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

British Association for American Studies


Meeting 260


Meeting 260

Executive Committee Minutes: 26 September 2009

Minutes of the 260th Meeting of the Executive Committee, held at the University of Leicester on 26 September 2009 at 12.00pm.

1. Present: H Macpherson, M Halliwell (Vice Chair), C Morley (Secretary) T Saxon (Treasurer), C Bates, I Bell, M Collins, D Ellis, J Fagg, M Halliwell, W Kaufman, G Lewis, R Mason, S MacLachlan, and I Morgan.

Apologies: S Castillo, P Davies, M Whalan.

2.  Minutes of the Previous Meeting

These were accepted as a true record and will now go on the website.

3.  Matters Arising

  • In response to issues raised in the Minutes of the June meeting, DE clarified that the paper he (and Professor Pete Messent) originally sent to HM and the Heads of American Studies Departments was indeed representative of the views of the Departments mentioned therein. The letter was later published in the Autumn edition of ASIB in substantially revised form.
  • DE also responded to the question raised by the Treasurer regarding the action called for by his letter as possibly conflicting with BAAS’s charitable status: having sought legal advice on this matter, he was sure that there was no reason the issues outlined in his letter could not to be raised and addressed by the Executive Committee.
  • DE called for a reflective discussion on the issues raised by his letter regarding the RAE. MH responded by noting that the RAE had been discussed at the AS HoDs meeting in June and he pointed out that there have been many opportunities to discuss the RAE.

Action List Review

The Secretary asked the Exec to comment on the status of their Action List duties.

All Action List duties will be addressed under the relevant section below.

4.  Chair’s Business (HM reporting)

HM made the following announcements:

(a) Announcements

  • Professor Tony Badger has been made chair of the Kennedy Memorial Trust.
  • Dr Sam Edwards has received Fulbright Distinguished Scholar Award.
  • Dr Lee Sartain (Portsmouth) received a British Academy grant for £4000.
  • Dr George Lewis received a British Academy Research Development Award for a project entitled “Un-Americans: Ideological Dissent, Patriotic Subversion and Isolating the ‘Other’ in the USA”. The Award is worth £111,404 over 3 years.
  • Dr Jo Gill (Exeter) received an AHRC award for her project “The Poetics of the American Suburbs”, worth £23,543.00.
  • Dr Kasia Boddy (UCL) received a Leverhulme Research Fellowship of £45,000 for her project “The Great American Novel”.
  • Dr Tim Lynch, Senior Lecturer in US Foreign Policy at the Institute for the Study of the Americas, has been awarded the 2009 Richard E. Neustadt Book Prize for After Bush: The Case for Continuity in American Foreign Policy, which he co-authored with Dr Robert Singh at Birkbeck.
  • HM noted that all of these awards and distinctions are evidence of the high esteem in which American Studies colleagues are held, and the prominence of the research the community undertakes.
  • HM reported that it had come to her attention that a leading philanthropist who endowed American Studies at the University of Glasgow and became an honorary fellow of the university in 2002, Albert Gordon, died recently at age 107. He was the last of the “Titans of Wall Street” who rebuilt American banking after the Wall Street crash of 1929. Gordon also endowed monies to Winchester.
  • HM announced that Wolverhampton has closed its American Studies provision. This decision was based on falling student numbers which have declined over a number of years. The decision to close the unit is not connected to the RAE. HM asked Dr Martin Durham if he wanted BAAS to write to the VC.
  • HM reported that Northampton has also decided to close American Studies and has not taken any new students this year. Dr Nick Heffernan has moved to Nottingham. Similarly, Sussex has reversed its decision to keep American Studies as a department but has pledged support to the subject as it becomes part of a larger School—in this way, perhaps getting further support. Professor Robert Cook confirmed that American Studies at Sussex is thriving. Their efforts during the coming year will be directed towards sustaining and strengthening the degree programme by embedding it effectively into the new schools system. Professor Cook noted, “As the university can have no interest in curtailing the programme, there’s every reason to think that this is a battle we can win.” He also noted that with the target of 50 students they ended up with 66 this year on their AS programme.
  • HM noted her sadness regarding the closures at Wolverhampton and Northampton but added there had been a recent reopening too with Manchester.
  • HM noted that promoting our research along the lines suggested by IM was why we had set up the AS experts panel. She also noted that we needed to be consulted as a nominating body for the RAE. She suggested that we look at European Studies departments (some of which are closing) and learn from their examples of how to maintain a research base. MH noted that ES was not nationally very strong in terms of its visibility and that institutional threats remained for some modern languages.
  • WK suggested flexibility in terms of protecting AS in whatever shape and form it takes. MH noted that drafting something along the lines of IM’s suggestion would be certainly worthwhile.
  • In terms of the REF more generally, DE suggested it might be worth ascertaining how many American Studies units were going to enter into the subpanels for the next exercise. HM added that she would organise a meeting for AS HoDs on 6 November, in relation to Paul Cammack’s meeting to discuss Area Studies. The aim of the meetings would be to discuss strategy before the end of the consultation. HM would also write and ask HoDs for their intentions.
  • HM closed the discussion by noting that while we ought not be complacent, we should also recognize that during the last decade AS programmes have opened and closed and yet American Studies as a subject continues to be of great interest to postgraduates, undergraduates, and researchers at all levels. She reiterated that it would be too hasty to jump to the conclusion that Universities react solely to the American Studies RAE scores.

