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

British Association for American Studies


Meeting 268


Meeting 268


Professor Zoe Trodd has been appointed as Chair of American Literature in the Department of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Nottingham

Dr Helen Laville has been internally appointed as Head of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Birmingham.

Dr Simon Topping has been internally appointed as Head of History at the University of Plymouth.

Dr James Campbell has been internally appointed as Acting Director of American Studies at the University of Leicester for one year.

Professor Susan Castillo has retired from her Chair in American Studies at King’s College London (she will continue to supervise PhD students).

Professor Pete Messent will retire from his Chair in American Literature at the University of Nottingham at the end of September.

Dr James Russell (De Montfort University) has been awarded £98,000 by the Leverhulme Trust for his two-year project ‘Hollywood and the Baby Boom, A Social History’.

Professor Nick Selby (UEA) has been elected to the Committee on Programs and Centers for the American Studies Association

  1. Prizes

Natalie Zacek (University of Manchester) won the 2011 Gladstone History Book Prize from the Royal Historical Society for her monograph Settler Society in the English Leeward Islands, c.1670-1776 (Cambridge University Press, 2010)

Jarod Roll (University of Sussex) won the Working Class Studies Association’s 2011 C.L.R. James Award and the Herbert G. Gutman Prize from the Labor and Working-Class History Association for his monograph Spirit of Rebellion: Labor and Religion in the New Cotton South (University of Illinois Press, 2010)

Stephen Tuck of Pembroke College, Oxford has won this year’s American Politics Group Richard E Neustadt Book Prize for We Ain’t What We Ought To Be: The Black Freedom Struggle from Emancipation to Obama (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press). A presentation will be made at the APG/BAAS colloquium in November.

  1. Invitations

MH was invited to speak on a panel on ‘The Public Value of the Humanities’ at the AHRC’s Subject Associations Event in London on 24 June.

MH has been invited by CCUE to join an invited panel of speakers on the subject of ‘English in the post-Browne World: Opportunities, Dangers, Strategies’ at their OGM on 3 December.

Philip McGowan (IAAS Chair) and MH have been invited to give the keynotes at the inaugural joint BAAS/IAAS postgraduate conference at Trinity College, Dublin, 14-15 January 2012.

MH has been invited to give a keynote lecture at the European Association for American Studies Conference on ‘The Health of the Nation’ in Izmir, Turkey, 30 March – 2 April 2012.

  1. Correspondence and Meetings

The Chair circulated the REF consultation documents to heads/representatives of American Studies and have elicited some responses.

He has been in correspondence with the University of Mississippi to finalise the new GTA in Southern Studies – details are now available on the web. George Lewis and MH met with the Director of Southern Studies at Mississippi, Professor Ted Ownby, when he visited the UK in July. Professor Ownby will try to attend the Manchester conference

Gareth Hughes and MH met with Sue Wedlake from the US Embassy on 9 August to discuss various initiatives. I have since been in touch with the Embassy about sponsoring four speakers for the Sixth Form event on American Politics which Gareth is arranging (through the Development Subcommittee) for the end of January/beginning of February.

The Chair will be attending a BA meeting on the REF on 28 September and an AHRC meeting on the Block Grant Partnership (BGP2) on 10 October.

MH has corresponded about the Manchester conference, the Journal of American Studies, and the Government White Paper.

  1. Other Business

MH raised seven key issues in the REF to which BAAS may wish to respond:

  1. Maternity Leave: BAAS’s proposed response re. dispensation for periods of maternity leave (i.e. that each period of discrete maternity leave should be taken into account even if, as is common, such leave is for fewer than the 14 months currently being proposed as the trigger for one less output) was approved. The question was also raised about the accessibility of distant research archives to scholars with childcare responsibilities.
  2. Double Weighting: The importance of consistency across panels with respect to double-weighting was noted.
  3. Co-authorship: There were concerns about the lack of clarity in the consultation document with respect to co-authored outputs i.e. clarity is required about how weightings will be ascribed.
  4. Boundary Statements and Cross-Referral: Concerns were expressed about (i) the articulation of the interdisciplinary range in American Studies, and, (ii) procedures for cross-referral.
  5. Impact: Two points about the limitations of the proposed “residency” requirement (a particular issue for disciplines where mobility is common) and about the importance of assessing impact as part of the wider HEI environment, were discussed and agreed.
  6. Assessment Criteria: Concerns were raised about the imprecision of some of the grade boundaries. BAAS would like to see more specific guidance and better communication about the nature of these grade distinctions. This is particularly an issue with interdisciplinary study where straightforward distinctions may not properly recognise the nature of the research.

vii.  Multiple Submissions: Concerns were expressed about the procedure for multiple submissions which in the case of some area studies departments at some institutions, may be an issue.

