seat and Holyrood Park. For further information about Edinburgh, please see

Proposals for 20-minute papers should be a maximum of 250 words and should include a provisional title. These will be arranged into panel groups. We also invite proposals for panels and roundtable discussions, involving two or more people and sharing a common theme. The conference will include papers from people across the spectrum of the research community, from postgraduates to senior scholars.

Proposals for BAAS 2008 at the University of Edinburgh should be submitted by 15 October 2007 at the latest, preferably by e-mail attachment to:

Dr Robert Mason

BAAS Conference Secretary

School of History and Classics

University of Edinburgh

50 George Square

Edinburgh EH8 9JY


Tel: +44 (0) 131-650 3770

Fax: +44 (0) 131-650 3784

BAAS Annual Conference: University of Leicester, 2007

Chair’s Report

Annual General Meeting, held at the BAAS annual conference, University of Leicester, Friday 20th April 2007

As we approach the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, I am glad to be able to report that the research culture of the UK’s American Studies subject community is in a very healthy state. American Studies experts continue to secure a whole range of awards, fellowships and prizes, are selected to serve on AHRC peer review panels, and are promoted within their home universities. Over the past year Jude Davies has been promoted to a Readership in American Studies at the University of Winchester; Kevern Verney, has been appointed to a chair in American History at Edge Hill University; Peter Rawlings has been appointed to a chair in American Literature at the University of the West of England; John Howard has been appointed to a chair in American Studies at King’s College London; Trevor Burnard has been appointed to a Chair in American History at the University of Warwick; Susan-Mary Grant has been appointed to a Chair in American History at the University of Newcastle; Heidi Macpherson has been appointed the Dean of Humanities at De Montfort University; and Janet Beer has been appointed Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University.


The officers and members of the Executive Committee of BAAS continue to work extremely hard to protect and enhance American Studies in the UK. We spend an ever-increasing amount of time attending meetings, responding to consultation documents, and ensuring that the voice of American Studies is heard as universities, funding bodies and the government make their decisions. To give you a sense of these kinds of activities, I can report that over the past year BAAS committee members have, on your behalf, attended AHRC consultations on reform of postgraduate funding; written formal responses to these proposals; participated in a special meeting on American Studies at the AHRC headquarters in Bristol; responded to the AHRC consultation on its strategic plan; responded to the QAA on its new benchmark statements for English, History, and Politics; responded to the Department for Education and Skills consultation document on reform of research assessment; responded to an ESRC consultation on their 3+1 postgraduate funding scheme; responded to the RCUK consultation on academic peer review; responded to HEFCE on its review of funding for the Institute for the Study of the America; attended a variety of other HEFCE, AHRC, British Academy, and Academy of Learned Societies for the Social Sciences events; worked on an American Studies alumni questionnaire in order to furnish information for the American Studies recruitment CD-ROM currently under development; developed new prizes and fellowships for the American Studies community, and attended inaugural lectures, social events and so forth in order to represent the American Studies subject community.

As a subject community, American Studies continues to have a louder, and certainly a more persistent voice than our size might appear to warrant. That is because of the tremendous amount of work undertaken by the officers, the executive committee members and the sub-committee members. While much of this work is not as high profile as various other BAAS activities, it is essential. Our loud voice enables us to have as much input as possible, and to ensure that the concerns of American Studies are well represented.

Moreover, such activities represent a growing part of the work of BAAS officers and committee members, not just because of the increasingly bureaucratic nature of academic life, but also because the public profile of American Studies is of a subject under threat and in decline. News reports in the Times Higher Education Supplement and the Education supplement of the Guardian have indicated a significant decline in undergraduate student enrolments; American Studies departments and programmes are under threat as universities reorganize administration and undergraduate teaching; the number of American Studies Units of Assessment that will be submitted for RAE 2008 is likely to be lower than 2001; the number of prospective PhD students receiving AHRC funding has declined, and so forth.

What I have found most frustrating over the past three years has been the dissonance between these trends and my direct and first hand experience of the healthy and in many ways very successful teaching and research culture of American Studies in the UK. Even in places where departments have been closed, the courses that constituted American Studies usually remain popular, albeit now under the rubric of other departments. Research and publication remains of the very highest quality, with members of the UK American Studies community winning the Abraham Lincoln Prize, being short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize, and winning the last two biennial European American Studies Network book prizes. And more than anything else, the work presented at and the conversations occurring within this conference illustrate the health of the disciplines. American Studies remains strong, but a great deal of work is required to ensure that this is recognized.

I would like to thank the officers, members and associates of the BAAS Executive Committee, including Susan Castillo, Richard Crockatt, Jude Davies, Martin Halliwell, Will Kaufman, Hannah Lowe, Sarah MacLachlan, Catherine Morley, Ken Morgan, Ian Ralston, Theresa Saxon, Ian Scott, Jenel Virden, Michelle Smith, and most especially Heidi Macpherson, Graham Thompson and Carol Smith. I am also very grateful to Phil Davies and to Judie Newman for their wise counsel, and to Ambassador Robert Tuttle, Sue Wedlake, Michael Macey and Sarah-Jane Mayhew at the Embassy of the United States, for their support of American Studies in Britain.

I attended my first BAAS conference at Nottingham as an undergraduate assistant a quarter-century ago: sitting, drinking and chatting in the bar of my undergraduate hall of residence with Malcolm Bradbury and a host of other scholars was less intimidating than it was exciting, and the experience was enhanced when conference secretary Pete Messent prevailed on me to break into the by then closed bar to procure a bottle of single malt so that the conviviality could continue. (I hasten to add that Pete later replaced the bottle). BAAS conferences remain just as engaging and exciting, and are of vital importance to Britain’s American Studies community. They succeed because of a great deal of preparation and hard work, and I am very grateful to George Lewis and his colleagues here at Leicester, for organizing such an excellent conference.

Professor Simon Newman

Minutes of 2007 BAAS AGM

The 2007 AGM of BAAS was held on Friday 20 April at the University of Leicester at 4:40pm.


Chair                                                Heidi Macpherson                        (to 2010)

Secretary                                    Catherine Morley                        (to 2008)†

Committee                                    Ian Bell                                    (to 2010)

George Lewis                                    (to 2010)

Sarah MacLachlan                        (to 2010)*

EAAS Rep                                    Philip Davies                                    (to 2012)*


*Not eligible for re-election

†Fulfilling an unexpired term due to a resignation from the office.


The Treasurer circulated copies of the draft audited accounts, which he asked the AGM to approve. He informed the AGM that the format of the accounts was different this year; the Trustees’ Report, which used to consist of the Chair’s address to the AGM, is now a longer document to take into account the new regulations (the Charities Act of 2006 and The Statement of Recommended Practice, Accounting and Reporting by Charities [SORP] 2005). The purpose of the new format report is to allow the Charity Commission to see what the charity is doing and its plans for the future, and to make sure that it is fulfilling its public benefit requirements. BAAS has no difficulty in fulfilling the charity definition of public benefit given its focus on education.  One of the effects of the new reporting requirements is that the accountant’s bill has gone up. GT drew the membership’s attention to particular sections of the Report:

  • On p. 11, conference funding appears to be down substantially this year, but this is related to the extra money received the previous year for the 50th Anniversary celebrations.
  • There is a substantial amount of new money coming into BAAS for the Eccles Centre fellowships. This is restricted income.
  • Subscriptions are up by £2700 and membership is up 51; the rise in membership may partly be accounted for by the new ability to pay via PayPal. Since July 2006, BAAS has generated over £1700 from PayPal subscriptions.
  • BAAS currently holds a surplus of £4515 compared to £2402 in 2005.


GT also reported on membership figures; there are currently 435 fully paid up members, which compares to 384 at this time last year.

Dick Ellis proposed that the accounts be approved; George Conyne seconded the motion, and it was carried unanimously.

GT reported on progress made on Gift Aid, which has been an ongoing issue over the last few years. Since 2000, membership subscriptions and donations have been eligible for Gift Aid, and BAAS can claim back 22/78th for those who have signed legitimate Gift Aid declarations. However, the audit trail has been uneven for this and as a result, GT sent out letters earlier this year with the new template for Gift Aid declarations. On the basis of the forms back, he has now submitted a claim to the Inland Revenue for £4466.84 plus interest, which is based on the return of 78 forms. GT estimated that if three quarters of BAAS members to sign the form, we can generate approximately £4500 each year. GT will now work on covering all the back years and will send a further mailshot out later this year. In response to a question from the floor, GT acknowledged that you cannot sign a declaration form if you do not pay income tax.

The Chair offered a comprehensive verbal report in which he noted that in the run up to the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, the research culture of the UK’s American Studies subject community is in a very healthy state. American Studies experts continue to secure a whole range of awards, fellowships and prizes, are selected to serve on AHRC peer review panels, and are promoted within their home universities.

Congratulations were extended to the following BAAS members in relation to appointments, promotions, and awards.

  • Kevern Verney has been appointed to a chair in American History at Edge Hill University; Peter Rawlings has been appointed to a chair in American Literature at the University of the West of England; John Howard has been appointed to a chair in American Studies at King’s College London; Jude Davies has been promoted to Reader at the University of Winchester; Trevor Burnard has been appointed to a Chair in American History at the University of Warwick; and Susan-Mary Grant has been appointed to a Chair in American History at the University of Newcastle. In addition, Heidi Macpherson has been appointed Professor and Dean of Humanities at De Montfort University; and Janet Beer has been appointed Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University. 

The Chair noted that the officers and members of the Executive Committee of BAAS continue to work extremely hard to protect and enhance American Studies in the UK, spending an ever-increasing amount of time attending meetings, responding to consultation documents, and ensuring that the voice of American Studies is heard as universities, funding bodies and the government make their decisions. Over the past year, BAAS Committee members have undertaken the following work on behalf of BAAS. They have:

  • attended AHRC consultations on reform of postgraduate funding and written formal responses to these proposals;
  • participated in a special meeting on American Studies at the AHRC headquarters in Bristol;
  • responded to the AHRC consultation on its strategic plan;
  • responded to the QAA on its new benchmark statements for English and History (with BAAS member Alex Waddan responding on behalf of BAAS in relation to the Politics benchmark; thanks were extended to him);
  • responded to the Department for Education and Skills consultation document on reform of research assessment;
  • responded to an ESRC consultation on their 3+1 postgraduate funding scheme;
  • responded to the RCUK consultation on academic peer review;
  • responded to HEFCE on its review of funding for the Institute for the Study of the America;
  • attended a variety of other HEFCE, AHRC, British Academy, and Academy of Learned Societies for the Social Sciences events;
  • worked on an American Studies alumni questionnaire in order to furnish information for the American Studies recruitment CD-ROM currently under development;
  • developed new prizes and fellowships for the American Studies community;
  • and attended inaugural lectures and social events in order to represent the American Studies subject community.

This work, whilst not always high profile, is essential in ensuring that the American Studies voice is heard nationally, particularly at a time when the public profile of American Studies is of a subject under threat. News reports in the Times Higher Education Supplement and the Education supplement of the Guardian have indicated a significant decline in undergraduate student enrolments; American Studies departments and programmes are under threat as universities reorganize administration and undergraduate teaching; and the number of American Studies Units of Assessment that will be submitted for RAE 2008 is likely to be lower than 2001. However, as the Chair reported, there is a dissonance between these trends and his direct and first hand experience of the healthy and in many ways very successful teaching and research culture of American Studies in the UK. Even in places where departments have been closed, the courses that constitute American Studies usually remain popular, albeit now under the rubric of other departments. Research and publications remain at the very highest quality, with members of the UK American Studies community winning the Abraham Lincoln Prize, being short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize, and winning the last two biennial EAAS Network book prizes. And more than anything else, the work presented at and the conversations occurring within this conference illustrated the health of the disciplines. American Studies remains strong, but a great deal of work is required to ensure that this is recognized.

The Chair concluded by thanking the members of the BAAS Executive Committee, including Susan Castillo, Richard Crockatt, Jude Davies, Martin Halliwell, Will Kaufman, Hannah Lowe, Sarah MacLachlan, Catherine Morley, Ken Morgan, Ian Ralston, Theresa Saxon, Ian Scott, Jenel Virden and the BAAS officers, Heidi Macpherson, Graham Thompson and Carol Smith. Thanks were also extended to Michelle Smith at the University of Manchester for helping to administer the Awards Committee, to the previous chairs, Philip Davies and Judie Newman for their wise counsel, and to Ambassador Robert Tuttle, Sue Wedlake, Michael Macy and Sarah-Jane Mayhew at the Embassy of the United States, for their support of American Studies in Britain. Final thanks were extended to George Lewis and his colleagues at Leicester, for organizing such an excellent conference.


Sarah MacLachlan began her report by acknowledging what a huge success the Leicester conference had been so far, and offering public congratulations to George Lewis, Martin Halliwell, and their team of postgraduates for the hard work they had put in before and during the conference. SM noted that this year, she had visited the 2008 conference site in Edinburgh with Robert Mason, the 2008 Conference Organizer. The conference will be based in the Pollock Hall area of Edinburgh, 27-30 March. She noted that a call for papers would be distributed shortly, and members were asked to consider submitting proposals early to allow for planning.


The 2009 conference will be held at the University of Nottingham 16-19 April, organized by Celeste-Marie Bernier. SM reported that negotiations were underway for the 2010 conference and that the successful applicant would be announced shortly.  She also announced that the University of Central Lancashire had submitted a bid for the 2011 conference, and that Manchester had expressed interested in hosting the 2012 conference.  SM then invited suggestions for future conferences.

Finally, SM noted the Committee had agreed a new subsidized conference rate for retired members for the Edinburgh Conference, in line with the postgraduate fees.


Carol Smith began her verbal report by reminding the AGM that minutes of all meetings are published on the website, so that individuals may keep updated about current activities that way. She then reported on some of the highlights of the year in relation to the Publication Subcommittee. In relation to BRRAM, the long awaited release of the Edward Long papers and the Bolton Whitman papers were both released. Ken Morgan continued to negotiate with various sources, in particular the Darien scheme papers from the National Library of Scotland. Future plans included records relating to Liverpool merchants and the slave trade in the Liverpool Record Office. KM is also interested in the recruitment of additional Special Editors. A call was sent out in ASIB and anyone who is interested should contact KM at Brunel.

