Anniversaries have been very much a theme of 2008, particularly in France, which remembered the 1968 student riots and general strike, and the USA, where 1968 was a tumultuous year of assassinations and civil unrest. At this year’s EAAS conference in Oslo I got talking about May 1968 to a senior French Americanist who wryly recalled working stolidly away at his part-time office job at the Sorbonne while throughout the Latin Quarter his fellow students engaged in street battles with police. On the other side of the Atlantic, student protests included an anti-Vietnam hunger strike at Boston and Harvard, civil rights demonstrations at Columbia and Berkeley, and an anti-segregation rally at the University of South Carolina which sparked a violent police response known as the Orangeburg massacre. Following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr, in Memphis, Tennessee on 4 April, there was rioting in 125 American cities, notably Washington DC, Baltimore, Louisville and infamously Chicago, where Mayor Richard Daley ordered a shoot to kill policy on arsonists and President Lyndon Johnson sent in 5,000 troops to quell the violence. Chicago was the scene of unrest again in August 1968, when police clashed with Vietnam War protestors at the Democratic National Convention, exacerbating the problems of a party already rocked by the assassination in June that year of Senator Robert F. Kennedy.
Americanists in Britain have marked these momentous events, and related political and cultural movements, with a variety of forums evaluating their significance at the time and subsequently. The continuing resonance of the sixties for the present-day students is illustrated by events such as the multidisciplinary postgraduate conference at the Rothermere American Institute entitled ‘1968: American Politics, Culture and Society in a Year of Upheaval’ which explored the paradoxes, contradictions and repercussions of an era generally remembered as radical and countercultural but which also saw an explosion in mass mainstream culture and a resurgence of conservatism. Our community’s lively scholarly interest in the links between past and present aspects of US culture and society is amply attested in this issue of American Studies in Britain through details of other recent and forthcoming conferences, research trips, fellowships, publications, projects and activities.
I had another reason for looking back to 1968 on a recent visit to the University of Birmingham Special Collections Library to examine the BAAS archive. I found that the annual conference in April 1968 was held at Churchill College, Cambridge, with papers under appropriately challenging titles such as ‘What the Hell is going on in the Arts in the USA?’ Still quite new in my role as editor of American Studies in Britain, I was particularly curious to know more of the newsletter’s evolution, which is patchily documented by a fascinating collection of back issues in one of the boxes. Originally known as the Bulletin and taking the form of stapled typescript bound in rough paper, the newsletter was initially compiled by the first secretary of BAAS, Marcus Cunliffe, but by its fifth issue (September 1957) had acquired a dedicated editor in George Shepperson. From 1959 the Bulletin was dedicated to publication of scholarly articles and reviews (evolving in 1967 into our familiar Journal of American Studies, published by CUP) while a separate Newsletter assumed the role of disseminating American Studies news. At first this Newsletter was an even more homespun publication than the original Bulletin, comprising uncovered typescript stapled only at the top left corner. To judge by the archive, it was not until issue 21 (January 1970) that it switched to a smaller size and acquired a typographical cover.
Among the Newsletter’s early editors was (then Dr, later Professor) Charlotte Erickson, who died this year at the age of eighty-four and is honoured in these pages. In her first editorial (January 1966) she elegantly explains how she came to relieve the ‘overworked’ Alan Conway of his editorship upon his appointment as secretary of BAAS and delicately reminds readers that the Newsletter can only serve its purpose if they send in their announcements. ‘[M]embers are often modest or otherwise hesitant about forwarding their own news,’ she says. ‘I don’t have good connections with very many grape-vines, and will appreciate your help.’ The same mixture of good humour and firmness characterises a taped interview with Charlotte conducted some twenty-four years later (June 1990), in which she reflects on her terms as editor of the Newsletter in the sixties, secretary in the seventies and chairman in the eighties. Asked how she would summarise her priorities as chairman, she answers succinctly: ‘Defence and consolidation.’ The interview and her contributions to the Newsletter in a variety of capacities amply demonstrate her steadfast, principled and enduring commitment to the Association.
Charlotte Erickson’s successors as editor from 1968 onwards experimented with a variety of contents, formats and reproduction processes, until in 1998 Susan Castillo expanded the Newsletter’s remit and introduced a new glossy, illustrated, colour cover. Thanks to Susan the BAAS newsletter this year celebrates an anniversary of its own, because it was under her editorship, in Autumn/Winter 1998, that it acquired its present title, thus making the current issue the tenth anniversary edition of American Studies in Britain.
Copy deadline for issue 100 is 16 January 2009
BAAS Annual Conference: University of Nottingham
16–19 April 2009
The 54th Annual Conference
Call for Papers
There is no main focus or theme for the conference, which is designed as 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 literary studies, history, film, television and media studies, political science, cultural studies, visual culture and art history, among others. We are also extremely keen to receive proposals which adopt an interdisciplinary focus.
Located in the centre of England and near to East Midlands Airport, Nottingham is renowned not only for the legendary Robin Hood but also for its close proximity to Eastwood, the birthplace of D. H. Lawrence, and Newstead Abbey, Lord Byron’s ancestral home. The city offers a wealth of museums, galleries and cinemas including Nottingham Castle, the Playhouse, the Theatre Royal, the Broadway Cinema and Media Centre as well as the newly opened Contemporary Art Exchange. Situated to the west of the city centre, the location for the conference is the 330 acre University Park, notable for its famous lake, woodland areas and extensive parkland which is the home to a theatre, a performance hall and two art centres. For further information about Nottingham, please see http://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/
We would like to invite proposals for 20-minute papers of a maximum of 250 words which should also 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 and/or interdisciplinary focus. The conference will include papers from national and international scholars across the spectrum of the research community, ranging from postgraduates to senior scholars.
Proposals for BAAS 2009 at the University of Nottingham should be submitted by 13 October 2008 at the latest, preferably by e-mail attachment to: email@example.com
Dr Celeste-Marie Bernier
School of American and Canadian Studies
University of Nottingham
Tel: +44 (0) 115 8467600
Fax: +44 (0) 115 9514261
BAAS Annual Conference: University of Edinburgh 2008
The fifty-third BAAS annual conference took place at the University of Edinburgh between 27 and 30 March 2008. About 300 delegates attended the conference, which featured almost 200 papers in nearly 80 panels over ten sessions.
The first day of the conference started with a reception at the Scottish Parliament, sponsored by Christopher Harvie MSP. Rt Hon Alex Salmond MP MSP, Scotland’s First Minister, spoke about Scotland’s connections with the United States, mentioning his own undergraduate dissertation about Abraham Lincoln and the 1860 presidential election.
The Cambridge University Press/Journal of American Studies lecture was delivered by Byron E. Shafer of the University of Wisconsin – Madison. In ‘Where are We in History? Political Orders and Political Eras in the Postwar United States’, Shafer placed the politics of the 2008 campaign within the longer-term perspective of post-World War II history. Brenda Gayle Plummer, also of the University of Wisconsin – Madison, gave a plenary lecture called ‘Peace Was the Glue: Europe and African American Freedom’, based on research for her forthcoming book, America’s Dilemma: Race, Civil Rights, and Foreign Affairs. The Eccles Centre Lecture was ‘John Cage was All the Rage’ by Peter Dickinson, emeritus professor of the University of London and Keele University. A composer and pianist as well as a musicologist, Dickinson used extracts from Cage’s works in explaining and contextualising their innovative qualities.
The conference benefited from the generosity of the US Embassy, especially in supporting the subsidies for postgraduate conference fees. In developing the conference programme, the organisers worked with a number of other US-related scholarly associations; the American Politics Group, the British Group of Early American Historians, and Historians of the Twentieth-Century United States all cross-sponsored panels in partnership with BAAS.
Robert Mason, University of Edinburgh
Annual General Meeting, held at the BAAS annual conference, University of Edinburgh, Friday 28 March 2008
When I attended my first BAAS conference as a postgraduate in Sunderland in 1993, I was still a little unsure what American Studies actually was; it wasn’t a subject that had much profile in my undergraduate work back in Minnesota, where being American wasn’t something that we actually studied. However, my PhD supervisor, Professor Judie Newman, assured me that BAAS was a good thing, and worth getting involved in. As always, her advice has proved invaluable, and as I reflect on my first year as Chair of BAAS, I am happy to report that American Studies continues to thrive in the UK, providing opportunities for postgraduates through to professors to pursue interesting areas of intellectual enquiry. BAAS plays a significant role in this pursuit and dissemination of knowledge on US culture, history, literature, politics, to name but a few of the academic areas that make up this interdisciplinary field, not least in the ways in which we offer both intellectual and financial support for school children, teachers, undergraduates, postgraduates, conference organisers and individual researchers. This year alone, BAAS will award 32 prizes worth a total of £41,000. We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of the US Embassy and also of individual BAAS members who regularly contribute to our Short Term Travel Award funds or who donate anonymously in other ways.
As we await the results of the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, I am happy to report that the research culture of the UK’s American Studies subject community is in a very healthy state, and will be measured not only by the results of Unit 47, American Studies and Anglophone Area Studies, but also by the contributions made to RAE submissions in Politics, English, History, and other subpanels. American Studies has always extended beyond its boundaries, with American Studies research being carried out in most UK universities, though not always under an explicit American Studies banner. Part of BAAS’s remit is to facilitate the wide circulation of information about American Studies in the UK, and to ensure that the work that our members do receives the exposure that it deserves. This year we were able to acknowledge the important work undertaken by Peter Boyle (Nottingham) in relation to setting up the original BAAS Teaching Assistantships by renaming them after him.
American Studies experts in the UK continue to secure a whole range of awards, fellowships and prizes. They are selected to serve on AHRC peer review panels, and many have received promotions within their home universities or achieved career progression by moving to other institutions.
For example, over the past year our members have received much-deserved promotions, including the following individuals:
Neil Campbell has been promoted to Professor of American Studies at Derby. Dick Ellis has been promoted to Professor at Birmingham. Mark Phythian has been appointed as Chair of Politics in the field of international security and global foreign policy at the University of Leicester. Neil Wynn was made Professor of American Studies at the University of Gloucester.
Professor Tim Woods has been appointed Dean of the Faculty of Arts at Aberystwyth, and Dr Jenel Virden has been appointed Head of Humanities at Hull.
Dr Rebecca Earle has been promoted to Reader at Warwick. George Lewis has been promoted to Reader in American History at Leicester and has been named the new Director of the Centre for American Studies at Leicester starting in January 2009. Jay Prosser has been promoted to Reader in Humanities at Leeds.
Professor Margaret Walsh (Nottingham) has been awarded a Leverhulme Emeritus Professorship.
Professor Martin Halliwell has been invited to join the AHRC Postgraduate Panel 3 (English Language and Literature) for a full three-year term, from 2007 to 2010. Martin has also been appointed Head of School of English at Leicester from autumn 2008.
BAAS members have received important and high profile AHRC awards in the last year, including Dr Matthew Jones, Professor Peter Messent and Professor Douglas Tallack (all at Nottingham) and Dr Alan Rice (UCLAN).
Alan Rice and Duco Van Oostrum (Sheffield) were awarded National Teaching Fellowships for their contributions to American Studies.
Will Kaufman (UCLAN) was awarded a prestigious Woody Guthrie Research Fellowship, which will allow him to spend time in the Guthrie Archives in New York this summer. Many other BAAS members receive both small and large grants and awards.
On a sadder note, we say goodbye to long time BAAS member Dr Robert Harrison (University of Wales Aberystwyth), who died in May 2007.
As Chair of BAAS, I attended many functions on the community’s behalf over the past year, including inaugural lectures such as Susan Castillo’s at King’s College London, an AHRC event in London in June 2007 and another in Edinburgh in October, the UKCASA AGM in December, and the JAS editorial board meeting. I am happy to say that BAAS and JAS continue to work together well, and that there are plans to digitise all of the back issues of JAS in order to aid American Studies scholarship. I met with Penny Egan, Executive Director of the Fulbright Commission, in order to plan ways of working together more closely on areas of mutual interest. On a more social note, I attended a luncheon with former President Jimmy Carter on 21 June 2007 at the Rothermere American Institute, where he was offered the George Oglethorpe medal, and the Ambassador’s 4th of July barbeque at Winfield House. I returned to Winfield House on 20 September to meet the new Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission, the Honourable Richard LeBaron, the new Minister-Counsellor for Public Affairs, Mr Barrie Walkley, and the new Defence and Naval Attaché, Rear Admiral Ron Henderson.
More importantly, perhaps, on behalf of BAAS, the officers and members of the Executive Committee work extremely hard to protect and enhance American Studies in the UK. We aim to ensure that the voice of American Studies is heard as universities, funding bodies and the government make their decisions. Thus, we respond to a variety of consultation exercises, often with little notice. Over the last year, this has included responding to the following:
- a HEFCE review of specialist library funding
- a consultation on the contribution that BAAS makes to knowledge transfer activities
- the AHRC’s proposals on block grant
- the AHRC’s plans to move to a new panel structure
- a Joseph Rowntree report on Ethical Guidance
- British Library consultations on research outputs in India and China, and on the collection policy of US patents
- a survey on the economic impact of American Studies for a British Academy/LSE project intitled ‘Maximising the Impact of the Humanities and Social Science Research’
- QAA subject benchmarks
- the European Reference Index for the Humanities
- the Research Excellence Framework
We also respond, again at short notice, to media requests, finding speakers who are willing to discuss the US elections, the cultural significance of hula hoops, gang violence, the relevance of Flag Day and other matters. We support the development of other related organisations and societies, including HOTCUS, Historians of Twentieth Century United States, members of whom are attending this conference, and the Transatlantic Studies Association.