(b) Correspondence

HM received the AHRC Research leave results (circulated), which she felt were disappointing for American Studies colleagues, with only Dr Jo Gill as a clear AS award winner. Partially as a result, HM wrote to Shearer West in August, and received a reply on the 19 August (circulated).

  • HM suggested that we invite Professor West to a conference again – and ensure that we have a good audience for her. HM asked for suggestions on how we could influence AHRC on AS matters. MH noted that he had spoken with Professor West and that she’d been quite positive about AS, even though she admitted that some of the strategic research council schemes were keyed into UK-based economic, social and cultural issues. However, he reiterated that we need a representative on AHRC Panel A and Panel D. It is also worth bearing in mind that the new panel structure meant that the Panels would always be changing, drawing widely on members of the Peer College Review. The restructure away from the standing panels makes it hard to reflect back upon the pattern of the awards. HM noted that it seems that it seems to be very hard to get information from the AHRC. MH noted that Professor Rick Rylance was coming to Leicester and that he would speak to him then. HM noted that he gave a good talk at CUDASH and might possibly be would be a good speaker for the BAAS conference. Efforts would be continued to make American Studies visible to the AHRC.
  • HM wrote to Celeste-Marie Bernier thanking her for her hard work on the conference, noting also the refund she managed, with BAAS’s assistance, to secure for the 2009 conference delegates.
  • HM received an electronic copy of the Academy of Social Sciences bulletin (previously circulated electronically).

(c) Invitations

  • HM was invited to the US Ambassador’s House for 4th of July barbeque and was able to attend.
  • HM was invited to the Academy of Social Sciences CEO meeting (22 September), but had to decline.
  • HM attended the Journal of American Studies editorial board meeting on Friday 25 September along with Theresa Saxon, Catherine Morley, Ian Bell and Martin Halliwell.
  • HM will be attending the British Academy’s event on the REF and Impact for learned societies on 27 October and will report back at the next meeting.

(d) Consultations and Activities

  • HM received an email from ACSS regarding how the Association is a benefit to society (broader society rather than academics). She asked the Executive to send examples of specific things to put forward, for instance Matthew Jones’s work would be a clear example of impact beyond the academy. Colleagues were asked to send information to HM by 15 October.
  • The Heads of American Studies meeting took place on 16 June. 20 people attended and 9 sent apologies (some of which came through only a day before the event). Minutes of the meeting were circulated and HM thanked WK for putting them together. There was a very positive response to the meeting, which focused on the upcoming REF and featured an informed discussion led by Paul Cammack. HM chaired most of the meeting, handing over to MH when the discussion moved to the previous RAE.
  • HM noted that there were no additional responses to the request for information on RAE submission apart from Reading, who noted that 6 Americanists were returned as follows: English (3); History (2); Film (1). Reading has now been added to the original table.