In relation to the BAAS EUP series, CS noted that it continued to be a vibrant, well used and well read series; there were currently two forthcoming publications: Hulthsether’s Religion, Culture and Politics in 20 Century North America which will be published May 2007, and for which a US co-publication has already been agreed, and Tillet’s Native American Literature, to be published in November 2007. SN and CS as editors are always happy to discuss ideas and proposals and ask that interested parties approach them directly.

CS noted apologies from the JAS editor, Susan Castillo, who could not attend the conference, and she reported that the main business of the subcommittee this year in relation to JAS was nominating the editor (Prof. Castillo) and associate editor (Prof. Scott Lucas). The latest issue of JAS was the first under their editorial control though due to a misprint, the former editor was listed on the inside cover. The following individuals were appointed to the Board: Prof. Ian Bell, Prof. Sabine Brock and Dr. Marina Moskowitz. Other appointments will be announced shortly. Thanks were extended all those who continue to serve for the benefit of the community and as reviewers, for the future health of the subject.

In relation to other publications, the latest issue of ASIB was produced earlier in the spring, with the deadline for the autumn issue being 11 August. ASIB had been fortunate to have an excellent editor in Catherine Morley. Elizabeth Boyle continues to refine the process of submission and refereeing for the postgraduate journal, US Studies Online and CS is pleased announce that they are moving to three issues a year with deadlines of April (the postgraduate conference issue), August and December.

Because of his role as Treasurer, GT had announced that he wanted to step down as webster, and the officers agreed that this was a good time to advertise for a joint webster and mail base co-ordinator. AGM members were asked to note that the position had been advertised on the web with a deadline of 1June 2007. CS formally thanked GT and Clare Elliot for their hard work.

CS noted that this was her last report as Publications subcommittee chair, and she thanked all members of the subcommittee for the work that they did.


Richard Crockatt was unable to attend the AGM and sent his apologies. A written report was read out on his behalf by the Vice Chair. As announced at the last AGM, the subcommittee structure changed this past year, with the awards business of the old Development subcommittee given to a new Awards Subcommittee, in recognition of the substantial growth in awards business. In relation to the awards that the Development Subcommittee continued to oversee, for conference support, there had been a downturn in applications, with only 2 successful applications this year; these were for the development of the South West American Studies Forum (May 2007) and for the annual postgraduate conference. In the absence of any other requests made during the year, RC plans to establish whether the availability of funds for such purposes is publicized well enough. It is expected that the bid form will be put on the website for easier access.

In relation to postgraduate business, the postgraduate representative, Josephine Metcalf, had been involved in forging closer links amongst European postgraduates; JM acquired a list of postgraduate representatives in continental European countries and gained permission to display this list on the EAAS website.  The November 2006 BAAS postgraduate conference in Nottingham was reported to have been very successful. The venue for the 2007 conference is to be Manchester University. On a less happy note, concern has arisen about the success rate of postgraduate applications to the AHRC and it appears that none from American Studies departments were successful in the 2006 round.

Schools’ Liaison remains an important aspect of the work of the Development subcommittee. A teachers’ lunch was to be held at the conference. In addition, the teachers’ representative, Hannah Lowe, wrote a report, “Issues Affecting the City and Islington Student Recruitment to American Studies Undergraduate Degree Courses”. The findings of the report received wider circulation with the publication of HL’s summary of the report in the first 2007 issue of ASIB. HL was congratulated by the Committee on the high quality and usefulness of the report. There was general agreement that the “widening participation” work between King’s College, London and the City and Islington Sixth Form was a good model for getting the message out about American Studies. In the coming year the subcommittee intends to seek ways of building on the conclusions of HL’s report.

The Subcommittee was also looking at ways to ensure closer links with the LLAS. One LLAS project was the “Why Study American Studies?” CD project which had funding from the US Embassy. At this point, Sarah Wood (Birmingham) gave a short presentation on the CD roms. She noted that the project coordinators (including Dick Ellis) were grateful to BAAS for their support and contacts, their help in setting up filming opportunities, and for writing short essays for the CD rom. Thanks were also extended to the US Embassy. SW distributed a handout with contact details for anyone who wanted to contribute to the CD. She particularly wished to solicit photographs of the USA; the plan was for the CD to be visually dynamic. The coordinators had identified employability as a key issue and one of the crucial resources used was the BAAS survey of career destinations. Thanks were extended to Will Kaufman for his help in soliciting short introductory essays.

All the members of the subcommittee were thanked for their contributions during the year.


IS began his report by thanking the anonymous judges who contributed to the successful business of the Awards subcommittee. IS noted the new awards of the Wyoming Teaching Assistantship in American Studies and the new Eccles Fellowships. He also reported that SN had visited the US this spring and had set up a number of other exciting opportunities for links between institutions; thanks were offered to him for his efforts. Thanks were also extended to Philip Davies for his backing of the Eccles awards. IS noted that BAAS would distribute 29 awards (not including honorable mentions) for 2007, encompassing awards to A level students and established scholars, worth approximately £29,000 (excluding the Teaching Assistantship award). The US Embassy was thanked for their support, as were individual members of BAAS who donate funds to support the Short Term Travel Awards.

Libraries and Resources:

IR reported that the subcommittee had dealt with three main items over the past year. The first was the new journal, Resources for American Studies, which was for the first time distributed with ASIB in 2006. Thanks were offered to everyone who had helped to make that possible. The feedback on the new journal was highly positive and this publication can now claim to be making an informed and valuable contribution to the study and resourcing of American Studies in the UK. Members were invited to consider how they could make contributions to the journal’s content, with reviews of new resources or details of special collections. Thanks were offered to Matthew Shaw at the British Library for his work as editor ( and to all those who had contributed to the content or advertising revenue through contacting publishers.

IR reported that the second major business for the subcommittee was the special collections database project. The intention is to collect information on special collections, which will then be set up on the BAAS website. The request, via email shots to BAAS members, to identify special collections or new long-term projects sadly received little response, though the subcommittee is still committed to the project. A decision was taken to establish American Studies in Britain pages on Wikipedia to present an open forum to which members could contribute. There was considerable debate about the proposal, but the subcommittee agreed to proceed on the understanding that it was clear that these pages did not constitute an official BAAS or BLARS site. The pages can be view and be added to at BAAS members are encouraged to contribute to these pages in order to make them as fully representative of the work done in American Studies in the UK as possible. IR and Matthew Shaw (who organized the pages) would like to be informed if members add things to the site.

IR reported that the final item of major business for the year was the membership of the subcommittee. At the moment, there are only three academics on the subcommittee. There will be three vacancies at the end of this academic year, including the position of Chair (IR is stepping down after 4 years). In order to maintain closer links between the academic community and the library resourcing community, IR noted that he would like to see these vacancies taken up by academic staff, especially the chair of this subcommittee. Members who wanted to get involved in the subcommittee were asked to contact IR at the conference or afterwards.

Thanks were extended to all members of the subcommittee, the US Embassy for support in publishing the journal, and colleagues on the Executive Committee.


JV reported that she had just returned from the EAAS board meeting in Wittenberg on Monday. The current membership of EAAS is 3972 from all the various constituent national associations. She also reported that the new EAAS website is  She noted that the major item for the meeting was selecting the workshop proposals and parallel lecture proposals. As Secretary General, JV was in charge of this process. There were 68 workshop proposals and 17 parallel lecture proposals. BAAS members who had successfully applied to chair workshops were Dick Ellis (Birmingham), Theresa Saxon (Central Lancashire), Carol Smith (Winchester), and Jude Davies (Winchester); Robert Lewis (Birmingham) was offered a parallel lecture slot.

JV reported that the Oslo conference organizer visited the board meeting and has already produced a tentative schedule, which includes a Mayor’s reception at the City Hall, followed by a reception the next night at the US Ambassador’s residence, which may be a garden party (weather permitting). On the 3rd night, a sightseeing coach will take delegates around the city, and this will be followed by a cruise banquet. The organizer has been able to negotiate hotel prices of 50-100 euros per night. There are budget airlines which fly to Oslo (i.e. from Stansted for BAAS members). Another option is an overnight ferry from Copenhagen. JV is going to Oslo to visit the venue in January or February 2008. Workshop chairs will shortly send out CFPs. One request is that PowerPoint presentations are kept to a minimum.

JV reported that the next two board meetings have been arranged: the 2008 board meeting will be in Oslo before the conference, and 2009 meeting will be held in Zürich. The next conference venues have been confirmed as well: Dublin in 2010 and Halle in Germany in 2012.

JV noted that the first official issue of the online journal European Journal of American Studies (EJAS) came out recently. It has 6 articles (4 literature/culture articles and 2 history/political science articles). Two more articles are coming on line in the next few weeks. There will be two issues a year. There is an active editorial committee but they are looking for more people who will peer review, since every article is double peer reviewed. For more information, members should look on the EAAS website and contact the journal editors directly.

JV reported that there is one new member of EAAS: Bulgaria. Their association’s acronym is BASA. JV reported that the board is still considering how to organize the EAAS board membership into “clusters” since the board is becoming very large. At present the plan is to ask for voluntary mergers, and this will be revisited next year.

JV noted that the American Studies network book prize is being advertised now. Eligible texts are monographs (not edited collections) that have been published in 2006 or 2007. The author has to be a European-based scholar and a member of EAAS through membership of his or her national association. The deadline is 1 November 2007. Information on where to send books is available on the web.

Finally, JV noted that this was her last report as EAAS representative, but that she would continue to work with EAAS as Secretary General; thus BAAS has 2 voices on the board. Thanks were extended to Committee members and individual BAAS members for their help over the years in ensuring that BAAS had a strong voice in EAAS.


There was no other business.

The AGM concluded at 5.45pm.

Remembering Graham Clarke (1948-2007)


Graham Clarke, Professor of Photography and Visual Arts at the University of Kent, who took early retirement last September, died on 16 February this year.  We hope that many Guardian readers among you will have seen the vivid family-oriented obituary written by his sister, Norma Clarke, in that newspaper’s Other Lives series (Guardian, 1 June 2007).  The following brief memoirs record some of his more public achievements.

—At Kent

Graham Clarke came to the University of Kent in 1974 from the University of Essex to teach in what was then the Board of Studies in English & American Literature.  Like other appointments in English and History to the university that year, Graham was to contribute both to the teaching and research of his home discipline of English and to the relatively new programme in American Studies, which in the early 1970s was being built upon the combined interest of those teaching the history, literature and politics of the United States, and which by the late 1970s had a full year abroad in the USA for all students.  Like many Americanists, Graham was also a Modernist: his teaching took him into many quarters of nineteenth and twentieth century English and American literature.  He was, however, above all, a meticulously close reader of poetry and this gift drew praise from many of his students in his early years at Kent.  His enthusiasm for American poetry from Dickinson and Whitman to the present, particularly by way of the great American Modernists and the poets of the Black Mountain School, led to the introduction of a graduate course on ‘American Modernism’, which remains one of his many legacies to the Kent syllabus.

Graham was also a colleague with considerable enthusiasm for the inter-disciplinary character of American Studies at Kent, and his interests in art, film, and, latterly, photography were instrumental in the expansion of the American Studies programme to include an Art & Film ‘pathway’ that, in recent years, has attracted some of the best students on the course..  These interests in the visual arts led Graham from the English department into History and Theory of Art, though he retained throughout his connections with American Studies.  Graham was made a Professor of Photography and Visual Arts, in part in recognition of the scholarly importance of his book, The Photograph: A Visual and Cultural History (1997) for the Oxford History of Art series.

Graham made a point of supporting and encouraging the work of his colleagues at Kent.  One of his earliest works as editor, The American City: Literary and Cultural Perspectives (1988), gathered a preponderance of contributions from Kent colleagues as did The New American Writing (1990).  Many of these same colleagues also produced several volumes for two of Helm Information’s series, ‘Critical Assessments’ and ‘Literary Sources and Documents’, for which Graham acted as general editor.  Graham also established the Panopticon in the courtyard of Rutherford College at Kent which became an open-air arena for the display of photographic images, some by local photographers, others from further afield, a venue popular with both the general public and members of the university.  Nor should it be forgotten that, with financial assistance from the Faculty of Humanities at Kent, Graham was the driving force behind two day schools on The Great Gatsby and The Crucible aimed at local sixth-formers, the lectures for which were collected as pamphlets under the imprint of the wittily-named AmeriKen Press.

Henry Claridge and Julian Hurstfield, University of Kent


—As a Scholar

I worked with Graham on several publications, but I did not know him, as a person, anywhere near as well as I would have liked.  I wanted to pay tribute partly because he started his career as an Americanist – though he didn’t come to many BAAS conferences (he just wasn’t a conference-goer) – and partly because his research and writing in visual culture is ultimately an enrichment of the interdisciplinary tradition exemplified by the best work in our field.

Graham’s writing on photography is particularly impressive.  The Photograph (1997), manages both to compress a good deal of known material into a readable form and to make some original observations.  His introduction to it characterizes the book as more a series of essays than a history, and it does have a circling, probing – even raiding – feel to it that might be associated with the essay as a form, but it is also a coherent history.  It is enlivened by an awareness of relevant critical theory, nicely nuanced in expression, and enriched by fresh archival research on certain key figures and topics, such as Alfred Stieglitz (on whom Graham also published his last book, an excellent short study).  The most winning feature of The Photograph is the way the basically chronological account of each of photography’s main genres is punctuated and deepened by readings of a range of specific images.  The choice of these exemplary texts is both innovative and apt, and Graham’s interpretations live up to the criteria for reading photographs that he himself advances in his initial chapters.  He is especially illuminating on the traditions of American photography. It is not surprising that The Photograph was well reviewed and has found many readers both in and beyond the academic world.  Similarly, Graham’s editing of a collection of essays on The Portrait in Photography (1992), including a probing contribution of his own, ushered into existence a book that has become a standard reference in the field.

