British Association for American Studies
Minutes of the 269th Meeting of the Executive Committee, held at the University of Exeter on 21st January 2012 at 1pm.
1. Present: M Halliwell (Chair), I Bell (Vice Chair), J Gill (Secretary), T Saxon (Treasurer), S Currell, D Ellis, J Fagg, G Lewis, I Bell and T Ruys Smith, P Davies
Apologies: M. Collins, Z Feghali, G Hughes, S Ellis, C Bernier
In attendance: J Gill
2. Minutes of the Previous Meeting
These were accepted as a true record and will now go on the website.
3. Matters Arising
(a) 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 (MH reporting)
Joy Porter (Swansea University / now at the University of Hull) has received an AHRC Research Fellowship for the project on ‘The American Indian Poet of the First World War: Modernism and the Indian Identity of Frank “Toronto” Prewett 1893-1962’ (£51,417) and a British Academy Mid-Career Fellow for the project ‘The American Presidency and Tribal Diplomacy in the 20th Century’ (£113,950).
Carol Smith (Director of American Studies at Winchester University) has been awarded a Senior Fellowship in Learning and Teaching.
MH attended an ESRC Festival of Social Sciences event at the British Academy on 3 November 2011: David Willetts and, Paul Boyle (the CEO of the ESRC) were the speakers.
MH attended a reception in Kensington for the new Cultural Attaché, Monique Quesada, on 9 November 2011, and had a follow-up meeting with Monique and Sue Wedlake at the US Embassy in London on 1 December.
MH attended the 2011 BAAS Postgraduate Conference at the University of Birmingham, 12 November, and spoke on the closing plenary panel.
MH attended the Institute for the Study of Americas Council Meeting on 17 November.
On 3 December 2011 MH spoke at the CCUE OGM on the subject of ‘English in the post-Browne World: Opportunities, Dangers, Strategies’
MH gave a keynote at the inaugural IAAS/BAAS Postgraduate and Early Career Conference on ‘Transgressive and Transgression’ at Trinity College Dublin, 13-14 January 2012.
MH was invited (but could not attend) the retirement event for Pete Messent (Nottingham) on 29 September, and sent Pete and Susan Castillo (King’s) retirement cards on behalf of BAAS.
(c) Correspondence and Meetings
MH attended a REF Consultation at the British Academy on 28 September 2011, along with Sue Currell (the Chairs of REF Panels C and D, Janet Finch and Bruce Brown, presented). This was significant as it flagged up two issues that the REF has publically revised: (i) the issue of maternity leave and (ii) allowing Panel C submissions to include a fourth/reserve item for individuals that have double-weighted outputs. (The finalised REF criteria will be published at the end of January 2012).
MH had a meeting with Brian Ward and Ian Scott about the 2012 Manchester Conference (October 2011).
MH has been working with Gareth Hughes and John Fagg on the inaugural BAAS Schools Conference to be held in Pocklington School, York on 6 February 2012 on the subject of Politics and International Relations. The speakers will include John Dumbrell (Durham), Scott Lucas (Birmingham) and Iwan Morgan (ISA). John, Sue Wedlake and MH will also attend. MH expressed his thanks to the speakers.
Philip McGowan (IAAS Chair) and MH had a meeting in Dublin (January 2012) to discuss current developments and possible future initiatives between BAAS and IAAS, including:
- A biennial postgraduate and early career conference, alternating between Ireland and the UK. The next event would be early 2014 in the UK. (This has already been agreed, but we may want to consider that this joint conference takes the place of the BAAS Postgraduate Conference in every even year). Discuss with new PG rep (at June meeting)
- Concessionary subscription rate to Journal of American Studies for IAAS members. (Agreed with the Editor of JAS in summer 2011).
- The possibility of Queen’s University Belfast hosting the 2016 BAAS Conference. This would link into other events commemorating the centenary of the Easter Uprising; it might be possible to have a linked event, with part of the conference in Dublin. Philip McGowan will discuss with colleagues at QUB and the Irish consulate and give me some feedback in April, with a view to making a bid this summer. (If this does not prove possible, then QUB may look to host the BAAS conference in 2017 or 2018).
