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

British Association for American Studies


Minutes 292


Minutes 292

British Association for American Studies


Minutes 292nd

Minutes of the 292nd meeting of the Executive Committee held at King’s College, London on Tuesday 3 April 2018 at 2.30 pm.


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

As usual I want to start with a word of thanks to all members of the Executive, elected and co-opted, for their efforts on behalf of the Association since we last met in February and over the course of the year.  In particular, I want to thank those whose term of office is coming to an end at this conference, not least Cara Rodway, who been a marvelous treasurer and a much valued colleague and sounding board for me. Thanks also to retiring elected members of the Exec: Katerina Webb-Bourne, Simon Hall and Katie McGettigan; and to our co-optees: Martin Halliwell, Althea Legal-Miller and Laura MacDonald. I’d like to add a special word of appreciation to Paul Williams, our outgoing Chair of the Conferences Sub-Committee, who has been dealing with the unique challenges posed by the scale and complexity of EBAAS as well as helping us to plan for the future. Similarly, although there’ll be plenty of other opportunities to thank all those who worked on the EBAAS Conference Organizing Committee this year, I’d like us to formally record our gratitude to Dan Matlin and Nick Witham and their team for pulling this together.


(a)      Chair’s activities, meetings and correspondence (January 11 – 2 April 2018)


Susan Hodgett is about to move from the University of Ulster to take up a post as Professor of Area Studies at UEA; Susan is also the Principal Investigator of the AHRC-funded Blurring Genres Network: Recovering the Humanities for Political Science and Area Studies, with which some colleagues have been involved.


Emma Long (UEA) – 2 year ECR Leadership Grant from AHRC to work on evangelicals and US political culture;


Jacqueline Fear-Segal (UEA) & David Stirrup (Kent) – 3 year AHRC grant to study Native Americans in the UK.


Mike Cullinane (Roehampton) and Peter Knight (Manchester) promoted to Professor.



  1. b) Membership Survey

I’m glad that thanks to Ben Offiler we’ve got some data to work with from the BAAS Membership survey. We’ve been discussing that in the Dev and Ed sub-committee and over the next year we should continue to process and respond to what that reveals and tie it to our ongoing efforts to increase access to and diversity within BAAS.


  1. c) Helping the Precariat

One of the things clearly brought out by the recent UCU strike action was the vulnerability of vast numbers of our junior colleagues in the so-called ‘Precariat.’ While BAAS is not in a position to solve structural problems within Higher Education in the UK, we’re obviously aware of the special challenges faced by many of our junior members and we should continue to explore how we can do more to help.


In a related move, Paul has drafted notes on how to extend support for conference attendance by international scholars from non-EAAS countries with a GDP of less than $30k per capita, through an International Hardship Fund scheme.


  1. d) JAS

I would like us to formally record thank to the outgoing co-editors of the Journal of American Studies, Celeste Marie-Bernier and Bevan Sewell, who have tremendously enhanced the quality, reach and clout of JAS during their term at the helm. Interviews during and in the immediate aftermath of this conference to find successors for Celeste and Bevan and for Sinead Moynihan and Nick Witham, who have done equally sterling work during their time as co-associate editors.


  1. e) Embassy-BAAS Awards

As you know, this year, Lydia Plath of Warwick University and Matthew Shaw, head librarian at the Institute for Historical Research, are managing the US Embassy-BAAS scheme and will have roughly the same amount to disburse as last year (c.$84k). The first round of bids to the scheme has already been and gone and, as before the competition has been fierce. We’ve been able to support 12 very different projects out of 25 applications. The deadline for the second round is May 10, 2018.


  1. f) REF

Over the past 18 months or so, I have submitted responses to various HEFCE consultation documents on REF2021, and fed into responses from other professional associations, the Arts and Humanities Alliance and UK Council of Area Studies Associations.


Due to a conflict of interest, I had to recuse myself from the process whereby BAAS nominated potential sub-panel members for REF2021 and I’d like to thank Kate Dossett for running that. I’d also like to thank all colleagues who were willing to put themselves forward for consideration to serve.