While the information below on submission is useful it still does not capture the full information regarding American Studies. HM noted that she had asked for information at the BAAS AGM and a call for information also went out through the mailbase. MH noted that Edinburgh was missing, as was Exeter. He suggested that we target Glasgow, Strathclyde, Oxford, Cambridge, MMU, Dundee, St Andrews, Plymouth, Kent and we need to use our contacts to get information.


UCLAN 2 to English
DMU 1 to English, 1 to History
Hull 3 to English (including one film studies colleague)
Keele 4 to English, 2 to History, 1 to Politics
Lancaster 2 to History, 1 to Art and Design
Leeds 5 to English, 2 to History, 1 to Politics
Leicester 4 to History, 2 to English, 1 to politics, 1 to CCM.
Loughborough 2 to English
Northumbria 1 to English, 1 to History
Portsmouth No one from AS submitted to RAE
Reading English (3), History (2), Film (1)
Warwick 9 to History, 6 to English
Winchester 4 to CCM (Unit 66)


(e) REF

  • HM noted that the consultation document has been circulated and reminded the Committee that there is an opportunity for us to respond by mid-December. HM called for advice and guidance on contacting our membership (other than the mailbase and HoDs email list) for their views. CM suggested a single message mailshot.
  • HM noted that there was room for a positive discussion in Q. 14, where we can expand on views on Impact, Environment, Configuration, Timetable and Burden etc.
  • HM noted that the document details 2008-1012 as the census time, with plans for larger panels. AS would be placed in Panel D alongside European Studies, English Language and Literature, History, Classics, Art, and Area Studies (AS, Anglophone Area Studies, Middle Eastern Area Studies, etc). HM asked if European Studies would come into Area Studies or go with Languages. HM suggested that we might argue for European Studies to come under Area Studies to strengthen numbers (otherwise AS would be in with the very smallest panels). She also noted the proposed breakdown of Impact (25); Environment (15); and Outputs (60). She suggested that it might be possible to argue for 20 on Impact and certainly, given that Impact is new and experimental, we ought to try to revise that downwards. Certainly, as a committee, we need to draft a consultation document.
  • MH suggested that we need to make our mind up on the Impact percentage before they make up their mind on what Impact looks like. He suggested that we argue that it should be equal to research environment in percentage terms. IB reinforced this and wondered about arguing for a sliding scale on Impact (adding that STEM subjects are more susceptible to this). HM agreed but thought uniformity would be favoured. DE thought that this sliding scale model was both useful and possible.
  • DE noted that going into the larger panel might be positive but thought it would be good to try to figure out why Area Studies and Languages had been perceived to be so weak in Research. HM added that small panel with few submissions can lead to skewed statistics. She added that Area Studies might be bolstered if it went into a panel with English Literature and Language.
  • DE directed the committee’s attention to the 2008 exercise and observed that three out of the ten bottom performing units in RAE2008 were Area Studies. He felt that joining with languages would see that figure rise. He also expressed concern that we are going into an area where research last time was overall rated as weak. He asked why it was that languages and area studies performed relatively weakly in terms of research in the last RAE and asked if there was any way we can we account for it. DE suggested that there must be underlying reasons. SM asked what he thought these were.

DE noted that there seem to be two viable explanations: firstly, it might be that, nationally, research in Languages and Area Studies is weak. He added that he was simply not prepared to accept this as true. Secondly, it might be that during the RAE problems arose in the way that Language and Area Studies work was assessed. DE thought that there might be two important explanations. Firstly, that it proved difficult to assess the sort of interdisciplinary work commonly coming out of subjects like these. The nature of interdisciplinary work is novel and unfamiliar to many academics and stretches the knowledge base; panellists may have found assessing such work difficult and reacted conservatively. Secondly, the subjects of Languages and Area Studies, sui generis, are focused upon a specific area of the world – of whatever size – and this area will possess an established corpus of academic research which has developed in obviously advantageous conditions: native speakers, archives, records, libraries, artefacts, art and media productions, etc. DE noted that it is surely plausible to suggest that when arriving at assessments, panellists may have fallen into a kind of ‘sunflower trap’ (i.e. required to rank with an eye to the global and the world-leading, panellists instead ranked with both their eyes focused upon the work emanating from the specific area). He added that whilst it is arguable that this was the correct focus, this was not necessarily the case. But perhaps panellists needed to see that the sort of research work on the area would necessarily be qualitatively different and focus more on work not emanating from the area under study (the Area Study). Perhaps there remained a need to open up debate about whether factors liker these (and possibly others) had skewed judgements towards severity.