Graham’s work on painting and landscape, although extensive, has perhaps not had quite the same impact, but this is possibly because it has had to jostle for position in a more crowded field.  Nevertheless, his 3-volume set of primary historical material on The American Landscape (1993), including his own commentaries, is very valuable, as is the parallel set on The American City: Literary Sources and Documents (1996).  Finally, if I may “declare an interest”, so to speak, an essay on American domestic typology he contributed to a collection I co-edited for Cambridge UP, Views of American Landscapes (1989), was truly groundbreaking: I have no doubt that his contribution was a significant factor in CUP’s recent decision to reprint the book.  Things connect: in Graham’s final months he was working on a project on the painting of the American National period, and was developing ideas first tested in that essay.  He intended to identify the cultural bases for the constituents of an emerging “American eye”.  It was entirely typical of him that, despite his deteriorating health, due to alcoholism, he kept writing to the end, and was in the process of applying for grants to visit US archives.  I believe that, had he lived, he would once more have produced a lively and provocative book.  His death marks a loss not only, obviously, to his loving family and friends, but to learning.

Mick Gidley, University of Leeds

BAAS Requests and Notices

BAAS Database of External Examiners 

The Secretary of BAAS, Catherine Morley, holds a list of potential external examiners. If individuals would like to put their names forward for this list, please email her at 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 or your details updated 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 Catherine Morley

BAAS Secretary

Department of English

Oxford Brookes University

Gipsy Lane Campus

Oxford, OX3 0BP

Change of Timing for the AGM 2008 

In a change to the usual practice, the BAAS Executive Committee have decided to hold the AGM on the first full day of the Annual Conference, Friday, 28 March 2008. The conference begins with registration on the afternoon of the 27th.

Elections will be held for the Secretary of BAAS (three year term), three members of the Committee (also three year terms; one current incumbent is ineligible for re-election), the Postgraduate representative (two year term, non-renewable) and any offices that fall vacant before the AGM due to resignations from the Committee. Anyone currently serving on the Committee who wishes to stand for a different office will need to resign his or her post in order to stand in the elections.

Elections can only take place if the meeting is quorate; please make every effort to attend.

The procedure for nominations is as follows: nominations should reach the Secretary, Catherine Morley, by 12.00 noon on Friday 28 March 2008. Nominations should be in written form, signed by a proposer, seconder, and the candidate, who should state willingness to serve if elected.  The institutional affiliations of the candidate, proposer and seconder should be included. All candidates for office will be asked to provide a brief statement outlining their educational backgrounds, areas of teaching and/or research interests and vision of the role of BAAS in the upcoming years. These need to be to the Secretary at the time of nomination so that they can be posted in a prominent location and available for the membership to read before the AGM. Those standing for election are expected to attend the AGM.

Downloadable nomination forms will be available from the website in early January and will be printed in the next issue of ASIB. The Secretary requests that those who send forms to her through the post or via email also keep a copy and bring it with them to the conference, in case of delays or missing post. All forms will need to be signed.

Dr Catherine Morley

BAAS Secretary

Department of English

Oxford Brookes University

Gipsy Lane Campus

Oxford, OX3 0BP

EUP/BAAS Series 

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 Movement, 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.


U.S. 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:





EAAS Conference Oslo, Norway, May 9-12, 2008

Theme: “E Pluribus Unum” or “E Pluribus Plura”?

The motto “E Pluribus Unum” mostly subsumes an institutional and political will.  But, from all historical data and possibly even more from contemporary dissensions, it appears that the social and cultural realities of America might well illustrate the possibility for an “E Pluribus Plura” version of the formula.  How does the United States negotiate the inner tensions that, because of its constitutive diversity, might threaten its unity?  How do traditions (political, artistic, literary…), modes of consensus building (from myth to national icons and patriotic assertions of exceptionalism), the feeling of a wished-for common good counteract potential strife and the tensions of particular interests and particular groups, make up for the aporias of nationhood and communitarian feeling, of ideological consensus and a tradition of dissent?  Could it be that there are indeed several “Americas”?  Is being an American necessarily being in many ways double?  Can the politically unifying, centripetal power of the State, hidden under the neutral Unum, accommodate the centrifugal forces that might generate a societal and cultural “plura” out of the hallowed political and territorial “pluribus”?  Do diversities imply, for their survival and development, a “middle ground”, a “mainstream”, a “tradition” – some kind of American norm?  Seen in light of the various subdisciplines of our fields, these are some of the questions that might generate the wished-for contributions to this Conference.


September 1, 2007: Workshop paper proposals (with 150-200 word abstract) to be sent to Workshop Chairs.

September 15, 2007: Deadline for sending the tentative list of speakers and titles of workshop papers to be included in the October 2007 issue of ASE.

December 1, 2007: Deadline for submitting FINAL titles of papers and names and addresses of speakers.

January 10, 2008: Deadline for information to be included in the 2008 biennial conference program.

Please send all information via e-mail to the EAAS Secretary General, Jenel Virden, at

News from Centres

American Studies Resources Centre (JMU) Annual Report 2006-2007 

This academic year has marked the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the American Studies Centre in Liverpool. To celebrate this, the ASRC has not only continued to expand and develop its existing services, but has also held two special events. Details of these are contained in this report.  (An article,‘20 years Ago Today’ also published in the 2007 edition of the ASRC’s journal, American Studies Today, regarding twenty years of our work, is copied at the end of this report for your information.)

Conferences and celebratory events

On January 24th 2007 the ASRC’s Annual Schools Conference had as its topic The Depression, Roosevelt and the New Deal. A capacity audience of sixth form and Access students were presented with lectures (at the Conference Centre of the Liverpool Maritime Museum) from Frank Lennon, former Head of American Studies at Liverpool Hope University, on President Hoover and The Depression; Dr. Jenel Virden from the University of Hull, who evaluated the impact of the New Deal and Dr. Niall Palmer of Brunel University, who discussed Roosevelt, Congress and the Supreme Court. This was followed by Dr. Will Kaufman, of the University of Central Lancashire, who assessed the effect of the Depression through the music of Woody Guthrie – also giving a live performance on the guitar, banjo and fiddle of not only Guthrie’s music, but other musicians of the period.

This conference was followed by the first of the ASRC’s celebratory lectures. Dave Cotterill, Director of the film documentary ‘Cunard Yanks’, accompanied by Billy Harrison and Ritchie Barton (two of the central figures in the film) presented an illustrated lecture on the background to and making of the film, to an audience in the Dean Walters Building of John Moores University. In June, the film received its British premier to a capacity audience at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall. Dealing with the import and absorption of American culture by the young men who worked on Cunard liners on the New York-Liverpool run from the late 1940s to the 1960s, the film specifically considered how music and fashion had helped shape the emerging youth culture of Liverpool.

The second event involved a repeat performance by Dr.Will Kaufman on the life and work of Woody Guthrie. Entitled Hard Times and Hard Travellin’, Will Kaufman performed to a capacity audience in the Joe H. Makin Theatre of John Moores University. (The number of requests the ASRC received for tickets could have filled the theatre twice over! A full report of this is carried on the ASRC web site at:

It is hoped that Will Kaufman will return for a further performance in the 2007-8 academic year.

ASRC Web site (ARNet) and American Study Today magazine

By Late June 2007 the ASRC web site, ARNet, had received a rolling total of well in excess of twelve million hits. The busiest month this academic year was March, with 74,000 hits. The continued addition of new articles, book reviews and an updating of other online sections by Resources Coordinator Dave Forster and Research Assistant Helen Tamburro, further contributed to the success of this valuable resource.  The ASRC journal, American Studies Today was again distributed to schools and colleges involved with the study of American topics in September 2006. The 2007 edition is in its final stages of preparation and will be the biggest since publication began over fifteen years ago.

Requests and student visits to the ASRC

The level of requests from students, lecturers and others that the ASRC has dealt with this year has remained at the same high levels of previous years. In addition, requests from the media, particularly from independent documentary and film makers, have increased. Ian Ralston was also interviewed by the Press Association and BBC radio following the Virginia Tech. shootings.


Next academic year will see further significant changes. Major building work on extending the ASRC into an adjoining room and completely refurbishing its facilities has already begun. This is in order to permit the housing of the extensive JMU Special Collections Archive. Details of this broad ranging collection of materials will be announced by JMU and the ASRC early in the new semester.

The Annual Schools Conference, to be held in November 2007, will consider Civil rights, Black Nationalism and the response of the Presidency and the Supreme Court. Details will be posted on the ASRC web site.

In September Dr. Rodrigo Andres, of the Department of English at the University of Barcelona, will spending a semester attached to the ASRC. Rodrigo is the author of Herman Melville: Poder y Amor entre Hombres (Herman Melville: Power and Love between Men) (Valencia: PUV, 2007) and at present  is working on a book on Herman Melville’s letters to Nathaniel Hawthorne, and on an essay about Melville’s sisters. He has also published essays on Charlotte Perkins Gilman, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tillie Olsen, Sena Jeter Naslund, gay studies, queer theory, and new masculinities. He is a member of the research group funded by the Spanish Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs / Woman’s Institute “Construyendo nuevas masculinidades: la representación de la masculinidad en la literatura y el cine de los Estados Unidos” (Constructing new masculinities: representations of masculinity in American literature and cinema). As well as continuing his own research, Rodrigo will be contributing to the ASRC’s guest lecture programme.

Finally, thanks go all those who helped make this another successful year. Particular thanks go to Resources Coordinator Dave Forster for his work on the ASRC web site and magazine and Research Assistant Helen Tamburro for her invaluable work in coordinating the distribution of review texts, updating of the ASRC web site pages and dealing with the numerous requests for information via email. Thanks for support must also go to the Public Affairs Office of the US Embassy (in particular Sue Wedlake and Michael Macy), the British Association for American Studies (BAAS), the Eccles Centre at the British Library, the speakers at ASRC conferences and lectures, contributors to the web site and magazine and others too numerous to mention.

Ian Ralston (ASRC Director)

First published in American Studies Today 2007, below is an article looking back on twenty years of the ASRC activities

The American Studies Centre at Liverpool John Moores University: 20 years of Resourcing American Studies.

2007 marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the American Studies Resources Centre (ASRC). Initially based at Liverpool Community College and backed by support from the US Embassy and BAAS, the ASRC moved in 1997 to the Aldham Robarts Centre of John Moores University and was formally reopened by (then) US Ambassador Philip Lader. (Letters of support for the ASRC came from President Bill Clinton, Senator Barbara Boxer, Representative Sonny Bono and Mayor of Palm Desert, Buford Crites, amongst others.) Looking back over this period a massive change in the nature of the Centre’s work is clearly apparent; a change that reflects the significant shifts that all those involved in resourcing any academic area have faced.

Initially established to support the study of the US in UK schools and colleges, the ASRC quickly expanded its remit to include students and colleagues in the HE sector, as well as establishing an international profile. The nature of the resources held in the late eighties, while covering all aspects of the study of the US (including a large collection of hard copy texts), mainly consisted of tape-slide, tape filmstrip, slide, video, study pack and photographic collections. This was backed up with annual student and teacher conferences. Communication with educational establishments was by letter, phone and the circulation of a newsletter (later to become American Studies Today magazine.) Despite what now seem like archaic systems, the ASRC built up an extensive database of users. Cataloguing was completed with the use of early Apple computers that were more prone in deciding for themselves what should be done rather than the operator’s intentions. It was, however, in the very early nineties, following a visit from an American colleague and USIA advisor, that the ASRC was introduced to the Internet. We remember all too clearly the amazement at the description of what this and something called ‘email’ could achieve. At this point, outside of the developing information technology departments at some universities, few had heard of the Internet. Prior to this our only involvement with technological developments (other than the breakdown prone Apple computers mentioned earlier) had been the ASRC’s work with the sadly ill-fated NERIS (National Educational Information Service) CD-Rom project.

However, the ASRC quickly explored the possibility of developing a presence on the ‘net’ and became one of the first organisations in the American Studies field to establish an Internet site and exploit its potential. An early website was set up but without any full understanding of its true potential. Gradually, and as use of the Internet spread, the ASRC developed its web site (the Rothermere Centre later described it as “…the best of the lot…”) to respond to the needs and feedback of users.

The ‘newness’ of the power of the net was quickly emphasised by a series of events. One article placed on the site (about the abortion issue) by an American academic working in the UK, created such a flood of responses, including threats of violence from around the world, that the writer asked us to pull the article. When we showed the responses the ASRC had received, the academics astonished comment was “…I didn’t realise people outside the UK could access or read this..” Another article, about a small town in the Deep South, not only produced a flood of emails from ‘concerned citizens’ but also became a major news item in that town’s local press. Just prior to this, a new ‘host’ server provided facilities that allowed us to closely monitor the hits the site received, therefore enabling us to plan and focus the range of articles, book reviews and other information offered to a much greater degree. All of these changes and the growing use of the Internet by educational establishments had an impact on the ‘traditional’ resourcing services the ASRC offered.  The original AV materials, apart from notable exceptions such as video (and now DVD) were clearly obsolete to some degree or other. The number of ‘written’ requests from schools also almost completely vanished but only to be replaced by a deluge of emails from not just the UK but also internationally. Although many of the subscription databases that HE now enjoys were out of the financial reach of many schools and colleges, the ASRC found itself increasingly guiding schools (as well as colleagues in HE) over other sources of information and research. One additional point worth noting regarding the internet was a side effect of our cyberspace presence; that was an increasing demand for ASRC conferences, increased calls to provide ‘outside’ lectures (particularly to schools) and a greater contact with national and international media organisations. This area has continued to show a steady and increasing growth. Through its own contacts and also those provided by the Cultural Affairs Office of the US Embassy, speakers at ASRC conferences and events have included many notable figures; the poet John Ashberry, the former SDS (Students For a Democratic Society) leader and now writer, Todd Gitlin, the film director Alex Cox, the film critic Roger Ebert and the writers and academics Johnella Butler, John C.Walter and James and Loise Horton. Support from BAAS colleagues (too many to note here!) has also been invaluable in the continued development and presentation of our Schools Conference programme. The ASRC was also involved in the first Straw-Powell exchange programme in 2001 which saw two young British students spending a busy week in the US as guests of Secretary of State Powell. This event received extensive media coverage both in the US and the UK. The ASRC also continued to establish close contacts with colleagues in the US and throughout the world, including the Salzburg Seminar in Austria.