- The proposal to have a reciprocal arrangement, such that each year BAAS sponsors two BAAS postgraduates to attend and present at (i) the main IAAS conference (April) and (ii) the IAAS postgraduate conference (January), with a bursary for a BAAS PG student for each conference; the IAAS will reciprocate by sponsoring an IAAS PG student to attend each of the two BAAS conferences. To be considered in more detail in April with regard to cost implications, and a more detailed evaluation of the rationale for the proposal; TS and PD suggested tying the bursary in with e.g. a report to the newsletter. TS and MH to discuss and then for the Exec to return to the issue at the April meeting.
- The proposal to add a dedicated Early Career Scholar to the BAAS Executive, possibly with the distinct role of maintaining the BAAS website. The pros and cons of adding this additional position to the current committee structure was debated at length, as was the possibility of attaching a web-maintenance responsibility to the role. The proposal to add an early-career post (up to 5 years post-PhD) was put to the vote (7 for; 2 against; 3 abstentions). MH and JG will agree the detail and formalise a draft proposal for the AGM.
- The proposal to publish a BAAS brochure in 2013 – to be launched in April 2013 – presenting a range of research projects from across the BAAS community (PG, early career, senior scholars) with an emphasis on interdisciplinarity, impact case studies, and knowledge exchange. (For the ESRC equivalent see http://www.esrc.ac.uk/impacts-and-findings/features-casestudies/case-studies/index.aspx). MH thought it might be produced inexpensively perhaps by using a student intern; the readership would be wider members of the academic community, VCs, funders and stakeholders and would be a profile-raising tactic. NB suggested liaising with e.g. US and Canadian embassies and the British Academy in order to build a coalition to defend the public good of American Studies. NB further suggested meeting with Adam Roberts and Barbara Stevenson. MH and NB to discuss. MH suggested inviting Adam Roberts to a launch at Exeter. To be discussed at the BAAS Conference in April and again in due course. PD suggested Dr Stephen Benn (has an MA in American Studies and is the Director of Parliamentary Affairs for the Society of Biologists); possible meeting later in the year at the RAI.
5. Secretary’s Business (JG reporting)
JG reported that she has arranged the printing and distribution of the BAAS Awards posters for 2012. She has also worked with IB and SE to select, interview and appoint candidates for the 2012 GTA posts.
She attended a “Public Engagement in the Arts and Humanities” Training Day (AHRC-organised) in London on 27th Oct and circulated a report on the day to BAAS Exec.
JG dealt with routine correspondence, and sent a card on behalf of BAAS to MC on the occasion of his wedding, and sent a card and gift to former secretary, Catherine Morley, on the birth of her baby son.
She has liaised with Graeme Thompson and MC with regard to mailing list and website updates.
She is currently updating publicity materials for potential members for distribution at conferences and similar events.
6. Treasurer’s Business (TS reporting)
Fully paid-up as at Jan 2012: 229 (52 postgraduate); With no change to SO from last year: 300 (75 postgrad). By comparison: Fully paid-up as at Jan 2011: 296 (122 postgraduate); with no change to SO from last year: 424 (154 postgrad).
Analysis: 86 postgraduates were members in 2011, and have not yet renewed for 2012; 40 FPU were members in 2011 and have not yet renewed for 2012.
Jan is often a quiet month in terms of membership. Nevertheless, TS sees this as quite a significant drop in PG membership. JG will tailor a membership leaflet by end-Feb for distribution via departments / Universities across the country to their PG students – perhaps flagging up forthcoming Manchester and Leicester PG conferences. JG to check re. Victorian Studies Association figures for a comparison of renewals / PG membership etc.
Gift Aid claim for £1651.90 has been submitted.
(b) Conference income and expenditure: TS reported a surplus from last conference of £5000 which has gone back into BAAS coffers. Honorarium has been awarded to conference organisers.
(c) Payments: Two payments made to support students on EAAS bursaries – new award.
TS expressed a note of cautious optimism (despite slight drops in membership): Bank accounts looking healthier this year.
- 7. Development Subcommittee (JF reporting)
(a) Schools Liaison
Gareth Hughes’s Schools Conference (6th Feb. see above) looks very promising. The Exec thanked GH for his hard work in preparing this. TR-S and MH will discuss with GH the plans for a teachers’ event at the Manchester Conference.
The sub-com discussed and recommends University of Leicester’s proposal for the 2012 PG Conference (with a provisional date of 24 Nov 2012). The conference has an organizing team headed by Robert W. Jones II. Catherine Morley will be the named mentor.