The sub-panel membership was announced in late March; Martin Halliwell will be on the criteria setting panel for English; Joy Porter on the same for History; and I’ll once more be on the Area Studies, as will Matthew Shaw. At the assessment phase, we’ll be joined by Faye Hammill on Area Studies.


There is still opportunity for further representations and further appointments and I’ll be looking at what we can do to get some bespoke Americanist representation onto the sub-panels for Politics and Music, Drama, Dance, Performing Arts, Film and Screen Studies.


  1. g) AOB

Just advance notice that I’m hoping that in July-August 2018, Zeinab Ghasemi, an American Lit/American Studies scholar from the University of Tehran will be a visiting fellow at Northumbria for about 4-6 weeks, during which time she’ll be trying to visit a number of American Studies colleague and programmes around the country. Obviously, the summer isn’t really the best time to do this, but she has to be back in class in late August, so that’s all she can do. She comes with money to travel, but – if the trip materializes – I’ll be contacting BAAS colleagues to see who might be around to chat with her over the summer.



  1. Secretary’s Business (SE reporting)


  • She had worked with Louise Cunningham to provide membership data (non-confidential elements) for the BAAS intern.


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


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


(c)  Preparations for the BAAS elections had gone smoothly.


(d) The date of the June meeting to be confirmed.



  1. Treasurer’s Business (CR reporting)
  • End of 3 year term – thank you to fellow Executive committee members and to the wider BAAS community for their patience!
  • Membership figures – currently over 600 members – 618 members in the online system (inc. 281 concessionary memberships); this is down slightly from last year when there were 635 members in total (331 concessionary memberships); due to the failure of the Standing Orders in January Louise Cunningham has devoted time to a full clean-up of the membership list and she is confident that these figures reflect members who are actively paying.
  • Account balances (as of 03/04/2018)
    1. BAAS Charity Barclays Current Account £2,739.77
    2. BAAS Charity Barclays Savings Account £91,153.48
    3. BAAS Charity Shawbrook Savings Account £20,258.58
    4. PayPal £7,871.21
    5. BAAS Publications Barclays Current Account £88,849.43
  • Presentation of the 2017 accounts –
    1. [at AGM – proposer and seconder needed]
    2. the accounts for both BAAS Charity and BAAS Publications are very healthy. The headline figure is that BAAS Publications will Gift Aid £137,655 to BAAS Charity. The BAAS Publications income is higher this year as there has been a change in accountancy practice which means that income earned in 2017 is incorporated into the accounts, even though some of it won’t actually be received until 2018.
  • Activities since last meeting
    1. Savings account (in Feb 2017, £20k of our reserves was put into a one-year fixed rate savings account with Shawbrook Bank, through the Charities Aid Foundation, with a return of 1.30% gross), this has now matured and been rolled over for another year; the interest earned in 2017-18 was £258.58.
    2. Following the opening of new bank accounts last year as part of the asset transfer required during our change of status with the Charity Commission, members’ existing Standing Order payments failed; this was followed by a major effort to update member payment methods and to clear up the membership database. As noted under (1) above, this has now been completed.
  • Forthcoming
    1. Handover – will aim to wrap up outstanding payments and prepare handover notes before passing over to the new Treasurer; also propose to travel together to meet our new partner contact, John Saxon at Moffatts Chartered Accountants in Manchester in April or May
    2. Reserves – we have aimed for 18 months of unrestricted spending (generously calculated at approx. £55k); I suggest that the incoming Treasurer put another £25k in savings this year – the accountant calculates that BAAS Charity currently has reserves of £…. Which represents 27 months of unrestricted spending
    3. Equality and Diversity (Althea-Legal Miller reporting)

No report.


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

Another successful and busy year for JAS.  Subscriptions continue to be healthy.  The Journal is in excellent shape. Next year’s issues are full and we have agreed to a small increase in the editorial board, in line with BAAS’s equality and diversity campaign; such popularity reflects the journal’s standing in the field. Bevan and Celeste stand down at the end of the year. We shall be announcing their successors shortly, but as important, I want to put on record BAAS’s profound thanks to B&C and their associate editors Nick Witham and Sinead Moynihan for their impeccable and indefatigable work on JAS over the last few years. As I’m sure you’ll agree, the journal is in the best shape it’s ever been in, and this is due in no small part to their leadership of the editorial board. On a personal note, they’ve been a delight to work with.