Thanks go to BAAS, Sue Wedlake at the Public Affairs Office at the US Embassy, all members, past and present, of the ASRC’s UK and US Advisory Panels as well as David Forster (ASRC Resources Coordinator and Web Manager), Helen Tamburro (ASRC Research Assistant), Maire Daley and Louise Hesketh for their invaluable support over the years.

What the next twenty years will hold, well, it’s impossible to say but it’s clear that the ‘digital revolution’ will continue to change not only the work of the ASRC, but all those involved in the study and resourcing of American Studies. It is also the case that as the US remains the major world force in both politics and culture, the ASRC’s work will continue to be of relevance for years to come.

Ian Ralston (ASRC Director)

Note: In October 1998 the ASRC’s web site received a total of 2,670 hits. This increased significantly, year on year. In October 2000, 15,417 hits were recorded and in October 2006 the figure was 69,839. The total number of recorded hits from February 1998 (when the ASRC began monitoring its performance on the internet) to January 2007, was close to 11 million.

American Studies at Leicester 

The Centre for American Studies at the University of Leicester celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2007 which coincides with the 50th year since the University’s Royal Charter in 1957. This was a fitting year, then, for the Centre to host the 52nd Annual BAAS Conference in April, attracting 270 international delegates and three excellent keynote speakers: Stephen J. Whitfield (Brandeis), Richard H. King (Nottingham) and Linda K. Kerber (Iowa). In 2007 Leicester also held the American Politics Group Conference (January) and a special event ‘50 Years in Space’ (April) at the National Space Centre Leicester to commemorate a half century since the launch of Sputnik, with keynotes including Christopher Frayling (Royal College of Art), Michael Neufeld (Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum) and Scott Lucas (Birmingham).

Leicester has made a number of new appointments in 2007 to strengthen and develop its teaching and research, particularly in American history and politics. In US politics, Mark Phythian, an expert in international security, has moved from Wolverhampton to Leicester to take up a Chair in Politics, while Adam Quinn whose expertise lies in US foreign and security policy has joined Leicester from Birmingham. In American history James Campbell and Andrew Johnstone both begin tenured posts, developing the Centre’s research in slavery, crime and punishment, and US internationalism. The recent appointment of Caroline Dodds from Cambridge, who works on Aztec culture, broadens the scope of American research to include South America. Within the Centre for American Studies, George Lewis has recently been promoted to Reader in American History and Alex Waddan to Senior Lecturer in US Politics.

Recent publications from American Studies staff at Leicester include James Campbell, Slavery on Trial (Florida); George Lewis, Massive Resistance: The White Response to the Civil Rights Movement (Hodder); Sarah Graham, Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye (Continuum); Martin Halliwell, American Culture in the 1950s (Edinburgh); Mark Phythian and Peter Gill, Intelligence in an Insecure World (Polity).

Further details about American Studies at Leicester can be obtained from:

Martin Halliwell

The Eccles Centre for American Studies @ the British Library 

Recent and forthcoming activities:

Who’s Afraid of American Religion? by Alan Wolfe

Wednesday 5 September

Alan Wolfe considers the relationship between religion and politics in the US today; the separation of church and state, the implications of a multi-faith society and the manner in which contemporary religions are practiced. Alan Wolfe is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College.

Event time: 18.30-20.00

Price £6.00 (concessions £4.00)

An Evening for Jack Kerouac

Monday 17 September

September 2007 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Jack Kerouac’ seminal novel On the Road. This novel, one of the most influential works of American literature, was written down in a sustained burst – and typed on a single, 120ft “scroll” of paper – over just three weeks in a New York City loft in 1951. The manuscript was finally published in 1957, and made Kerouac an icon of the counter-culture.

In celebration of Kerouac and his most famous book, the British Library presents an evening of readings, music, film, and conversation. The event will feature contributions from Carolyn Cassady, wife of his long-term associate and inspiration, Neal Cassady, and Kerouac’s partner at the time of writing On the Road; David Amram, prominent American composer, musician, and collaborator with Kerouac; as well as guest, speakers, performers and readers including John Ventimiglia from The Sopranos.

Ticket-holders are also invited to a special screening at 17:30 of Pull My Daisy, a film created by Robert Frank, with spontaneous narration by Kerouac and music by Amram.

Introduced by the composer.

Event time: 18.30-21.00 (plus film screening at 17:30)

Price £10 (£7.50 concessions)

1,000 Places to see in the USA & Canada by Patricia Schultz

Tuesday 18 September

Patricia Schultz’s latest travel volume takes her from her base in New York City to explore destinations throughout North America. In this talk she will re-introduce the audience to places they think they know, introduce them to locations they might otherwise never find, and invite them to share the adventures she had when researching this book.

Patricia Schultz is the author of 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and Executive producer of the Travel Channel’s reality show of the same name. She has also written for Condé Nast Traveler, Islands, and Harper’s Bazaar.

Event time: 18.30 – 20.30

Price £6 (concessions £4) includes lecture and reception

To Book:

Online Box office ~

Phone ~ 01937 546546  (Mon-Fri, 09.00-17.00)


Race, Religion and Rock ‘n Roll – How Bruce Springsteen Saved My Life

Tuesday 2 October, 18.30-20.00

Sarfraz Manzoor, in the British Library Conference Centre


Sarfraz Manzoor was three years old when he emigrated from Pakistan to Britain in

1974. His teenage years were a constant battle to reconcile being both British and

Muslim. Frustrated by real life, he sought solace in TV and music, but it was when his best friend introduced him to Bruce Springsteen that his life changed forever.

Retracing his journey from Lahore to Luton to Ladbroke Grove he pays tribute to the power of music to transcend race and religion – through the minor frustrations of his childhood to his response and analysis of the tragedies of 9/11 and 7/7. The evening will be chaired by author and columnist Dominic Sandbrook.

Attendees are invited to partake in a brief iftar of dates and water, followed by a selection of halal canapés and juices. Sarfaz Manzoor, is the author of recently published Greetings from Bury Park, Race, Religion and Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Price £6 (concessions £4). Book through the British Library box office.

Jennie Churchill ~ Winston’s American Mother

Wednesday 3 October, 18.30-20.00, in the British Library Conference Centre

Jennie Churchill’s biographer, Anne Sebba talks about the subject of her new book.

Living in London reinforced Jennie’s sense of American identity although in fact she had left New York as a young girl and moved to Paris first, then London. But, once here, she was viewed as strange and different and soon chaired a number of Anglo-American women’s charities and committees. She was also the founder and editor of the Anglo-Saxon Review and instilled in Winston from the first the importance of understanding his American heritage.

Price £6 (concessions £4).  Book through the British Library box office.


Ken Vandermark at the Conway Hall, Red Lion Square (Holborn tube)

Thursday 25 October, 19.00 pre-concert talk, 20.00 concert begins

Chicago-based jazz improviser Ken Vandermark, and composer Andrew Morgan plus a full line up of supporting musicians.

7pm   pre-concert talk with Ken Vandermark, David Ryan, Andrew Morgan.

8pm   concert begins

Price £10 (concessions £5). Tickets available at the door.


‘Identities and Encounters’: the 52nd Postgraduate Conference

University of Manchester, 17th November 2007

On Saturday, 17th November, 2007, the University of Manchester will host the British Association of American Studies annual Postgraduate Conference. The event gives graduate students working in the area of American Studies and related disciplines a valuable opportunity to present their work, meet other researchers and contribute to the academic dialogue in this growing and dynamic field of scholarship.

We are pleased to announce that our plenary speaker this year is Prof. Lizabeth Cohen of Harvard University.

Further details on registration for the conference can be downloaded from


Registration deadline: 27th October 2007

Travel Award Reports

Stella Bolaki, University of Edinburgh

My visit to the United States in order to present a paper at the 30th anniversary conference of the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) proved to be successful in every way I can think of but would not have been possible without the generous travel grant offered to me by the British Association for American Studies.

The conference was held in St. Charles, 40 miles west of Chicago, Illinois, from June 28 to July 1 2007 and its theme “Past debates, Present Possibilities, Future Feminisms” offered an expansive platform for examining current scholarship, pedagogy and activism in the field of women’s studies. The president and executive director’s welcoming speech promised an even larger and more varied conference this year than in previous ones and this promise was fully kept. The general conference had a variety of formats such as panel and paper sessions, workshops and roundtables. My paper was part of a panel on women writing community in American short story sequences and examined in particular the work of Latina author Sandra Cisneros, who was also the keynote speaker of the conference. Therefore, the highlights of the conference for me were Cisneros’s inspiring speech and a tribute panel on This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color (edited by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa), intended to honour past scholarship that has set new directions for the field. As my research has focused on novels of development by women of colour, I found these two sessions moving and intellectually engaging.

The different formats of the main conference and the diverse range of sessions provided a healthy variety and a balanced focus on topics like theory, teaching and activism in the field of American and women’s studies though I have to admit that it was difficult to choose from 360 sessions as most of them were running concurrently. There were, however, some larger all-conference sessions that I attended which were particularly helpful. “Engaging scholarships” was a series of sessions intended to address the conference theme and sub-themes, and “presidential sessions” highlighted emerging trends in feminist theory or revisited central questions that have long shaped the field. For the first, I attended a session on im/migration and mobility featuring Dr. Laila Farah, a Lebanese-American feminist performer-scholar who performed and discussed her production “Living in the Hyphen-Nation”. As my research addresses themes like ethnic and postcolonial identities, displacement, and mobility, this was more than useful. For the second, I attended a workshop on Latina immigrants, which contributed to a clearer understanding of the immigrant experience in the United States.

A panel on the future of women’s studies programs by young faculty shed light on issues like interdisciplinarity and intersectionality and provided some very interesting ideas for pedagogical approaches to multiculturalism and feminist studies. A series of videos and films on adolescent girls, disabled women and older women (Girl House Art Project, Beyond Disability: The Fe Fe Stories, and Look Us in the Eye: The Old Women’s Project) provided insights on the various stages of life and experiences of marginality and empowerment, relevant to my doctoral research on life writing and female development in American fiction, and the exhibit “Visceral Mappings: Transdiasporic Art Practices” hosted by the conference, which brought together artists of African, Jewish, Native, Chicana, Italian, Egyptian, Taiwanese, Indonesian, Indian, Greek, and Korean diasporic origins, linked diaspora with the body and with the domestic space of the house; intersections which I am currently exploring. My research also benefited from personal discussions with people who had posters in the exhibit area on themes related to coming of age in the twentieth century. Posters combined graphic and text and presenters were interacting on a one-to-one basis with the attendees viewing the poster. I should not forget the creative writing series which I attended and which counterbalanced nicely some of the more heavily theoretical papers.

This year’s NWSA conference had for the first time individual mentoring sessions for those seeking career advice, especially useful for people like me who have recently completed their dissertation, as well as a student pre-conference geared to the needs of postgraduate students and new faculty. There were also scheduled meetings for networking with other international members and groups with similar research interests. The feedback from these sessions was more than generous.

Other than the paper and professional sessions, the conference featured a wide range of activities such as a brilliant performance of Aqua Moon’s choreopoems (Aqua Moon is a writing, performance and artistic team that tries to bridge the gaps between the streets, hip-hop feminism, performance, activism and academia), a half-hour performance of the critically acclaimed play Jane: Abortion and the Underground by the 20 Percent Theatre Company about an underground abortion service that operated in Chicago from 1969 to 1973, a reception, and a dance.

Though the conference venue was outside Chicago and the schedule was tight, I had the chance to see a bit of the centre of the city. Other than the Art Institute of Chicago, famous for its Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works, I got the chance to visit the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum showcasing works from both Mexico and Mexican-American communities. I was also fortunate to arrive there during the “Taste of Chicago”, a two-week festival that takes place in Grant Park, where visitors can get a taste of Chicago’s signature foods and listen to jazz and blues.

Presenting my work at the conference helped me consolidate ideas as well as generate new ones for future projects so I recommend NWSA and its activities to people with interests in the field of women’s studies and with a focus on largely American topics. This trip, however brief, allowed me to become familiar with the organisation’s events, and to meet many new people with similar interests, thus expanding networking and professional possibilities. I am positive that I will come back to future conferences and I look forward to getting more involved. I would like to thank the presenters and the people who offered advice and feedback and acknowledge the support of my supervisor Andy Taylor with my application to BAAS. Of course without the generosity of the British Association for American Studies, I would not have been able to realise this trip so I would like to take the opportunity and thank the Association again for their help and overall encouragement.

Jacqueline Cahif, University of Glasgow

I wish to thank BAAS for the generous award that enabled me to travel to Philadelphia to conduct research for my doctoral thesis. My work focuses on Philadelphia prostitutes living in the early national period. While early North America was often thought to be the land of plenty, economic suffering was a stark reality, and alongside widespread poverty, prostitution flourished. As a city of mariners and a major port of immigration, prostitutes found a readily available market in Philadelphia’s sailors, foreign visitors and itinerant men. Specifically, the aim of my thesis is to address questions related to the medical aspects of prostitution. The key questions I am addressing are how prostitutes responded to disease, and what medical choices infected women had recourse to within in the medical marketplace, both conventional, by formally trained physicians, and unorthodox, by local quacks.

The majority of my time in Philadelphia was spent accessing primary sources at the City Archives. This repository holds a wealth of materials, in particular a comprehensive set of records from the city’s almshouse. A large part of my thesis will focus on diseased women who resorted to public welfare within the institutional setting. Philadelphia’s almshouse functioned as both a workhouse and hospital, and was thus the main port of call for those who were destitute or afflicted with venereal infection.  These records included Daily Occurrence Dockets, a vast and rich set of entries by the almshouse Guardians of the Poor, which reveal various aspects of the lives of those who entered the workhouse and hospital. The entries from the late eighteenth century are notable for the colourful language used by the Guardians, and thus gave me significant understanding about the attitudes of Philadelphians towards prostitution during the period. The later dockets from the early nineteenth century are less colourful yet more biographical in nature than the earlier ones. I also examined a range of registers, which provided some biographical details about almshouse patients. These allowed me to trace and piece together information about various women from the Daily Occurrence Dockets, which were sparse on biographical details. These records included various receiving ward registers and censuses, and the Weekly Return of Patients in Sick and Surgical Wards. In addition, records such as the Medical Wards Case Books and Syphilis Costs Accounts were informative with regards to how venereal patients were treated for their infection.