JG / MH to respond to the Consultation.

Possibility of hosting a REF or Impact discussion at the BAAS 2012 conference in Manchester was again raised. MH /JG to discuss and pursue.

MH raised potential of cross-funding/cross-organising conferences in future along the lines of the forthcoming Irish Association for American Studies PG Conference (Dublin / January 2012)

JG to check whether there is a revised BAAS membership leaflet for supply to conferences that we are funding.


BAAS, along with other interested parties, has the opportunity to respond to the Government’s White Paper (“Higher Education: Students at the Heart of the System”). BAAS’s concerns centre around several key areas including (i) the lack of consideration in the document of the benefits – and the financial cost to students – of degree programmes with an international / exchange element, such as American Studies; (ii) the effect on recruitment to interdisciplinary programmes such as American Studies of the AAB proposals (i.e. institutions wishing to charge £9000 p/a in fees will be released from quotas for students earning AAB or equivalent at A-level, (iii) the implications of the proposed changes on PG study. JG and MH will draft and submit a response to the White Paper Consultation, based on the above.

GH and PD suggested that we might seek a meeting with the British American Parliamentary Group and / or the Select Committee on Education and / or the Minister of State with responsibility for transatlantic affairs. MH to pursue contacts with Adam Roberts.

JG and MH to check timetable for further consultation / amendment after the initial consultation period.

DJE noted the different challenges facing Area Studies (language based) and Anglophone area studies in terms of funding, and making a case for sustainable investment.

5.  Secretary’s Business (JG reporting)

JG reported that she attended the Fulbright Scholars’ Reception in London in June. She has circulated and responded to drafts of the White Paper and the Alternative White Paper. She has responded to requests for information e.g. with respect to potential External Examiners, members and applicants for Awards.  She has liaised with Graeme Thomson (Listserv); Michael Collins (Web) and Kaleem Ashraf (ASIB).

6. Treasurer’s Business (TS reporting) 

  1. (a) Membership

TS has removed from the membership list the names of people who had cancelled Standing Orders but had not otherwise advised us that they had left the Association. She further reported that there is a Paypal option for people who have not updated their standing orders. A discussion ensued of other ways of contacting these people i.e. would it be feasible to do this when people register for the next conference? It was agreed that a more effective way might be to contact people by a circular addressed to those who have not yet updated their Standing Order. TS will proceed in this way.

  1. (b) Accounts

TS reported that accounts have been submitted and charities commission data nearly complete.

The Gift Aid claim is going in for the year, now CC stuff registered

  1. (c) Awards

Embassy Awards for 2012 Conference and postgraduate subsidies have been approved.

Eccles awards audit tracker has been updated for the years up to 2010: 2011 (current year) underway. TS is working in liaison with PD, IFAB, Louise Cunningham, JG to ensure that missing information is obtained and recorded 

  1. 7. Development Subcommittee (JF reporting)

(a) Matters arising from previous minutes:

  • The Subject Centre for Language Linguistics and Area Studies has a continuing remit and budget in place. BAAS will continue to liaise, support and publicise. JG to write to John Canning (Southampton) to reaffirm our support.
  • There have been 5 applications for small grants for conferences:
  1. Simon Middleton (University of Sheffield) “Markets, Law, and Ethics, 1400-1800” 23-26 June 2012. £240 for PG bursaries (with proviso that the bursaries are named as American Studies bursaries and go to scholars in early American Studies)
  2. Simon Newman (University of Glasgow) “Scottish Association for American Studies” 16-17 March 2012. £300 to facilitate Postgraduate access to the conference.
  3. Philip Davies (Eccles Centre for American Studies, The British Library) “Congress to Campus UK” Nov 2011. £300 contribution to costs of for UK-based speakers.
  4. Philip Davies (Eccles Centre for American Studies, The British Library) “BAAS/APG Colloquium” Nov 2011. £300 to maintain low base rate charge to make accessible for students.
  5. Zalfa Fergali (University of Nottingham) Louise Walsh (Clinton Institute) Kate Kirwan (University College Cork) “Transgressive and Transgression”: IAAS and BAAS Postgraduate and Early Career Scholar Conference.” Up to £600 (to match IAAS €800 contribution) to support running costs, low registration fee and travel bursaries for what is planned as first of a series of biennial IAAS-BAAS events.

These were all recommended to the Exec and approved for funding.

The sub-com had discussed the processes / principles for funding. It was agreed that there was need for clarification on what might be funded, without being too prescriptive, and to establish a clear timetable of deadlines for funding application and allocation.

  1. (b) Schools Liaison

GH was thanked for his work in setting up a schools’ conference in February 2011 to include various expert speakers and a session on exam techniques. There is the possibility of American Embassy funding to cover the cost of the speakers. It is hoped that a Northern hub for BAAS Schools’ Activity may emerge from this event. GH is liaising with Andy Mink, Director of Outreach and Education for the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia.

