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

British Association for American Studies


Minutes 291


Minutes 291

British Association for American Studies


Minutes 291st

Minutes of the 291st meeting of the Executive Committee held at the University of Sussex on Thursday 11 January 2018 at 1.30 pm.


  1. Present: Brian Ward (Chair), Sylvia Ellis (Secretary), Cara Rodway (Treasurer), Sue Currell, Rachel Williams, Paul Williams, Nick Witham, Katerina Webb-Bourne
  2. Apologies: Celeste-Marie Bernier, Bevan Sewell, Ben Offiler, Kate Dossett, Althea Legal-Miller, Simon Hall, Nick Grant, Joe Street, Emma Long, Laura MacDonald, Katie McGettigan
  3. Minutes of the Previous Meeting

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

  1. Matters Arising


  1. Review of Action List

The Chair asked the Exec to comment on the status of their Action List duties. Items will be addressed under the relevant sections below.


  1. Chair’s Business (BW reporting)

(a)      Chair’s activities, meetings and correspondence (November 25, 2017 – January 11, 2018


The Chair report that he had had additional communications with the US Embassy and Lydia Plath and Matthew Shaw around administration of 2018 Embassy-BAAS Small Grants lead to a decision to allow for two rounds of applications, in January and May.


He encouraged colleagues to think of and, as appropriate, sound-out likely candidates for the Executive posts that will open up in April, especially Treasurer and PGR representative. Nominations will be due in early March to allow for online voting.


congratulated EBAAS2018 committee for ongoing efforts around the 2018 conference and commended Sussex organizers for good early work on preparations for BAAS2019


He reported that Susan Hodgett (Canadian and American Studies, University of Ulster) has been named chair of Area Studies Sub-Panel for REF2021. Sub-panel membership remains unknown.




  1. Secretary’s Business (SE reporting)


(a)        She continued to field requests from media outlets for speakers and will work with Nick Grant on a members directory of research interests.


Action:  To Liaise with NG re directory of members research on the web.


(b)        Preparations for the upcoming BAAS elections are underway.


(c)        The date of the next meeting to be confirmed.



  1. Treasurer’s Business (CR reporting) 11/01/2018
  • Bank accounts (as at 10 January 2018)

BAAS Current Account     £2,035.64

BAAS Savings Account   £107,368.93

PayPal                             £2,601.03

BAAS Publications Ltd    £47,224.76

CAF Savings Account     £20,000.00


TOTAL                         £179,230.36


  • Membership
    1. Due to the failure of all membership Standing Orders in January 2018 (flagged up in the previous minutes), the membership database is currently in a state of flux. Full membership figures will be reported at the April 2018 meeting.
    2. Following discussions with the web developers, Clear and Creative, improvements have been made to the PayPal/BAAS website interface and the Member’s Area of the website.
  • CR has contact all members who were due to pay by SO, and for whom we have contact details, giving renewal information. These members have been asked to renew via the website and to start recurring PayPal payments. They have also been given the opportunity to create new SOs if preferred.
  1. CR proposes offering to pay for some additional support for the Membership Administrator to process all the changes.


  • BAAS/US Embassy Awards programme 2016-17
    1. There is a small underspend of £4,851.68. We are currently investigating if the money can be applied to any unfunded or underfunded projects from the cycle or if it will have to be returned to the Embassy.


  • Savings account
    1. The CAF Savings Account with Shawbrook is due to mature on 14.02.2018. CR has instructed the bank to roll the capital (£20k), and annual interest payment, into a new CAF 12 Month Fixed Rate Saver Account (1.3% interest).


  • Gift Aid
    1. A new Gift Aid declaration has been added to the online sign up process for new BAAS members. A declaration for existing members has been added to the Members’ Area of the website. Members will need to be directed to make this manual change and a communications campaign will be undertaken shortly. This will enable to next Treasurer to make an accurate claim to HMRC.


  • Forthcoming Issues
    1. Annual Accounts
      1. For the 2017 accounts for the Charity we will need to make two submissions, one under our old registration for the first part of the year, and a second submission for the final part of the year under the new CIO registration (1170382). The accountants will help with this. The BAAS Publications Ltd return will be unaffected. The Officers will work with the accountant to get all the accounts prepared in advance of the AGM in April.



  1. Equality and Diversity (Althea-Legal Miller reporting)

No report.


  1. Publications Subcommittee (SE reporting for JS)
  • Journal of American Studies

In light of discussions at the executive, Joe Street has been delegated to nominate a keynote speaker for the 2019 BAAS conference, preferably one whose research focuses on and/or whose identity is LGTBQ+. A shortlist of three has been identified (details circulated) but JS welcomed further suggestions.


  • Edinburgh University Press

Report of editors: The editors had a productive meeting with Michelle Houston in December, and are planning strategically for new proposals. They are also mooting a session at EBAAS 2018.

  • British Records Related to America on Microfilm

Joe Street and Dave Sarsfield are meeting this week to discuss progression of the project, in advance of its formal launch later this year.


  • Equality and Diversity

JS has received policies from BAAS’s partner institutions (MAP, EUP and CUP).



  1. Development and Education Subcommittee


No report.


  1. Conference Subcommittee (PW reporting)

(a)        Matters arising from the site inspection / BAAS 2019 organisation


A list of 2019 potential keynote speakers was discussed and responsibility for contacting these scholars was allocated to Tom Wright and members of the Exec.