DE added that another way of driving home the extent of the poor performance of Languages and Area Studies is to consider which of these finished above the median GPA for all RAE units (2.62) (almost all the others falling not only below but well below this median). Only two Language or Area Study sub-units were ranked above this RAE2008 median: namely Middle East and African (2.77) and Celtic Studies (2.65). What makes this interesting, however, is that, arguably, both of these support the ‘sunflower’ hypothesis, since the subject of one (Celtic Studies) is based within the British Isles, and the subject of the other is not frequently of an ‘area’ that is by and large so poor in economic terms it has no established ‘domestic’ research corpus, that is to say much of the research is being done ‘abroad’.

DE concluded that if his propositions have any merit, then they have obvious implications for the REF and are therefore not just of historical interest, but an on-going issue. Michael Worton, Vice Provost of University College London and Fielden Professor of French Language and Literature, has been conducting some investigative research into this matter. HM will write to Professor Worton about his investigation (which does not include Anglophone Area Studies) for further information which might be fed into this discussion.

  • HM concurred with colleagues that the cross referral mechanism needs to be much clearer in the next exercise. RE added that comparability between research units and sub-units also needed to be very substantially strengthened. MH observed that the emphasis on critical mass which would affect where people went and affect cross-referral. He reiterated the need to flag up the importance of cross referral and phrase it properly so it doesn’t cause problems.
  • Given the amount of time needed to generate a response to the consultation, DE suggested calling an extraordinary meeting of the Exec to discuss this. MH suggested a summary report. GL suggested discussing the matter with other AS HoDs. HM suggested that the best way was the meeting on 6 November regarding the drafting of a response to the REF document. HM will send out a message regarding the 6 November meeting via the mailbase.

(f)  MISC

  • HM liaised with BBC4 for experts on a programme on Anne Bradstreet and distributed calls for papers to the listserv and web.
  • HM noted email problems over the summer: the officers discovered that emails had not come through from June-September. This resulted in some people’s emails not being responded to in a timely fashion. This has now been addressed, and apologies sent out to all who had corresponded. It was due to a problem with web host upgrading their servers which meant mailboxes needed to be set up again.
  • HM noted that the officers have responded to a call to add the BAAS book series to a list of American Studies book series being organized by the ASA and EAAS.
  • HM concluded her report by noting that the Schools database has been updated with the assistance of Rachael Walters (DMU). This was a particularly onerous task as we were unable to secure an electronic copy of the list, so we are especially grateful to Ms Walters.

5.  Secretary’s Business

  • CM noted that, as usual, her main role revolved around information flow. She regularly passed information on to Alison Kelly, Clare Elliot and Graham Thompson for ASIB, the mailbase and the website respectively. She helped direct people with research and awards queries to the appropriate sources; fielded enquires for expertise from the BBC and from various academics; she has updated the Charities Commission with our records with details of the new committee members. CM has also been contacted by overseas postgraduates seeking advice and guidance on PhD opportunities with UK institutions, to whom she responded.
  • CM was invited to two events at the Embassy, one which she declined; and a second which she will attend next week. It is a screening of ‘Moon’ to celebrate the anniversary of the moon landing. She also attended the JAS Editorial Board meeting in London on 25 September 2009.
  • CM noted that she is awaiting the newly designed BAAS leaflet any day now. She will circulate it electronically before printing for committee approval. The design has been slow so that the new web design and new logo can be incorporated.
  • CM noted that she has been working, alongside the other officers on the website overhaul. Clear and Creative Communications have taken on the job and have come up with a draft of the opening page (stills of the new website face circulated). The web designer noticed that we are looking to appoint a new Webster to an unpaid position that requires a demanding skill-set. C&C have been given the task of overhauling the site visually but Graham Thompson will still need to implement the changes, then hand it all over to the new volunteer. However, it would be possible to entirely rebuild the site using a Content Management System, so that the web editor only needs basic word-processing skills. The RAI uses just such a system and it’s entirely managed by non-technical staff. With a CMS, all that would be required would be a good administrator with a bit of design/marketing flair to keep the site in shape, and anybody on the staff could make basic text changes, upload the latest magazines, etc. Of course, it would cost more to set up (around £2500), but wouldn’t require a technical person to run it. CM has discussed this with GT who is very much in favour of it. She has also asked the advice of the other Officers who are in favour. Copies of materials were circulated and opinions of the committee were called for. Colleagues voted unanimously for the move to CMS. TS asked for a few extras (including training and support to be added into the agreed price for the overall). CM to liaise with Clear and Creative.
  • CM noted that she had placed an advertisement calling for AS experts to talk to Schools in the latest ASIB. Also, MW placed a notice calling for details to be added to an Expertise List in the latest issue of ASIB. As of yet she and MW had received few responses.
  • CM reported that she had checked the constitution regarding inviting Bella Adams to join the committee in some capacity. BA has been invited to attend the Development subcom. Her involvement with the Centre at LJMU dovetails with many of the issues discussed and addressed by the Development subcom. We are at full capacity in terms of ex-officio members.
  • Finally, CM noted that she had updated the Standing Orders regarding the new term of office for the BLARs Chair.