  • USSO US Studies Online

USSO continues to attract a vast array of posts on too many subjects to go into here. I would, however, like to point out their excellent guest-edited series on Muslim American women’s writing. USSO consistently gains over 200 visitors each day, with over a third coming from the US. They really are paving the way for BAAS in the international arena. Sadly, USSO’s editors are moving onto pastures new soon. Jade Tullett and Todd Carter will be replaced as editors by Ruth Lawlor and Rachael Alexander; elsewhere USSO’s European Relations editor Katharina Donn and our Social Media editor Christina Brennan, are also moving on. I want to thank them all, especially Jade, for their fantastic work. It has truly been an honour and a privilege working with them on BAAS’s behalf.



  • EUP

Continues thanks to the excellent leadership of Martin Halliwell and Emily West. It recently published Mark Newman’s study of African American nationalism, and seven further books are in the pipeline. They’re always on the lookout for new monograph proposals and will happily discuss any ideas you have.


  • American Studies in Britain blog

Please consider submitting your news and any other submissions that you think are appropriate.



I am working with the publishers (British Online Archives) on new initiatives. This includes a series of archival fellowships that we intend to start this summer. Please keep your eyes on the BAAS newsletter for details.



  1. Development and Education Subcommittee


(a)        Equality & Diversity

Equality continues to be a key priority for the Development and Education Subcommittee in 2017-18.

  • We organized Trans Equality training for the  BAAS executive in November 2017 and will continue to develop policies on Trans inclusion particularly in relation to conferences and BAAS operational policies. Thanks to Katie McGettigan for taking a lead on this and setting it up
  • A member of the executive is appointed each year to lead on equality initiatives. Particular thanks to Althea Legal-Miller who was co-opted onto to the executive committee in 2017 and has shaped  discussions and policies on this area.


(b)        Membership Survey

Closely tied to our equality initiatives has been the Membership Survey. In April 2017, BAAS conducted a wide-ranging survey of its membership. The purpose of the survey was to consult and obtain the views of BAAS members on a number of important issues facing the American Studies community and academia in the UK, more broadly. The survey was designed to investigate five specific issues:

  • the demographic makeup of the American Studies community in the UK;
  • gender and racial inequality
  • sexual harassment;
  • the health of the discipline;
  • and what BAAS can do to support its members.

The survey was launched at the annual conference in 2017; members were able to complete the survey via Survey Monkey. It involved a mixture of quantitative and qualitative questions. In total, 111 members, ranging from postgraduate students to retired professors, completed the survey.

This report outlines some of the findings of the survey. It brings together the different questions into six broad themes:

  • BAAS demographics
  • Departments and institutions
  • Discrimination and harassment
  • State of the field
  • Looking to the future
  • Challenges, suggestions and the role of BAAS


The survey was developed by Ben Offiler and we thank him for his work in setting up the survey and for his draft report which will soon be  published on the BAAS website.


Additionally we plan to develop a number of think pieces for broader public circulation which address some of the key issues raised by members including:

-precarity and early career researchers contracts

-gender inequality

-sexual harassment


The report also details members suggestions  for improvements including greater interaction with and the BAAS executive committee. We will report back on these in due course but a first initiative will be to use the BAAS weekly digest which will include an ANY QUESTIONS section with contact information.


Finally another initiative we are developing out of the membership survey is the need for a clear BAAS statement and policy regarding sexual harassment. A working group has been established to develop a clear policy and statement and explore the legal implications of a BAAS grievance procedure in regard to harassment of any kind at either the BAAS Conference or other events which BAAS sponsors.



 (c)    BAAS Archive

In 2017 BAAS collaborated with the Cadbury Research Library at Birmingham University which holds the BAAS archive.  The project Women in BAAS involved a research internship to explore the history of women in BAAS as reflected through the archive.

The purpose of this paid internship was

  • to provide opportunities  for early career scholars to gain valuable research and employability skills above and beyond those offered by a PhD programme
  • to raise awareness of the archive held at the Cadbury Research Library  and encourage its use in scholarly research
  • build on and develop our partnership with the Cadbury Research Library with a view to exploring  future collaborative projects around the archive
  • to raise awareness of BAAS
  • to research BAAS’s history in order to inform policy making in areas of strategic importance, for example equality and diversity initiatives.