The sheer range of resources from the almshouse at first appears rather daunting, making it hard to know where to start. However, the staff were friendly and helpful on a daily basis, always on hand to pull out more materials for me. This made the process a simple and enjoyable one for me. They also allowed me to use my digital camera, which enabled me to gather as much material as possible.

I also visited the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, which holds a vast range of unpublished archival materials. This allowed me to tap into many contextual resources relevant to the lives prostitutes and those women often associated with them. The HSP holds a rich collection of newspapers which span three hundred years. The Public Ledger, Philadelphia’s 19th century penny paper proved to be particularly fruitful in its scope of information on a whole host of issues related to prostitution. This included the frequent reports of the Mayor’s Court proceedings, City Police reports and those on incidents such as child abandonment, infanticide and street altercations amongst the city’s residents. Additionally, the Pennsylvania Gazette and the Gazette of the United States and Evening Advertiser were important advertising spaces for the sellers of medical books and medicines, often for the ‘cure’ of the ‘secret disease’.  These spaces were also used by local apothecaries and physicians as well as Philadelphia’s quacks advertising their services.

I also accessed materials related directly to prostitution, such as the records of Philadelphia’s Magdalen Society and the accounts of the Rosine Association. Both illuminated the world of Philadelphia’s reform asylums for ‘fallen women’. Also helpful were poverty records such as those the Northern Dispensary for Medical Relief of the Poor, which include admission lists for those afflicted with venereal diseases

While many materials of both archives are fragmentary in nature, taken together they are valuable in illuminating the often shadowy lives of such women. I am confident that I made effective use of the sources, and collected an abundance of information related to my thesis topic. Philadelphia is often referred to as the most historic city in America. In fact, the area downtown known as Olde City is famous for being the most historic square mile in America. Being able to walk around the city additionally allowed me to become more familiar with the spatial dimensions of the areas the women I am studying moved around in. Often, the almshouse records referred to the exact neighbourhood and street these women came from. This has proved invaluable to my primary research, giving me more of a sense of their world and the obstacles they faced. In short, this trip proved successful in facilitating the vital research that will form the foundation of my PhD thesis.

Ceri Gorton, University of Nottingham

I was delighted to be awarded the Malcolm Bradbury Award for my research trip to the United States and Mexico this April. I am in the final year of my PhD at the University of Nottingham, and undertaking this trip was essential to the completion of my thesis. My PhD offers a critical literary analysis of the fiction of Barbara Kingsolver and contributes towards new research in the field of American literary studies. It is important to note that to date there are no PhD theses on this critically acclaimed and popular author and my research will fill this gap in literary scholarship.

As well as the benefits of this trip to my primary research, my participation in the prestigious international American Culture Association / Popular Culture Association and American Comparative Literature Association conferences as a an American Studies scholar highlighted the vibrant range of research currently being undertaken in the UK in this interdisciplinary field. My trip comprised of three phases; delivering a conference paper at the ACA/PCA Conference in Boston, undertaking archival research at The Library of Congress in Washington DC and finally presenting another paper at the ACLA Annual Conference in Puebla, Mexico. I was also invited to chair a panel on Characterising the Celt: Post/Colonial Representations of Identity and Alterity at the ACLA conference in response to my interest in Welsh literature and postcolonialism.

The financial support I received from BAAS effectively funded the nine days of archival research at the Library of Congress, which was the main focus of my travels. Upon leaving the UK, my first stop was at the Annual ACA and PCA Conference in Boston, where I presented a paper on the Contemporary Southern Literature and Culture panel. My paper was entitled ‘Finding Her Selves: The Familiar Voices and Challenging Words of Barbara Kingsolver’s Southern Women’. More than 1500 delegates attended the conference and over the four days I attended numerous panels and networked with fellow academics in the field of American cultural studies. Presenting my research on Kingsolver to such an interdisciplinary international audience allowed me to test ideas, hone arguments and discuss ideas with experts in my field. My paper, and the amendments effected by the discussions in Boston, will now comprise a major part of the introduction to my PhD thesis. As such, this experience was invaluable to my thesis.

From Boston, I took the train to Washington DC, where I spent just over a week exploring the archives of the Newspaper and Periodicals Room at the Library of Congress. This reading room, located in the Madison Building of the library, houses hundreds of articles and publications either on or by Barbara Kingsolver, all of which I am unable to access from the UK. I unearthed interviews with Kingsolver, reviews of her work, and short stories and articles written by her, which are exceptionally useful to my research. Using microfilm machines and the recently digitised computer archives, I collected hundreds of pieces from journals, magazines and newspapers, many of which were in addition to my proposed checklist of articles. These varied from publications with a specialist focus and limited circulation like the Utne Reader, Library Journal, National Catholic Reporter and Audobon Magazine, to the mass circulation of daily newspapers like The Arizona Star and The Boston Globe. I was even able to locate Kingsolver’s first fictional and journalistic publications. The staff at the library were incredibly helpful and I have returned to Nottingham laden with Kingsolver-related publications which I look forward to integrating into my close textual analysis of her fiction as I finalise my thesis.

After my time in Washington DC, I attended the Annual Conference of the ACLA in Puebla, near Mexico City, where I had been invited to chair a panel and present a paper on re-imagined postcolonial identities. My paper was entitled ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being in Patagonia: Re-imagining Welsh Identity and Celtic colonialism in the fiction of Malcolm Pryce.’ This conference was particularly useful in focusing the theoretical frameworks and methodological approach of the longest chapter of my thesis, which focuses on postcolonial literary theory in relation to Kingsolver’s novel The Poisonwood Bible. Academics in the broad field of Comparative Literature proved an ideal audience for discussing the interdisciplinary approach both of my thesis and of Kingsolver’s fiction. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to BAAS for awarding me the funding to spend this month in the United States and Mexico. Both of the prestigious conferences I participated in on my trip have proved to be incredibly useful in terms of developing professional networks, honing my presentation skills and testing my thesis. As such, the trip was intellectually stimulating and provided me with the materials and inspiration essential for the completion of my thesis.

Mara Oliva, Institute for the Studies of the Americas

As one of the fortunate recipients of a BAAS short-term travel grant I was able to spend 3 weeks in the United States in April 2007 conducting archival research for my PhD thesis entitled: “How the American elite press interrelated with the Eisenhower administration foreign policy towards the People’s Republic of China”.

The mass media’s influence on the foreign policy making process is the subject of controversy between scholars who conceive it as having an agenda-setting function and those who see it as the handmaiden of official policy. I am engaged in a historical case study to throw light on this debate through the examination of the role of selected print media in shaping Eisenhower administration foreign policy towards the People’s Republic of China. The selection of China reflects its importance as a Cold War adversary. When, in 1949, the Nationalist regime was overthrown by the Communists and flew to the island of Taiwan, the “loss of China” became one of the great fault lines in the U.S. politics. The Republican right’s perception both of treason and corruption in high places of the Truman administration, the dangers of the supposedly “Europe first Cold War policy” of eastern internationalists, the war in Indochina, and the recurrent crises over the PRC threats to Taiwan during the Eisenhower administration, made China the focal point of the U.S. containment of Communism in Asia.

My project has two goals. First of all through a content analysis of four of the leading publications in the fifties: New York Times, New York Herald Tribune, Washington Post and Time magazine, I want to examine how the press portrayed China and U.S.-China news. Secondly, through the analysis of private papers of the media figures connected to my chosen sample of publications and of governments officials, I want to investigate how the print media and government officials interacted. I want to find out if the publishers and the editors influenced the administration agenda with regard to China policy or if, instead, the government used these publications as a propaganda tool to maintain public support. For instance, Henry Luce, owner and publisher of Time and Life magazines was a Republican and a member of the China Lobby, a powerful, political organisation opposed to the recognition of Communist China and its admission to the United Nations. Did his editorial stance become a voice of the administration? Or did he influence the government agenda to promote his ideological beliefs? Because of the Truman administration foreign policy, even Arthur Hays Sulzberger, publisher of the world’s reputedly most objective newspaper, The New York Times, decided to support Eisenhower in the presidential campaign of 1952. Did the New York Times’ endorsement of Eisenhower have any influence in shaping foreign policy issues of concern to its publisher? I think that the significance for archival sources in media and foreign policy studies has barely been explored and that an investigation of the private papers of these media actors and the administration key players can throw light on the interactions and mechanisms that politicians, publishers and editors used to shape the content of these publications to promote their shared or conflicting interests.

My trip began in Abilene, Kansas, at the Eisenhower Presidential Library. Once one of the most famous names in the West, Abilene was the end of the famous Texas Cattle Trail and western terminus of the railroad in the days of the big overland cattle drives, today this lovely town has a population of 6,500 and agriculture is still the main economic activity. It became home to Dwight D. Eisenhower when his family moved from Texas in 1892. President Eisenhower once said: “the proudest thing I can claim is that I am from Abilene”. My main difficulty in travelling to Abilene was how to get there once landed at Kansas City airport, since the town is right in the heart of Kansas and there is no public transport. I didn’t want to rent a car and I couldn’t afford to hire a taxi, however, I was lucky enough to find a blog on the internet where a couple of students, going to the Eisenhower Presidential Library, were looking for other students or researchers to share a private shuttle service. So after a 2 hours and 30 minutes trip by van, from the airport, through the fossil-laden plains and green prairies of Kansas, I safely arrived in Abilene.  I stayed at a charming B&B where I could appreciate the local hospitality and also great local food. I spent most of my week at the  presidential library and  thanks to the meticulous and invaluable work of the archivists I was able to examine all the President’s and other administration officials’ private documents with regard to the PRC, Taiwan and the press.  Eisenhower’s papers revealed details of the relationships that existed between the administration and the press, going through these documents I realised that the administration was actually off-limits for journalists and reporters and it was only dealing with publishers and editors, a fact further confirmed by several oral histories of some relevant journalists of the time. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles’ papers provided the most extensive record of the administration foreign policy towards the PRC and Taiwan, but also some interesting clues on his unhappy relationship with newspapers. Among the other relevant collections I consulted, James Hagerty’s papers, Eisenhower’s press secretary, proved to be disappointing since the collection consisted mainly of published press releases instead of “behind the scenes” information whereas the President’s special assistant’s, CD Jackson, papers illustrated in details the relationship between the administration and Time magazine.

Following my time in Abilene, I then moved on to Washington D.C. where I spent another fourteen days, working at the Library of Congress first and at the National Archives in College Park during the last week. After leaving the green prairies of Kansas, it was a bit of shock to get back to the city. However, even though accommodation and food price and the level of pollution and noise were much higher than in the rural Midwest, I was positively impressed by Washington D.C. I had heard many different conflicting opinions on it, but perhaps because I happened to be there during the cherry blossom festival, when they say the city is at its best, I found it a nice, young and very clean place. I stayed at another B&B, which was more expensive and probably less charming than the one in Abilene, but still within walking distance of the Capitol Hill and in a safe neighbourhood. At the Library of Congress I focused on tracking down and examining a number of private document collections belonging to some key media figures of the fifties. By far, the best of these collections was Roy Howard’s one, owner of the Howard-Scripps newspapers chain and friend of Generalissimo Chiang Kai shek. A friendship well documented by the long correspondence between Howard and the Generalissimo and his wife. The Reid family’s private papers, owners and publishers of the New York Herald Tribune, were particularly interesting with regard to the Presidential campaign of 1952, whereas, Harry Luce’ s papers turned out to be quite disappointing, as they consisted mainly of financial papers with no reference to his personal relationship with the President or any administration officials. In the breathtaking main reading room of the Library of Congress I also consulted the journal Editor and Publisher, which is a monthly journal, first published in 1884, covering the North American newspapers industry. It provided me with an interesting insight of the business in the fifties.

I spent the last week of my fieldwork trip at the National Archives in College Park where I was able to consult the Department of State official press conferences, press releases, daily summaries of opinion and most important of all the “background information conferences” the State Department held for reporters.

To conclude I would like to warmly thank BAAS for allowing me this incredible and stimulating opportunity, my trip to the U.S. was a great experience and as a result I have made considerable progress in my research.

Mark Taylor, University of Hull


Having received the Ruth and Keith Cox Award for 2006, I was able to travel to America in October to pursue my research into the ‘other massacre’ carried out by American troops on March 16, 1968 in the village of Son My in South Vietnam. The objectives of my research are: to explore the ways in which the massacre at My Khe 4 has been investigated; to consider the treatment afforded to the massacre by historians and the media and to establish the relationship between the events at My Khe 4 and the massacre at My Lai 4 which took place on the same day a few kilometres away. Although I have the good fortune to be able to consult a micro-film copy of the Peers Report in the library at the University of Hull, my visit to America afforded me the opportunity to study in much more detail the various investigations into the massacres in Son My and the responses of the US Army and the Nixon administration to what the Army’s investigators had discovered.

I divided my time between the US Army’s Military History Institute at Carlisle in Pennsylvania and the National Archive at College Park. The personal papers of Lt.- General Peers, who conducted the Army’s Inquiry into the cover-up of the massacres in Son My, are stored at Carlisle. The BAAS award enabled me to look at his correspondence with some of the other investigators, the text of some of the speeches he made after the conclusion of the Inquiry and a transcript of a de-briefing interview he gave upon his retirement from the Army in which he spoke about the investigation of the events at My Khe 4.

There are extensive holdings relating to the various investigations into the events in Son My at College Park. I was able to check the records of the initial investigation made by the Inspector General’s office, to follow the trails which led to the discovery that a second massacre had occurred, and to trace the responses of the Nixon administration to the discovery of what had happened in Son My. It was also useful to find records that dealt with the formulation of the charges against Thomas Willingham, the leader of the unit at My Khe 4, and with the dropping of those charges.

I had been disappointed to learn in the Los Angeles Times in August of last year that the records of the Vietnam War Crimes Working Group, to which researchers had been granted access for over a decade, were no longer available. Nevertheless, I was allowed to see some of the records pertaining to the administration and organisation of this group, which suggested some further avenues for my research.