(c) Richard Martin (Intern) report on American Studies 2000-2010 Project
Richard Martin reported on his continuing progress with his study and will present a 10-minute report at AGM before finalising report in June.
(d) Conference Applications
6 applications received for small grants for conference funding. The first five were recommended to the exec (all for £300): Kent; Birkbeck; British Group for Early American History; Birmingham; UEA. Some stipulations for some of these awards. TS raised the question about whether applicants had to be members of BAAS? It was recommended that in future this should be clearly expressed as a stipulation for applicants for awards.
- 8. Postgraduate Business (ZF reporting)
The Exec recorded its thanks to Zalfa for the work she has done esp. on IAAS. MH and ZF will prepare “how-to” sheet for next rep.
- 9. Publications Subcommittee (GL reporting)
KM is in negotiation with the Ayrshire Archives, the University of Aberdeen Archives and the Cumbria Record Office over possible future BRRAM titles.
- Edinburgh University Press (EUP)
Updates on BAAS Paperback series:
Nick Selby’s American Poetry since 1900 was signed up last summer and is due for publication in the spring of 2013.
- Journal of American Studies (JAS)
Five JAS Board Members will be coming to the end of their terms this year: Richard Crockatt; Marjorie Spruill; Jane Dailey; David Seed; and Paul Giles. Discussions about extensions and potential replacements – and areas in which such replacements might best be made – have begun between GL, the JAS Editors, and CUP.
The JAS Board Meeting will be held on Monday 17th September, at 1pm.
SL reported favourable feedback on the recent 9/11 anniversary issue of JAS, and set out future publication plans. There is growing interest in, and use of, the electronic links that are provided on the JAS website, such as those linking Rob Kroes’ recent article with relevant web-based images. He and the editorial team were congratulated for the considerable achievement of clearing and processing all submissions that were received before the Scholar One system was implemented. Those efforts have made it possible to advise those submitting work to the journal of a 12 month lead time between acceptance and publication. It was envisaged that articles accepted up until the Autumn this year would be out in time for the next REF. Those articles on First View at the time of the REF census date will be eligible for REF submission
SL welcomed ideas from BAAS members for new marketing opportunities for the journal, for example by embedding links from relevant websites.
SL confirmed that the 2012 JAS Lecture will be delivered by Joyce Chaplin, and the 2013 Lecture by Anders Stephanson.
- American Studies in Britain (ASIB)
KA confirmed that a 1,000-word obituary for Phil Melling (Swansea) has been received from Jon Roper (Swansea) and Pete Messent, and will run in the next issue of ASIB.
After a number of enquiries from potential advertisers wishing to insert flyers into ASIB, KA questioned whether BAAS ought to highlight the existence of such a service on the website.
The Exec agreed, but thought prices should not be published up front.
KA reported continued correspondence from frustrated former-BAAS members who were still receiving copies of ASIB, and equally frustrated BAAS members who were not yet receiving their copy. Treasurer clarified that membership lists are updated / purged on an annual basis in January, and thus there can be a lag. The editor of ASIB should bring any individual cases to the Treasurer’s attention.
KA is interviewing Helen Taylor for ASIB and will interview other Hon Fellows in due course.
(e) US Studies Online
CS reported that USSO’s involvement with the BAAS PG conference was successful, including a talk from her on the journal’s role and significance, and recommendations from panel chairs on the papers most suitable for inclusion in the conference issue (Issue 20).
Issue 19 of the journal has been delayed due to final submission of revised articles. A general CFP for Issue 21 has been submitted to the BAAS mailbase, H-Net, and UPenn CFP. The Subcommittee supported CS’s idea for a Special Issue, “(Re)Defining America(n).” The Exec also welcomed this move, but cautioned against tying the idea too closely to the election which might date the material unnecessarily quickly.
CS presented the Subcom with a formal proposal for USSO to move to a new server. This would allow for the change of URL from http://baas.ac.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=110%3Aus-studies-online-the-baas-postgraduate-journal&catid=15&Itemid=11 to usstudiesonline.com. The Subcom commended CS on the detail of her proposal, and agreed to present it to the Exec, alongside fiscal implications. Exec unanimously agreed.
MJC has continued to put up CFPs, notices etc as they have been received over the last three months.
There were no responses to the call for a web assistant trained in Joomla! Another call will be sent out shortly. SL suggested MJC contact John Horne, currently Editorial Assistant at JAS.
