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

British Association for American Studies


Meeting 270


Meeting 270

British Association for American Studies

 Minutes 270th

Minutes of the 270th Meeting of the Executive Committee, held at the University of Manchester on 12th April 2012 at 10.30am.

1. Present: M Halliwell (Chair), T Saxon (Treasurer), S Currell, D Ellis, J Fagg, G Lewis, P Davies, M Collins, Z Feghali, G Hughes, S Ellis, C Bernier

Apologies:             I Bell, N Bowles, T Ruys-Smith

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)

  1. a. Announcements

i. Promotions and Grants

Professor Heidi Macpherson (BAAS Chair, 2007-10) has been appointed to the position of Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse: a position that she will take up in July.

Professor Brian Ward has been appointed as Research Professor in American Studies at Northumbria University from August 2012.

Alan Rice was promoted to Professor at the University of Central Lancashire in February 2012.

Celeste-Marie Bernier will be promoted to Professor at the University of Nottingham from July 2012.

Professor Philip Davies (Director of the Eccles Centre at the British Library) has been elected to the Chair of the European Association for American Studies for a four-year term.

Dr Robin Vandome (Nottingham) has been awarded a $60,000 Mellon Foundation Fellowship at the New York Historical Society for 2012-13.

Professor Bridget Bennett and Dr Hamilton Carroll (University of Leeds) have been awarded £37,000 from the AHRC for a project entitled ‘Imagining the Place of Home’

Dr Vivien Miller (Nottingham) is the PI of an AHRC research network grant in the ‘Translating Cultures’ stream, entitled ‘Translating Penal Cultures’, worth £23,315.

Dr Jarod Roll has been awarded a Princeton University fellowship at the Davis Center for Historical Studies in 2012-13.

Dr Michael Cullinane (Northumbria) has been awarded the Michael Dearborn Fellowship in American History at Harvard University

  1. ii. Institutions

University of Northumbria

BAAS welcomes the very good news that Northumbria University are making six new American Studies appointments. The School of Arts and Sciences at Northumbria plans to start a new undergraduate degree in autumn 2013, and are making a significant resource investment in American Studies.

Institute of the Americas

Core staff from the Institute for the Study of the Americas as the University of London’s School of Advanced Study will be moving to UCL in July to form the Institute of the Americas, at which point Professor Iwan Morgan will take up the post of Professor of US Studies at UCL. The new UCL institute will deliver all the postgraduate programmes currently offered at ISA, including the MA in US Studies: History and Politics, while continuing PG students at ISA have the option to transfer to UCL. The new Institute will continue to host seminars, lectures and symposia as part of its mission to facilitate research in the Americas. There will be a public event to launch the new Institute in the autumn.

Institute of the Study of the Americas

The University of London’s School of Advanced Study will continue to operate the Institute for the Study of the Americas in academic year 2012-13. SAS have appointed a new part-time director from King’s College, Professor Linda Newson, a specialist in colonial Latin America. In the press release of 2 April no mention was made of the US Studies element of the ISA’s work; it is unclear whether further appointments will be made, and if so whether any will be in US Studies. ISA is expected to continue its research facilitation activities in 2012-13, but it will not offer postgraduate taught programmes. It is unclear whether the US Presidency Centre will stay at ISA or transfer with Iwan Morgan to UCL. Uncertainty also surrounds the future of the digital projects, ‘Women and US Foreign Policy Interview Project’ and ‘Atlantic Archive: US-UK Relations in an Age of Global War 1939-1945’.

University of Sussex

A proposal for a new American Institute at the University of Sussex is currently being reviewed internally, and it is hoped that the institute will be launched in 2012-13. 

  1. b. Invitations

The Chair attended and gave a short talk to promote American Studies at university at the Schools’ Conference on ‘US Politics and Government’ on 6 February, organized by Gareth Hughes and held at Pocklington School, York. Congratulations to Gareth on a very successful event.

He attended a ‘Tracking the 2012 Elections’ half-day symposium organized by the Eccles Centre and hosted by the US Embassy on 10 February.

He was an external assessor for a Portfolio Review at the University of Sussex (which included American Studies along with three other subjects), 29 February-1 March.

He attended the Douglas Bryant Lecture at the British Library, presented by Gary Younge, on 26 February. (There he met the Eccles Centre’s Writer in Residence, Naomi Wood, at the meal at the British Library after the lecture: Naomi is author of The Godless Boys and is currently working on a novel on Ernest Hemingway’s four wives).

He gave a keynote at the recent European Association for American Studies Conference on ‘The Health of the Nation’ at Ege University in Izmir, Turkey.

  1. c. Correspondence and Meetings

The Chair has had correspondence with the REF Area Studies Subpanel Chair, Professor Peter Gatrell, about encouraging more American Studies units to submit to the Area Studies subpanel in 2013, and asked Executive colleagues to pass this on to their Heads. He has also suggested two possible names from the American Studies to replace Heidi Macpherson on the Area Studies subpanel from the summer.

He has been in correspondence with Maxine Molyneux and Iwan Morgan about the developments at the University of London, as reported above.