Sabina Peck, a postgraduate researcher at the University of Leeds was awarded the first internship.


She has developed a series of blogs outlining her findings the first of which has been posted on U.S. Studies Online. She has also conducted a series of oral history interviews with former chairs and members of BAAS including women involved in founding a women’s network in the 1990s.  A poster exhibition tracing the history of women and gender in BAAS was displayed at EBAAS 2018.  Thanks to Sabina and to Mark Eccleston at the Cadbury Library for this important project. BAAS is looking to promote new research into the archive in 2018-19 and to develop another theme for an internship in 2018-19.


(e)        Work with Schools

We have been exploring new possibilities for developing our work with schools. These include working with the British Library to develop a teacher’s resource day. Many thanks to Mercedes Aguirre who is leading on this. We hope to develop a series of events in the coming year through a newly constituted schools working group led by Nick Grant.   Also thanks to Katie McGettigan who is continuing to develop web resources for teachers.


(f)         Website:

BAAS’s website and online profile continues to grow from strength to strength. Nick Grant has been meeting with our web design team Clear and Creative. We will be working with them and a paid internship to improve the website. Thanks to Nick Grant for his work on this.


(g)        Early Career:

Rachel Williams the Early Career Representative is developing a peer reading scheme for early career members. The scheme will enable ECRS to be matched up with another ECR to read each other’s work and provide feedback. It stems from feedback from ECR members about the chasm that can open after the PhD and at the start of academic careers when prioritizing research and writing and getting people to read your work has to compete with intense demands of new and diverse teaching.


It’s been a busy year for the development and education committee. We have learned a lot about and from the BAAS membership and hope to continue to find ways for BAAS to shape and lead important discussions about precarity and inequality in higher education and American studies.


  1. Conference Subcommittee (PW reporting)

(a)        Equality and Diversity


PW reported on The Human Body and World War Two conference held at the University of Oxford in March 2018, which used a SCG of £300 to subsidize childcare for attendees. This was not exclusively available to PGRs, but in the end the people who took it up were PGRs or unwaged scholars. The total cost of childcare at the event was £729 (this included additional insurance) and this covered up to 6 children.


At the Executive Committee and the AGM the BAAS Chair Brian Ward committed to rolling out a similar initiative at future BAAS-sponsored events, in the first instance at the BAAS PG Conference.


Coming out of the 2017 BAAS PG Conference, KWB asked whether – running parallel to the recent development of Targeted Research Panels – there was an opportunity to add more PGR development sessions and networking events to the BAAS Annual Conference? This would be a way of bringing more PGR scholars ‘to the table’, something felt to be lacking in the current conference set-up. Although there are many informal ways that the BAAS Annual Conference brings PGRs and established scholars into conversation, something a little more formal and thorough (e.g. a speed-dating-style forum to share research interests) was mooted. It was noted that another American Studies association in Europe required the keynote speakers at its annual conference to attend PGR networking sessions. All agreed more steps could be taken towards this goal.



Action:  KWB to forward suggestions to successor, plus Conf Subco to table proposals for Susses



In the Executive Committee some preliminary observations on the members’ survey led to a series of proposals relating to the running of the BAAS Annual Conference. These included:

  • More transparency and interaction with the Executive Committee.
  • Guidance provided to panel chairs, including a reminder on BAAS’s policy on harassment.
  • When registering for the BAAS Annual Conference, attendees would have to tick a box confirming they have read the BAAS policy on harassment.



(b)        BAAS Conferences 2017-19


At our last BAAS Annual Conference at Canterbury Christ Church University there were 55 panels, 163 papers, and 236 delegates. CCCU 2017 pioneered the new format of running from a Thursday to a Saturday lunchtime. This format will continue at future BAAS Annual Conferences, and just to remind you, forthcoming conferences will be held at the University of Sussex in 2019 and the University of Liverpool in 2020. I am pleased to report to the AGM that the 2021 BAAS Annual Conference has been awarded to the University of Hull.