I would like to thank all of the members of the BAAS Executive Committee, including Ian Bell, Paul Blackburn, Susan Castillo, Richard Crockatt, Philip Davies, Dick Ellis, Martin Halliwell, Will Kaufman, George Lewis, Sarah MacLachlan, Jo Metcalf, Theresa Saxon, Ian Scott, and most especially the other officers, Jude Davies, Catherine Morley, and Graham Thompson. I am also very grateful to Sue Wedlake, Michael Macey and Ambassador Tuttle at the Embassy of the United States, for their support of American Studies in Britain.
BAAS conferences remain just as engaging and stimulating as my first, where I met other postgraduates who remain important friends and American Studies allies. These conferences are vital to Britain’s American Studies community, and they succeed because of a tremendous amount of preparation and hard work. I am very grateful Robert Mason and his colleagues at Edinburgh for organising such an excellent conference.
Minutes of 2008 BAAS AGM
The 2008 AGM of BAAS was held on Friday 28 March at the University of Edinburgh at 3.15 p.m.
Secretary Catherine Morley (to 2011)
Treasurer Theresa Saxon (to 2009)†
Committee Will Kaufman (to 2011)*
Robert Mason (to 2011)
Mark Whalan (to 2011)
Andrew Lawson (to 2009)†
PG Rep Michael Collins (to 2010)*
*Not eligible for re-election to this position.
†Fulfilling an unexpired term due to a resignation from the office.
The Treasurer, Graham Thompson, circulated copies of the draft audited accounts, which he asked the AGM to approve. As well as the accounts, GT circulated the Trustees’ Report which now takes 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. However, from next year a statement will need to be included in the accounts about how the charity provides public benefit. One of the principles of the public benefit test is that where benefit is to a section of the public, the opportunity to benefit must not be unreasonably restricted by geographical or other restrictions or by ability to pay any fees charged.
GT informed the AGM that the key figure this year is the healthy deficit of £21,503, compared to a surplus of £4,515 in 2006. GT reassured the AGM that this largely due to the fact that BAAS paid out £17,000 in Eccles Centre Awards during 2007, although the money for these awards was received in 2006 and therefore inflated the 2006 accounts. This situation will not occur in 2008, since the Eccles Centre funding will be both received and awarded during the current accounting period. The deficit is also partly due to the fact that all travel awards were increased to £750 from £500 in 2007. Furthermore, other funding (from the US Embassy) for conferences and prizes was down over £8,000.
GT noted that subscriptions were up by almost £6,000 and he also reported on membership figures; there are currently 523 fully paid up members (including 190 postgraduates), which compares with 435 at this time last year and 384 in April 2006.
Richard Crockatt proposed that the accounts be approved; Nick Selby seconded the motion, and it was carried forward unanimously.
GT reported on progress made with 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 another claim to the Inland Revenue for £3,225.54. In all, combined with the amount claimed last year, it should bring in approximately £8,000. This sets the BAAS Gift Aid ready to claim on a rolling basis.
Finally, GT reported that he had issued all BAAS members with membership numbers in Autumn 2007. All members without numbers should contact GT for details.
The Chair offered a comprehensive verbal report, which is reproduced in full above.
Sarah MacLachlan began her report by acknowledging what a huge success the Edinburgh conference had been so far, and offered public congratulations to Robert Mason and his team for the hard work they had put in before and during the conference. SM noted that this year she had visited the 2009 conference site in Nottingham with Celeste-Marie Bernier, the 2009 Conference Organiser. The conference will be based at the University of Nottingham (16–19 April 2009) and preparations are already well underway. SM noted that the call for papers was available in conference packs and members were asked to consider submitting proposals early to allow for planning.
The 2010 conference will be held at the University of East Anglia, organised by Thomas Ruys-Smith. SM also announced that the University of Central Lancashire is now confirmed for the 2011 conference and that Manchester had expressed interested in hosting the 2012 conference. Finally, SM invited suggestions for future conferences.
Martin Halliwell began his 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. He then reported on some of the highlights of the year in relation to the Publications Subcommittee. In relation to BRRAM, new microform releases include ‘Records Relating to the Liverpool Slave Trade in the Liverpool Record Office’ and ‘The American Correspondence of Arthur C. Murray with Franklin D. Roosevelt’. Forthcoming releases will include ‘The Canadian Papers of the 4th Earl of Minto’ and ‘The Manuscripts of Samuel Martin, a sugar planter in C18th Antigua’ (with an introduction by Natalie Zacek from the University of Manchester). MH noted that Ken Morgan continues to be very active in developing the BRRAM catalogue and is looking to expand the number of large American research libraries that have a standing order to take all the BRRAM titles.
In relation to the BAAS EUP series, which is edited by Simon Newman, Carol Smith and EUP Senior Commissioning Editor, Nicola Ramsey, MH noted that the team has been busy in 2008 with the ever-expanding series. New additions to the series are: Mark Hulsether’s book Religion, Culture and Politics in the C20th United States (co-published with Columbia UP) and Rebecca Tillett’s Contemporary Native American Literature. Celeste-Marie Bernier’s African American Visual Arts is in press and scheduled for publication in September 2008. SN and CS are always happy to discuss ideas and proposals and ask that interested parties approach them directly.
MH noted that the JAS Editor, Susan Castillo, and Associate Editor, Scott Lucas, have been working very hard in 2008, streamlining the JAS editorial processes, including the introduction of a new manuscript review form for the journal’s reviewers. In 2007 Simon Newman and Carol Smith joined the JAS Editorial Board, followed in early 2008 by Paul Giles. In late 2007 Bevan Sewell took over as Editorial Assistant after a long and diligent stint by John Matlin. Finally on JAS, MH noted that it is planned to have JAS available on JSTOR – likely to be late 2008.
MH reported that Alison Kelly (Rothermere American Institute) took over as Editor of American Studies in Britain from Catherine Morley in summer 2007. CM’s last issue as Editor was in autumn 2007 and AK’s first as Editor was spring 2008 (no. 98). MH noted that thanks are due to both CM and AK for maintaining this really important publication within the American Studies community.
MH informed the AGM that Elizabeth Boyle continues as Editor of US Studies Online. Issue 11 was published in November 2007 and EB is working on Issue 12, which will include a number of papers first aired at the 2007 Manchester BAAS Postgraduate Conference.
MH reported that Graham Thompson has continued to maintain the BAAS Website in 2007–8, in addition to his Treasurer duties. GT has agreed to continue with the website in the short term, but BAAS members interested in becoming the Web Officer should contact MH. BAAS would be able to supply training for this role.
MH thanked GT for his work on the Website and Clare Elliott for her proficient and always easy-to-navigate BAAS web bulletins. Clare has also agreed to continue with this role for the short term. Finally, MH thanked colleagues on the Publications Subcommittee for the work they have done in 2007–8.
Richard Crockatt began his verbal report by noting that most important issue facing the Development Subcommittee in 2007–8 has been the recruitment challenge faced by the subject nationally. In figures reported to the June 2007 Executive Committee meeting, it was noted that numbers of students entering coded American Studies programmes in 2006 showed a halving as compared with 1996. The sharpest drop has come since 2003. This is a real challenge for the Development Subcommittee. RC observed that even acknowledging that these figures do not take account of joint programmes or American subjects undertaken as part of degrees in, for example, History, English and Politics, the figures are striking enough to have provoked comment in national newspapers. The subcommittee has responded to this challenge partly through involvement (along with the University of Birmingham) in the production of a CD-Rom ‘Discover American Studies’ (further details below). RC also noted that, as Chair of the Development Subcommittee, he undertook a survey of heads of departments and programmes about possible use of the CD-Rom for recruitment purposes; he wrote the text for ‘Why American Studies?’ which has been placed on the BAAS website as an aid to recruitment to the subject.
RC offered thanks to the American Embassy for their continued support, noting that in 2007–8 the Embassy had continued its generous support of BAAS activities, in particular for awards and conference support. During summer 2007 the Embassy instituted a new and more rigorous procedure for application for grants, involving a form requesting specific information about items of proposed expenditure rather than general headings. A separate financial form was also required for each grant. In this round of applications, the following grants were applied for and received: the Ambassador’s Awards received £2,830; £5,000 was made available to facilitate attendance of postgraduates at the annual BAAS Conference; £2,050 was granted to support administration and related costs of the BAAS conference. All of these grants amount to a grand total of £9,880 in Embassy support.
RC noted that much time and energy had gone into the production of the ‘Discover American Studies’ CD-Rom, funded by a grant from the US Embassy and carried out at Birmingham University by Sara Wood under the overall supervision of Dick Ellis. A comprehensive presentation of the project was given at the September 2007 meeting of the Development Subcommittee, the response to which was that ‘all agreed that the project was of high quality and worth investing in’. Following consultation with heads of American Studies departments and programmes about how they could use the ‘Discover American Studies’ CD-Rom, it was agreed that BAAS would purchase a significant number of copies to be distributed among departments and programmes for recruiting purposes. A final version is now ready for distribution in time for the 2009 university admissions round. The subcommittee wishes to thank DE and SW for the hard work which has gone into the production of the CD-Rom.
RC reported that he had also attended the spring meeting of the Language, Linguistics and Area Studies (LLAS) Subject Centre Advisory Board. It was felt important for BAAS to retain active membership in LLAS. During further discussion of LLAS at the January 2008 Development Subcommittee meeting, it was noted that LLAS planned to set aside funds for teaching proposals in area studies, strengthening the reasons for BAAS representation. The question has been raised whether the BAAS Development Subcommittee Chair should continue to attend LLAS Advisory Board given that two other BAAS Executive Committee members were members of the LLAS Advisory Board in other capacities. It was felt that it was still important to retain the present level of BAAS representation since two of the three BAAS members on the LLAS Advisory Board were not specifically representing BAAS.
RC noted that postgraduate participation at the annual BAAS conferences continues to be impressive and the separate annual Postgraduate Conference attracts increasing numbers, indicating a high level of motivation and activity on the part of postgraduates in American Studies. The Manchester 2007 BAAS Postgraduate Conference was a great success, with a record attendance of 103 postgraduates. The quality of the papers is reported to have been very high. Plans for the 2008 BAAS Postgraduate Conference at Exeter University are well advanced. RC extended warm thanks to Jo Metcalf for coordinating postgraduate business in an efficient and enthusiastic manner.
RC also reported that Paul Blackburn took over the Schools’ Liaison brief during the year. PB concurred with the conclusion of Sara Wood’s research (undertaken for the CD-Rom ‘Discover American Studies’) that what schools most needed was teacher champions, visits from academics to schools/colleges, and schools conferences. RC noted that sixth formers from Parrs Wood Sixth Form Centre attended the Manchester postgraduate conference, described by them as ‘excellent’. RC extended warm thanks to PB for the work he has undertaken in his first months as Schools’ Liaison Officer.
Ian Scott began his verbal report by thanking the partners and associates who help financially or in an organisational or administrative capacity, especially the US Embassy, the Eccles Centre at the British Library, the University of New Hampshire, and the University of Virginia at Monticello. IS also thanked members of BAAS who donate funds to support the Short Term Travel Awards. IS also extended further thanks to all the anonymous judges (from within and outside the Executive Committee) who contributed to the successful business of the Awards subcommittee. IS noted that BAAS would distribute 32 awards (not including honourable mentions) for 2008, encompassing awards to A-level students and established scholars, worth over £41,000. He noted that this bodes well for the discipline. IS concluded by urging members to continue to apply for the STAs, the PG Awards and the Founders’ Awards, the PG Essay Prizes, and the Eccles Centre Awards.
Libraries and Resources:
Dick Ellis began his report by extending thanks to Matthew Shaw for his work on the production of the BLARs journal. The next issue will focus on resources in film and cinema. DE also thanked Sue Wedlake and the Embassy for their continued support, as well as thanking Phil Davies and the Eccles Centre at the British Library. DE noted that BLARs continues its work in mapping out and supporting libraries and resources, especially developments in digitalisation and the e-environment. DE concluded his report by extending his thanks to all the members of the BLARs subcommittee.
Phil Davies reminded the AGM of the EAAS conference in Oslo in May, details of which members had received in the newsletter and via the BAAS e-list. PD also reminded the AGM of EJAS and encouraged the membership to submit to this valuable resource. He concluded by recommending registration for the EAAS e-list to the AGM
There was no any other business.
The AGM concluded at 4.15pm.