(c)  Postgraduates

The subcommittee discussed the idea raised at the June meeting of offering a BAAS bursaries (£200 per person allocating maximum of £500 on a bi-annual basis) to UK PG students who have papers accepted for EAAS panels to support travel/accommodation costs. The exec agreed this recommendation

(d) Richard Martin (Intern) Report

RM has been looking at BAAS and Fulbright Archives and has interviewed various people, and is now looking at admissions data, REF issues etc. He will oversee a round-table at the 2011 BAAS PG (12 Nov / Nottingham) conference. UEA are to host a special research seminar on the project. RM asked for suggestions of who he should talk to / useful resources. Exec to respond to RM. MH advised that project will be written up by and presented at the April AGM.

  1. 8. Postgraduate Business (ZF reporting)
  1. PG Conference 12th November in Nottingham. Provisional programme tabled. Keynote is Liam Kennedy.

(b)  Joint Conference with IAAS Jan 15/16th (Trinity College, Dublin). ZF asking for £600; matched by

euro 800 from IAAS. Conference runs every 2 years.

  1. MH raised the importance of ensuring that there is a clear job spec for the PG Exec role; the

question of early career representation on the BAAS Exec was again raised. JG will check Standing Orders to see what options there are for ensuring such coverage. The matter will be considered again at January Exec.

  1. JG suggested that Exec members should alert their own newly registered MA / PhD students to BAAS membership, conferences and events.
  1. 9. Publications Subcommittee (GL reporting)

(a)  BRRAM

KM will be meeting David Sarsfield at MAP next week, to discuss new titles for the series.

(b) JAS

  • CMB reported on the journal editors’ move to a Nottingham base and on the successful implementation of the Scholar One system; the editors have a new editorial assistant (John Horne); the journal has now increased in size by an extra 48 pp per issue and has healthy subscription figures; Twitter is being used as a way of promoting the Journal.
  • All scholarly articles are now screened by one of the editors and, if appropriate, forwarded to two independent readers. The typical length of articles has increased from 6000 to 7000 words and reviews from 500 – 750 words. 35% of submissions are from women; 40% of acceptances are by women. The Journal aims to include a mixture of articles, reviews and roundtables in print and on-line versions and aims in particular to foster interdisciplinarity.
  • There will be 1 x special issue per year. The 9/11 issue is coming soon as are special issues on “The Arts of the Diasporas,” and “Oil.” A Harvard round-table on “The Politics and Poetics of Photography” (2012) will be the subject of a future issue.
  • There are 5 Board Members who are due for replacement: Judie Newman; Janet Beer; Shelley Fisher Fishkin; Simon Newman, and Carol Smith. GL will seek suggestions for replacements.
  • MH mentioned the JAS leaflet for use at conferences; this will also be made available via the BAAS website.

(c) ASIB

  • KA has had contact from Julia Monk, Marketing Manager at Combined Academic Publishers, who wishes to place an A3 flyer in the next issue ASIB (ASIB 105; Sept.) The Treasurer and Chair of Publications settled on a flat fee of £250 for the service, which should defray the increase in postage costs. The flyers are to be delivered by the end of w/c 12 Sep.
  • BAAS Fellow interview with Helen Taylor. HT is away from her desk until 12 Sep, so KA hopes to arrange the interview to coincide with the Exeter BAAS Exec meeting on 21st January. It is therefore now planned that the interview will, then, appear in the Spring issue.
  • Bom Pomfret (ASIB typesetter) will deliver the next edition (9/11 Special Issue) in the first week of October.
  • The sub-committee discussed problems arising from the current BAAS website joining form, which at present causes editorial difficulties for KA. This will be tweaked accordingly.

(d) US Studies Online

  • The Spring/Summer 2011 issue has been published on the BAAS website. 
  • A high percentage of those previously indicating an interest in submitting to USSO failed to do so by the deadline. The deadline for submission to the Autumn/Winter issue has therefore been extended. The sub-committee also welcomed CS’s suggestion that postgraduates could be encouraged to submit “state of the field” essays.
  • CS has been in contact with the BAAS Postgraduate Conference organisers and will be giving a short talk about USSO at the conference, as well as explaining our presence and intent to publish selected papers. CS will also contribute a short blog post to the conference website.
  • The sub-committee discussed CS and MJC’s idea of establishing a separate website for USSO, to be managed by the editor. It was thought that this would have a number of benefits: it would increase the journal’s visibility; shorten its current url address; and open up the possibility for a wider range of content. The sub-committee agreed this change in principle, and GL would put it to the full Exec.