Indeed, perhaps the most productive aspect of my visit was the number of ideas, which it stimulated for further research. I was able, for example, to identify the numbers of the CID files, which related to My Khe 4, information which enabled me to secure copies of these files from the US Army’s Crime Records Center. My stay in America was worthwhile and enjoyable and I would like to express my gratitude to BAAS for making it possible.

Conference and Seminar Announcements

21st Century American Literature Seminars

Rothermere American Institute,

University of Oxford

The Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford, is pleased to announce for 2007-8 a series of termly seminars devoted to the theory and practice of American literature in the 21st century. Dr Nicholas Lawrence, University of Warwick, will lead the inaugural seminar on Thursday 22 November at 5 p.m. He will be talking on ‘Premediated Violence: Cartoon Abstraction and Post-9/11 Cultural Form’ and expects to cover some or all of the following texts: Richard A. Grusin, ‘Premediation’; Charles Burns, Black Hole; Deborah Eisenberg, Twilight of the Superheroes; Art Spiegelman, In the Shadow of No Towers; Slavoj Zizek, ‘Welcome to the Desert of the Real’.

All are welcome and refreshments will be provided.

Contact Dr Alison Kelly, Rothermere American Institute


American Treasures in the British Library

July – 20 September 2007


This summer the British Library highlights some of the American treasures in the collection with a small exhibition that opened on Independence Day. The Library has a large and important collection of books, maps and manuscripts dating from the Colonial period to the current day. Reflecting our long tradition of overseas collecting, the display includes items from the Colonial and Revolutionary eras, such as the Tax Stamps that sparked the revolution, the 17th-century ‘Massachusetts Language Bible,’ plus later artifacts including the Emancipation Proclamation, signed by Abraham Lincoln, the manuscript of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Marble Faun, and some fine examples of modern printing from the USA. The exhibition will be held in the Sir John Ritblat Gallery, The British Library, London.

Borderlands: themes in teaching literatures of the Americas

18 October 2007

Location: University of Birmingham

This conference is being organised by the Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies and the English Subject Centre.

Keynote speakers:

Marcus Wood, Professor of English, University of Sussex

Author: Blind Memory: Visual Representations of Slavery in England and America, 1780-1865 (2000), High Tar Babies (2001), and Slavery, Empathy and Pornography (2002).

Philip Swanson, Professor of Hispanic Studies, University of Sheffield

Author: Latin American Fiction: A Short Introduction (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004) The Companion to Latin American Studies (London: Arnold, 2003)

The physical border between the United States and Mexico has been presented by Gloria Anzaldua as a metaphor for physiological, sexual and spiritual borderlands ‘…which are physically present wherever two or more cultures edge each other, where people of different races occupy the same territory, where under, lower, middle, upper classes touch, where the space between two individuals shrinks with intimacy’ (Anzaldua 1999). This concept of Borderlands is an appropriate metaphor of the multi-lingual, multi-state, multi-racial American continent(s).

Literatures of the Americas are taught students to students on a range of degree programmes, including English literature, American/US Studies, Modern Languages, Canadian Studies, Latin American Studies, Caribbean Studies and Comparative literature. This conference seeks explore themes than run through contemporary and historical literatures across the Americas and how these impact on teaching.

Canadian Association for American Studies Conference 2007

The Americas: Drawing the Lines

Annual conference to be held on 8-11 November 2007 in Montreal.

Please visit our website for more information:


EAAS Conference, Oslo, May 2008, Call for Papers

The latest EAAS Newsletter is now online at – EAAS Publications American Studies in Europe. Or direct at

From page 10 of the Newsletter you will find a complete listing of the 27 Workshops that have been accepted for the conference, all of which are now looking for a multi-national team of paper presenters. The programme gives a wide variety of opportunities to participate, but get your proposals to the Workshop chairs soon ~the final deadline is September 1st, 2007, but experience suggests that chairs like to hear early from colleagues who are interested.

The Fulbright Commission

Europe’s largest recruiting fair for US universities to be held in London, Saturday 29 September 2007.

With the rise of UK tuition fees, many students are now exploring the possibility of studying in the USA. During the 2005-2006 academic year, more than 8,000 students from the UK flew to the US to pursue undergraduate and postgraduate studies.  Fielding approximately 300,000 enquiries about educational and cultural exchange opportunities in the US in the past year, the US Educational Advisory Service (EAS) at the US-UK Fulbright Commission is well aware of this increasing interest and is pleased to announce its 29th annual London College Day. This year’s event will take place on Saturday, 29th September at The New Connaught Rooms, Great Queen Street, London WC2 from 10:00am to 3:00pm.

Europe’s premier US university fair, College Day attracted nearly 5,000 UK and international visitors last year and this year’s event promises to be just as successful.   With nearly 100 universities represented, College Day will provide a valuable opportunity for prospective students to learn about the American university system from admissions officers and alumni. Among the universities participating are Ivy League universities, liberal arts colleges, state universities, community colleges and American universities based in Europe. Any student considering studying in the USA is strongly encouraged to attend. With the introduction of an Internship and Work Experience Village in 2007, College Day will also provide an excellent opportunity for students and recent graduates to find out about work experience opportunities in the USA.

To attend College Day FREE OF CHARGE, attendees will need to register online at Attendees not holding a registration ticket will be charged a fee of £2 on the door.

For further information about College Day or any aspect of study in the US, please call  +44 (0) 20 7404 6994 or e-mail EAS at

The U.S. Educational Advisory Service (EAS) is the only officially recognised source of information on U.S. education in the UK and is part of the Education USA global advising network.

Contact Bridget Costello Educational Advisor and Events Manager

+44 (0) 207 539 4402 /

Michael Scott Kline Director of Information and Communications

+44 (0) 207 539 4403 /

New World Cartographies: Mapping America 1500 – 1776

This conference, sponsored by the American Museum in Britain and the Rothermere American Institute at the University of Oxford, will take place on Friday 2 November

& Saturday 3 November 2007 at the American Museum in Britain, Claverton Manor, Bath.

The symposium, which will be held in conjunction with an exhibition of maps of early

America at the Museum, will focus on cartographic representations (and misrepresentations) of America before the Declaration of Independence in 1776 which gave rise to the present-day United States. The plenary address will be given by Professor Matthew H. Edney. His talk is entitled ‘Colonial New England in Multiple Geographical Discourses’. Professor Edney is Director of the History of Cartography Project, Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin and Associate Professor and Faculty Scholar, Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education at the University of Southern Maine. Other themes will include: Theories of Cartography; Native American Cultures; Exploration and Empire; Historicizing Geography. This symposium will be of interest to those interested in the history of exploration and cartography, as well as those involved with the study of early American history, geography and culture.

Registration is now open. For more information, please go to:

Ojibwe Art Exhibtion at the October Gallery

In September, the October Gallery, London, will be showing ‘Oshki-bawaajige – New

Dreaming’, an exhibit featuring the current work of three Native American artists who share an Objibwe heritage: Andrea Carlson, Frank Big Bear, and Star Wallowing

Bull. In addition to the exhibit, which will run from 13 September to 27 October, the Gallery will be hosting two talks, one to be given by Andrea Carlson, a public seminar and two film screenings of Native American films. We are hoping to expand our network of those informed and interested in Ojibwe art, history and culture.

Please feel free to contact the director, Chili Hawes at for more information. The gallery is open on Tues – Sat, 12:30-5.30pm

Peaceful Multiculturalism or Culture Wars?

8th Annual International Conference of British and American Cultural Studies

The Department of English and American Studies

Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, University of Pardubice, 24 October 2007

The conference fee is 450,- Kc (will help to cover the proceedings + lunch )

NO FEE for the student participants.

Email: or Sarka Bubikova, KAA FF, Studentska 84, 532 10 Pardubice, Czech Republic

Please make the conference fee payable to account (na ucet):

KB Pardubice, cis.

uctu: 37030561/0100, variabilni symbol: 1170170002

(foreign participants can pay at the conference registration in cash)

Poetic Ecologies: Nature as Text and Text as Nature in English-Language Verse

Call for Papers

Université Libre de Bruxelles, 14-17 May 2008

In the last fifteen years, the emergence of ecocritical theory has meant a radical challenge to the anthropocentrism and dualism between Culture and Nature inherited from classical humanism.  Likewise, in its attempt to initiate a much more sustained dialogue between literature and the primacy of biological networks posited by Deep Ecology, ecocritical thought has also seriously questioned the very concept of “nature writing” as traditionally understood in the pastoral and Romantic traditions.

Within the framework of an ecocritical paradigm that is still constructing itself, this international four-day conference to be held in Europe’s capital city wishes to explore the multiple and changing forms of ecological and ecocritical consciousness in English-language verse, past and present.  As such, this forum will not only interrogate the very notion of ecology and ask what actually constitutes ‘ecocritical’ and ecologically-engaged poetic practice; various panels/sessions will also seek to shed light on the ever so complex issue of “Nature” versus “Text” and on the possible interrelationships between ecological texts and textual ecologies, between the systems of Nature and those of Culture.

The conference will not privilege any English-speaking poetic tradition in particular, but invites papers from all areas of the Anglophone world, from Canada to the Antipodes.  Poetry will be given precedence over other genres, but papers devoted to texts breaking down the traditional boundaries between prose and verse or exploring poetry within the framework of multimedia experimentation (including digital and performance poetry) are also welcome.  More theoretically-oriented papers whose insights are mainly based on poetics and poetic corpora will likewise be considered.  Contributions from poets addressing the questions of ecological/ecocritical aesthetics and compositional practice are equally encouraged.

Across the wide body of poetry produced in the English language, possible topics and areas of investigation include (but are not limited to) the following:


  • “Ecological texts” versus “textual ecologies”
  • “Shallow” versus “Deep” Ecology
  • The influence of ecological systems on textual ecologies
  • Nature as “representation” versus Nature as “process”
  • Nature as “simulacrum” versus essentialist visions of the natural world
  • The place of human consciousness in the ecological web
  • Bioregional sensibilities and the sense of place/space
  • Urban and suburban ecologies
  • Enclosed versus open spaces
  • The “wild” versus the “tamed”
  • The concept of landscape: re-invented landscapes, underrepresented landscapes, the interaction between “mindscape” and landscape, “landscape” versus “environment”
  • The poetic shattering of the realist-naturalist “mirror of Nature”
  • Verse experiments transcending the pastoral legacy; experiments in “cooperative” writing with Nature
  • Contemporary ecologically-engaged poetic practices and aesthetics
  • The interaction between scientific and poetic discourses
  • The fluid boundaries between human and non-human organisms
  • The utopia of biocentrism; the myth of anthropocentrism
  • Eco-metaphors and the problem of translating Nature into Language
  • Evolving images/metaphors of Nature within a given culture; parallel and contrastive images/metaphors of Nature across different cultures and poetic traditions
  • Postcolonial challenges to traditional understandings of categories like “wilderness,” “species,” and “dwelling”; re-invented images of the postcolonial wilderness and of the “natural Other”
  • The possible intersections between postcolonial and ecological discourses of emancipation
  • Ecofeminist perspectives
  • Mysticism, “ecopieties” and nature religions from First Nations to postmodernity
  • Judeo-Christian versus non-theistic discourses on Nature
  • The search for a possible site of reconciliation between Nature and Culture

The conference will include a series of plenary lectures by noted scholars and poets as well as a number of parallel paper sessions.  To further enhance the sense of eco-community amongst the participants, the programme will also fuse praxis and pleasure by offering, on the Friday afternoon, an outing to the estate of Meise, which houses the national botanical gardens of Belgium, listed as one of the most important botanical collections in the world.

A selection of papers presented at the conference will be published in conference proceedings.

Twenty-minute paper proposals should be received no later than 31 October 2007.  Please kindly e-mail abstracts of approximately 250-300 words, together with a short biography, in RTF format to:

Dr Franca Bellarsi

Université Libre de Bruxelles

Department of Modern Languages and Literatures

Acceptance of proposals will be notified in the second half of November 2007 so as to allow the authors of selected submissions to apply for travel funding from their universities in due course. 

Rothermere American Institute: Esmond Harmsworth Lecture, 2007

The 2007 Esmond Harmsworth Lecture in American Arts and Letters will be given at the

RAI on Tuesday 9th October at 5pm by ROBERT VENTURI, the distinguished American architect who is also the author of “Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture,” “Learning from Las Vegas” and other key works of postmodern architectural theory. The title of his talk will be “Architecture as Paradox Within the Urban Complex: Viva Architectural Form as Symbolic and Architectural Technology as Universal in our Mannerist Time.” The lecture will be followed by a reception at the Rothermere American Institute, 1A South Parks Road, Oxford. Admission is free, but pre-registration is required. To guarantee a seat, please e-mail the Assistant Director, Tim Pottle, at 

SASA Conference Call for Papers

The Andrew Hook Centre for American Studies at the University of Glasgow is hosting the ninth annual conference of SASA on February 8th, 2008. Proposals are therefore invited from staff and postgraduate students whose research focuses on the study of America. Proposals are invited from scholars in all disciplines, such as (but not limited to) literature, history, film, politics, religious studies and international relations.

Proposals must include a provisional title and contact details, and should not exceed the length of one page. Panel submissions as well as individual papers are welcomed. Proposals should be submitted no later than November 15th, 2007, by either email or post, to Rachael McLennan, who can be contacted for further information at the addresses below:

Dr Rachael McLennan

The Andrew Hook Centre for American Studies

University of Glasgow

1 University Gardens


G12 8QQ

Transatlantic Women: Nineteenth-Century American Women Writers in England, Call for Papers

Rothermere American Institute

Accommodation at St. Catherine’s College

Oxford University

16-20 July 2008

Proposals deadline: October 1 2007

Sponsored by the Harriet Beecher Stowe Society, the Catharine Maria Sedgwick

Society, and the Margaret Fuller Society

It is increasingly apparent that nineteenth-century women moved – culturally, intellectually, and geographically – in a transatlantic, even global world.  This conference will highlight and examine these literary and corporeal circulations.

