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

British Association for American Studies


Meeting 280


Meeting 280

British Association for American Studies



Minutes 280th


Minutes of the 280th Meeting of the Executive Committee, held at the University of Sussex, Saturday 15 November 2014 at 1.30pm.


  1. Present: Sue Currell (Chair), Jo Gill (Secretary), Zalfa Feghali, Katie McGettigan, Rachael Alexander, Cara Rodway, Nick Witham, Bevan Sewell, Uta Balbier, Doug Haynes, Sinéad Moynihan, Joe Street.


Apologies:      Bridget Bennett (Vice-Chair) *; Theresa Saxon (Treasurer); Martin Halliwell; Rachael McLennan; Jenny Terry (Secretary); Michael Collins


* Professor Bennett was present on the morning of the Exec Meeting in order to chair the Publications Sub-Com


In attendance:  Jo Gill (acting on behalf of Jenny Terry)


  1. Minutes of the Previous Meeting


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


  1. Matters Arising


3 (a) Louise Cunningham (LC) has taken on the p/t role of BAAS Administrator and is reviewing and improving our membership processes. See also 6 (b), LC is working with KM to tidy up the membership database.


  1. 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.


  1. Chair’s Business (SC reporting)


(a) Meeting Arrangements


In the unavoidable absence for this part of the meeting of the Vice-Chair, Treasurer and Secretary, SC proposed that any decisions made should be regarded as provisional until reviewed by the Vice-Chair, Treasurer and Secretary on receipt of these minutes.


(b) Chair’s activities, meetings and correspondence


  • 14 August, 2014 Meeting with Katie McGettigan and Simon Gregory at BL regarding BAAS website. Also met with Phil Davies (Eccles Centre).
  • 17 Sept, 2014. Invitation to welcome event to meet the new Cultural Affairs Officer Anneliese Reinmeyer and the new Minister Counselor for Public Affairs (the “Public Affairs Officer,” or PAO Eric Johnson).
  • 22 Sept, 2014. U.S. Embassy. Screening of ‘The Roosevelts’ and Ken Burns in Conversation,
  • 24 Sept, 2014. Attended a Dinner in honor of Ken Burns, documentary film director and producer hosted by the Ambassador of the United States of America and Mrs Barzun.
  • 25 Sept, 2014. Annual AHRC Subject Associations meeting. (Uta Balbier attended this in SC’s absence).
  • 19 Oct, 2014. Presented a position statement and took part in the debate Session “America: The Twilight Years?” at the Battle of Ideas 2014 held at the Barbican in London.
  • 7 Nov, 2014 meeting with and Theresa Saxon (Treasurer), Gray’s Inn, London.


    • Keith Lawrey is the Learned Societies’ Liaison Officer for the Foundation for Science and Technology. The Foundation also provides a support service to learned and professional societies. Around 140 societies subscribe to receive a Newsletter. Lawrey prepares Guidance Notes on a range of administrative issues of interest for the administrators of Learned and Professional Societies who are members of the Foundation. Keith provided guidance to BAAS regarding charities law etc to be discussed with the exec under Treasurer’s business.


  • 14 Nov, 2014. Meeting of the Arts and Humanities Alliance at the Royal Historical Society in University College London. Agenda discussed:


    • Academy of Social Sciences – Stephen Anderson (Executive Director)
    • Trends in Undergraduate Recruitment
    • Open Access
    • AHRC and Research Leadership
    • REF issues (impact, metrics, OA)


(c) Institutions


  • 10/10 The closure of the American Studies Resource Centre was announced. (ASRC which was founded in 1987 to provide an educational and information service to students, teachers and the general public in the UK on all aspects of American culture, a mission that quickly expanded to include the HE sector as well. The ASRC has provided an excellent service to the American studies community over the years, running schools conferences, providing speakers for events and coordinating and collating information. Many thanks go to Ian Ralston and Bella Adams as the most recent directors of the centre. The BAAS executive will be discussing ways to continue with aspects of the ASRC’s mission.