(g) BAAS Mailbase
Nothing to report.
10. Conference Subcommittee (TRS reporting)
(a) The provisional programme for Manchester 2012 is almost ready for distribution. Since Ian Scott was not able to attend the meeting, TRS will send Ian feedback arising from discussion.
(b) Online booking for Manchester is open, though TRS will follow-up with Ian Scott about early booking deadlines and PG / Retired discounts.
(c) The Conference Subcommittee toured the Exeter campus, reviewing facilities for Exeter 2013, all of which seem entirely fit for purpose. Preparations for Exeter 2013 are ahead of schedule.
(d) The subcommittee reviewed draft promotional material for Exeter 2013, which will be ready in time to distribute in conference packs at Manchester 2012.
(e) Exec confirmed that the organiser of the Birmingham BAAS will start coming to conference sub com in June.
11. Awards Subcommittee (IB reporting)
(a) GTA Studentships: IFAB reported on the interviews for the MA GTA studentships – Myles Oldershaw (Virginia) and Jodie Free (Mississippi) have been offered the studentships for 2012-14. Ted Ownby, the Director of the Southern Studies Centre at the University of Mississippi, is intending to come over for the Manchester Conference to present our first Mississippi GTA award. The Treasurer agreed to cover cost of train fare and banquet for GTA recipients to attend Awards Ceremony. MH will write to contacts in Mississippi and Virginia; IFAB will write to Jodie Free and Myles Oldershaw.
(b) In future, IFAB suggested combining closing dates for Monticello and GTAs.
(c) Book Award: GL will write to shortlisted authors this time to remind them that they need to be members of BAAS to be eligible. GL will also contact Stephen Tuck who is now in the USA re arrangements for sending shortlisted books to him.
(d) Short Term Travel Awards: 23 applications + 7 without references. IFAB has sent material out all to reviewers. In future we will make clear on paperwork that incomplete applications will not be accepted. This year, if any of those without references are successful, we will offer them subject to references.
(e) Founders’ Awards: down a little (8 received).
(f) Awards Ceremony (Manchester Conference): IFAB will organise certificates, trophies etc.
12. Libraries and Resources Committee (DE reporting)
DE reported on two retirements, and two resignations (JG and TS). Replacements are Bella Adams, and possibly Michael Collins. Two replacements for Kevin Halliwell and Donald Tait.
Update on American Embassy grants (which are no longer being given for journal publications) although they may cover some of the costs of publishing online. DE confirmed that Matthew Shaw has been in discussions with KA.
Directory of Librarians with an interest in American Studies has been set up. Thanks to Jayne Kelly (Cambridge) for setting this up; the list is used as a mail base.
DE reported on on-going discussions re consortium bids. Possible pilot via ProQuest re historic newspapers. DE has been working with JF on pursuing this on a trial basis.
Manchester Conference; James Griffin (Dept of Law; University of Exeter) confirmed speaker to talk about intellectual copyright / property. DE is pursuing a second speaker.
13. EAAS (PD reporting)
Turkey conference website is now live. PD updated us on his plans for possibly standing again as EAAS President and issues re. dates of elections and legal procedures re changing EAAS standing orders. Nevertheless, 100% support for a change in the articles to shift the terms of office. MH will speak at the conference; TS and SC will also attend. PD’s initial term of office will finish at the March conference and so he will be eligible to stand for re-election for 4 years. TS confirmed that EAAS pay the expenses of their President and not the “host” association i.e. if PD were to be re-elected, it wouldn’t be at BAAS’s cost.
14. UKCASA / Academy of Social Sciences (IM reporting)
Iwan has attended a meeting and reported that UKCASA are trying to build international links.
Sue Currell confirmed usefulness of meeting described earlier by Martin. Next meeting is on Tues 24th Jan. IFAB asked re clarification of issues on double-weighting; issues are still under discussion and formal criteria will be issued by end of Jan.
15. Any Other Business
MH suggested fund-raising initiatives e.g. in terms of setting up bequests etc, and in terms of tackling previous alumni, previous recipients of awards. NB suggested setting up a clear focus for any future discussion of this issue.
AHRC Block Grant reductions; Exec agreed to write to support campaigns against AHRC PGR funding reductions.
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 Manchester on Thurs 12th April at 10 am. The AGM of the Association will be held at the University of Manchester on Friday 13th April at 4 pm.
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