England was the nation most visited and its authors most read by Americans; England also served as the frequent gateway, both in Americans’ reading and in their travels, to Europe.  Conference organizers solicit papers that examine the broad range of nineteenth-century American women writers’ engagements with England, especially, but also with Europe.  Possible topics include:

  • Tourism, travel, destinations, geographies
  • Mobility and labor: e.g., Nancy Prince in Russia, Jacobs in England, Alcott as travel companion
  • Industrial site visits; educational, medical, and correctional institutions and movements
  • Reform and activist engagements: Peace Congresses; Exeter Hall anti-slavery meetings; women’s rights and suffrage organizations: e.g., Ellen Craft, Julia Ward Howe
  • Contacts, correspondences with English and European writers: e.g., Sedgwick
  • Reading English and European texts in the US: e.g., Charlotte Grimke’s journals, Stoddard Translations, revisions of English and European writers
  • English and European writers’ readings of American women writers
  • Expatriates: e.g., Woolson
  • Literary celebrity tours; ethnic and cultural performances at expositions: e.g. Stowe, Zitkala-Sa
  • Transatlantic literary networking: e.g., Annie Fields, Frances Osgood
  • Childhood travel or residence and later writings: e.g., Susan Fenimore Cooper, Sui Sin Far, Wharton
  • Women journalists and periodical writers in England and Europe: e.g., Kirkland, Greenwood
  • Discussions of English and European politics and political economy: e.g., Fuller
  • Travel and religious belief, conversion, sectarianism, conflict
  • The body abroad – health, invalidism, travel, sexuality, residencies: e.g., Alice James
  • Tourism and whiteness, representations of race and ethnicity in Europe
  • Genres: travel writing, fiction, autobiography, reform tracts, lyric poems, speeches, exposes, etc.
  • Aesthetics, visual culture, performance art, exhibitions: commentary on art, landscape, architecture, music, theater, opera, ballet, folk performances, museums, commemorative and memorial sites
  • Issues of publication, the quest for an international copyright law: e.g., Southworth

All conference participants must be members of at least one of the sponsoring author societies at the time of registration.  For further information about the conference contact the conference director: Beth Lueck, President of the Stowe Society, at

Email 250-word proposals and 1-page CVs by October 1, 2007 to the chair of the

program committee: Brigitte Bailey

Woody Guthrie: Hard Times and Hard Travellin’

An hour-long performance/lecture by Will Kaufman

Planning next year’s teaching? Woody sez: ‘Let me help you out.’ 2007 marks the 40th anniversary of Woody Guthrie’s passing: a good time for a re-acquaintance with the man and his music. Woody Guthrie: Hard Times and Hard Travellin’ is an hour-long performance/lecture by Will Kaufman, setting Guthrie’s songs in the historical context of the American 1930 – the Dust Bowl, the Depression, the New Deal and the state of popular music itself. ‘No one can understand the American people without listening to Woody Guthrie. Will Kaufman’s doing important work here’ (Tom Paxton).

Will Kaufman is a Reader in English and American Studies at the University of Central Lancashire and has been a semi-professional folksinger and musician for over thirty years.

For more detailed information, including testimonials, please see:

To book the presentation for your students, research seminars or academic conferences, contact Will at

No speaker’s fee requested – just cover the expenses!

US Foreign Policy Conference, Chancellors Conference Centre,

University of Manchester, 20-21 September 2007


The link will permit you to look at the draft programme and to register for the conference and to book accommodation. Any problems or queries, email

Professor Inderjeet Parmar

There are around 30 postgraduate bursaries available – each of which will pay the full two days’ conference fee (£150). E-mail stating name, thesis title, supervisor’s name, department and university affiliation, and a couple of paragraphs on what they would get from attending the conference and how they would contribute to the event and the US FP WG in general.

Professor Inderjeet Parmar

Head of Politics

School of Social Sciences

The University of Manchester

Oxford Road

Manchester M13 9PL

Tel 0161 275 3056

Fax 0161 275 4925


New Members


Susana Araújo is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Sussex and the University of Lisbon, Her interests are contemporary literature, visual culture and politics. She has published widely on contemporary literature and on the relations between visual culture and politics. She has a book on Joyce Carol Oates forthcoming and is currently working on her second monograph on contemporary literature and visual culture.

Raymond Arsenault is the John Hope Franklin Professor of Southern History and co-director of the Florida Studies Program at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg. His primary scholarly interests include the American South in the 20th Century, the Civil Rights movement, and environmental history.

Michael P. Bibler received his PhD from Tulane University and his work concentrates on the racialised constructions of queer relationships and identities in the literature of the American South. He has published articles in Mississippi Quarterly and the edited volume Perversion and the Social Relation (Duke). He is the co-editor of Just Below South: Intercultural Performance in the Caribbean and the US South (University of Virgina Press), and he has an article on Hurricane Katrina forthcoming in Southern Cultures. He is currently finishing revisions to a book manuscript which is entitled Cotton’s Queer Relations: Homosexuality, Race and Social Equality in the Literature of the Southern Plantation.

Stefania Ciocia teaches at Canterbury Christ Church University, in the field of twentieth-century and contemporary literature. Her background is broadly comparativist, as testified by her interest in cross-cultural influences in postcolonial writing on either side of the Atlantic (Derek Walcott and Caryl Phillips, in particular). Her main research project at the moment is a monograph on Tim O’ Brien for Liverpool University Press.

Joseph Crespino, assistant professor of history at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, is the author of In Search of Another Country: Mississippi and the Conservative Counterrevolution (Princeton, 2007).

Andrew Dix lectures in nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature at Loughborough University. He has published essays and book chapters in Twain, Steinbeck and Sherman Alexie, and co-edited Figures of Heresy: Radical Theology in English and American Writing, 1800-2000 (Sussex Academic Press, 2006). He is currently completing Beginning Film Studies for Manchester University Press.

Brooke Mann Esparza is a third-year American Ph.D. student at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she also serves as course tutor, teaching nineteenth-century American literature. Her dissertation is on the fictional and editorial writings of Pauline Hopkins and Jessie Fauset, whose work highlights American racial politics, gender, and spatiality, and which elucidates the well-known Harlem Renaissance movement. Her other research interests include the African-American (ex)/slave narrative, Latin American and South African literature, especially the work of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Athol Fugard.

Rowena Edlin-White completed her PhD at the University of Nottingham in 2004, which focused on the writer Kate Douglas Wiggin (1856-1923). She is currently researching Wiggin’s associations with Britain and Ireland and lecturing in the UK and the US in celebration of the author’s 150th anniversary. Rowena has published children’s fiction, adult non-fiction, and a selection of anthologies and articles.

Kristin Ewins is writing a thesis on politicised women’s writing of the 1930s at St Hilda’s College, Oxford.

Jessica Gibbs is a temporary lecturer in American History at the University of Reading. She completed her PhD in US Policy towards Cuba (1989-1996) in 2005 and is currently preparing her thesis for publication in Routledge’s Studies in US Foreign Policy series. It is provisionally titled United States-Cuban Relations Since the End of the Cold War. Her research interests include US foreign policy, particularly hemispheric relations and the links between domestic politics and foreign policymaking, US immigration and refugee policy.

Otared Haidar is a Syrian writer and journalist living the UK. She completed her DPhil in Arabic and comparative literature and theory at the University of Oxford in 2005. She teaches Arabic at the Oriental Institute at Oxford.

Oliver Harris is Professor of American Literature at Keele University, where he has taught courses on the Beat Generation, the 1960s counterculture, and postwar American cinema (Hitchcock, film noir, etc.). His research expertise is as a scholar and editor in the field of William Burroughs criticism and his publications include the monograph William Burroughs and the Secret of Fascination, an edition of Burroughs’s letters and two new editions of his early novels, Junky and The Yage Letters.

Ruth Hawthorn is currently undertaking a taught M.Litt in American Studies at the University of Glasgow.

Fabian Hilfrich is a lecturer in American History at the University of Edinburgh, focusing on US diplomatic and international history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He is especially interested in the cultural and ideological foundations of diplomatic history. He received his PhD from the Free University of Berlin for a thesis entitled “‘Nation’ and ‘Democracy’: Representations of the American Self in the Debates on American Imperialism (1898-1900) and on the Vietnam War (1964-1968)”. His current research examines transatlantic relations in the 1970s and their impact on multinational institutions such as NATO and the then EEC. His work has appeared in numerous edited volumes.

John Howard is Professor of American Studies at King’s College London.

Ian Hunter, who publishes as I.Q. Hunter, is Principal Lecturer and Subject Leader in Film Studies at De Monfort University, Leicester. He edited British Science Fiction Cinema (Routledge, 1999) and co-edited Pulping Fictions (1996), Trash Aesthetics (1997), Sisterhoods (1998), Alien Identities (1999), Classics (2000), Retrovisions (2001) and Brit Invaders! (2004). He has published widely on exploitation, horror and cult films and is currently writing a British Film Guide to A Clockwork Orange for IB Tauris.

Anthony Hutchison currently teaches American Thought and Culture at the University of Nottingham. He completed his PhD at Nottingham in 2004 on the relationship between the political novel and the US liberal political tradition. An expanded version of this work will be published by Columbia University Press in September 2007. He is currently pursuing research in the area of intellectual heterodoxy in the Anglo-American Left.

Brian Ireland earned his BA in Humanities and an MA in American Studies at the University of Ulster. In 2004 he graduated from the University of Hawaii with a PhD in American Studies. His dissertation was on depictions of the US military in Hawaii, specifically portrayals of the military in memorials, movies, newspapers, museums and in military writing. He is currently a lecturer in American history at the University of Glamorgan. He teaches a wide variety of subjects including American popular culture, the Vietnam War in literature, cinema and documentary, the US in the 1960s, the literature and cinema of the road genre, and the African American experience amongst other topics. Current and future research interests are the activities of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association in Cardiff in the early part of the twentieth century, the response of American Science fiction writers to the Vietnam War and the reaction of American socialists to the ‘Bonus March’ on Washington in 1932.

Aine Kelly did her primary degree at Trinity College Dublin and her Masters at Queen’s University Belfast. She is now a first year PhD student in the School of American and Canadian Studies at Nottingham. Her thesis moves between the poetry of Wallace Stevens and the philosophy of Richard Rorty and Stanley Cavell.

Daniel Koch is a third year doctoral student working on Ralph Waldo Emerson and the Revolutions of 1848 at Oxford University. He has also done work on the Oneida Community in upstate New York.

Anouk Lang is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Birmingham. She is working in the AHRC-funded project, Beyond the Book: Contemporary Cultures of reading in the UK, the US, and Canada. Her interests include literary modernism, postcolonial studies, Canadian literature and reading practices in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Nick Lawrence teaches American writing and culture at the University of Warwick. His research interests include: US literature and culture from the nineteenth century to the present, especially within a global context; Hawthorne and Whitman; Marxism, the Frankfurt School and critical media theory; post-9/11 literary and graphic culture; contemporary innovative poetry and ecopoetics. His recent work includes articles on Whitman, Hawthorne, Frank O’Hara, Ronald Johnson, and literary testimony. He has edited a special feature on the work of Bruce Andrews for Jacket magazine and has co-edited a bilingual anthology of innovative North American poetry for the Casa de Letras in Havana. He is the co-editor, with Marta Werner, of Ordinary Mysteries: The Common Journal of Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne (American Philosophical Society).

Mark Ledwidge has recently completed a PhD entitled ‘Race, African Americans and US Foreign Policy’ at the University of Manchester. He is currently the course convenor for an MA on contemporary US foreign policy at Manchester. He also teaches History at Edge Hill University, examining significant political, social and economic events of the twentieth century.

Kaeten Mistry is completing a PhD at the University of Birmingham on US foreign policy towards Italy at the origins of the Cold War, with particular emphasis on the concept of Political Warfare. He has recently published a piece on the subject in Cold War History. He has been educated in the UK, US and Italy, and has undertaken archival research in Europe and America. He also co-edits 49th Parallel. His general research interests cover US foreign policy in the twentieth century, particularly the early Cold War.

Helen Mitchell graduated from Northumbria University in 2006 with a degree in Human Organisations. She is currently enlisted at Northumbria on a PhD programme, researching women’s centers in the US. She has recently returned from the research trip to the States where she examined the historical evolution of women’s centers.

George B. Murgatroyd holds a BA degree from the University of Leeds in English and Philosophy. He is currently writing a Masters thesis entitled ‘From the Jungle to the Streets of New York: The Portrayal of Black Culture and Characters in the Work of Eugene O’Neill and Carl Van Vechten’, I will continue his research at Lancaster University with a doctoral thesis which will analyse the interracial literary relationships of the Harlem Renaissance.

John O’Brien is currently a PhD student at the University of Leeds. His research focuses on the life writing and occasional writing of Norman Mailer, Grace Paley and Kurt Vonnegut. Other interests include the theory of laughter and literary humour.

Richard O’Brien is a doctoral candidate at Leeds Metropolitan University. His research focuses on Saul Bellow’s association with the Partisan Review and the New York Intellectuals during the 1930s-1950s. He is specifically interested in novelist’s politics and the extent to which his much-altered ideology emerged within his fictions.

Patrick O’Toole is currently a senior political science student at Stonehill College. He has spent the last several months working with Professor Ubertaccio completing a research agenda relating to the marketing strategies employed by American political parties in the 2002, 2004 and 2006 elections. His personal subject interests lie primarily in international conflict resolution and he plans to attend graduate school in Peace Studies upon completion of his undergraduate degree.

Jenna Pitchford is a doctoral research student at Nottingham Trent University. The working title for her thesis is ‘Writing Global Conflict: US Identity in Persian Gulf and Iraq War Literature’. She is currently planning a research trip for July 2007 to consult collections at the Library of Congress, Washington D.C. and the Thomas J. Dodd Center at the University of Connecticut.

Kevin Power is in the final year of a PhD on the fiction and non-fiction of Norman Mailer from 1948-1968. He is based at the School of English and Drama at University College Dublin.