6.  Treasurer’s Business (TS reporting)

  • The Treasurer noted that the bank accounts (as at 24/09/2009) were as follows: General Deposit, £26,430.22; Short Term Awards, £2,251.93; Current, £3,166.11; making a total of £31,848.26. The amount in the RBS Jersey is  £15,474.61 and the US Dollar Account has $10,944.15.
  • TS reported that fully paid up members for 2010 currently stand at 492 including 177 postgraduates. This does not compare favourably to the position last year, which was 545 members (with 195 postgraduates). When those who haven’t so far updated their Standing Orders are included, the numbers rise to 644 (245 postgraduate) compared to 631 in September 2008. TS acknowledged that membership is lower than she would like and she is about to send out renewal notices.
  • TS mentioned the difficulties she has had with the switch over of the RBS account. Several bits of information have had to be sent on to them. TS wants to close the RBS account and bring the money there back into the UK. HM noted that in the past we have always had this account as a measure against being sued (as trustees) and for the conference. The offshore account in Jersey is not protected so cannot serve this purpose. The committee approved the closure of the RBS account.
  • TS sought approval from the committee on seeking new quotations for the annual accounts from various accountancy firms. The committee approved this.
  • TS drew attention to the fact that BAAS’s status as non-profit organisation can be taken away (as has been the case recently with a number of organisations and institutions) and charities are increasingly coming under spotlight. Indeed, the Charities Commission have recently conducted 12 case studies and found instances where charities have come adrift from their mission statement. As a result, the Charities Commission are introducing more and more measures and checks and BAAS needs to demonstrate recent relevant and real examples of what we do. We also need to be very stringent about our activities. TS will to draft a report on this and circulate it to the committee.
  • HM noted that the regularity with which we offer awards outside the membership and our work with schools are examples of public benefit and our non-profit status. TS said that this also crosses over with Impact in the REF, especially the work we do with Schools. Also DE’s CD is a tangible product that can be pointed to. DE agreed to send CM an evaluation report on the success of the CD. HM will also send out a message to the AS HoDs soliciting feedback on the CD.