He met Professor Ted Ownby at the University of Mississippi in March to discuss the new UM/BAAS GTA in Southern Studies. I am very pleased that Professor Ownby will be at the Manchester conference and will be able to confer the GTA award on Jodie Free (University of East Anglia) at the conference banquet.

He has had further discussion with the IAAS Chair, Philip McGowan about the possibility of Queens Belfast hosting (or co-hosting) the 2016 BAAS Conference. We do need to consider the proposal to have a reciprocal arrangement with IAAS, such that each year BAAS sponsors two 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 sponsor an IAAS PG student to attend each of the two BAAS conferences.

He has corresponded with Richard Martin about the BAAS American Studies, 2000-2010 Project. John will report on this in his Development Subcommittee Report.

He has had recent discussions with American Studies colleagues in France and Algeria that might lead to future initiatives.

  1. AOB

For discussion:

  1. PD added some observations re. the ISA’s move to UCL. MH noted the importance of BAAS offering support to the new institute while also maintaining a good relationship with the former organisation. MH will write to new organization in due course to affirm support. MH, PD, and Simon Newman are all on the advisory group for ISA; their next board meeting is 17th May. PD will report back.
  1. We welcome the joint position statement released by the British Academy and the University Council of Modern Languages on 27 March 2012. Would it be useful to write to the British Academy specifically about year abroad on AS programmes?
  1. At the last Executive meeting we agreed to add a dedicated Early Career Scholar to the BAAS Executive, and we are proposing the following text:

This is a 2-year term on the BAAS Executive for early career scholars with an institutional affiliation working on any aspect of American Studies. To be eligible candidates must be within three years of successfully completing their PhD. Former BAAS Postgraduate Representatives are eligible for election, but all candidates must have submitted the final post-viva version of their PhD two weeks before the BAAS AGM in order to stand. This Early Career Scholar position is a single non-renewal term; the individual would be eligible to stand for a full 3-year BAAS Executive position at the end of their second year.

The proposal was agreed and will be taken to the BAAS AGM for approval.

  1. We propose to create a BAAS brochure to be launched at the 2013 conference, which will showcase a range of research projects across the BAAS community with emphasis on interdisciplinarity, impact case studies, and knowledge exchange.

SC suggested adopting a thematic approach focusing on some key case studies but also drawing on a number of other supplementary examples.

The Exec noted the importance of keeping the proposed booklet free of dates. The aim is to produce a detailed draft by June (using a BAAS intern) with finished copy by Jan 2013 and printed copies in time to launch at the BAAS Conference (18th – 21st April 2013) – provisionally at the customary BLARS slot (first Thurs pm) under the label “Impact, Public Engagement and Knowledge Transfer”. The Exec also agreed to produce an online / web version (via a tab or blog section on the website).

5.  Secretary’s Business (JG reporting)

  • I have dealt with routine correspondence.
  • I have produced a draft membership leaflet which can be tailored for particular audiences and reproduced in short print runs for particular events (conferences etc). This will now be professionally designed and made available via the Exec to appropriate events.
  • I have worked with IFAB, SE, and Louis Cunningham (Keele) and in liaison with PD to administer the BAAS and related awards.
  • I have also been continuing to work with Paul Williams, Sinead Moynihan and others at Exeter in organising BAAS 2013.
  • I will attend the CCUE (Council for College and university English) Annual Conference in Oxford on 20/21st April on BAAS’s behalf.

6.  Treasurer’s Business (TS reporting)

a. Membership:

Fully Paid up as at April 2012: 304 (102 postgraduate). With no change to SO from last year: 406 (123 postgrad). By comparison: Fully Paid up as at April 2011: 302 (104 postgraduate); with no change to SO from last year: 424 (130 postgrad).

Analysis: Those who not yet updated their standing orders need to be chased. An email has been sent specifically. But we should also note that membership needs careful monitoring, as standing orders get cancelled without reference to the database administrator and we run the risk of sending out Journals to cancelled members.

Gift Aid claim for £1651.90 has been paid.

c. Analysis:

TS noted the need to keep an eye on expenses – print, postage and travel/subsistence are all on the increase as costs of fuel etc have risen. She suggested several options: capping expenses; meeting less frequently (some sub coms may only need to meet a couple of times a year); consider online options (e.g. renewals – would save £400 – but emails (like addresses) are not always updated. This should be revisited consistently to maintain healthy finances.

  1. 7. Development Subcommittee (JF reporting)

JF reported on Development Sub-com support for conferences organised by allied organisations. He noted the increase in expenditure on such “small grants” and mooted the need to keep this under review and control:

Further to agreement reached at a previous BAAS, two new bursaries have been awarded to PGs planning to attend EAAS (£200 each).


GH reported on the BAAS Schools Event held at Pocklington School in February focusing primarily on students on A2 Government and Politics. 120 students attended (at £13 per head) thus there was a small surplus. The event generated very positive feedback and GH now has interest from several other schools in hosting similar events. He will pursue these possibilities. In future, it would be best to advertise rather earlier (i.e. by the end of the school summer holidays). GH noted that schools are interested in attracting expert speakers; the list of appropriate speakers initiated by a former Exec member was mentioned. JG will seek this out with a view the Development Sub-com updating the list for display via the Schools tab on the website. PD mentioned the Eccles Centre’s own successful annual “Congress to Campus” events (provisionally w/c 26 Nov 2012 and w/c 4 March 2013).