(d) Achievements and Activities of note to BAAS members


  • Michael Cullinane at Northumbria University, AHRC Early Career Fellowship for a project entitled “Memorial Communities and Presidential Legacy: Remembering Theodore Roosevelt.” To investigate the posthumous legacy of the 26th president through political invocations, popular culture, Rooseveltiana, motion pictures, and historiography. (Dr Cullinane noted, “I owe BAAS a debt of gratitude for the award as well as I am sure the Eccles Centre award I held helped show reviewers the quality of the project”).
  • Zoe Colley at Dundee University, AHRC Early Career Fellowship, details to follow. Universities of the Revolution: Black Nationalism and the Prison from the Nation of Islam to the Black Panther Party. Dr Colley will be writing a monograph and forming a research forum.
  • Simon Newman, Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant of £300,000 for a study of ‘Runaway Slaves in Britain: Bondage, Freedom and Race in the Eighteenth Century.’
  • The University of Liverpool has appointed Professor Janet Beer as its next Vice-Chancellor. Professor Beer, currently VC at Oxford Brookes University, will be the university’s first woman Vice-Chancellor and one of only three in the elite Russell Group. She chairs the Higher Education Public Information Steering Group, is an elected board member of Universities UK (UUK), for which she is Vice-President for England and Northern Ireland, and is a board member of UCAS.
  • Professor Clive Webb has been promoted to Head the School of History, Art History and Philosophy at the University of Sussex.
  • Sue Wedlake has taken early retirement after 22 yrs at the Embassy.
  • Carole Holden (British Library) also takes early retirement shortly.


(e) Changes to Constitution and Sub-Com:


Several amendments to the Constitution and Standing Orders are now required (a) as part of periodic updating in order to properly reflect the evolution of BAAS’s work, and (b) in order to properly reflect the new relationship with the Journal of American Studies. In each case, formal proposals will be brought to the AGM (April 2015) for approval. Proposed changes to Standing Orders will be dealt with under each of the Sub-Committee items below. Proposed changes to the Constitution are as follows:




  1. Aims: The Committee discussed the possibility of making changes to Clause 2 (Aims) but given that any changes to this clause would require the written permission of the Charity Commissioners (see Clause 13) and given that the current Clause 2 (Aims) does not restrict us in any of our activities, the decision was taken to leave this unchanged.


4.1 Subscriptions: The Constitution needs to be updated. 4.1 will in future read as follows:


  • The Treasurer shall at an appropriate time propose subscription rates for the next calendar year to the Committee of the association. There shall be the following categories of membership:  (a) Individual, (b) Student, (c) Unwaged, (d) Retired, (e) Schools.  The Committee shall recommend rates for each category on advice from the Treasurer.  Should the committee decide that any or all existing rates require amendment it should propose the same to the membership of the Association at the Annual General Meeting.  If adopted by the AGM the new rates shall come into effect for the calendar year following the AGM.


6 (a), (b), and (c) Committee: JG and SC will liaise in order to find an appropriate

form of words to provide for on-line elections, and / or elections outside the usual

AGM format for occasions where a vacancy becomes unexpectedly available and

where the power to co-opt is not thought to be suitable. JT and SC will circulate

options for approval prior to the next Exec Meeting and AGM. The meeting noted

that, subject to the decision about 6 (a), (b) and (c), slight changes to the wording in

respect to the AGM and / or elections may be required elsewhere throughout the



6 (g) It was proposed that the following clause should be added to 6 (g) after the

word ‘ex-officio’:


6 (g)     . . . In the event of the absence of the Editor, s/he may nominate one of the Associate Editors to act on her / his behalf.


6 (h) It was proposed that this clause should be deleted (see 12 BLARS below).


  1. Former Chairs: Given that all minutes and announcements of subsequent meetings are now accessible via the BAAS website, it was proposed to reword this clause as follows:


  1. Former Chairs of the Association shall be invited to continue to serve in an advisory capacity. The Agenda and Minutes of meetings shall be made available to them, and they shall be invited to attend the meetings of the Committee.



ACTIONS: SC / JG / JT and Officers to

agree final version of the new

Constitution (including the new form of

words for elections) in line with the

discussions outlined above and to check

and circulate these by 15 January for

ratification by the rest of the Committee

and thereafter for circulation to the

BAAS membership  (JT / LC and via

ASIB) with the usual written notices of

the AGM, as per Clause 13




  1. Secretary’s Business (JG reporting on JT’s behalf)


JT is on a research visit to the US but has been liaising with officers and members remotely.



  1. Treasurer’s Business (TS sent a written report)


(a)   Bank Accounts (as at 14/11/2014)


General Deposit: £31,924.04


Current:  £1,968.48


Total = £33,892.52


Plus: Dollar Account: $3375.42


[Compare with September 2013: 


General Deposit (Saver): £31,669.04


Current:  £947.04


Total =   £30688.11


Dollar Account:   $3371.33]



(b)  Membership Figures (provided by Louise Cunningham):


Members on fully paid sheet (total = 565)


Individuals – 263.  The breakdown of this figure is 27 without JAS, 212 with JAS, 21 unidentified (to be checked)

PG – 253 (111 without JAS, 142 with)

PR (Retired) –  26 (14 without JAS, 12 with)

PS (schools) – 8

[Compare with September 2013: members on fully paid sheet (total 441; 170 of which are PG.]