Professor Charlotte Erickson (1923–2008)
In 1963 I had to choose a topic for my B. Litt. and because I had been awarded a scholarship that would take me to Berkeley and because there seemed to have been little work done on British migration to the west coast of the United States, I decided to study British migration to California up to 1870. There were three great presences in the United Kingdom in the field of migration studies in the early sixties, Charlotte Erickson, Maldwyn Jones and Frank Thistlethwaite. I soon became acquainted with their work and particularly came to admire Charlotte’s publications. They were clearly produced by a scholar of high intelligence, prodigious energy, a love of archival work and an innovative mind. She was someone to emulate.
I met Charlotte thereafter at various conferences and meetings organised by the British Association for American Studies and similar bodies but did not come into close contact until 1968 when she was appointed the External Examiner of my thesis, Max Beloff being the internal. During the examination I became aware of how seriously Charlotte took her responsibilities. She had read the thesis with great care and had much to say and to ask. To my chagrin she had found the only inaccurate statistic in a work crammed with figures but to my delight she obviously felt the work had some merit. As the examination proceeded I began to feel that the thesis was going to be accepted subject to minor corrections and I also began to sense that Max Beloff was beginning to become restive as Charlotte continued to probe my findings. After a while his body language said that he thought the event should come to a close but he could not stop Charlotte. He tried looking at his watch, but to no avail. He murmured the word train but that did not stop her. Eventually he told Charlotte that she had to finish if she was going to get back to London by her chosen train. He got up and offered her her coat, helped her into it, opened the door and stood waiting not entirely patiently. Charlotte finally took the hint and passed through the door. I sometimes remember that she continued the flow of remarks and comments as she was led away down the corridor towards the main entrance and that her voice grew ever fainter as she went. But that cannot have been the case.
I next came into close contact in 1983 when Charlotte became Chairman of the British Association for American Studies – and she always insisted on being called Chairman. I was then Treasurer of the Association and during her tenure moved to become Secretary, so I worked closely with her in what was a very vibrant organisation. She was an excellent Chairman as far as her fellow officers were concerned, hard-working, efficient, reliable and committed. She had been an early officer of the Association herself and so knew what was required. Since those early years the Association had broadened the range of its activities and had consequently become more reliant on external funding, especially on grants from the American Embassy. Charlotte was a little shocked at the extent of the dependency and had to be assured that the money came without attached strings. Her commitment to the independence of the Association led me to remark to a colleague that she was ‘the conscience of BAAS’. Naturally this was relayed to her but fortunately it pleased her mightily. She valued her reputation for independence and incorruptibility.
Charlotte took on the Chairmanship of BAAS even as she was planning to move from the LSE to Cambridge. It was a mark of her dedication to American Studies in the United Kingdom that she agreed to take on the Chairmanship when the move gave her every reason for refusing. For a while she felt that the move to Cambridge had not been entirely a happy one, particularly as the college she joined valued fellows not by their eminence but by the date of election and so early visits found her in a small room in a back quad sharing with two others. She wondered how the college expected her to do any work. Most of the undergraduates had better quarters.
In 1990 when she became Emeritus Professor she was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, marking the level of her international reputation. She showed her continuing support for the subject of American Studies in the United Kingdom by giving a substantial sum to the BAAS Short-term Awards scheme, which had been set up to provide grants to help graduate students pursue research in the United Sates. At the end of her career she was thus thinking of those at the beginning of theirs. Generous, courteous, committed – that was Charlotte Erickson.
Center for Urban Policy Research, Rutgers University
Dr Robert Harrison (1944–2007)
Dr Robert Harrison died on 6 May 2007 after a long illness. Dr Harrison had been a member of the Department of History and Welsh History at Aberystwyth University for over thirty years, and had lived near Aberystwyth, at Llandre, with his wife, Jean, and his sons, Matthew and Stephen.
From his native Sunderland, where his mother, Beatrice, still lives, Robert Harrison took his first degree at St. John’s College, Cambridge in 1966, and completed his PhD in 1971, the same year in which he joined the Department of History (later the Department of History and Welsh History) at Aberystwyth. His numerous publications on nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American politics, particularly on Congress and on the District of Columbia, made a very significant contribution to the field. They include: State and Society in Twentieth-century America (1997); Congress, Progressive Reform, and the New American State (2004); ‘An Experimental Station for Lawmaking: Congress and the District of Columbia, 1862–1878’, Civil War History 53 (March 2007); ‘Welfare and Employment Policies of the Freedmen’s Bureau in the District of Columbia’, Journal of Southern History 72 (February 2006); ‘From Biracial Democracy to Direct Rule: The End of Self-Government in the Nation’s Capital, 1865–1878’, Journal of Policy History 18 (Spring 2006); and ‘Race, Radicalism and Reconstruction: Grass-Roots Republican Politics in the District of Columbia’, American Nineteenth Century History 3 (Fall 2002). An active participant in the research community of American history, Robert was a long-standing member of BAAS and closely involved in the British American Nineteenth Century Historians’ organisation (BrANCH), organising two major conferences on American history in 2000 and 2004.
His colleagues at Aberystwyth remember Robert not only as a researcher, but as an energetic and committed lecturer, teaching a broad range of courses in American history for both History and American Studies degrees. For a number of years Robert oversaw the American Studies degree board and was a forceful advocate for the importance of American history within the teaching syllabus. He was as powerful an advocate for his students and many benefited from his calm, quiet, often wry, but always self-effacing support and expertise. Robert’s teaching interests, as well as his writing and research, extended into historiography; he was a mainstay of the Department’s work in this area and contributed three separate pieces for a recent collection of essays on historiography (essays on professionalisation in American history, sociology and history, and ‘new social history’, in Making History (Routledge, 2004)).
Robert will be remembered by those who worked with him on a daily basis as an excellent colleague, entirely dependable and calmly efficient. During his illness, Robert continued to work, almost until the last, with the same quiet professionalism and generosity of spirit that had served him and those who knew him so well. He is greatly missed by all who knew him: friends, colleagues and students alike.
Requests and Notices
Call for a new Editor for U.S. Studies Online: The BAAS Postgraduate Journal
This summer Dr Elizabeth Boyle will complete her term as Editor of U.S. Studies Online: http://http://www.baas.ac.uk/resources/usstudiesonline/issue.asp?us=12. Therefore the British Association for American Studies (BAAS) welcomes applications for a new Editor of U.S. Studies Online for a term of two years.
This peer-reviewed online journal enables postgraduate students at British and international universities to have their work published in a high-quality refereed environment. Each issue covers a broad range of topics, drawing upon the interdisciplinary nature of American Studies to incorporate History, Politics, Cultural Studies, Literature and Film. The editor works with the editorial board (see http://http://www.baas.ac.uk/resources/usstudiesonline/default.asp) to produce two issues a year. S/he will be expected to attend the annual BAAS postgraduate conference (this will be held at the University of Exeter in November 2008), papers from which constitute one issue, and to develop good contacts throughout the BAAS postgraduate network. S/he must be a postgraduate or an early career scholar and be a member of BAAS. Knowledge of and skills in managing online resources will be useful.
Please send a letter of application with a curriculum vitae and arrange for one academic reference to be sent to the Chair of the BAAS Publications Subcommittee, Professor Martin Halliwell on firstname.lastname@example.org or to the Centre for American Studies, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH.
The application deadline is Monday 22 September 2008. The successful candidate will be notified in autumn 2008.
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 email@example.com. 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
Centre for American Studies
University of Leicester
Leicester, LE1 7RH
Simon Newman and Carol Smith edit the BAAS/EUP paperback series. We are delighted to announce the publication of the latest title in the series, Celeste-Marie Bernier’s African American Visual Arts. We are happy to discuss ideas for proposals in all fields of American Studies, and we are particularly interested in commissioning titles in the following areas: slavery in the nineteenth century (Revolution–Civil War) ; immigration ; the press; sport in American culture; the Cold War (politics, culture, society); foreign policy (post-45 to present; First World War; contemporary America (post 1960s); literary sub-genres (poetry, crime fiction, etc.); American film/cinema/ Hollywood; America at war; African Americans.
Contact Simon Newman (S.Newman@History.arts.gla.ac.uk) and Carol Smith (Carol.Smith@winchester.ac.uk )
Journal of American History Scholarship Records
The Journal of American History requests information about recent dissertations and publications in American History for inclusion in its periodically published compilation of recent scholarship. The doctoral dissertations can date back to 2005. Please submit the following information: author, title of dissertation, institution, location of institution and year of completion. If you have written a monograph or chapter in a volume published in the UK, which might not therefore have crossed the JAH’s radar screen, please send me the relevant publication information.
The same applies to journal articles in UK serials (although JAH is usually quite efficient in obtaining the contents of serials published in the UK). If you are uncertain whether your article or the contents of your journal are routinely included in the JAH recent publications list, please send me the relevant information just in case. For a journal article, please send the author, title of article, title of journal, volume, date and page numbers. JAH publishes its recent scholarship listing at regular intervals, so please feel free to send me relevant information for new dissertations or publications as they appear.
Patrick Hagopian (international contributing editor to JAH), Lancaster University: firstname.lastname@example.org
BAAS Conference Plenary in Print
Brenda Gayle Plummer’s opening plenary lecture at this year’s BAAS conference is now in print: ‘Peace Was the Glue: Europe and African American Freedom’, Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society, 10:2 (2008): 103–122.
should go through the BAAS representative to EAAS, Philip Davies (Philip.Davies@bl.uk).
The EAAS online journal, the European Journal of American Studies, encourages submissions from all American Studies approaches. http://ejas.revues.org/
BAAS members are also reminded about the availability of EAAS travel grants. For details and application procedure, see http://www.eaas.eu/travel_grants.htm.
European Association for American Studies Conference, Oslo, May 2008
Twenty-seven workshops formed the core of the EAAS conference held in May in Oslo, and provided a wide range of choice during every session of the meeting. British leadership was evident in a number of these: ‘Staging the Nation: The Theatre of American Identities’, chaired by Theresa Saxon (UCLAN); ‘Primitive Modernisms and Diasporic Americas’, co-chaired by Dick Ellis (Birmingham); ‘Nationhood and the Deployment of Sexuality’, co-chaired by Carol Smith (Winchester); ‘E Pluribus Unum in Wartime’, co-chaired by Jude Davis (Winchester); ‘Pluribus Unum or Pluribus Una? Europeans Represent the United States on Screen’, co-chaired by Melvyn Stokes (UCL). In addition Robert Lewis (Birmingham) delivered a parallel lecture, ‘E Pluribus Plures: Racial Intermarriage and the American Dilemma’. A high point of this year’s meeting was the awarding of the American Studies Network Book Prize to Jacqueline Fear-Segal (UEA) for her book White Man’s Club: Schools, Race, and the Struggle of Indian Acculturation.
The main business of the conference was hosted on the attractive Blindern campus, with some opening events hosted in imposing downtown buildings of the University. Generous hospitality was provided by the Mayor of Oslo, and (albeit to restricted numbers for security reasons) by the US Ambassador. The conference dinner was scarcely silver service, but was taken as part of a cruise through Oslo harbour in the late sunset of a lovely day; the ambience could hardly have been better.
Each two years the conference brings together a remarkable international gathering of Americanists. As in previous conference years a selection of papers will be collected into a conference volume. In addition the editors of the European Journal of American Studies used the conference to scout for contributions to the on-line journal. Experience shows that many other publications have resulted from the EAAS conference in the form of journal articles and edited volumes.
The EAAS conference organisers are always keen to increase the disciplinary, thematic and international representation at the meeting. The next EAAS conference will be held in Dublin, 26–29 March 2010. The conference theme is ‘”Forever Young”? The Changing Images of America’, which allows room for myriad approaches. If you have not taken part previously it is worth knowing that the submission process is rather different to that adopted by most conferences. The conference is made up of workshops, each with its own theme, and usually aims to consist of a couple of panels of three or four papers each featuring an international team of speakers. The call for participation comes in two parts. A call for workshop topic proposals will be made well in advance of the conference. Once a selection of workshop themes has been made, they are publicised and individual paper proposals within the topic areas are invited. Do start thinking early of the possibilities for themes that you might like to propose, and international partners who might also contribute in the same area.
Events at the Eccles Centre for American Studies @ the British Library
Reporting America, Reporting Britain: Alistair Cooke Event
Alistair Cooke, best known for his weekly BBC broadcast Letter from America, enjoyed an extraordinary life in print, radio and TV. To celebrate the centenary of his birth and publication of Reporting America, a new volume of previously unpublished Cooke reportage, a panel of leading British and American journalists including Mary Jordan (Washington Post) and Jim Sciutto (ABC News) will discuss how they report each other’s countries. Chaired by the writer and journalist Dominic Sandbrook. Reception following.
Event date: Monday 13 October
Time: 18:30 – 20:00
Location: Conference Centre, British Library
Price: £6 (£4 concessions) from British Library box office
US Presidential Election Debate
A debate between the Chairs of Republicans Abroad and Democrats Abroad; Sir Robert Worcester, founder of MORI, to moderate. The event is sponsored by the Eccles Centre for American Studies, the British Library, in association with Benjamin Franklin House, a museum and educational facility located in London in Franklin’s only surviving residence.
Event date: Wednesday 29 October 2008
Time: 19.00 – 20.00 (debate followed by reception)
Location: Conference Centre, British Library
Price: £8 (£5 concessions). For tickets email email@example.com or phone (0)20 7839 2006.