7.  Development Subcommittee (WK reporting)

  • WK reported that Dr Bella Adams had been welcomed as a guest to the subcom. He added that she and CB will have much business to discuss in the coming months
  • WK noted that the US Embassy bids have come through and total £12,000. He asked if it might be wise to increase the amount that we bid for? He raised the matter with a specific eye on the BAAS PG conference as sometimes BAAS has had to subsidise PG attendance. CM suggested that we get figures to back up the increase in requests. WK to liaise with TS on this matter and report back to the next Committee meeting.
  • WK thanked HM and Ms Rachael Walters for merging the lists received from David Foster and Bella Adams. He is in the middle of sending out a large mailing which coordinates a number of items including a leaflet regarding the free Schools membership, the ‘Why American Studies’ CD, a letter offering the names of people willing to speak in Schools, and a poster regarding the Schools essay prize. He noted that he now has an enormous list of contacts and wondered whether he might possibly explore PD at the Eccles Centre a way of accommodating a mail out on BAAS’s behalf? HM encouraged WK to discuss the matter with PD, but it might be worth sending out quite a few of these mail packs and monitor responses to ascertain where to send future mailings.
  • WK received the last of his blurbs from high-profile AS graduates. WK noted a disappointing rate of return. The last message came from Razia Iqbal. IM suggested that these statements (along with photographs) might be integrated in the diorama on the new website. CM to liaise with the website design team.
  • WK reported two requests for conference support: the first request was for £300 to support for a conference on postwar American poetry and painting at the University of Kent; the second request was for £300 to support the annual conference of the American Politics Group. Both requests were unanimously approved by the committee.
  • WK thanked CB for all his work thus far as Schools Liaison. CB had prepared an extensive list of priorities and ways of developing Schools through outreach activities. The mailshot will be the first step in contacting Schools. Also there will be a clear and direct Schools button on the revamped website and CB will be involved in developing content for this.
  • CB also raised the idea of creating a ‘University Hub’ which would centralise outreach from universities in specific areas of the country in an attempt to draw students into specific events. He noted that this would inevitably be good for Schools and that it might be relevant to issues of Impact and Public Benefit. CB to liaise with WK and the Development subcom on this.
  • WK raised the possibility of setting up a group of PGs to be at the ready to go to Schools and talk on AS topics. He added that Professor Douglas Tallack used to run a forum in which each year’s Marshall Scholars went into universities to talk to students about American topics. WK suggested that we use them to talk to sixth form schools. WK to contact the Marshall Commission to make enquiries about this.
  • WK discussed the upcoming BAAS conference at UEA and the possibility of holding a more prominent Teachers’ Day. WK will discuss this matter with CB and TRS. He noted that such an event might possibly inform his application to the Embassy for additional funds.
  • WK concluded his report by noting a recent message from Dr John Canning at the LLAS. Dr Canning was seeking information regarding focused projects which the LLAS might be able to undertake/fund. DE added that the LLAS wanted wide generic issues, such as assessment, sustainability, social networking, intercultural awareness, rather than subject specific suggestions. The Committee were asked to forward suggestions to WK. DE noted that BAAS need a representative on the LLAS so that we have at least two AS voices. HM suggested asking AS colleagues at Sussex, Nottingham and UEA. HM to write to Heads of these units for suggestions of possible representatives.

8.  Postgraduate Business (MC reporting)

  • MC noted that IB had checked constitutionality of the decision to allow Irish PGs to apply for the BAAS Awards. This is unproblematic and will therefore go ahead.
  • MC noted minor problems with the syllabus UK-US NYU Summer School. These are being ironed out internally and this successful venture will run again next year.
  • MC added that the BAAS PG Conference at Northumbria conference had attracted 20 proposals and registration has been opened. Soon MC will send out a call for interested hosts for next year’s PG conference.

9.  Publications Subcommittee (MH reporting)


  • Dr Tony McCulloch has now completed his introduction for ‘The Canadian Papers of the 4th Earl of Minto.’ This has been approved, with just minor changes required. This title will now be released to standing order customers.
  • The problem over the quality of microfilming by the British Library for ‘The Manuscripts of Samuel Martin…’ is still unresolved. MAP paid the BL to do this work but received microfilm where between 20% and 40% of the images are illegible. Therefore this title cannot yet be released even though Dr Natalie Zacek has completed her introduction. KM will take up this matter as soon as convenient with the Licensing Manager at the BL, and will also seek help from Professor Philip Davies at the Eccles Centre.
  • RV will send details of MAP’s ‘British Online Archives’ for Dr Alison Kelly to publish in the January issue of ASIB. To date, eight Atlantic world-related collections largely digitised from earlier BRRAM have been released (including the American material in the USPG series A, B and C; the SPG journal and annual sermons from 1701-1870; the Liverpool RO slave trade records, the Davenport papers, the Jamaica material in the Goulburn and Slebech papers), with the ninth collection (Liverpool directories) due for completion in October. Committee members can contact RV about trial access.
  • RV has still to hear from the archivist at Bangor University about a projected BRRAM title on the Penrhyn Castle MSS.
  • There are additional Americas-related volumes among the USPG’s copies of letters received and sent series which have yet to, and could, be published either selectively or in toto.