(c) Narrative Report


  1. Treasurer transition update: It has still not been possible to transfer the cheque book so the Treasurer requests that Exec members provide online bank details when claiming travel expenses.



  1. Development Subcommittee (ZF reporting)


(a) Changes to Standing Orders:


  • ZF proposed changing the membership of the Development Sub-Com (2.4 a of the Standing Orders) as follows:


2.4 Development Subcommittee


(a)  Two or more members of the Committee, one of whom shall be designated as chair

The Chair of the Association

The Early Career Representative

The Schools Liaison Representative

An ordinary member of the Committee designated as the Library and Resources Representative

An ordinary member of the Committee designated as the Website and Communications Representative


The Subcommittee shall have the delegated powers to co-opt other BAAS members, to meet the needs of specific projects.

Such representatives of outside bodies as the Executive shall recommend from time to time.
(b) The Development subcommittee shall encourage the development of American Studies nationally and ensure that the interests of the subject and its teachers are considered and protected in the making of national educational policy.


  • ZF proposed changing the title of the Development Sub-Com (2.4 of the Standing Orders) to Education and Development Sub-Com


  • ZF proposed that responsibility for allocating small conference funding should be moved to the Awards Sub-Committee.


All three proposals were agreed.


ACTION: ZF, KM and JT to implement updates to web etc after ratification at the AGM


(b) USSO:


The editors of USSO submitted a written report. USSO has gained considerable traffic under the new editorship with 5400 views in October alone and some 20,000 hits since July. ZF offered a vote of thanks to the two editors (Ben Offiler and Michelle Green) for their hard work and success.



(c)   Website:


(i)         SC and KM have consulted with Clear & Creative (current web hosts / designers) with a view to redesigning the website, the logo, a new membership software package and other associated activities relating to the new arrangements for JAS.

(ii)        SC and KM propose, in due course, to establish a post of Communications Assistant (and possibly ASIB editor); this paid role – suitable for a PhD student / Post-Doc) would involve uploading and updating material for the web and collecting / arranging material for ASIB. Agreed.

  • SC and KM propose, in future i.e. once the web design is completed, to use the web for much of the material (travel reports, news, features) that currently appear in ASIB. ASIB will continue as a quarterly digest of key items with links to the more comprehensive coverage on the website. Agreed.


(d)  Schools:


(i)         Cara Rodway noted the potential for productive activity in this area. She is currently trying to arrange 3 schools’ events in the Spring of 2015 including conferences at Reading (tied in with the Congress to Campus initiative), Poole and Manchester or Bradford.


(ii)        At present, it is unclear how many schools are members; CR noted that the current system (of providing free membership via a PayPal link) isn’t user-friendly and is working with LC to provide a more easily accessible membership form for schools.


(iii)       In due course, CR suggests looking into the possibility of subscribing to a

comprehensive mailing list of schools. She would also like to revive the BAAS Visiting Speakers programme.




  • CR asked all Exec members to spread the word about Ambassador’s and Monticello Awards and to alert her to useful contacts in schools and sixth-form colleges.




  1. PG Business (RA reporting)


PG Conference: The conference started earlier on the morning of this meeting and seems to be going well with strong attendance and an excellent programme of papers and talks. RA noted some issues with communications / handover and proposed establishing a process whereby there might be improved guidance / record-keeping in future with respect to the arrangements for the PG Conference. RA will send the deadline for receipt of applications to host the next PG Conference to KM for the website.


ACTIONS: RA / SM to discuss; RA / KM to liaise.



  1. Publications Sub-Com (NW reporting on BB’s behalf)


(a) Changes to Standing Orders:


(i) The following changes are proposed: to add the BAAS Treasurer to the  membership; to remove the editor of ASIB; to include all of the Editors of JAS. This section of the SOs will now read:



Publications Subcommittee




  • Two officers of BAAS (usually the Vice Chair and the Treasurer), one of whom shall act as chair;
  • Two or more full members of the Executive Committee;
  • All Editors of the Journal of American Studies;
  • In addition to this core membership, the Editors of the BAAS Paperbacks Series, BRRAM and S. Studies Online will report to each meeting of the subcommittee, and attend its meeting at the annual conference, with the option to attend other meetings as appropriate, and in consultation with the subcommittee chair.


