Given the new transnational turn in American Studies, it seems singularly appropriate to be writing this editorial somewhere over the Atlantic as I return from the American Studies Association conference in Montreal. Indeed, the Forum column of this issue of American Studies in Britain explores many of the themes debated there. In an age of increasing political and economic globalization, is it valid to continue to focus on the US as a discrete entity, a culture hermetically sealed off not only from the rest of the Western hemisphere but indeed from the rest of the world? At the same time, however, might the internationalization of American Studies not be an attempt to reinforce post-Cold War US cultural hegemony on a global scale by re-defining the world as America? There are no easy answers to these questions. Nonetheless, the Millennial musings of members of the BAAS Board provide an interesting panorama of the state of the discipline in Britain today.
As the Millenium draws to an end, so does my stewardship of American Studies in Britain, with my three-year term as Editor ending with the last issue of 2000. Applications are thus invited for the post of Editor of American Studies in Britain (for details, please see page 4 of this issue). Although I have derived considerable enjoyment from editing ASB, I feel that now the goals I set myself as Editor (revamping the contents and graphic design of the Newsletter, increasing income from ads and inserts, and reinforcing our new status with ISSN registration) have been achieved, it is time to give others the opportunity to show what they can do.
As always, thanks are due to my Editorial Assistants, Marie Tate and Sean Groundwater, for their graphic flair, unfailing good humour, and hard work. Thanks are due as well to Simon Newman, Marina Moskowitz and the Glasgow American Studies postgrads for their help in our marathon envelope-stuffing sessions.
To each of you and to your families, warm best wishes for the holiday season, and for the next thousand years.
Susan Castillo, Editor
Department of English Literature
University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8QQ
Tel: 0141-330 6393
Fax: 0141-330 4601
Forum: American Studies At The Millennium—Some Thoughts
The advent of a New Year has traditionally been a time of soul-searching, of looking critically at the past and tracing goals for the coming year. Recent newspaper reports indicate that this tendency to have a hard look at the meaning of one’s life and work is even more accentuated on significant dates such as the approaching Millennium. For us as scholars, it is a time not only to take stock of what has been accomplished in American Studies in the past but also to speculate about where our discipline may be heading in the future. Members of the BAAS Board were asked for their views, and the resulting Forum column is a the result of a cyber-exchange of diverse opinions.
Philip Davies, BAAS President, DeMontfort remarks:
I find it very difficult to connect ‘American Studies’ and ‘Millennium’ at all – they seem to have nothing to do with each other. ‘American Studies’ and ‘half century’, however, is a different matter.
At the turn of the year American Studies will have been taught in the UK for just over half a century, if we can (as Dennis Welland has written) date its recognisable origins from Professor Kandell’s first courses at Manchester University, in 1947. American topics had been taught in theUK before this. For example BAAS members at this year’s Glasgow conference learned of the early and intellectually significant Scottish connections with the study of America in Britain. But it was the energy of our colleagues in the mid twentieth century that led to the founding of the British Association for American Studies. Ever since its founding BAAS has been the main scholarly support for Americanists of all disciplinary interests, throughout the UK. The changing nature of education has prompted changes in the Association, so that the subject, its teachers, researchers and students are represented, promoted and defended at every level and in every available forum. While the millennium may pass with a whimper and a mild hangover, I look forward to the time shortly after, when we will be celebrating the first half century of BAAS, and looking forward to more success and progress as we reach the halfway point in the first American Studies century.
Mick Gidley (Leeds), touches upon issues such as the internationalisation of American Studies and the impact of multiculturalism:
I have been delighted that, over the last few years, academic interests of my own-such as American photographic history-that used to seem peripheral (sometimes even to me, let alone to others) have become more central, and in fact the urge to create hierarchies of all sorts, from the literary canon outwards, has been deeply problematised. We all, I think, work nearer to an anthropological model of American culture or cultures, where an understanding of any feature may be related to, and revelatory of, others.
Analyses of American culture based on gender, race, class and, to a lesser extent, region as overarching categories of difference have been enormously productive-and, in many respects, still are. At the same time, I sometimes worry that these categories are invoked too mechanically, and in the U.S. itself they are all too forcibly linked to the marked divisions of American society, as if the American Studies community no longer wishes to heal the wounds of the past.
In Britain-where we often fail to see the destructive operation of these or parallel categories at the institutional level (the glass ceiling for women may be cracked, but it is still there, and we have few Black academics or students in American Studies)-such ferment remains, I think, exciting, productive, and necessary.
A healthy development has been the increasing internationalisation of our field (some folk have discussed the possibility of founding a World Association for American Studies), not only because it encourages comparative scholarly work-which has long been an American Studies tradition on the mainland of Europe-but also because it makes us all reflect on global concerns and on the divisions and potentialities of our own local societies.
After the long retrenchment of the 1980s and the market-led expansion of the 1990s, I feel that interdisciplinary American Studies is institutionally quite buoyant. At the same time, in Britain we in American Studies are still small in relative terms-for example, public funding bodies think there are only 118 researchers in the field, just a fraction of those they believe research such single disciplines as English, History or, even, Politics. This means that we have to be more proactive in every way than our peers in traditional disciplines. One means of moving ahead is implied in my comments about the internationalisation of our scholarly concerns: we must seek more institutional overseas links.