Workshop for Researchers: ‘”No More Secrets”: or, how to get the most out of the American foreign policy resources at the British Library’
Convenors: Professor Matthew Jones (University of Nottingham) and Dr Steven Casey (London School of Economics)
This workshop will introduce researchers, including postgraduate MA and PhD students, to American foreign policy primary sources at the British Library. It will highlight the Library’s printed document collections, newspaper resources, and microfilm holdings as well as its ever-expanding digital collections and will particularly emphasise materials on the twentieth century. The convenors will illustrate how these abundant and valuable resources can be used in a practical and applied way for discrete projects, and will use case studies of their own research experiences to show this in action. There will be opportunities for all those attending to discuss their own work and to discover how it might benefit from the resources the British Library can offer.
Event date: Monday 3 November 2008
Time: 3p.m. – 4.30 p.m.
Location: Conference Centre, British Library
The workshop is sponsored by the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library. Admission is free; booking is essential.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7412 7757.
BAAS/American Politics Group Annual Colloquium
This year’s colloquium comes just a few days after the US elections, and will look at the election results as well as considering the prospects for the new administration. Confirmed speakers include Dr Tim Hames, chief leader writer of The Times, and US Congressman John J. Rhodes (R – AZ, 1987–1993) together with a Democratic former Member of Congress.
This year’s Neustadt Prize for a book on US politics by a British author will be presented.
Event date: Friday 14 November
Time: about 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Location: US Embassy auditorium, Grosvenor Square, London.
Details will be available nearer the date from Dr Andy Wroe A.J.Wroe@kent.ac.uk
Watch This Space – Eccles Centre Events Coming in the New Year
Lecture by Timothy Garton-Ash
Co-sponsored with the Fulbright Commission, 20 January 2009
Event to commemmorate 200th Anniversary of Lincoln’s birth
Co-sponsored with the US Embassy, 9February 2009
Will Kaufman & Woody Guthrie
To complement the Library’s Taking Liberties exhibition, 25 February 2009
Prospects for the New US administraion
Annual debate of the Academy of Social Sciences, 9 March 2009
Full details of these future events will appear on the centre’s webpages: http://www.bl.uk/ecclescentre
The Right Man? Assessing George W. Bush’s Legacy
Conference at the British Library sponsored by the Eccles Centre and the Institute for the Study of the Americas
Monday 2 March 2009
Rating the Bush Presidency: Andrew Rudelavige
Panel I: Bush in Government
The Executive Style of George Bush: TBC
Bush and Congress: John Owens
Bush and the Judiciary: Robert McKeever
Panel II: Ideology and Ideas in the Bush Presidency
Bush as a Big-Government Conservative: Alex Waddan
Was Bush a Neoconservative in Foreign Policy?: Tim Lynch
Bush the Supply-Sider: Iwan Morgan
Panel III: The Foreign Policy Legacy
Charting a New Course: Rob Singh
Counting the Cost: John Dumbrell
Panel IV: The Electoral Dimension
The Significance of the 2008 Elections: Philip Davies
Eccles Centre Web Exhibition
‘Singing the Dream’: a new online exhibition of American sheet music at the British Library
It is well known that the British Library houses one of the world’s foremost collections of American books, manuscripts, journals, newspapers and sound recordings. Perhaps less well known, however, is its collection of American sheet music – a collection that provides a unique and fascinating insight into every aspect of American life: political, social and economic.
This exhibition, curated by the Eccles Centre, focuses on the major political events and social changes of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It includes songs about the war of 1812, the Mexican American War, slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction, the women’s suffrage movement, the temperance movement, the Spanish American War, presidential campaigns, and the rise of consumerism.
View the exhibition online at www.bl.uk/eccles/sing
Jean Petrovic, Eccles Centre for American Studies, the British Library
Reports from Eccles Centre Fellows
Professor Lane Crothers, Illinois State University
As Eccles Centre Visiting Professor in North American Studies at the British Library from September 2007 through February 2008 I was able to access several collections unique to the British Library. I drafted Chapters One and Two of my proposed book, The Essential Nation, and conducted substantial research and finished significant preparation for Chapter Three. I was also able to contact and interview several distinguished academic experts on British responses to terrorism, and to interview a number of British citizens about their experiences of living with terrorist incidents both in the past (the IRA bombing campaign) and recently (the attacks of July 7, 2005 and afterwards). This invaluable research led me to change some of the book’s organisation and enriched its analysis of the history of American war making and public opinion.
My visiting professorship also gave me the opportunity to make a number of presentations, both in the UK and in Turkey. I presented at the American Politics Group Colloquium held at the US Embassy, London, November 2007; at De Montfort University, Leicester, November 2007; at the C21st Curatorship Seminar, held at the British Library, London, November 2007; and at Kadir Has University, Istanbul, February 2008. In addition to the intellectual opportunities each of these presentations offered, I was able to establish professional relationships with colleagues across the UK and in Istanbul, and to interact with students in diverse academic settings. These were truly wonderful experiences, and I was pleased to be able to carry the work of the Eccles Centre to these environments.
A third accomplishment of my visiting professorship derived more from its status as ‘visiting’ than ‘professor’: the experience of living in London and navigating a culture that, while similar to that of the United States, is nonetheless different. I was further able to expand this cross-cultural experience with brief trips to Amsterdam and Rome in addition to my professional trip to Istanbul. London, of course, is a world capital city with unsurpassed opportunities for theatre, music and museums, and I enjoyed these cultural highlights. But the experience of ‘visiting’ also meant restaurants, navigating the tube, walking distances that no American would normally consider walking, and of course coming into contact with all of the world’s cultures, norms, mores and traditions in even a casual afternoon’s stroll. For a student of culture, this was an invaluable experience, and one that has enriched both my personal life and my understanding of how to teach when I return to the classroom.
As I hope this report makes clear, I found the visiting professorship to be both professionally and personally engaging, important and valuable. I appreciate the opportunity, and wish both the Eccles Centre and future visiting professors all the best.
Professor Simon Newman, University of Glasgow
I spent the period from mid-May to mid-July 2007 and then a further two weeks in September 2007 at the British Library as an Eccles Centre Fellow in North American Studies. This fellowship enabled me to complete my research into seventeenth- and eighteenth-century travel narratives, as well as my investigation of the published accounts of former slaves who were familiar with different parts of the British Atlantic world. The research is for a monograph exploring the transformation of labour in – and occasioned by – the British Atlantic world in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
I am very familiar with various archives and research libraries in the United States, but this project has afforded me my first opportunity to undertake significant research in the British Library. Even as an early Americanist, well aware that many of the primary sources for my period were generated and stored in the United Kingdom, I was amazed at the wealth of materials available there. Just as importantly, I found the new building at St. Pancras a wonderful place to work, whether in the Humanities reading rooms, the Rare Books reading room, or the Manuscripts and Maps reading room. I look forward to using the British Library as much as possible in the future, and I am very grateful for the Eccles Centre Visiting Fellowship.
Dr Jennifer Terry, University of Durham
The award to me of an Eccles Centre Visiting Fellowship in North American Studies at the BAAS annual conference in April 2007 presented a wonderful research opportunity. My proposal had centred on a long-planned monograph taking a comparative approach to twentieth century literary engagements with the black diaspora. The application’s success meant that I was able to spend a series of visits to London utilising the British Library’s American collections and, in particular, working with holdings relating to early and mid twentieth century US and Caribbean fiction. Research leave from my home institution during Autumn 2007 allowed greater than usual flexibility in travel and in all I had five week-long stays in London. During this period I made considerable progress in gathering and assimilating primary and critical materials of significance for my exploration of diasporic imaginaries.
An additional benefit was being able to attend both a lecture and a concert, part of the Eccles Centre’s regular programme of events, and to enjoy several of the exhibitions hosted by the British Library during the tenure of my fellowship.
I would like to offer my thanks to BAAS and the Eccles Centre for American Studies for their support of this scheme and my work, also acknowledging a debt to my sister, whose spare room in North London helped my funds to go further. ‘Shuttles in the Rocking Loom of History’: Mapping the Black Diaspora in African American and Caribbean Fiction will be forthcoming from Liverpool University Press in 2009.
Travel Award Reports
Abraham Lincoln Award
Daniel Peart, University College London
I was delighted to receive the inaugural Abraham Lincoln Award for the best proposal in the field of nineteenth-century US history and culture in the 2007–8 BAAS Short-Term Travel Grants competition. As a result, I was able to spend five weeks at the Library of Congress, Washington DC, during April and May 2008, collecting materials toward my PhD thesis, provisionally entitled ‘Popular engagement with politics in the United States, 1820–1825’. The early 1820s have been relatively understudied, and are often misrepresented as a period in which ordinary Americans simply lost interest in politics. I aim to challenge this interpretation, and also to engage with wider debates about the nature of popular involvement in antebellum politics, and the role of political parties in participatory democracy.
As this was my first visit to the US as part of my PhD, my goal was to collect as much relevant material as possible, both in order to advance my overall project and to allow me to identify possible case studies that would guide future research trips. In addition, the funding from BAAS allowed me to conduct research for a paper on the opposition to the establishment of slavery in Illinois in 1823–4, to be presented at the British American Nineteenth Century Historians Conference in September 2008.
Since I aim to explore what politics meant to ordinary Americans, I began with the most obvious source: personal diaries and journals. The almost uniformly awful handwriting of the authors, superior only to my own scrawled notes, limited the use I could make of unpublished papers in the Manuscript Division, but fortunately I also found a surprisingly large number in published form. These ranged in size and usefulness from scattered journal extracts in obscure local historical society periodicals to the three-volume diary of Maryland shop-owner Jacob Engelbrecht, spanning six decades from 1818 to 1878.
From private papers I progressed onto published pamphlets, of which the Library of Congress must surely have the largest collection in existence for my period. Moving between the General Reading Room, where the use of a digital camera allowed me to save a fortune on photocopying, and the Rare Book Reading Room, where photography is prohibited and the price of photo-duplication services forced me to work on my touch-typing skills, I was able to amass a huge amount of materials. Given the broad parameters of my topic, these ranged in subject from such weighty considerations as The Crisis, No. 1. Or Thoughts on Slavery, occasioned by the Missouri Question, to matters of local interest like Reasons, principally of a public nature, against a new bridge from Charlestown to Boston. I did not confine my search to pamphlets that explicitly engaged in political debate, but also drew much relevant material from genres such as election sermons, published addresses, and the proceedings of societies.
The biggest revelation of my trip was the extraordinary amount of source materials now available online. Using the Gales electronic database Sabin Americana, which to my knowledge is inaccessible from the UK, I was able to triple the amount of pamphlets I had collected in just a few days. Also of use were Gales Nineteenth Century United States Newspapers Digital Archive, Readex American Historical Newspapers, Readex American State Papers, 1787-1838, and ProQuest American Periodical Series. As these e-resources become available in the UK it will be much easier for researchers to collect US source materials without the time and expense of travelling to America.
In conclusion, I wish to again offer my thanks to BAAS, together with the Embassy of the United States of America, for providing me with this valuable, not to mention enjoyable, opportunity to visit the US and make use of the vast resources of the Library of Congress. I should also express my appreciation to BrANCH and University College London History Department, who both made additional financial contributions toward my trip, and to the library staff who ensured that I was never at a loose end throughout my stay. I am confident that the materials I have be able to collect as a result of the BAAS award will provide the core for my thesis, and I look forward to making many further research trips to the US in the future.
BAAS Founders’ Award
David Anderson, University of Dundee
Researching abroad is not without its challenges for an academic in provincial Scotland. Thus, to secure a Founders’ Research Travel Award from the British Association for American Studies to further a research project on homesickness among Civil War combatants was particularly welcome. The award allowed for a three-and-a-half week stay at the University of Georgia in Athens where I had access to a well-stocked library and could supplement extra materials through a fabulous Inter-Library Loan system. It would be remiss of me if I did not express my sincere gratitude to the archivists and librarians – especially those at the ILL – at UGA for their help and assistance. Thank you.
Prior to the trip I had presented initial research and early thoughts at the University of Dundee History Program Research Seminar (February 2008) and to the ‘Nostalgia and the Shapes of History’ Conference at Queen Mary, University of London (June 2008. In each instance my musings benefited from the criticisms and comments of colleagues and postgraduates in lively question and answer sessions.
My research trip, then, was focused principally on enhancing my work on homesickness (or ‘nostalgia’ as then-contemporary doctors termed it) among Union soldiers, with additional research on Confederate soldiers by way of useful comparison. The term nostalgia was coined in 1688 by Johannes Hofer, a Swiss doctor at the University of Basel, in his Dissertatio medica de nostalgia. Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, however, the curable disease gradually morphed into an incurable modern malaise and as medical advances gathered pace, nostalgia slowly began to fade from the clinical stage. Remarkably, however, it was not to be the final curtain-call for the ‘Swiss-disease’ as nostalgia returned to the spotlight once again in a noteworthy postscript faithful to its original guise.