Edinburgh University Press (EUP)

  • MH suggested using Nicola Ramsey for info on the BAAS series in the first instance as he received good sales figures direct from EUP. The Committee agreed that this was acceptable.
  • He also raised the matter of the EUP BAAS Paperbacks Editor vote on Publications subcom matter, wondering if SN and CS had one vote each or a vote between them. The Secretary clarified that SN and CS have one vote between them. HM suggested that MH liaise with SN and CS to ask if it might be possible for one of them to attend one meeting a year for voting purposes (the January meeting would be best for this as January is a busy month for JAS business).

Journal of American Studies

  • MH reported that he was preparing an advertisement for a new Editor and two Associate Editors. The second Associate Editor will be a two-year position, renewable for one term. The other posts remain at 4-year terms. Both posts begin in January 2011. He added that as BAAS will want to announce the names of the new editors at the conference they will need to be ratified in January. The deadline for applications for all the posts was agreed as 1 January 2010.  The Secretary will provide MH with previous adverts and job specifications.
  • MH noted that a number of JAS board members’ terms are coming to an end. Therefore we will be looking to ratify new members in January. The areas where the board will seek to appoint are as follows: 20th-century political history; Asian American culture; music; gender and sexuality. The board would like to see at least one appointment of an individual from outside the UK (possibly Asia and or/Europe). Nominations should be sent to MH by 1 November. Nomination should be confidential and should not be discussed with the prospective nominee. MH will finalise a shortlist to bring to the Committee in January.

American Studies in Britain (ASIB)

  • MH noted that RAS had been delayed and will be included with the February ASIB.
  • MH reported that AK wishes to step down after February 2010. He will, therefore, prepare a mailshot calling for a new Editor for a recommended term of three years. The deadline for applications is 1 November (extended until 16 November). MH will invite applications from the unsuccessful candidates for the US Studies Online editorship.

US Studies Online

  • The proposed special issue on art has been postponed indefinitely.
  • FD is unsure if she can go to Northumbria for the BAAS PG Conference. MH to advise FD to liaise with MC about attending the conference. 

10.  Conference Subcommittee (SM reporting)

  • SM thanked CMB for her hard work in securing the Nottingham refund. She noted that CMB is still finalising the conference accounts.
  • SM reported that all seems to be in order for the UEA conference. It has been advertised extensively. The deadline for proposals is 16 October. Posters should come through to the Committee in the next week. TRS will send out a single-item conference mailshot in the coming week.
  • The plenary speakers are in place: Wai Chee Dimock, Bruce Mitchelson, and David Reynolds.
  • The booking form is finished and about to go online. The conference will cost £330 for a full member.
  • The accommodation arrangements remain unchanged since the last minutes. On-campus accommodation is in a conference centre and of comparable standard with the hotel accommodation. All breakfasts will be served is on campus. There will be two late bars on campus for two nights.
  • The publishers will be housed in the tea-break area.
  • The civic reception will take place in the Norwich Forum (and BAAS will be addressed by the Mayor).
  • The UEA programme committee is now in place and outreach activities will be happening.
  • HM reiterated the need to have spaces reserved at the banquet for BAAS Awards winners.
  • Preliminary arrangements have been set up for BAAS UCLAN 2011 (14-17 April). TS has approached two hotels for costings and is negotiating deals. All the venues are in place and the team are about to start thinking about plenary speakers. The banquet will take place in the Preston North End Football Club, which will provide the venue without charge if we can ensure a minimum of 170 covers.
  • SM will begin discussions with Manchester about the 2012 conference after the UEA conference.
  • HM noted that she had already written to the UCLAN organiser’s HoD.