The deadline for applications to host the 2022 BAAS Annual Conference will be the end of this year. Once my successor is in place, they will also be able to talk about the process of submitting a bid, and we can send you a successful sample bid from the recent past. Organizing a BAAS Annual Conference is a demanding role, as I can attest from experience, but it is a rewarding one and a great way of making new friends in the American Studies community.


2019 will also see the return of the Hardship Fund that enables PGRs and ECRs to participate at the BAAS Annual Conference and, as Brian has mentioned, the launch of an International Hardship Fund.


No further updates on 2019, but conference organizers Tom Davies and Tom Wright are both speaking at the drinks reception on the first day of EBAAS to invite attendees to come to the 2019 BAAS Annual Conference at Sussex.


The year’s (2018) conference is a collaboration with the European Association for American Studies, and it represents the biggest BAAS Annual Conference to date. My thanks to everyone involved: I am awestruck by your extraordinary abilities of logistics and quick-thinking. To show my gratitude, I would like to thank them individually. First, Christine Okoth, the conference coordinator, and the members of the Organizing Committee: Myka Abramson, Uta Balbier, Martin Halliwell, Zoe Hyman, Daniel Matlin, Cara Rodway, Edward Sugden, Katerina Webb-Bourne, and Nick Witham.


Katerina Webb-Bourne will give you more details about the 2017 BAAS Postgraduate Conference held at the University of Essex, but for now I would like to thank Maria-Irina Popescu and Jessica Houlihan and congratulate them for organizing such a productive and intellectually rich and varied event.



(d)        BAAS Postgraduate Conference


One application was received to host the BAAS PG Annual Conference later in 2018, from Northumbria University. The application was of good quality and the Subcommittee was pleased to award the event to Northumbria.



Action:  KWB to inform the applicants


KWB and PW have yet to finish the briefing notes for organizers of the BAAS PG Conference but they are almost completed. The briefing notes will reflect the recent agreement that organizers of BAAS PG Conference can claim back the cost of conference registration and banquet at the next BAAS Annual Conference.


Action:  KWB and PW to polish and pass on to KWB’s successor;  KWB to put organizers of last year’s BAAS PG Conf in contact with future ones.



(e)        Small Conference Support Grant


In 2017 various events were awarded Small Conference Support Grants (SCGs) by the Conferences Subcommittee. These included:

  • Pocahontas and After: Historical Culture and Transatlantic Encounters, 1617-2017 (Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library and the Institute of Historical Research, 16-18 Mar. 2017). Travel grants were awarded to enable postgraduates and early career researchers (ECR) to attend the conference.
  • Trump’s First 100 Days (University of Reading, 2 May 2017). This conference marked the launch of the Monroe Group research network at the University of Reading. The day began with a keynote address by Professor Andrew Rudalevige (Bowdoin College), live-streamed on Facebook and followed by 9,000 people. 60 people attended from around the UK and funding from BAAS allowed 29 postgraduate students to attend the conference at a reduced rate. The conference proceedings will be published by Palgrave MacMillan in September 2018.
  • Hardboiled History: A Noir Lens on America’s Past (University of Warwick, 19 May 2017). This conference re-evaluated the function of noir across a variety of media, reflected in the keynotes from Helen Hanson (University of Exeter) and Warren Pleece (graphic novelist). The grant from BAAS helped to subsidize postgraduate attendance, which was subsequently free, and PGRs made up 80% of the delegates.
  • Magazines on the Move: North American Periodicals and Travel (Nottingham Trent University, 22 Sept. 2017). This was the third Network of American Periodical Studies (NAPS) symposium, hosted by Nottingham Trent University’s Centre for Travel Studies (CTWS), with a keynote by Professor Andrew Thacker (Nottingham Trent University). The Small Conference Support Grant went towards the travel expenses of two of the PGRs presenting papers.
  • Contesting Power: Rights, Justice, and Dissent in America and Beyond, Historians of Twentieth-Century United States (HOTCUS) Annual Postgraduate Conference (University of Cambridge, 21 Oct. 2017). PGRs delivered papers in the first half of the day, and the afternoon was given over to a roundtable and workshop giving advice to postgraduates on professionalization. The event ended with a keynote speech from Kerry Pimblott (University of Manchester). The Small Conference Support Grant provided travel bursaries for six postgraduate presenters.
  • American Politics Group annual colloquium (Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library, 10 Nov. 2017). The funding from BAAS was used to reduce the cost of attendance for students.
  • The Not-Yet of the Nineteenth-Century U.S., 3rd Biennial British Association of Nineteenth-Century Americanists (BrANCA) Symposium (University of Exeter, 17-18 Nov. 2017). Keynotes were delivered by Professor Agniezska Soltysik Monnet (Lausanne) and Professor Lloyd Pratt (Oxford) and a special session was convened on Digital Humanities and nineteenth-century US literature. The Small Conference Support Grant was used to subsidize undergraduate and postgraduate attendance at the event.
  • The Transnational American Periodical (Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library, 16 Dec. 2017). This conference was arranged in conjunction with the Network of American Periodical Studies (NAPS) and funding from BAAS was provided for postgraduate and ECR travel bursaries and for a ‘Best Postgraduate Paper’ prize.