Indeed, nostalgia became all too familiar to Union army doctors and surgeons during the American Civil War and they readily acknowledged the condition as a bona fide disease. Here I was able to examine some of their contemporary ruminations and post-Civil War and post-Reconstruction reminiscences (and those of nurses) along with sundry medical books and articles. It was interesting to note that they advanced rather broad and wide-ranging definitions of nostalgia, combining both the psychological and physiological effects of the malady. This was perhaps understandable given there were no experts during the Civil War who specialised in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders.
Official medical records (namely the multi-volume Medical and Surgical History of the War of Rebellion) show the malaise ‘developed to a morbid degree’ among white federal soldiers throughout the duration of the war with some 5,213 cases identified, the statistics revealing 58 deaths. This contrasted with 334 cases and 16 deaths among black soldiers. I also sourced scattered but nonetheless intriguing evidences regarding the nostalgia of both Union and Confederate soldiers in The War of Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.
Yet while wartime memoirs and biographies, military histories and campaign narratives, and the sundry diary entries and letters written between family members and friends are sprinkled with mention of ‘the blues’, ‘loneliness’, ‘homesickness’ and similar expressions of displacement, we do not yet understand the broader implications that ‘nostalgia’ had in relation to the wartime experiences of Civil War combatants. What predicated the nostalgia of the average soldier? What were the symptoms? Was there a remedy? Were there any marked differences between the sufferings of Union soldiers and those of their Confederate adversaries? Were soldiers the only ones who suffered from the affliction?
Given the recent explosion of interest in the social history of the era and current attention afforded to the history of medicine and the history of disability, these questions would appear to be significant and timely ones, but they have, at best, aroused only limited historical interest among historians of the Civil War. With this in mind, then, my intention was to spend the majority of my time in the States in pursuit of answers to these questions.
By the end of my visit I had accumulated a wealth of additional primary (and secondary) materials. These materials gathered will undoubtedly bolster and sharpen my preliminary thoughts regarding homesickness among Civil War soldiers as I embark on writing-up my research. Again, I would like to thank BAAS for their generous provision and continued support.
BAAS Founders’ Award
Martin Halliwell, University of Leicester
The BAAS Founders Award funded my research trip in April 2008 to the Kansas State Historical Society Library in Topeka, Kansas and the Baylor Medical Library at Rice University, Houston. The research is part of an ongoing book project which charts the close, but often tense, relationship of medicine and psychiatry between 1945 and 1970. Psychiatry was the poor relation of medicine during World War II, seen by many simply as a subspecialty, at a time when there was a dire national shortage of psychiatrists. But during the war, and increasingly in the postwar years, psychiatry and psychoanalysis became potent forces both institutionally and culturally. Rather than making Freudian ideas central to the project – Freudianism was very often taken up piecemeal by practitioners and within popular culture – my current research examines other therapeutic practices and institutions in postwar America.
Arguably the most important institution at mid-century was the Menninger Clinic, which was founded in Topeka in 1919 and to which was added a sanitarium and school in the 1920s. The key period for the Clinic was after 1941 when it established itself as a Foundation run by Karl Menninger and his two sons William and Charles. The Menninger Foundation was pivotal in shaping psychiatry during the war years: William Menninger was Chief of the Army Medical Corps’ Psychiatric Division during the war and many émigré practitioners trained and worked with the Menningers. As a family-run group practice based in the Midwest, the Menninger Foundation was a direct challenge to one-on-one Freudian model of analysis and the concentration of psychoanalytic centres in New York City and Los Angeles. The Clinic was even used as the model for the psychiatric institutes in Alfred Hithcock’s film Spellbound (1945) and Vincente Minnelli’s The Cobweb (1955).
The Clinic in Topeka was in operation until 2003 when it relocated to Houston. The old Clinic building is located close to the Kansas State Historical Society Library, but is now derelict. I am very grateful to receive a Founders’ Award, which enabled me to consult the extensive records of the Menninger Foundation, including personal papers from the three Menningers, clinical records from 1940s and 1950s (some elements of which are still classified) and documents relating to Topeka as a centre for psychiatry. As well as recommending a visit to the Board v. Brown of Education National Historic Site in Topeka, I would highly recommend a fabulous second-hand bookstore, Lloyd Zimmer Books and Maps (www.ksbiblio.com), which specialises in psychiatric history.
The second leg of the research trip to the Baylor Medical Library in Houston enabled me to consult an extensive range of material on postwar family health and relate this to the Menninger’s family-run practice. I also visited the new Menninger Clinic situated to the west of Houston city centre.
John D. Lees Award
Adam Kane, University of Essex
As the fortunate recipient of the John D. Lees BAAS Short-Term Travel Grant I was able to spend 10 days in San Diego in February 2008.
My thesis revolves around the notion of economic policy as a weapon to win the Cold War, so I have conducted several research trips Washington and Boston. The award enabled me to make the longer and more expensive journey to Southern California in order to conduct an interview with former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence J. Korb (who was visiting the area on naval business).
It was important for my work that I was able to interview Mr Korb as my area of study is founded primarily on his statement that the defence spending of the United States during the Reagan administration was ‘based not on military need but upon the strategy of bankrupting the Soviet Union’. It is my intention to find out if there is a link between the rejection of Keynesian economics (adopted by FDR some 50 years earlier) and the necessity of funding the massive expansion in defence spending Korb’s assertion would require. Or was Daniel Patrick Moynihan correct in arguing that there was no longer an active Soviet-backed conspiracy anywhere in the world, that the USSR was an empire on the brink of economic collapse, and that Reagan’s consuming obsession with the expansion of Communism was merely a smokescreen in order to cut welfare costs?
During my trip I was also able to use the Library of Political Science and State at the University of California (San Diego). The staff at UCSD could not have been more helpful in directing me around their key Political Science Abstracts, which encompass the years 1975–present. Their collection also contains a simple-to-access Public Affairs Information System (PAIS) database that lists articles, books and government publications on all issues of public policy, including politics, government, economy and law, which was relevant, informative and interesting. For research within political science disciplines and complementary fields I can wholly recommend a visit.
As I am also conducting research on Alexander Hamilton my trip was exceptionally useful because UCSD has an active Federalist Society which accepted me as a visiting scholar. The standard of discussion and debate at the informal seminars has renewed my faith in the future of American democracy. Even within a society with such a name it was surprising to find so many Constitutional adherents at UCSD (although it did explain the Ron Paul banners that covered any available wall space) and it was a pleasure to be able to participate in an open environment, unstifled by partisanship.
I would like to thank BAAS for its help in enabling my visit to San Diego, which has enriched my understanding of my work and given my thesis a greater depth.
Marcus Cunliffe Award
Michael J. Collins, University of Nottingham
Owing to the generous support of the BAAS Marcus Cunliffe Short-term Travel Award I was able to spend four weeks in the United States researching my PhD Thesis entitled: ‘“A Multitude of Gaudy Appearances”: Ritual, Transatlantic Performance and the Melodramatic Mode in the Short Work of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville and Edgar Allan Poe’.
My thesis concerns the rise of the transatlantic theatre circuit in the antebellum period and its impact upon Hawthorne’s, Melville’s and Poe’s treatment of ritual and performance in their short fiction. I show how the formal and theoretical influence of melodrama, in both its incarnations on the stage and in fiction, alters the relationship these writers have to other dominant genres, namely romanticism and sentimentalism. I argue that the presence of a melodramatic mode in their work articulates an increasing interest in the power of ritual performed in the public sphere as a means to repair political and social divisions that is a salient feature of a burgeoning transatlantic Victorian culture, which differs from an earlier ‘romantic nationalist’ literary moment.
To support this claim I went to the Library Company of Philadelphia for a period of three weeks with a view to investigating three specific cultural phenomena to which Melville, Hawthorne and Poe make specific reference in their short fiction and that provide the case studies for my thesis: the rise of ritual performance among transatlantic fraternal orders such as the Freemasons, the popular British and American accounts of the New York Astor Place Riots of 1849 as melodrama, and the emergence of tableaux vivants and domestic theatre as an antebellum and early Victorian ritual form.
Despite the comparative oddity of an English man in a Philadelphia library trying to decode British Masonic emblems in nineteenth-century American books, the staff aided me in every way they could and I left Philadelphia with reams of notes ready for inclusion in the thesis. Specifically, I discovered that whilst generic histories of the American theatre have focused on the Astor Place riots as beginning with a conflict between two actors representing two discrete national cultures (America and Britain), this standard account is contradicted by many of the contemporary pamphleteers who listed numerous reasons for the tragedy. In addition, the availability of information on transatlantic secret societies such as the Freemasonry, and specifically the nature and meaning of many of its most occult rituals surprised me. Due to an 1845 book usefully entitled ‘A Lexicon of Freemasonry: Containing a definition of all its communicable terms, notices of its history, traditions and antiquities, and An account of all the rites and mysteries of the ancient world’ the most bizarre moments in Poe’s short fiction now make a sort of weird sense!
The award came at an opportune time, as, in addition to the three weeks I spent in the Library Company of Philadelphia, I was also able to coincide my visit with the annual Futures of American Studies Summer School at Dartmouth College, which I attended as a delegate. The day was divided into two sessions of guest speakers and one session in which students presented their own research to each other and invited scholars. My seminar was convened by Eric Lott, whose own work on theatre and mistrelsy I admire. This allowed me not only to make the acquaintance of leading international scholars but also present my work on Americans to Americans, a nerve-racking but valuable experience.
Since my thesis requires both in-depth historical research into nineteenth-century American culture and relies heavily upon recent theoretical movements in Americanist scholarship, especially the emergence of the so-called ‘transnational’ and ‘affective’ methodologies, the Marcus Cunliffe Award allowed my trip to the US to be an enlightening and educationally balanced experience.
Peter Parish Award
Roger Johnson, University of Sussex
The Peter Parish Award provided me great assistance in taking a research trip to California, the results of which will be essential toward the completion of my DPhil thesis, currently titled ‘Ronald Reagan and the Mythology of American History’. The trip took me to the Ronald Reagan Library and Museum in Simi Valley, and then to Stanford University.
The Reagan Library served a dual purpose for me, one defined by its own double function as both an archive maintained by the US government, and a commemorative and educational institution run by the private Reagan Foundation. In the archives I was able to explore the relationship of the Reagan administration to history, looking at how it reacted to and involved itself in commemorative events such as the construction of the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial, the fortieth anniversary of D-Day and the Statue of Liberty centenary celebrations. Also, focusing on the papers of the 1980 and 1984 inaugural committees, I considered how Reagan’s presidency was understood and promoted as an historical event, and Reagan as an historical figure, through the ritual ceremony of the presidential inauguration. Though a great proportion of Reagan’s papers have yet to be processed or are restricted, a significant amount proved to be useful, as did the extensive audio-visual collection.
The Library itself was also a central focus of my research, being as it is the foremost example of the commemoration of Reagan in America. Though again limited, some archival material was available relating to the history of the institution, detailing its construction, dedication, reception, the changing exhibits of the museum and the various speaking events and conferences hosted there. I was also able to interview the director of the Library and the Reagan Foundation, Duke Blackwood, giving me some insight into its purposes and processes. Further, I had the opportunity to closely observe the site, the museum, their exhibits and objects and the narratives of Reagan’s life and presidency which they create. From the reconstructions of Reagan’s childhood home and his Oval Office to the grand Air Force One Pavilion, from the prominently displayed section of the Berlin Wall to the simple and solemn site of Reagan’s grave, from the modest western architecture to the surrounding Californian panorama, the Library represents a memorial of Reagan which conforms in theme, style and message to his image and ideologies. While it self-consciously avoids an overtly partisan narrative, it is celebratory and generally non-reflective in its representation of its subject. Overall, it is a multifaceted institution, devoted to the preservation and documentation of history, and at the same time to the promotion of myth, while also seeking to involve itself in shaping the politics of the present, as exemplified by its recent hosting of two Republican primary debates.
The second leg of my trip brought me to the Stanford campus where I was able to use the collections at the Hoover Institution relating to Reagan’s prolific public commentary in the late 1970s, as well as to his 1980 campaign. Also, I was able to conduct further research into the history of the Reagan Library through Stanford’s own archives. These detailed the plans and controversies surrounding Stanford’s bid – initiated by the Hoover Institution – to house the Reagan Library on its campus, plans which were eventually abandoned in 1987. While revealing much about the internal conflict between the autonomous and conservative Hoover Institution and elements of Stanford’s regular faculty, this story is also demonstrative of how both Reagan’s historical legacy and presidential libraries in general were perceived within academia. While the historical importance of the contemporary period and the Reagan collection were appreciated, the commemorative and political function of presidential libraries were viewed with some suspicion. Stanford’s curtailed plans for a modest scholarly archive provide an interesting comparison with the expansive monument existing today in Simi Valley.
The trip provided me with valuable material relating to Reagan’s administration and, to some extent, his beliefs about and perception of American history. However, the strongest theme that emerged from my research concerned the Reagan Library, its changing and varied nature as both a memorial to Reagan and a presidential library, its uses and purposes, and how these relate to the changing perception of Reagan in America as a political, historical and mythic figure.