(e) Web site

  • MJC had now converted the Manchester Conference poster into an electronic

button suitable for the website. In future, all conference organisers would be asked to design a web button image (square or rectangular; 140-155 pixels) as well as posters.

  • A link to the INTUTE website was still up on the website. GL to check with RE whether this was still required, given the cessation in INTUTE funding and subsequent lack of activity on the website.
  • The “Schools” tab is now available on the website.
  • There was considerable discussion of the role played by Clear & Creative. MJC reported a lack of clarity in both what C&C were supposed to provide, and what the costs would be. Discussions over costs centred around the subjective term of “maintenance” and what both parties inferred from it. Currently, C&C are charging for any work which requires detailed knowledge of JOOMLA! coding, which is beyond the current capabilities of MJC. KA reported that a number of current post-grads may have that capability with JOOMLA!. If that is the case, it would offer a useful short- to medium-term solution. If that is not found to be the case, the sub-committee agreed with MJC’s recommendation that BAAS should settle upon an approved annual communications budget.

Action: a request to be made via the BAAS mailbase for JOOMLA! expertise. MJC/GT

to liaise.

(f) AOB

  • In light of the recent libel issues surrounding the on-line publication of a conference paper from BISA, the sub-committee agreed that, in future, all editions of USSO and ASIB would be screened for potential libel by the Chair of the Publications Sub-committee.
  • 10. Conference Subcommittee (TRS reporting)
  1. TRS mentioned that posters have been circulated and are on the website.
  2. Costs for Manchester are under discussion prior to the publication of the booking form.
  3. Plans are well advanced for Exeter in 2013. The poster and CFP etc will be ready in draft for Jan Exec and then published in April for Manchester. JG / Sinead Moynihan / Paul Williams to deal.

11. Awards Subcommittee (SE reporting)

  1. GTA Award (a new post) at the University of Mississippi – The ad. is up on website
  2. GTA Award (revived) at the University of Virginia – This post has now been agreed and can be advertised. SE will ensure that both are on the listserv and website.
  3. JG and SE will set deadlines for the rest of the Awards and will communicate to Kaleem Ashraf for publication in ASIB and with MJC and Graeme Thomson for publication on the website, and listserv.
  4. Posters advertising the awards need to be redesigned / updated via Clear & Creative. These will then need to be sent out to Exec and Departments etc via Louise in October. JG and SE to check copy, dates and proceed.
  5. It was confirmed that it is permissible for the Exec to apply for Eccles Awards.
  6. It is hoped that the GTA interviews will take place mid-January (provisionally Fri 14th / Sat 15th) with Keele, Leicester or Birmingham mooted as fairly central places at which to hold the interviews. SE to pursue.

12. Libraries and Resources Committee (DE reporting)

  1. EBSCO have invited BLARS to join their database.
  2. DJE raised the question of BLARS membership. JG (already a member prior to assuming role of BAAS Sec) will go to Feb meeting as ordinary and BAAS Exec member; the EXEC role from thereon will be discussed in April (possibly part of someone’s portfolio).
  3. A list of American Studies Librarians is on the website.

13. EAAS (PD reporting)

  1. Next EAAS conference is in Ismir, Turkey (30 March – 2 April 2012). MH will be a keynote. CFP has been circulated; 1st Oct closing date so will be circulated again before then (and via BAAS website)
  2. The European Journal of American Studies has new Editors / Associated Editors including Jenel Virden and John Dumbrell.
  3. A selection of 18 papers from the 2008 Oslo EAAS conference has been published as E pluribus unum or E pluribus plura?, edited by Hans-Jurgen Grabbe, David Mauk & Ole Moen. The volume of the 2010 conference is currently in press.

13. UKCASA / Academy of Social Sciences (IM reporting)

  • The Campaign for the Social Sciences is gearing up and is hopeful that the government will appoint a Chief Social Scientist.
  • Internationalizing the Academy – a major report on this is expected in December
  • Learned Society nominations to AcSS – there was a plea for streamlined recommendations based on 5 bullet points as to why someone should be awarded AcSS membership. A model endorsement will soon be put up on the AcSS website.

15. Any Other Business

Iwan Morgan reported on Academy of Social Sciences and mentioned meeting with new head of ESRC who expressed an interest in funding projects from all areas of the world. There is a possibility of penalties for submission of inadequate applications (such as restricting the number of applications from a HEI in future rounds)

16. Date of next meeting

The next meeting of the Executive Committee of the British Association for American Studies will be held at the University of Exeter on Sat 21st January 2012. Subcommittees will commence at 11 am and the Exec at 1.30pm [please note the slightly later times to allow for travel to Exeter].

JG reminded the Exec to book travel in advance. Please note that this is a change to the original date in order to allow Exec members to attend the BAAS / Irish American Studies Association joint PG conference in Dublin on 14th Jan.

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