In 2018 the following events have been awarded Small Conference Support Grants:

  • The Cartographic Imagination: Art, Literature and Mapping in the United States, 1945-1980 (18-19 May 2018).
  • The Scottish Association for the Study of America (SASA) Annual Conference (3 Mar. 2018).
  • Did Liberalism Fail in the United States after 1945? Identity and Conflict from Truman to Trump (1 June 2018).
  • The Human Body and World War II (23-24 Mar. 2018).


In the last few days we have made decisions on applications to the SCG scheme received by 1st April (the deadline for the scheme is always 1st April and 1st November each year, and we aim to inform applicants of our decision within 4 weeks). The SCGs are separate from the BAAS-US Embassy scheme that Brian referred to earlier, and if you are organizing an American Studies event please think about applying for one of them. From November 2018 onwards, the amount you can apply for will increase to £350 per event.

The SCGs are primarily aimed at facilitating PGR participation in our scholarly community and awards can be used to subsidize the cost of PGR attendance, or for travel bursaries, and at the last conference I mentioned The Human Body and World War II (23-24 Mar. 2018) an SCG was used to subsidize the cost of childcare. This directly enabled PGRs to attend and present research at the event. As Brian mentioned, the success of this has prompted the Executive Committee to look into subsidizing childcare at future BAAS conferences, starting with the BAAS PG Conference.


6 applications were made to the SCG. All of these were for high-quality events that would have concrete benefits for PGRs and/or would reach out to communities outside higher education in fruitful ways. All 6 applicants were funded.


Action:  PW to record decisions and amounts awarded on shared spreadsheet; PW to inform applications of outcomes of bid.


Following confusion over a recent conference to which BAAS awarded an SCG for travel bursaries, it was agreed to specify to successful award holders that BAAS transfers the money in one block and that distributing it in smaller allotments is the responsibility of the award holder.


Action:  PW to specify this in acceptance emails



There was a shared feeling that the revised application form for the SCG scheme calling for greater attention to Equality and Diversity had only been partially beneficial. Specifically, the revised form had successfully compelled all applicants to reflect on the spaces and facilities at their events and in some cases had led to CFPs stipulating no all-male panels, but what still is not really getting through is that organizers might encourage and include scholars from communities currently under-represented in UK American Studies.



Action:  PW to use SCG acceptance email to  underline that expects them to reach out to communities currently under-represented in UK American Studies



As agreed with the BAAS Treasurer in advance of the meeting, PW informed the Subcommittee that the SCG had £3500 to distribute in 2018 and that from November 2018 onwards applicants can bid for awards of up to £350.



Action:  PW to update webpage and application form


(f)         AOB


In the Executive Committee, the question of funding for members of the Exec to attend the BAAS Annual Conference was raised. The position is that BAAS will cover the cost of attending the full conference if members of the Exec can’t get funding from their own institution. It was agreed that a clear statement to this effect would be made at the next meeting of the Exec for the benefit of new and old members.