The Publications Subcommittee shall:


  1. Oversee the relationship between BAAS, the Journal of American Studies and Cambridge University Press.
  2. Supervise all publications undertaken by BAAS.
  • Receive, consider, and report to the Executive Committee upon any proposals for publishing activities received from the Executive Committee or from the general membership.
  1. Make recommendations to the Executive Committee on the appointment of the Editors of the Journal of American Studies; oversee the process for appointing new members of the Editorial Board of the Journal of American Studies.
  2. Make recommendations to the Executive Committee, when vacancies arise, on candidates for Editor and Associate Editor of BAAS Paperbacks, and Editor(s) of U.S. Studies Online.
  3. May itself initiate proposals to be put to the Executive Committee.

These proposals were agreed.



ACTION: BB, KM and JT to implement updates to web etc after ratification at the AGM




Nothing to report.


(c) EUP Paperback Series:


Nothing to report.


(d) ASIB:


The Sub-Com wishes to offer its formal thanks to Kal Ashraf for his work on the redesign of ASIB. For further news, see 7 (c) above (Development).


(e) USSO:


See 7 (b) above (Development).


(f) Journal of American Studies (JAS):


(i)         There are three appointments to the editorial board which now require ratification: Catherine Morley, Daniel Scroop, Sarah Pearsall. Agreed.



  1. Conferences Sub-Com (SM reporting)


(a) Changes to Standing Orders:




(b) Northumbria 2015


JS reported on plans for the 2015 BAAS Conference (Northumbria). The draft programme has been prepared; several publishers are lined up to take part in a panel and to set up displays of recent books. All venues (including hotels) are booked and the online booking system is now open.


(c) Queen’s University Belfast 2016:


SM has received Philip McGowan’s plans for 2016. SM will visit the venue on 2 Feb 2015. The main venues are booked and one of the three keynote speakers has been secured.




(d) Future Conferences:


2017 (Canterbury Christ Church University) and 2018 (London / EAAS): Nothing new to report.




  1. Awards Sub-Com (JG reporting)


(a) Changes to Standing Orders:


2.3 (b) It was not felt necessary to stipulate in the SOs the constituency of particular judging panels. JG proposed amending the SOs to delete restrictions on panel membership and to read as follows:


2.3       Awards Subcommittee


(a)     Two or more members of the Committee, one of whom shall be designated as chair

One officer of the Association (usually the Secretary)

The Subcommittee will have delegated powers to co-opt other BAAS members, to meet the needs of specific projects. Such members will remain anonymous. The Chair of the BAAS Awards Panel, in consultation with the BAAS Chair and Officers, as appropriate, shall nominate judges from among the Committee to serve on each panel, as appropriate.


(b)     The Awards Subcommittee shall:


(i) consider applications for BAAS Short-term Travel Awards (STAs) and make the awards.


(ii) consider applications for the BAAS essay prize and make the award.


(iii) consider applications for the BAAS Book Prize and make the award. Where possible, former winners will be co-opted onto the Book Prize subcommittee.


(iv ) consider applications for any other prizes subsequently announced and funded by BAAS or related bodies, subject to the approval of the Executive Committee.


These proposals were agreed.



ACTION: UB, KM and JT to implement updates to web etc after ratification at the AGM



(b) The BAAS Awards programme for 2014-15 is now open, with the first deadlines (28 Nov and 5 December) fast approaching. JG again urged all Exec members to alert students, colleagues and other interested parties (e.g. local schools and Sixth Form Colleges) to the opportunities available. The list of judging panels has already been circulated; JG and LC will be in touch with judges shortly to confirm details of the judging process. UB will liaise with SC and JS regarding inviting Anneliese Reinmeyer (US Embassy) to the Awards Banquet to present prizes.


                                                                                    ACTION: JG / UB/ All Exec


(c) DH noted that it would be useful to have brief reports e.g. from current / recent GTAs to

post onto the web in order to encourage future applications.




(d) JG will shortly complete her co-opted post as Awards Chair and will hand over relevant

material (esp. in connection with the smooth running of the ceremony at the Awards Banquet) to UB.

                                                                              ACTION: JG



  1. BLARS (SC reporting on MC’s behalf)


(a) Changes to Standing Orders:



(b) Future operation:



ACTION: MC, KM and JT to implement updates to web etc after ratification at the AGM;



  1. EAAS (MH submitted a written report)


Plans for the 2016 conference continue to develop. The venue has been moved from Bucharest to Constanta.


  1. AOB




  1. 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 Northumbria on 9 April 2015. Sub-coms will commence at 1pm and the main Exec at 2pm (TBC).


Secretary: Dr. Jenny Terry / Email: / Phone: 01913 342570