Action:  Cara Rodway to contact the potential Eccles Centre-sponsored speaker; Joe Street to contact the JAS-sponsored speaker; Tom Wright to contact the Sussex-sponsored speaker. Since 11 Jan. the Eccles Centre and JAS-sponsored speakers that CR and JS approached have confirmed their willingness to speak at BAAS 2019.



The Draft Schedule was scrutinised and met widespread approval, with a few suggestions for changes, such as adding in an hour-long slot for parallel sessions on the Saturday morning.


U of Sussex have not been willing to waive the room hire fees, though the projected cost of staging BAAS 2019 remains within reasonable limits.


The Metropole Hotel has been confirmed as the banquet venue.


TW confirmed one of the conference themes will be the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.


In terms of an extracurricular event, TW is proposing two options on the Saturday afternoon: a visit to Tom Paine’s house in Lewes (the house is a 90-minute walk away) or a Stonewall-led walking tour of Brighton. Delegates also have the option of using public transport to get to Lewes.



(b)        EBAAS 2018


One of the keynote speakers has withdrawn. This was the JAS speaker, covered by BAAS, which is traditionally a US-based scholar, but the planned speaker was coming from within the UK so it appears a larger budget for travelling expenses will be needed to bring in a replacement. Nick Witham wanted to check this was OK: the Exec confirmed that NW has the green light to approach a new keynote and to offer accommodation during the conference, flights, and other travel expenses, but not an honorarium. To avoid any confusion, NW also asked for information on which keynote speakers are being approached to talk at BAAS 2019. PW shared some of NW’s thinking on who to approach as a replacement speaker, and BW suggested another US-based speaker that NW may want to consider asking.



Action:   PW to pass all this information on to NW, which has been done.


PW has submitted an application to the US Embassy / BAAS Small Grants Programme for £6,800 to subsidize PG attendance and publicity materials for EBAAS 2018. This has since been awarded.


PW reported that Courtney Austrian, Minister Counsellor for Public Affairs at the US Embassy will be attending the EBAAS banquet, and asked whether members of Executive Committee want to meet her beforehand. It was agreed that we will wait and see whether any of the other people invited from the Embassy plan to attend before making a decision on how best to welcome Courtney at the banquet.


PW raised an issue from 2017, an inquiry from an international scholar who had submitted an abstract for EBAAS 2018 and who wanted to know whether any financial support was available for scholars outside Europe. Because this scholar belonged to neither BAAS nor EAAS, he was not eligible for the EAAS-administered financial support. At the time of inquiry, it was agreed amongst the BAAS Officers and PW that this should be brought up at the Exec with the possibility of establishing an international hardship fund.

After discussions at the Exec meeting, it was agreed that this was a more complex situation than the setting up of a PG/ECR Hardship Fund in 2017, and deserved longer consideration.


Action:  PW to draft a position paper for discussion at the next Exec.

(c)        BAAS Postgraduate Conference


PW reported that the BAAS PG Annual Conference, held at the University of Essex 25-26 November, was impressively run, extremely well attended, and intellectually rich, and he praised the conference organizers. I think KWB gave further details of the event too?


Action:  PW and KWG have started but yet to finish the briefing notes for organizers of the BAAS PG Annual Conference.



(d)        Small Conference (Support) Grants


Since the last meeting, the SCG application has been rewritten to underscore the importance of Equality and Diversity plans.


Action:  PW to send the new version to Nick Grant; this has been done and is now up on the BAAS website.


Following discussions with the organizer of The Body and World War Two conference, PW proposed to the Executive Committee that a BAAS Small Conference Grant of £300 be used to subsidize the childcare for PGRs at this event. This was raised at the Executive Committee because it would not solely benefit postgraduate scholars nor Americanists, but the Exec agreed this was a good use of the SCG money and could be a model for future bids for SCGs.



Action:  PW to communicate this decision to the organizer of the event; this has been done.


(e)        BAAS 2021


The 2021 BAAS Annual Conference was awarded to the University of Hull; PW praised the high quality of their bid.


Action:  PW to email Rachel Williams and Jo Metcalf the briefing notes for conference organizers and give them access to the BAAS Conference Dropbox; this has been done.



  1. Awards Subcommittee (SE reporting for EL)

(a)        Thanks to Louise and Katie, applications for the various awards are being sent out to committee chairs.  So far things seem to be going smoothly.


EL will provide a full breakdown of all the awards, and a breakdown for E&D purposes for the next meeting.


Numbers are roughly equivalent to last year.  The PG Travel award seems significantly lower but if we add the ECR applicants in here then the number is closer to the number of submissions for previous years.



  • For anyone involved on the panels for awards where the deadlines are upcoming, Louise Cunningham will be in touch shortly after the deadlines with the applications and the dates by which decisions need to be made about recipients.


For your information, the deadlines are:

BAAS School Essay Award – 19 January

Adam Matthew Digital Essay Prize – 19 January

BAAS Public Engagement and Impact Award – 19 January

BAAS PG Essay Award – 26 January

BAAS UG Essay Award – 26 January



  • As in the past, the BAAS awards will be handed out at the conference dinner. The opportunity for EAAS to do the same has been offered, although at the moment it is not clear whether this will happen or whether alternative arrangements have been made.



  • EL expressed her thanks to everyone involved in judging these awards – your work on these ensures everything runs smoothly and is much appreciated.


  1. EAAS (SC reporting)

Report pending discussions with Martin Halliwell

  1. Any Other Business
  2. Date of next meeting: To be confirmed.


Secretary:  Professor Sylvia Ellis / Email:  Sylvia/ Phone: 01913 342570