RM will present a 10 minute summary of the findings of his American Studies 2000-2010 report to the BAAS AGM on 13th April 2012. A draft of the report will be circulated to those who have contributed for checking prior to publication on line by the end of May. SC will check the draft to ensure that Sussex are properly represented.

  1. 8. Postgraduate Business (ZF reporting)

Plans are going well for the BAAS PG Conference in Leicester on 24 November 2012. A PG lunch was planned for the following day at the present conference. Several PGs expressed an interest in standing for election for the post of BAAS PG Rep.

  1. 9. Publications Subcommittee (GL reporting)
  • BRRAM: There was nothing to report
  • ASIB: The latest edition of ASIB had carried the first of the planned series of BAAS Fellows’ interviews, with Professor Helen Taylor. Two other BAAS Fellows have already confirmed their willingness to be interviewed for future editions.
  • U.S. Studies Online: The new web address for USSO has been confirmed as Issue 20, the post-graduate conference issue, will help to launch that site when it goes live at the end of April. Three of the four journal articles for Issue 20 have been received and edited; the fourth is due on 20 April.
  • JAS: It is hoped that the JAS report will have been received in time for the AGM. Martine Walsh at CUP has confirmed that two of the five board members whose terms expire at the end of this year, Marjorie Spruill and Richard Crockatt, have agreed to serve for another term. GL and the editorial team agreed to seek replacements for the three others with specialists in similar fields.
  • Website: MJC reported on a problem with the “join” tab which is currently under review. TS suggested making all fields of the form “Mandatory” as this may overcome the glitch. MJC and TS have renewed the domain name.

MJC and JG reported on an approach from a recruitment agency to pay for advertising space on the site; we agreed to continue to post relevant jobs as a service to members, but instead of charging a fee to ask for voluntary donations where appropriate. JG to check with Charity Commission about what’s permissible.

  • Mailbase: nothing to report.

10. Conference Subcommittee (TRS reporting)

TR-S was unavoidably delayed; items of note are covered in his Annual Report.

11. Awards Subcommittee (JG and SE reporting)

The Awards Sub-com has administered the usual BAAS, Eccles Centre, Ambassador’s and Arthur Miller Centre Awards and will be awarding certificates to those able to attend at the BAAS Conference Banquet. GTA Awards have been offered to Jodie Free (Mississippi) and Myles Oldershaw (Virginia). A double-sided list of all 2012-13 Awards, with closing dates, has been inserted in the conference packs.

. Libraries and Resources Committee (DE reporting)

DE reported on new additions to the sub-com, Susan Reid (Dundee) and Jane Rawson (RAI, Oxford), bringing the complement to 11 members excluding a BAAS representative. The BLARS 2012 conference panel is to be on Intellectual Property and in 2013 (provisionally) a joint panel on impact, public engagement and knowledge transfer. DE reported on ongoing discussions re the funding of the Resources in American Studies journal and on progress with the proposed consortium negotiations with Proquest (for Historical Newspapers) including the Universities of Birmingham, Nottingham, and Cambridge.

The role of American Studies Today and its relation to BAAS was raised. The Exec took the view that if there was a specific proposal to discuss, this might best be considered by the publications sub-com at their next meeting.

13. EAAS (PD reporting)

The EAAS meeting in Izmir was a success, and the Chair of BAAS delivered an excellent plenary lecture, sponsored by the Eccles Centre. Numbers were down on recent years, possibly reflecting the non-central location and tightening academic budgets, but the international turnout was still good and the quality of workshops was high. Conferees seemed pleased with the conference (and the pleasant weather, picturesque location and fine sea food of Izmir may all have helped).

The Rob Kroes prize winner was announced (Frank Mehring) and the ASN Book Prize winner (Brigitte Dawes). The EAAS Board confirmed Jenel Virden (Hull) as joint Senior Editor of the European Journal for American Studies and John Dumbrell (Durham) as an associate editor. The Association for American Studies in South East Europe was accepted as a new member of EAAS. Adina Ciugureana (Romania) was elected Treasurer, and Philip Davies (BAAS) elected President, both for four year terms. The next conference of EAAS will be held in The Hague from Friday 4th to Monday 7th April 2014. The call for workshop proposals will be made later this year.

13. UKCASA / Academy of Social Sciences

Nothing to report

15. Any Other Business

MH noted that John Fagg and Iwan Morgan would be leaving the Exec at the AGM and thanked them for their contribution during their terms of office. He also expressed his thanks to Phil Davies who would be leaving the post of BAAS rep to EAAS in order to take up the role of EAAS President. The Exec wished him well in his new post. On the Exec’s behalf, MH also thanked Theresa Saxon for her hard work as Treasurer.

16. Date of next meeting

The next meeting will be held at the University of Leicester on Fri 8th June 2012; 10.30 am sub-coms with the Exec to follow. Thereafter, the September meeting will be held at the University of Oxford, RAI. Date TBC.

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