Sebastian Rauschner is a PhD candidate at the cross-disciplinary Research Center for Biographical Studies in Contemporary Religion, based at the Faculty of History, Philosophy and Theology, University of Bielefeld/Germany. He holds an MA in Education from the University of Muenster/Germany and was a full-time visiting postgraduate (now part-time postgraduate student) at the Andrew Hook Centre for American Studies/University of Glasgow during the Fall/Winter term 2006/07. He will be completing his PhD on ‘The Fascination of Death and Melancholia in Post-Adolescent Youth-Cultures’ in December 2007, and an additional M.Litt in American Studies at Glasgow University in the Fall 2008.

Jarod Roll is a historian of the United States after the Civil War whose interests and writing focus on the intersection of race, work and protest in the political economy of rural America. He has a PhD (2006) and an MA (2001) in history from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, as well as a BA (2000) from Missouri Southern State College. His PhD dissertation ‘Road to the Promised Land: Rural Rebellion in the New Cotton South, 1890-1945’ explores how African Americans and white farmers created a grassroots radicalism to defend agrarian traditions against the rise of capital-intensive agriculture in the lowlands of southeast Missouri. Parts of this research have already appeared in the Journal of Southern History, Labor History, Radical History Review, and Missouri Historical Review. A native of the Ozarks, he has recently taken up a lectureship in American Studies at the University of Sussex.

Clare Russell is a doctoral candidate at the University of Nottingham, working on Professor peter Ling’s AHRC funded project on social capital in the SCLC’s Citizenship Education Program in South Carolina. In addition to civil rights history, she is interested in women’s studies (especially African American women’s history and women’s health) and social welfare.

James A. Russell holds a PhD in Film Studies from the university of East Anglia, published as The Historical Epic and Contemporary Hollywood (2006). This project was based in archival research carried out in Los Angeles and New York. He has published several other articles in film studies journals and edited collections. His research explores the influence and intersection of individual, social and economic factors on the production of Hollywood movies since the 1930s, and his latest work examines Hollywood’s attempt to address religious viewers in the US since 9/11.

Maria Ryan is a final year PhD student at the University of Birmingham. Her doctoral thesis examines the influence of neoconservative intellectuals and their networks on the state and extent of their contributions to post-Cold war ‘grand strategy.’ She has recently published articles on the CIA, neoconservatives and the politicization of intelligence as well as neoconservatives in the Reagan administration.

Robert Self is Reader in Contemporary History at London Metropolitan University. His recently published book, Britain, America and the War Debt Controversy 1917-1941 (2006), involved considerable archival research on both sides on the Atlantic. An article on the British ‘official mind’ and perceptions of the United States appeared in the June 2007 edition of the International History Review. This is part if a far larger comparative study of the belief systems and ‘mental maps’ employed by foreign policymakers n Whitehall and Washington when considering their counterparts on the other side of the Atlantic.

Bevan Sewell is currently studying for a PhD in American Foreign Policy at De Monfort University. She began this research after completing an MPhil at Birmingham. Her thesis is entitled ‘A Global Policy in a Regional Setting: the Eisenhower Administration, Latin America and Brazil, 1953-1961’ and is a re-examination of US foreign policy towards Latin America during the Eisenhower era. In researching the thesis, Bevan traveled to the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kansas, and to the National Archives at College Park, Maryland. Her wider research interests are in the origins of the Cold War and in re-

assessing the full range of aims and intentions underpinning US foreign policy in the post WWII period.

Jess Thomas is currently finishing her final year at St Martins College, Lancaster in English and Religious Studies. In the next academic year she is hoping to complete a PGCE and then undertake an MA. Her field of interest is American literature, which she hopes to study as a postgraduate.

David Turton is a PhD student in the School of English at the University of Sheffield researching the work on Thomas Pynchon in relation to Cold War culture and schizophrenia.

Robert Ward lectures in American Literature at the University of Cumbria. He received his doctorate from the University of Leeds in 2001 for a thesis on Nelson Algren. His interests include the 1930s, prisons, and cities, and he is currently writing a monograph on James Leo Herlihy for South Carolina University Press.

Anthony Warde received his BA and his MA from the University of Limerick. His research interests include contemporary American fiction and narrative theory. His publications include ‘One was a Woman, the Other, a Man: A Psychoanalytic Study of Sexual Identity in the Novels of Toni Morrison’ in The AnaChronisT, the literary journal of the Department of English Studies at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest (2005). He is currently conducting research for a PhD thesis titled ‘All is telling: Narrative as Theme, Technique and Theory in Cormac McCarthy’s post-Appalachian Novels’. This study proposes that Cormac McCarthy’s post-Appalachian novels (from Blood Meridian to The Road), although varied in their settings and subject matter, are linked by an emphasis on the essentiality of narrative; and that this privileging of narrative is reflected not only by thematic and textual indexes, but also by an implicit narrative ‘theory’ developed and espoused throughout these works.

Rebecca Weir is a PhD student at the University of Cambridge researching Civil War writing (1861-70), particularly newspaper reportage.


Members’ Publications


Peter Coates of the University of Bristol has recently published Salmon (Reaktion Books, 2006) and American Perceptions of Immigrant and Invasive Species: Strangers on the Land (University of California Press, 2007).

Richard Crockatt has recently published After 9/11: Cultural Dimensions of American Global Power (Routledge, June 2007).

Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones of the University of Edinburgh has recently published The FBI: A History (Yale University Press, 2007)

John A. Kirk of Royal Holloway has recently published Beyond Little Rock: The Origins and Legacies of the Central High Crisis (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2007) and the edited collection Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement: Controversies and Debates (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007).


Members’ News


Peter Coates has been appointed to a Chair in American and Environmental History at the University of Bristol.

Edinburgh Critical Guides to Literature

Announcing the launch of a new series from Edinburgh University Press of critical texts which seek to initiate and deepen readers’ understanding of key literary movements, periods and genres, and to consider debates that inform the past, present and future of literary study. The first four titles in this broad series are released in September 2007 and will be very interesting to the American Studies community.

The four titles are:             Canadian Literature (Faye Hammill, Cardiff University)

Contemporary American Drama (Annette J. Saddik, SUNY)

Women’s Poetry (Jo Gill, Exeter University)

Gothic Literature (Andrew Smith, Glamorgan University).


For further details about the Edinburgh Critical Guides to Literature series, forthcoming titles and new commissions please contact the series editors: Professor Martin Halliwell, University of Leicester ( or Dr Andrew Mousley, De Montfort University (


Fellowship Opportunities


British Academy Fellowships for Study in the USA

The British Academy has partnership arrangements with three American institutions, the Huntington Library, the Newberry Library, and the American Philosophical Society. Fellowships are available providing airfare and a maintenance allowance for one-to-three months of research by postdoctoral researchers at the Huntington, the Newberry, or at any libraries in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. These awards are not particularly well known, and may not be as competitive as other British Academy awards. They should be of particular interest to BAAS members.


Information about the Huntington Library can be found at

Situated in San Marino, on the western outskirts of Los Angeles, it is the most significant research library in the western United States, with particular strengths in literature; early American history; Native American studies; and western history and literature.


The Newberry Library is situated on the near north side of Chicago, and is an equally significant private research library, with particular strengths in the exploration and settlement of the Americas; the history, literature and culture of Chicago and the Midwest, and Native American studies. More information about the library can be found at


The American Philosophical Society is adjacent to Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Its fellowship allows study at any research libraries in the greater Philadelphia area, including the libraries at the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University; the Library Company of Philadelphia; the Free Library of Philadelphia; and libraries within easy reach of the city including Princeton University and the Winterthur Museum and Library in Delaware.


More information about the awards and the application process can be found at

The application deadline is 15 January for awards over the following research year (1 July to 30 June).


Brown University Fellowships

The John Carter Brown Library in Providence, Rhode Island, offers fellowships of varying lengths to doctoral candidates completing their dissertations and to more advanced scholars. Our definition of “Americana” includes printed materials about America as well as works by Americans.  We annually award about 33 fellowships of varying lengths for those in a wide range of fields.  A list of publications based on research here by previous fellows is available on our web site.

Stipends for short-term fellowships are $2,000 a month, $4,000 for long-term fellowships.  We have just opened a new scholars’ residence offering furnished accommodation at below local market rates.

Complete information is available on our web site or you are welcome to ask me for further details about our program.  If you have not been receiving our fellowship flyers and would like to, please let us know.

Nan Sumner-Mack

The Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford

The Rothermere American Institute is a centre for research in the field of American studies based at the University of Oxford, UK.  It houses a major library, seminar rooms, and offices for Fellows.  The Institute was opened in 2001 by former US President Bill Clinton.

We are now inviting scholars to apply for fellowships to commence from September 2008. We offer fellowships for up to one year; however appointments may be awarded for shorter time periods.

No stipends are offered, but new and efficient offices are provided to scholars, including computers, phones and access to administrative support. We also offer travel grants for research purposes with a value of up to £500. During the periods when the colleges of the University are in operation, we provide Senior Fellows with common room rights at one of the neighbouring colleges.

For more details and an application form, please visit our website at, or contact the Assistant Director at the Rothermere American Institute, 1A South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3TG, United Kingdom.

Tel:  +44 1865 282 710

Fax: +44 1865 282 720




Selwyn College, Cambridge:

Keasbey Research Fellowship in American Studies


Selwyn College invites applications for a Keasbey Research Fellowship in American Studies tenable for three years from 1 October 2008.

The Fellowship is open to candidates in any area of American Studies. Further particulars, an application form, an equal opportunities monitoring form and forms for use by referees are available on the College website or from the Master’s Assistant, Selwyn College, Cambridge CB3 9DQ (tel: +44 (0)1223 335890, Email:

The closing date for applications is Monday 8 October 2007.


Awards Opportunities

BAAS Annual Book Prize 2008

The British Association for American Studies is delighted to announce the fourth annual book prize. The £500 prize will be awarded for the best published book in American Studies this year. To be eligible for the 2008 BAAS Book Prize, books must be have been published in English between 1 January 2007 and 1 December 2007 and authors must be members of BAAS. The prize will be announced at the annual meeting of the British Association for American Studies at the University of Edinburgh, March 2008. Authors or publishers may submit the book, three copies of which should be sent by 21st December 2007 to:

Dr. Ian Scott, English and American Studies Subject Area, School of Arts, Histories and Cultures, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, MANCHESTER, M13 9PL

Edited collections not allowed, co-author pieces accepted.  

Peter Boyle BAAS MA Teaching Assistantships 2008-2010

Applications are invited for the Peter Boyle BAAS Teaching Assistantships in American History at the University of New Hampshire and in American Literature at the University of Virginia. For the first time in 2008, these awards are to be named after Peter Boyle who has been instrumental in their founding, as well as being a dedicated colleague working on behalf of BAAS for many years. Candidates will normally be final year undergraduates, but applications will also be accepted from recent graduates.

A Teaching Assistantship consists of the award for two years, 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 essay and exams.

University of Virginia

Applicants should be students in English or American Studies at a British university who plan to pursue postgraduate work in American literature. The Teaching Assistantship involves taking part in discussion sections and marking essays and exams in undergraduate courses. The financial remuneration covers living costs quite comfortably, while at the same time there is remission of tuition fees for the M.A.

University of New Hampshire

Applicants should be students in History or American Studies at a British university who plan to pursue post-graduate work in American History. The Teaching Assistantship involves discussion sections and marking essays and exams in undergraduate courses. The financial remuneration covers living costs quite comfortably, while at the same time there is remission of tuition fees for the M.A.


Applicants will be received by a BAAS panel, which will draw up a short-list for an interview in mid-December. Candidates should be prepared to attend interview at the University of Manchester between December 17-22nd. 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 2008 for the two years, 2008-2010.

Applicants should send the following by Friday, December 7th, 2007 to Dr. Ian Scott, English and American Studies Subject Area, School of Arts, Histories and Cultures, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, MANCHESTER, M13 9PL

(1) a curriculum vitae, (2) transcript of undergraduate work, (3) reason for applying (no more than 500 words), (4) two letters of recommendation (in sealed envelopes).

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

BAAS Postgraduate Short-Term Awards and Founders’ Research Travel Awards for 2008-2009

BAAS would like to invite applicants interested in either one of these schemes to submit applications for the new round of awards to be formally announced at the annual BAAS Conference in Edinburgh in March 2008.

The Postgraduate Short-Term awards consider applicants at postgraduate level or who have recently completed a doctorate to submit proposals for a research trip, or conference participation, to North America. BAAS has a number of named awards as well as additional STAs to supplement such trips. A new named Abraham Lincoln Award has been added to the current roster of awards for 2008.

The BAAS Founders’ awards consider applications from established and senior academics who wish to pursue a research project by means of a trip to consult papers/archives etc in North America and/or who are presenting work at a conference that is part of an ongoing research agenda.

The details for both schemes can be found on the BAAS website at http://www/

The closing date for both awards schemes is Friday 14th December 2007.

All enquiries to: Dr. Ian Scott, English and American Studies Subject Area, School of Arts, Histories and Cultures, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, MANCHESTER, M13 9PL


Publishing Opportunities


New Journal Announcement: Writing Technologies

Issue 1.1 of Writing Technologies has just been published. Writing Technologies is an online, peer-reviewed academic journal, which publishes research on the relationship between technology and textuality. It focuses on the place of technology in both established and emerging literature (including not only its thematic treatment but also its role in the production and dissemination of texts), and assesses recent critical and theoretical debates about writing’s technological locations. The journal is published on a biannual basis, and can be accessed at:


We are seeking articles for volume 2.1 (March 2008), as well as for subsequent issues, and invite you to consider Writing Technologies as a location for your current and future research.

Dr Daniel Cordle –

Dr Phil Leonard –


Call for Special Editors: British Records Relating to America in Microform (BRRAM) Series

Special editors are needed for new titles in the BRRAM series, published under the aegis of BAAS since the 1960s, with Professor Kenneth Morgan of Brunel University the current General Editor. The series comprises images from a wide range of primary sources on North America and the West Indies from collections around the British Isles. Projects at present being explored relate to manuscript materials on Canada from the National Library of Scotland. Ideas are also welcome for other unpublished collections, perhaps related to current doctoral or postdoctoral research. The principal duties of the special editor are to make a selection of documents to be microfilmed from a collection and to produce a introduction outlining the provenance, content and scholarly significance of the archive.

For further details, contact Dr Roderic Vassie (, Head of Publishing at Microform Academic Publishers.