Student Travel Award
Emma Hoare, Jesus College, Cambridge
In April 2007 I was able to visit the Lilly Library, Indiana University, thanks to a postgraduate travel award from BAAS. My research there formed the basis of my MPhil dissertation on Sylvia Plath’s narrative responses to overbearing state control, and prompted a paper on her verso manuscripts which I gave at the 2007 Oxford Plath Symposium. Manuscript work was absolutely key to both my thesis and conference paper. I’m extremely grateful to BAAS for providing me with this opportunity, and also to the staff at the Lilly Library for offering me every assistance with my work.
Beyond having access to new or unedited material relevant to my thesis, what struck me most about working in the archive was how manuscripts provided unexpected commentaries on their texts. We can see cynical criticisms Plath pens alongside a commercially-oriented story; a note of laborious explication accompanying an early, heavily symbolic Christian narrative; in even older works there are teachers’ red-inked remarks, revealing the style Plath was encouraged to adopt: ‘Establish more quickly, and more clearly’. One manuscript, in particular, caught my attention: a sugary 1955 short story, ‘Home Is Where The Heart Is’, with nine morbid and often violent poems drafted on each page’s reverse. This led to my conference paper ‘Double Exposure: Plath’s Verso Manuscript’.
The main aim of my time in the archive, however, was to find resources relating to my MPhil dissertation. Two outbursts of socio-political hysteria greatly influenced Plath’s perception of the relationship between the individual and the state: the intense anti-German sentiment of the Second World War, and the fifties surveillance and accusation culture of McCarthyism. During both these periods, suspect individuals were subject to intense scrutiny, intimidation, interrogation and threat of punishment. Freedom of expression and constitutional rights were eroded, and supposedly protective state powers became oppressive.
It was Aurelia Plath’s introduction to Letters Home which first prompted me to look closer at Plath’s German heritage. Aurelia is tentative about asserting German associations and yet is also anecdotal about the problems it brought during the First World War and beyond. A generation later, Plath herself seems affirmative about her German connections and frequently introduces herself as being ‘of German-Austrian descent’. She makes persistent exertions to learn German, but the prolonged struggle reflected in the unedited correspondence is edited out of Letters Home, where references are considerably abbreviated or omitted. In this context, poems such as ‘Daddy’ and ‘Little Fugue’ can be read as linguistic, cultural and multi-generational battlefields, where two world wars afflict the perceived identity of Americans with German background.
The archive was similarly crucial to understanding Plath’s experience of McCarthyism; her repulsion at the administration’s aggressive rhetoric and the investigations directed at academics, her shared outrage with Eddie Cohen at the ‘witch hunts’. Various correspondents enclose news clippings for Plath: Yale declaring that freedom of expression is paramount and therefore would not be extended to those suspected of Communist associations, the Smith faculty rallying against accusations in 1954. Reading this material brought home to me that Plath completed her degree right in the midst of these political issues. This brings a new dimension to the paranoia, threat and sense of scrutiny which pervade texts such as The Bell Jar.
I went to the Lilly Library archive with a determinedly unromantic attitude. But it is hard to go through boxes of someone’s school work, scrapbooks, drafts and correspondence and tell yourself that it’s a morally irreproachable activity because it’s for a thesis. Admittedly, Plath did sell some manuscripts to Indiana University herself. Furthermore, my dissertation dealt with self-censorship under the threat of punishment; the cleansing of German accents and associations during the wars, and the necessity of watching your words under McCarthyism. In this sense it was vital to see what Plath’s various editors – including Plath herself – had deemed unsuitable for publication. Yet my dissertation was also about intense scrutiny, supposedly of a past era; the 78,000 personal tip-offs about unpatriotic neighbours and foreign voices the FBI received in 1939 as it compiled a list of potential dissidents; Plath’s teacher Wilson Crockett being questioned by the town board in 1951; Arthur Miller being told, during a 1953 visit to the University of Michigan, ‘everything you do is being written down and sent to the authorities’. I couldn’t be entirely immune to the fact that I was elbow-deep in someone else’s personal belongings while I made notes on this constant invasion of privacy.
It also made me appreciate how the notion of privacy was an electric issue for Plath even before the controversies of posthumous publication and biography. Plath’s speakers conceal themselves and adopt disguises but also claim to immolate themselves in exposure and revelation. This dynamic between prudent silence and intemperate speech only becomes really charged when one can appreciate the underlying threats; the threats of 1940s and 1950s America, a society where ideals of freedom of speech were shown to be hollow when the speaker was a potential ‘enemy alien’, a dissident, an ‘anti-American,’ and where punishment might range from alienation, to humiliation, to incarceration.
Student Travel Award
Victoria Kingham, De Montfort University
The working title of my PhD is ‘Periodical Culture, Commerce, and the Avant-Garde, New York 1915–1917’. It is AHRC funded as part of a larger academic enterprise, the Modernist Magazines Project at De Montfort University. I chose to specialise in American magazines, partly as a continuation of my American Literature Masters degree and partly because of their intense significance within a new, more nuanced understanding of modernism with which recent literary research is engaged. Visits to American libraries are essential as some of these journals are unavailable in any form outside America. It is also, I believe, important to see them in their original form; their physical quality, advertising, financial arrangements and so on all contribute to an extended understanding.
With the generous help of BAAS, I spent a most wonderful and productive month at the New York Public Library and the Beinecke Library at Yale University – a trip that would have been impossible without BAAS’s support. In my two weeks at the vast New York Public Library I was able to read the correspondence between the art buyer, John Quinn, and the editors of two magazines, The Soil (1916–17) and 291 (1915–16). The Soil was produced largely by Robert Coady, owner of an art gallery and book shop, listed as the magazine’s address, The Coady Gallery. 291 was edited by Marius De Zayas and produced from Alfred Stieglitz’s gallery space, ‘291’. Besides throwing up some interesting sidelines, the correspondence between Quinn and Coady and Quinn and De Zayas supported my idea that there was significant rivalry between the two galleries associated with these magazines, and that this was reflected in the magazines’ contents as well as their editorial, advertising and marketing matter. I was also able to read newspaper articles and editorials in the New York Sun relating to Coady’s gallery. I read, too, a unique publication by De Zayas and Paul Haviland which to my knowledge is unobtainable anywhere else, and which has a bearing on the content and ethos of both magazines. Other publications belonging in the avant-garde network of the time are held in the Berg Collection at NYPL. Rogue, for instance, was largely the product of a small but significant salon coterie. I read for the first time its backbiting, gossipy articles and editorials, but also the contributions of a number of writers important to the development of Modernism: Alfred Kreymborg, Djuna Barnes, Mina Loy and Carl Van Vechten.
Simultaneously I was able to experience New York, its geography, and its architecture (for the first time!) and get a first-hand idea of the American urban life which these writers, in their very different ways, acknowledged and celebrated in the early part of the twentieth century.
The Beinecke Library at Yale has some of the most extensive holdings, archives and special collections in the world. I was able to look at letters between Coady and Gertrude Stein, Coady and Katherine Dreier (an instrumental figure in American Dada), Alfred Stieglitz and Dorothy Norman, his biographer. Further, I was able to gather material for a whole new chapter on a very little-known magazine which has previously largely been ignored except for its publication of early Hart Crane poetry, but which shed significant light on the burgeoning New York literary scene of the time.
The Beinecke experience is impossible to fault. The librarians are approachable, knowledgeable and courteous, providing a service second to none. They allowed me to photograph material myself, which meant that I could bring back copies of far more of the magazine than I would have been able to obtain by paying for them, plus about 70 pages of my own notes and quotations. I could also obtain from the Beinecke very high-definition electronic copies, of at least the front cover and contents pages of certain other magazines, important to our Modernist Magazines project but completely unavailable in English libraries. These will be an invaluable addition to the project web site and anthology. With the help of this award, I was able to obtain accommodation very near the library, which also meant that I could really maximise my time. I paid a visit too to the Sterling Library (the central library of Yale University) to obtain brief information about a number of other magazines.
The periodicals and the intellectual and material culture surrounding and (sometimes) supporting them are unique windows to the interrelation of American literary, artistic and political life of the time with those of Europe and Britain. Scholarly examination of the complex interaction of what were, essentially, transatlantic cultural formations is currently a fruitful area for academic discovery and I am grateful to BAAS for allowing me the opportunity to make a small contribution to this field.
Conference and Seminar Announcements
CFP: Jack Kerouac, Kerouac’s On the Road and the Beats
University of Birmingham (UK), 11–12 December 2008
Marking the fiftieth anniversary of On the Road‘s publication in the UK in 1958 (following its 1957 publication in the US). The University of Birmingham has arranged for the 1951 original typescript manuscript of On the Road – the world-famous scroll of 1951 – to come to the Barber Institute at the University during December 2008 and January 2009. A series of events is planned to celebrate this, including a Film Event (during the evening of 11 December) timed to coincide with this two-day conference, which will likely include the UK premiere showing of One Fast Move and I’m Gone: Kerouac’s Big Sur, produced by Jim Sampas.
The conference will take as its focus the ‘Beats’ and their relations to On the Road and its themes – travel, jazz, sexuality and gender, rebellion, disaffiliation and alienation, class and ethnicity.
Plenary speakers will include Tim Hunt (author of Kerouac’s Crooked Road), speaking on how being able to study the scroll ms. adjusts our perspective upon On the Road, and Matt Theado.
Please do come along to this exciting event. If you want to deliver a paper please submit a title and an abstract of between 100 and 250 words by 31 October 2008 to: email@example.com
CFP: APG Annual Conference 2009
St Anne’s College, Oxford, 8–10 January 2009
The American Politics Group (APG) invites proposals for papers to be given at its 2009 Annual Conference at St Anne’s College, Oxford, from January 8th to 10th, 2009. The APG conference is the United Kingdom’s major annual meeting of professional scholars of US politics. Papers for this conference are invited on any topic relating to US politics. Proposals are especially welcomed on subjects pertaining to political institutions, national parties and electoral politics, state and local politics, public policy, foreign policy, political and socio-political questions, political history, and American Political Development. Papers are welcomed from graduate students as well as academic staff and on works in progress. Please send a synopsis of your proposal (maximum one side of A4) and brief c.v. (maximum two sides) to Dr Nigel Bowles (firstname.lastname@example.org), conference convenor, by 13 September 2008.
The APG awards the Richard E. Neustadt Paper Prize to the best paper in the field of US government and politics presented by a postgraduate student at the conference. The prize is worth £100 and is open to postgraduate students registered at UK universities and to papers authored singularly and jointly by postgraduates. Papers co-authored with established academic staff are not eligible. Papers authored by postgraduates who have a permanent academic post or are in a tenure-track post are not eligible. To be eligible for the prize, postgraduates must submit an electronic copy of their paper to Dr Andrew Wroe (email@example.com), chair of the prize committee, no later than 31 December 2008. The quality of the written paper will be the primary determining factor in the committee’s decision. The winner will be announced at lunch on the final day of the conference.
CFP: Biannual Conference of the Nordic Association of American Studies
‘Cosmopolitan America? The United States in Transition’
University of Copenhagen, Denmark, Thursday 28 May–Sunday 31 May 2009
In ‘Trans-national America’ (1916), Randolph Bourne celebrated the United States as a ‘cosmopolitan federation of national colonies, of foreign cultures’, and concluded that ‘[a]ny movement which attempts to thwart this weaving’ together of foreign cultures ‘is false to this cosmopolitan vision’. Bourne’s essay has been rediscovered in recent years due to the ‘transnational turn’ in American studies. His use of the term ‘cosmopolitan’ has received less attention, but, like transnationalism, cosmopolitanism is achieving renewed prominence in scholarship both within and beyond American studies.
The 2009 NAAS conference organisers invite scholars from all areas of American studies and related subjects to join us in contemplating the conundrum of cosmopolitanism. Is the United States in transition to – or away from – Randolph Bourne’s ‘cosmopolitan vision’? Is cosmopolitanism actually desirable, or might patriotism be preferable? Is cosmopolitanism a viable alternative to ‘the clash of civilizations’? How does cosmopolitanism relate to US foreign policy? Does the 2008 presidential candidacy of Barack Obama, the biracial son of a Kansas mother and a Kenyan father, suggest a (re)emergent cosmopolitan America? Does Congressional resistance to the McCain–Kennedy immigration act suggest the limits of US cosmopolitanism? Has the influx of Hispanic and other non-white immigrants to the South generated a new form of regional or provincial cosmopolitanism? Does the prominence of writers such as Junot Dìaz, Francisco Goldman and Jamaica Kincaid – or the focus on border regions and bilingualism in the works of older writers like Cormac McCarthy – suggest a cosmopolitan turn in contemporary ‘American’ literature?
The conference organising committee invites proposals for workshops and individual papers. Proposals for individual panel presentations (15–20 minutes) should be no more than one page long; proposals for panels or workshops (90 minutes, including approximately 30 minutes for audience questions and discussion) should be no more than two pages.
Please send proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org by 1 October 2008.
Call for Papers: International Society for the Study of Narrative Annual Conference 2009
University of Birmingham (UK), Thursday 4 June 2009 – Saturday 6 June 2009
Sponsored by the International Society for the Study of Narrative, the 2009 Narrative Conference offers a multi- and interdisciplinary forum for addressing all dimensions of narrative and representation. Plenary speakers will include David Lodge, Francis Smith Foster and Frank Ankersmit.