Action:  Joint statement to be drafted by Cara Rodway, Sylvia Ellis and Laura MacDonald



I have begun discussing Equality and Diversity matters, and I will say more about this area before finishing my report. If you applied to the SCGs recently you will know we have revised the application process to give greater prominence to Equality and Diversity. If you are thinking about applying, I would urge you to make sure this aspect of your application is substantially addressed. It certainly does mean paying attention to the spaces involved in your event and creating a culture of inclusivity, but it also means what you do before the event starts, namely trying to reach and include communities of scholars currently under-represented in American Studies in the UK. Equality and Diversity is a key criterion for awarding an SCG and we hope future applications will take this into account more fully.


So ends my last report as Chair of the Conferences Subcommittee. I would like to thank Louise Cunningham, who helps administer the SCGs, as well as the BAAS Officers Brian Ward, Sylvia Ellis, and Cara Rodway, and the rest of the Executive Committee, especially my fellows Subcommittee members: Tom Davies, Martin Halliwell, Daniel Matlin, Laura MacDonald, Katerina Webb-Bourne, Nick Witham, and Tom Wright. PW thanked the gathered members of the Conferences Subcommittee for their sterling work this year.



  1. Awards Subcommittee (EL reporting)

Breakdown of Award Submissions 2018





2018 2017 2016
BAAS Awards
Book Award 10 6  
Founders 6 8 7
ECR Travel Award – new 2018 5
PG Short Term Travel 22 33 38
GTA (Mississippi) 2 2 6
Barringer Fellowship (Monticello) 1 3 2
School Essay 6 14
UG Essay 10 14
PG Essay 5 7 8
Public Engagement and Impact Award 2 2
Eccles Awards
UK PG 4 6 14
Canadian Fellowship 0 2 3
Euro Fellow 7 7 12
Euro PG 5 5 7
UK Fellow 4 8 17
US Fellow 4 4 9



  1. Thank you to everyone who participated in the awards this year – everything ran really smoothly and that’s because of everyone’s hard work.


  1. Particular thanks to Louise and Katie for their tireless work behind the scenes keeping everything running, working evenings and weekends around deadlines to ensure panels got the award applications and successful applicants were told promptly.


  1. This year BAAS made 24 awards in 10 categories (total: £17,700); the Eccles Centre made an additional 9 awards in 5 categories (£18,400); the Miller Centre made 3 awards in 2 categories (total: £1000).


  1. Adam Mathew have ended their sponsorship of the essay prize – this will not run in future. We thank them for their past support of the award and their work with BAAS.


  1. Eccles Awards will be announced at the drinks reception at the Eccles Centre for American Studies on Thursday April 5. The BAAS awards will be announced at the conference banquet on Friday April 6.  Awards booklets listing all the winners will be available at both events.


Equality and Diversity Statistics for Awards:


* denotes the Chair

^ denotes successful applicant (where known)




Award Applicants Panel
  Female Male Female Male
Founders 2 (1^) 4 (3^) 2 1*
ECR Travel Award 2 (1^) 3 (2^) 1 2*
PG Short Term Travel 12 (4^) 10 (3^) 1 2*
GTA Mississippi 0 2 ^ 2* 1
Monticello Teacher’s Fellowship 1^ 0 2* 1
Public Engagement and Impact Award 2 ^ 0 2* 1
UK PG 1 ^ 3 1 3*
Canadian Fellowship 1 3*
Euro Fellow 4 3 (2^) 1 3*
Euro PG 3 ^ 2 1 3*
UK Fellow 2 2 (2^) 1 3*
US Fellow 4 (3^) 0 1 3*
PG Essay 5^ 0 1 2*
UG Essay 7 3 ^ 2 1*
Schools Essay 5^ 1 2* 1
BAAS Book Award 1 9^ 1* 2



Issues arising/questions for discussion:

  • How to encourage more women to apply for the book awards (1 of 10 for BAAS award; 1 of 4 for Miller award)?
  • Some problems with publishers not recognising the Miller Award – do BAAS want to consider offering two book prizes/possibly a first book prize? Would this clash with the Miller Awards?
  • Engagement with schools – of the six essay submissions and one Teacher’s Fellowship submitted all but one of the essay submissions came from private/selective grammar schools. Thinking about how we reach out to schools and engage them in awards but also generally, would seem to be something for us to consider.


  1. EAAS (SC reporting)


  1. Any Other Business


  1. Date of next meeting: To be confirmed.




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