11.  Awards Subcommittee (IB reporting)

IB noted that he was unable to source an established list of deadlines for Awards activities (i.e. in terms of posters, advertising, etc.). He is to establish this list with the assistance of the Secretary. SM noted that the conference organiser would need information regarding the Awards winners at least a month in advance in order to organise the banquet.
IB noted that he had received an email from PD identifying a series of problems with past administration of the Eccles Awards and with suggestions of how to promote the Awards. PD’s email outlined the following points which were addressed by the committee:

  • The timing of the announcements and deadlines for applications have in the past been set by BAAS colleagues. The original suggestions about timings came from BAAS, and were entirely acceptable to PD. Later recommendations from PD that the timings be adjusted to give applicants more time to consider their options have thus far not been acted on. IB suggested a 29 February deadline in place of the current 29 January. This would maximise the time for applications. This was agreed by the Committee.
  • PD’s email to IB noted that the grant by the Eccles Centre to BAAS has always included an element for administration. When this was discussed initially the agreement between BAAS and the Eccles Centre was that BAAS administration of the awards would include: publicising and promoting the awards; organising and servicing the selection committee; communicating the results to the applicants, organising the awards ceremony/certificates; delivering the grants and ensuring the financial probity of the awards; obtaining reports from the applicants. PD noted that some problems have been identified and IB and PD have started to address them. However, the Committee agreed that this is a good opportunity to examine the process.
  • In terms of the publicity for and promotion of the Eccles Awards, PD expressed the opinion that BAAS colleagues may on occasion have restricted this to making an announcement through the BAAS elist and putting a short announcement on the BAAS website. He noted that promotion for these awards (and for at least some other BAAS awards) needs to go well beyond the BAAS elist. There needs to be close co-operation and exchange of information with BACS, who are a partner in this project.  But also the promotion needs to go to the elists (or equivalent) of organisations such as EAAS, BrANCH, BISA, HOTCUS, APG, TSA, and others. PD has always circulated the announcement to Eccles Centre contacts who may not be reached by a BAAS circulation. The Committee agreed unanimously with the necessary implementation of this suggestion.
  • IB also noted that the following suggestions from PD’s message would be incorporated into the administration of the Awards: (i) ensure that the BAAS/BACS link is close and clear; (ii) create a list of outlets through which BAAS will promote and publicise the awards; (iii) review and expand this list over time; (iv) build promotion/publicity into the annual schedule.
  • PD also suggested that the Awards move to electronic application only. This idea was discussed and rejected by the Committee on the basis of maintaining financial probity.
  • Other issues raised and discussed by the Committee included the maintenance and review of the financial reporting system BAAS has now put into place; setting a date (dates) in the annual schedule for an audit of whether the expected reports have been received, so that BAAS can take appropriate action. And, finally, copying to relevant committee members all narrative reports received to ensure sure that these reports are published in ASIB, and, where relevant, in the BACS Newsletter.

IB reported that he had prepared an application form for the BAAS fellowship, which was now available on the website. The deadline for BAAS Fellowship applications is 1 December. Recommendations will come to the January meeting.

12.  Libraries and Resources Committee (DE reporting)

  • DE noted that BLARs had decided to revisit the issue of possible collaboration between University libraries; the increased reliance on electronic resources means this might be worth exploring. Dr Kevin Halliwell will prepare a draft paper for the Committee. He has already begun liaising with AS librarians across the country.
  • The INTUTE tutorial for UG students on how to evaluate websites is now running on the INTUTE website.
  • DE noted that BLARs had recently received its grant from the Embassy for the production of RAS. This had been the cause of the delay to publication. BLARs were very happy with the proposal to move to a permanent February distribution of RAS.
  • BLARs will run a session on intellectual property at the UEA conference. And at UCLAN 2011 there would be a session on social networking and its role in the delivery of UG and PG courses.
  • TS is to continue serving on the BLARs committee.
  • DE thanked the British Library and the Eccles Centre for their continued support.

13. EAAS (WK reporting on behalf of PD)

  • PD sent a written report noting that there have been no EAAS meetings recently.
  • The deadline for paper proposals for next year’s EAAS conference in Dublin is 15 October 2009.  Proposals should be sent to Workshop chairs.
  • Details are available in the latest EAAS newsletter, at

14. Any Other Business


15. Date of next meeting

The next Executive Committee meeting will be held at the University of Central Lancashire on 23 January 2010.

Subcommittee meetings will commence at 10.30am.

Dr. Catherine Morley


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