We welcome proposals for papers and panels on all aspects of narrative in any genre, period, medium and nationality. We are particularly keen to encourage participation from scholars in a range of disciplines, including, but not limited to: history, art history, literary studies, linguistics, philosophy, classical studies, modern languages, women’s studies, film studies and sociology.
Paper proposals: Please send a maximum 300 word abstract and brief curriculum vitae (250–300 words) for 20 minute papers. Proposals must include the title of the paper, presenter’s name and institutional affiliation; email address, mailing address and telephone number.
Panel proposals: Please send a maximum 700 word abstract summarising the panel’s rationale and describing each paper, and a brief curriculum vitae for each speaker (50–300 words). Proposals must include titles of papers and panel; presenters’ and panel organiser’s names and institutional affiliations; email addresses, mailing addresses and telephone numbers.
Please send proposals to Anna Burrells email@example.com including ‘Narrative Conference Proposal’ in the subject line of your email by no later than 0.00 GMT on
31 October 2008. All submissions will be peer reviewed.
Registration: All speakers and delegates must register for the conference. Registration fees will be £140 for delegates and those giving papers, and £115 for students. Student places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis.
You need to join the International Society for the Study of Narrative in order
to attend the conference: http://narrative.georgetown.edu/
CFP: ‘Naked Lunch@50’ Symposium, Paris, July 2009
From 1 to 3 July 2009, the University of London Institute in Paris is hosting a three-day symposium to celebrate the 50th anniversary of William Burroughs’ landmark publication of Naked Lunch.
Proposals are invited in a range of formats: from short papers (15 minutes) to longer talks (30 minutes), from multi-media presentations to panel discussions and open mic debates. In English and in French, we are looking for original and innovative contributions from scholars and Burroughsians under the headings:
- The Untold Naked Lunch
- A Post-Colonial Lunch
- Naked Paris
- Naked Lunch Now.
Symposium sessions will run in parallel with one another and with other events including film-screenings, exhibitions and readings. All events will take place at the University of London Institute in Paris.
Proposals by 30 October 2008 to Prof. Oliver Harris: firstname.lastname@example.org
Decisions will be made by the Symposium organisers as soon as possible after
For those wishing to participate or attend, further information about the Symposium and about all other anniversary events is posted on the nakedlunch.org website.
CFP: American Tropics: Towards a Literary Geography
An International Conference at the University of Essex, 4–7 July 2009
By ‘American Tropics’ we understand an area including the southern USA, the Caribbean littoral of Central America, the Caribbean islands, and northern South America: what Edouard Glissant calls ‘the estuary of the Americas’, or what earlier scholars sometimes called ‘Plantation America’.
The American Tropics project at Essex seeks to understand the writing associated with this area through a study of particular places within it: cities, borders, regions, natural features. Each place is a zone of encounter, bringing together sets of writing in different languages and styles, from different literary and cultural backgrounds, all of which have in common that attention to the same place. The project therefore approaches literary history via literary geography.
We call for papers which engage with this project in a number of different ways:
- through attention to particular places and the writing associated within it;
- through consideration of the cultural features of particular places or regions within the American Tropics;
- through theoretical engagement with the ideas of literary geography or area studies as they pertain to this part of the American continent;
- through consideration of significant circuits (personal, commercial, cultural) within and beyond the area.
Colleagues are encouraged to look at the developing project at http://www.essex.ac.uk/literature/American_Tropics/index.htm
Informal enquiries to Peter Hulme at email@example.com
Formal offers of papers (title plus 300-word synopsis) to Lesley Wylie at firstname.lastname@example.org
The deadline for the first call for papers in 1 October 2008.
America: Real and Imagined
British Association of American Studies Annual Postgraduate Conference
University of Exeter, Saturday 15 November 2008
Keynote Speaker: Professor Judith Newman (University of Nottingham)
The School of Arts, Languages and Literatures at the University of Exeter is pleased to be hosting the annual BAAS postgraduate conference. We will be hearing papers on all topics from all disciplines within the field of American Studies, including history, music, literature, philosophy, film studies, politics, sociology, popular culture, pedagogy and language.
This year’s theme is ‘America and the West’. Areas of enquiry will include, but are by no means limited to:
- the American West/America as the West
- American/Western myths
- American and Western politics
- America/the West as represented in visual media
- the West(ern) as genre
- cultures of/bordering the United States
- the imagined West
- mapping the West
- America and the heritage of classical antiquity.
- America and its allies
- East and West
- writing America and/or the West
- the movement of history
- Western/westernising narratives
- frontiers and borderlands
Registration is now open – please visit www.sall.ex.ac.uk/conferences for details. Any other queries, please email email@example.com.
Borders and Traffic: Comparative Perspectives on Teaching the Americas
Swansea University, 17 October 2008
The study of the Americas in UK higher education is often focused either on North America (usually the USA) or Latin America (usually through the study of Spanish). This partial focus not only leads to a neglect of either North or South America, but often excludes certain geographical areas of the Americas including Canada, Brazil and the Caribbean, as well as certain disciplines. This workshop aims to explore current practice and potential opportunities for comparative and interdisciplinary teaching across the Americas at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.
Register online at: http://www.llas.ac.uk/events/3055
There is no charge for employees/ postgraduates of UK Higher Education Institutions
American Film Lectures and Masterclasses
Sandra Shevey runs an ongoing programme of talks and masterclasses on topics relating to the American film industry.
- ‘Black Icons’ looks at the history of the Black cinematic Hollywood image, including stars such as Charles Gilpin, Paul Robeson, Fredi Washington, Sidney Poitier, Lena Horne and Dorothy Dandridge.
- ‘Hollywood’s Corporate Image’ reveals Hollywood’s suppression of its stars’ Black, Hispanic, Asian, American Indian, Jewish and British identities.
- ‘Marilyn Monroe’ focuses on the superstar’s intensive rebellion against the system that made her.
For details of these and other events email firstname.lastname@example.org
OAH Distinguished Lecturers
The Organization of American Historians publishes a list of distinguished lecturers travelling outside the US and available for guest lectures or consultation with faculty. The OAH lecture fee, which in the US starts at $1,000, is negotiable for any international lecture and, if possible, should be donated to OAH. Lecture hosts are also responsible for the speakers’ local or regional travel expenses.
Scholars visiting the UK in 2008–9 are listed below. For the full list, visit www.oah.org/lectures.
Gail Bederman, England, summer 2009
Karen Ordahl Kupperman, London, May 2009
Susan O’Donovan, Belfast, early October 2008
Peter S. Onuf, Oxford, August 2008 – August 2009
Jack N. Rakove, Oxford, early January through March 2009
Constance B. Schulz, UK, 18–21 September 2008
William G. Thomas, London, 15 August – 15 November 2008
Graeme Abernethy is a PhD student in the Department of English at University College London. A native of Vancouver, he studied previously at the University of British Columbia. His research is on the iconography of Malcolm X and the relationship between his photographic and literary representations.
Sarah Barnsley is Course Director for English Degree and Diploma Programmes (by distance learning) at the University of London, as well as a visiting tutor at Goldsmiths College, where she completed her PhD in 2006. She is currently completing a book manuscript, The Poetry of Mary Barnard, and has begun research for a critical biography which will examine the entire scope of Barnard’s literary output and her links with a literary circle including Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams and Marianne Moore. Sarah was awarded the H.D. Fellowship in American Literature for 2007–8 by the Beinecke Library at Yale to work with the library’s recently acquired Mary Barnard Papers. An article on Barnard’s late Imagism is forthcoming in Paideuma: Studies in British and American Modernist Poetry.
Barbara Bloss is Deputy Headteacher at Haydon School, where she has taught for twenty-five years, specialising in US and Comparative Politics. She is a reviser for Edexcel AS and A2 examinations and was Principal Examiner for papers 4, 5 and 6 (2000–4).
Janine Bradbury is taking an MA in American Literature at the University of Sheffield and plans to go on to do a PhD. She studied African American literature and history at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and wrote an undergraduate dissertation on the gender dynamics of African American lynching narratives during the interwar period. Her current interests are the gendered legacies of slavery and racial violence in contemporary black literature and popular culture, and popular African American fiction of the 1980s and 1990s.
Kristen Brauer holds a BA from Gettysburg College, an MSc from the University of Edinburgh and a PhD from the University of Glasgow. Her research interests include postmodern theory and the conservative intellectual movement in the United States.
Corina Anghel Crisu, PhD, is a lecturer at the Faculty of Foreign Languages, University of Bucharest. She has participated in numerous international conferences, training workshops and joint projects and has authored more than 30 academic articles in the field of American Studies and Comparative Literature. Her book Rewriting: Polytropic Identities in the Postmodern African American Novel was published in 2006. Her past awards include a Soros-Chevening Fellowship at Oxford University and a Fulbright Fellowship at Oregon State University. She is a member of the International Association of American Studies and the European Society for the Study of English. She is also a poet whose work has appeared in literary journals and anthologies worldwide and has been collected in a bilingual volume, Triptych (2004).
Tessa Croker graduated from Sussex University in 2007 with a BA in American Studies and History. She spent a year as an exchange student at the University of Pennsylvania, and is returning to the USA in September 2008 to read for an MA in American History at the University of New Hampshire with the support of a BAAS teaching assistantship. Her research interests lie in notions of utopia and success in America and the role these ideas play in shaping American identity.
Ian Evans holds a BA in American Studies from the University of Nottingham and is currently studying for an M.Res. there. His project looks at African American and Afro-Caribbean dialogues with European avant-gardism, internationalism and anticolonialism. Its specific focus is on adaptations of surrealism and Dada in the poetry of Aimé Cesaire, Bob Kaufman and Amiri Baraka.
Craig Fox read American Studies at Hull University and took an MA in History and Politics at York. His PhD thesis, also at York, examines the interwar Ku Klux Klan, and its interactions with mainstream community life, at a very local level. Craig’s research draws on unique membership records and other materials gathered during extensive archival work in institutions across the state of Michigan as well as at the Library of Congress.
Rebecca Fraser is a professional writer and broadcaster currently researching a book about early colonial New England. Previous works include a biography of Charlotte Bronte and A People’s History of Britain. She has recently written an introduction to Charlotte Bronte’s Shirley and The Professor for Everyman. From 2001 to 2008 she was president of the Bronte Society.
Michelle Gemelos recently completed her D.Phil. (at the University of Oxford) on British writing about New York City between the 1890s and 1930s. She was the Wilkinson Junior Research Fellow at Worcester College, Oxford (2005–2007), and is currently an undergraduate supervisor in English and American literature for various colleges at the University of Cambridge.
Ginevra Geraci completed a PhD entitled ‘Imagining the Other: the Representation of the Jew in Zora Neale Hurston, Chester Himes and Alice Walker’ at the Università Roma Tre in 2007.
Dena Gilby received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1996 with a specialisation in classical art and subspecialities in American and early twentieth century European art. She is currently Associate Professor of Art History at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts. She presents and publishes in both American and Ancient art and her research interests include constructions of antiquity in contemporary art and advertising, identity politics and gender, identity and art production. Her most recent publication on American art is ‘Wild Western Lesbian Feminist Asian American Artist: Hanh Thi Pham’s Expatriate Consciousness’ (Aurora 8).
Annie Haight is Senior Lecturer in Education and an Honorary Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Methodism and Church History at Oxford Brookes University. Her doctoral work at Oxford University was an exploration of the life and work of Phoebe Palmer, a mid-nineteenth-century American Christian Perfectionist and revivalist, drawing on ethnographic theories of community formation and status anxiety.
Thomas Halper is Professor of Political Science at the City of New York Graduate Center and Baruch College. He has written on popular culture, foreign affairs, health policy, the Supreme Court and other topics.
James Harding holds degrees from Keele and Cambridge and is a PhD candidate at the University of Sussex. His main research interests lie in twentieth-century American Modernism, particularly the work of William Faulkner and John Dos Passos. His doctoral thesis explores how modes of production at the material level interfere with modes of production at the semantic level. He is currently researching the relationship between the political left and Hollywood in Dos Passos’s U.S.A. trilogy.
Ian Hart is a final-year D.Phil. student at the University of Oxford, writing a thesis entitled ‘The quest to institutionalise: a social report in American government’. He is interested in the application of social science-derived knowledge to policy making during the 1960s and 1970s. He studied at Bristol University before taking MAs in Political Theory at Essex and Global Political Economy at Sussex.
Lynne Hibberd has an MPhil in American Film Studies (Birmingham) and a BA in History of Film Photography and Graphic Media (Manchester Met). She is currently researching a PhD in creative industries policy at the Centre for Cultural Policy Research at the University of Glasgow. Research interests include film and gender, Hollywood musicals, Scottish
film and TV and American independent cinema.
Simon Hill is a part-time PhD student and lecturer in the School of Social Science, Liverpool John Moores University. He is conducting a case study of Liverpool during the American Revolution, and has additional interests in the War of 1812, the Civil War and politics since 1968.
Hazel Hutchison is a lecturer in English at the University of Aberdeen. She is presently working towards a monograph on American writers in France during World War I and is interested in British and American thought and culture 1850–1930. Her publications include Seeing and Believing: Henry James and the Spiritual World (2006) and Teach Yourself Writing Essays and Dissertations (2007). She is currently editing Mary Borden’s The Forbidden Zone for Hesperus Press.
David James is Lecturer in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Literature in the School of English Studies at the University of Nottingham, where his teaching concentrates on Victorian poetics, Aestheticism and the fin de siècle, and modernist and postwar fiction. His longstanding research interests in literary geographies are reflected in his forthcoming monograph Contemporary British Fiction and the Artistry of Space. He is co-editor of New Versions of Pastoral (2008), and is currently writing Inheriting Modernism, a study of the transnational legacies of early twentieth-century fiction and aesthetics on contemporary Anglophone novelists.
Andrew Jones is responsible for Academic Sales and Marketing at Gazelle Book Services, a Lancaster-based distribution company specialising in US titles.
Eamon Kelly is Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies at the School of Education, University of Wales, Newport, where he teaches on a variety of programmes including the BA in Documentary Film and Television. He holds a BA from Bristol Polytechnic, a PGCE from the Institute of Education, London, and an MA in American Cultural Studies from Exeter University. His research interests lie in representations of Black militancy in American documentary film.
Henry Knight wrote an M.Phil. on the selling of California in the period 1876–1929, drawing on archival research in various repositories in California. He is now studying for a PhD in American History at the University of Sussex, examining promotional imagery of California, Florida and other ‘semi-tropical’ locations from 1876 to 1929. He is particularly interested in how constructions of race, ethnicity, nature and American identity influenced the popular imagery used to attract settlers and visitors to these places.
Steven Powell is studying for a PhD on the fiction of James Ellroy at the University of Liverpool.
Eva Rus completed a full-time PhD in American Studies at the University of in December 2007. Her thesis, entitled ‘Contemporary Feminst Subjects: An Analysis of Autobiographical Practice in Textual/Visual Self-Representation’, theorised contemporary feminist self-representation in both writing and visual art as a performative act that constitutes subjectivity in the interplay of memory, experience, identity, embodiment and agency. Eva received her undergraduate degree in Anglo-American Language and Literature from the University of Padua, Italy, in 2003. From 2005 to 2008 she worked as a co-editor of the Birmingham-based electronic journal 49th Parallel: An Interdisciplinary Journal of North-American Studies.
Reena Sastri teaches modern poetry at the University of York. Her research field is modern and contemporary American poetry and she is the author of James Merrill: Knowing Innocence (Routledge, 2007). Her current work involves poets including Robert Lowell, Rita Dove and Louise Gluck.
Calvin Schermerhorn is a PhD student at the University of Virginia researching how members of enslaved families in the American Chesapeake sought to preserve ties against an intensifying interstate slave trade, 1820–1860.
Stephen Shapiro is Associate Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick. His numerous publications include, in 2008, The Culture and Commerce of the Early American Novel: Reading the Atlantic World-System, How to Read Marx’s Capital and critical editions of Edgar Huntly and Arthur Mervyn. Future plans include critical editions of Wieland and Ormond (both 2009) and a study of the cultural effects of the consolidating middle class in the first two decades of the United States.
Dan Silverman is Director of Sixth Form at Alexandra Park School, London.
Matthew Smith holds a BA in American History from the University of Liverpool, and master’s degrees in Educational Psychology (College of Saint Rose) and Political Science (Syracuse University). He is currently a PhD candidate in American history at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, writing a dissertation on the US–Filipino relationship in the interwar years. His research interests centre around US diplomatic, military, imperial and colonial history in the Pacific during the twentieth century. He was a Goekjian Scholar at the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs in 2006/7, and is currently a teaching associate for the Maxwell School.
Lise Sorensen is a third-year PhD student at the University of Edinburgh. She holds a master’s degree in English Literature (Nation, Writing, Culture) from the University of Edinburgh and a BA from Concordia University, Canada.
Alison Stanley is doing a PhD in American Studies at King’s College, London. She studied for her M.Litt. in Glasgow, and spent some time at the University of Oklahoma, working with experts in Native American studies. Her primary interests lie in Early American literature and history; she is currently researching language exchange and translation in seventeenth-century New England.
Philip Stogdon holds a BA from Sussex and an MA from the University of London, where he is now reading for a PhD. His thesis is on the early twentieth-century American writer James Agee, and his research interests cover Thoreau, American Modernism (particularly Wallace Stevens) and, among more contemporary writers, John Cheever, Barry Hannah and Lucia Berlin.
Eleanor Thompson is a PhD candidate in US History at Merton College, University of Oxford. She is primarily interested in the cultural and intellectual history of the United States in the first half of the twentieth century. Her research concerns the social reconstructionist wing of the progressive education movement in the interwar years.
Matthew Tomiak holds a BA from the University of Hull and spent a year at the University of Washington, Seattle. He recently completed an MA at King’s College, London, with a thesis entitled ‘The Legitimacy of Dissent: The Seattle 1999 WTO Demonstrations, the American Media and the Nature of Political Protest in the US before 9/11’. He presented a paper based on this research at the SASA conference at the University of Glasgow in 2008.
Alex Waddan is Senior Lecturer in Politics and American Studies at the University of Leicester. His primary research interest is in the development of US social policy.
Lincoln Geraghty, University of Portsmouth, is editor of The Influence of ‘Star Trek’ on Television, Film and Culture and joint editor with Mark Jancovich of The Shifting Definitions of Genre: Essays on Labeling Films, Television Shows and Media (both published by McFarland, 2008).
John A. Kirk, Royal Holloway, University of London, is editor of An Epitaph for Little Rock: A Fiftieth Anniversary Retrospective on the Central High Crisis (University of Arkansas Press, 2008).
Terra Foundation for American Art Fellowships at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.
Terra Fellowships at the Smithsonian American Art Museum seek to foster a cross-cultural dialogue about the history of art of the United States. They support work by scholars from abroad who are researching American art or by US scholars, especially those who are investigating international contexts for American art. The fellowships are residential and support full-time independent and dissertation research.
The stipend for a one-year predoctoral fellowship is $27,000, plus research and travel allowances. The stipend for a one-year postdoctoral or senior fellowship is $42,000, plus research and travel allowances. Postdoctoral and senior fellows are eligible for a substantial stipend supplement to assist with relocation, research, and housing costs. The standard term of residency for fellowships is twelve months, but shorter terms will be considered; stipends are prorated for periods of less than twelve months.
Applications are due January 15, 2009
For applications and general information, visit AmericanArt.si.edu/fellowships or email SAAMFellowships@si.edu.
2010 OAH David Thelen Award
The Organization of American Historians sponsors a biennial award for the best article on American history published in a foreign language. Entries must have been published during the preceding two calendar years. The winning article will be published in the Journal of American History, of which David Thelen was editor 1985-1999.
Please send five copies of each submission to the address below, accompanied by a one- to two-page essay (in English) explaining why the article is a significant and original contribution to our understanding of American history. Deadline for entry is 1 May 2009.
Edward T. Linenthal, Editor, Journal of American History
David Thelen Award Committee
1215 East Atwater Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47401
The application should be marked ‘2010 David Thelen Award Entry’ and should also include the following information: name, mailing address, institutional affiliation, fax number, email address, and language of submitted article.
The final prize decision will be made by the David Thelen Award
Committee by 1 February 2010.
For full information please visit the website:
New Journal Announcement: 21
21 is a peer-reviewed, online journal exploring contemporary and innovative fiction. Issue 1 (September 2008) contains essays and articles on authors including J.G. Ballard, Anne Enright, A.M. Homes, Tim O’Brien, Annie Proulx, Jenefer Shute and Graham Swift:
Elizabeth Baines, ‘A Confusion of Realities’
Brian Baker, ‘Iterative Architecture: A Ballardian Text’
Kym Brindle, ‘Authentic Illusion: Author[ity] and New Frontiers’
Alison Kelly, ‘“Words Fail Me”: Literary Reaction to 9/11’
Paola Trimarco and Ursula Hurley, ‘Less is More: Completing Narratives in Miniature Fiction’
Rob Spence interviews Charles Lambert, whose The Scent of Cinammon and Other Stories follows his acclaimed debut novel, Little Monsters. Ailsa Cox writes on the Edge Hill Prize, awarded this year to Claire Keegan for Walk the Blue Fields, while there is more on the short story with a round-table discussion from editors and publishers, Anthony Delgrado, Duncan Minshull and Ra Page.
21 is edited by Rob Spence and Ailsa Cox at Edge Hill University, and may be accessed via our website, http://www.edgehill.ac.uk or contact us via email@example.com. We welcome submissions c. 5000 words which should be submitted as a Word attachment and formatted according to MHRA guidelines.
Tribal Fantasies: ‘Native Americans’ in the European Imagination 1900-present
The history of European appropriation of Indigenous lands and cultures in the Americas is long and frequently bloody. In the twentieth century, however, as European countries ceased to have formal colonial interests in the Americas, so direct contact between Native and European largely ceased. But the image of the Native American, as much a product of the colonial imagination as any deep understanding of the disparate indigenous cultures of the Americas, has proved enduring.
This collection aims to investigate European re-imaginings of Indigenous American peoples and cultures in the last century. We invite abstracts of 250–350 words on any such re-imagining, including (but by no means restricted to):
- depictions of tribal/indigenous culture and/or religion in European literature, art and film
- ‘American Indian hobbyist’ movements
- use of tribal/indigenous imagery in political movements
- the influence of tribal/indigenous design on European fashion
- Native American cartoons
- Native Americans as symbol of American hegemony
- Native Americans as symbol of resistance to American hegemony
- images of the Native in 20th century philosophy
- the New Age industry
- tribal rhythms in popular music
- the Ostern / Red Western
We welcome contributions from all European countries and would be particularly interested in transnational or trans-European articles.
Essays will be 6,000–8,000 words, referenced MLA endnote style.
Please send abstracts to both James Mackay at firstname.lastname@example.org
and David Stirrup at D.F.Stirrup@kent.ac.uk, by Monday 29 September 2008.
Lost and Found: The Recovery of American Literature
We are looking for contributions to the collection Lost and Found: The Recovery of American Literature. A survey of the nation’s literary history would identify a vast body of work that has been read by one generation of readers but lost from the view of the next. This could be due to the economics of the publishing industry, shifting political and social values, or changes in literary taste and criticism. This volume will consider American literature in the twentieth century that has been thought lost but later recovered and appreciated for its literary significance, or its reflection on a particular historical time or cultural movement. However, the volume will also consider books that have yet to be recovered. A process of loss and recovery raises interesting questions: What is it to be lost and found? What does the process tell us about the way literature and criticism operate in different historical moments? How and why has scholarship accepted or rejected such a process of recovery? Are current theories of trauma and testimony connected with that process?
Possible topics may include (but are not limited to)
- changing notions of American culture and identity
- canonical/marginal American writing
- prison writing
- the Lost Generation
- nostalgia and memory
- grief, trauma, and testimony
- theories of loss
- the loss of literature
- lost writers and marginal voices
Essays must be between 5000 and 6000 words (double spaced) in length and should avoid, where possible, using alienating jargon. Citations should conform to the Chicago Manual of Style 15th Edition (Humanities). Please include with your essay a 200-word biography and your full name and contact information, including e-mail, address, and phone number.
Submissions can be sent electronically in an attachment (MSWord only) to both emails below. Essays must be received by 1st December 2008.
Enquiries are warmly welcomed to either Dr Robert Ward or Dr Colin Winborn:
Call for Contributors: Routledge Annotated Bibliography of English Studies
Contemporary Literature Section (American Literature)
Routledge are proud to announce the launch of the Routledge Annotated Bibliography of English Studies (ABES), a unique reference tool for those working in the field of English Literary Studies.
Routledge ABES is a specialised online bibliography providing annotated entries on all of the most significant research in literary studies published each year. It contains scholarly annotations on all the best new criticism, from which users can find out about a publication, how it might be of use to them, and whether it would be relevant to their work.
The database is organised around eight key sections: Medieval; Renaissance and Early Modern; Eighteenth Century; Romanticism; Nineteenth Century; Modernism; Postcolonial; Contemporary Literature.
Routledge are currently inviting applications to contribute to the Contemporary Literature section. In order to maintain the distinction between ABES’ postcolonial and contemporary coverage, this section deals mainly with writing from the United Kingdom and Ireland, Canada and the USA – though the critical studies represented can originate from anywhere in the world. The section includes work on both established and up-and-coming authors, and covers all the major genres of contemporary writing, including fiction, poetry, drama, non-fictional prose, travel writing, literary theory and life writing.
As a contributor to Routledge ABES you would be called upon to create annotations to some of the best new research in literary studies, helping to provide an indispensable guide for the rest of the literary studies community. Your work would be fully acknowledged, with contributors able to provide a short biography and a link back to their own website or profile.
Each section is headed by a dedicated section editor, who edits and oversees the records in that section. If you are interested in becoming a contributor to Routledge ABES, please contact the Contemporary Literature section editor:
Dr Christopher Ringrose
The Centre for Contemporary Fiction and Narrative
The University of Northampton
St George’s Avenue