Nick Selby (Swansea) looks at the future of American Studies from the perspective of methodology:
Henry Nash Smith’s call, in 1957, for a ‘principled opportunism’ that would allow the newly emerging academic discipline of American Studies to develop a method has proven prophetic. Mostly opportunistic (and sometimes principled) American Studies has developed across the latter half of this century through its searching for a methodology of inclusiveness that is both general in effect and specific in its analytic detail. This attempt by American Studies to ‘study American culture as a whole’ has seen its practitioners embrace many different approaches in their examination of American ideology. Mythological, psychoanalytical and structuralist methods; revisionist, new historicist, and postructuralist reading practices; Marxist, feminist, post-Marxist, post-feminist and postmodernist approaches have all-amongst many others-had, or still have, intellectual currency within American Studies. Indeed, the vibrancy of American Studies seems to me to be reflected through its methodological diversity, the necessity of its opportunistic borrowings from other, more rigidly defined, academic disciplines. Despite the apparent diversity of its methods, though, I do think that American Studies has always been a discipline based in cultural materialism. That is, it reads America through its cultural materials-whether they be works of art, literature, history or politics-and it extrapolates from its reading of those materials, the more general conditions of the culture which produced them.
Questions, then, which currently occupy debates about the future of American Studies, especially in America, questions of whether American Studies is inter- or multi-disciplinary, or whether its predominant focus on the United States is rather old-fashioned given the trans-nationalism of late-twentieth century (capitalist) culture, seem less a threat to the continuance of American Studies as a discipline than a reconfirmation of the opportunities that it has always taken to redefine the principles within which it operates. Such debates see America itself as a discursive intellectual terrain across which sites of cultural power are mapped. My hope is that as American Studies moves into the new millennium, it remains intellectually opportunistic in its response to new ways of reading of America, whilst it retains its established principle of disentangling and examining America’s powerful hold over all our lives and imaginations.
Hugh Brogan (East Anglia) offers the following pragmatic assessment of the state of American Studies within the context of academic institutions, British funding bodies and the realpolitik of international power relations:
American Studies: The Outlook
American Studies will not be able to escape the general crisis of the academy which I see fast approaching. Universities and related institutions (the British Academy, for example) are now, with few exceptions financed and controlled by the Government and Business. He Who Pays The Piper Calls The Tune. From an intellectual, and even political point of view, this is an extremely unsatisfactory situation, but there is no sign of any movement to change it. So we must make the best of it, which means, are we satisfying the larger purposes of our paymasters (ultimately, the Great British Public) as well as our own? At the moment I am far from sure that the answer is Yes.
All academic disciplines are to some extent, quite properly, esoteric. But the race into specialisation has got quite out of hand. I need say nothing about the extent to which undergraduates are neglected while research is pursued and research grants are hunted. I expect that scandal to be corrected before long, and anyway I am not convinced that it is, in actuality, a great problem, whatever may be the case in the US. But the extent to which specialists are losing the will, even the ability, to talk to anyone except other specialists in the same line is appalling. It is no wonder that so much ‘research’ gets published which almost no-one reads today and none will read tomorrow. It is to me inconceivable that the state will allow this state-of-affairs to persist indefinitely; the hard sciences will get their money, because it is so obviously necessary and beneficial; the social sciences will survive at the price of making themselves mere handmaids of Whitehall; the cuts will come in the humanities. And when the last research student has been strangled in the guts of the last research supervisor it will be discovered that higher education in the humanities had many other purposes more humane, and more necessary – indeed essential – to the state than the production of trivial PhD theses.
American Studies can avoid this crisis if it takes the right steps NOW. The annual BAAS conference, for instance, should downplay its function as a showcase for research students and become a consciously directed opportunity to collaborate between disciplines and within disciplines, always looking for the HCF of our studies and teaching. For example, the biggest decision facing the British people at the moment is that of the euro. Are we to enter, probably irreversibly, a permanent European Union, and try to make it more perfect, or are we to trust ourselves to the cockleshell of national independence and some (as yet unimagined) relationship with the United States? Surely we, as Americanists, must have something to say on this subject? There seems to be a real doubt as to whether the British are culturally closer to the country of Faulkner or the continent of Dante. Can’t we help resolve the debate? We historians and political scientists – by the way, we MUST NOT let our links with political science break completely – spend such time as we can spare from race, gender and class to analysing and discussing federalism. We should be HEARD in the national debate. The cant phrase of the moment is multiculturalism, which is a topic of major debate in the United States, where it is far more pressing than it is as yet among us. We should be heard on that topic too. And so on…it may be said that the agenda I propose is too patently political or utilitarian; but so what? If American Studies is to attract the young, and educate the young, and deserve support by the state, then it must face these questions; the frivolous concentration of post-modernism, etc., can be left to a better day. This is no moment for scholasticism of any kind. As a practical suggestion, I propose that the words ‘Derrida’, ‘discourse’, ‘intertextuality’ be blue-pencilled from all future issues of the Journal.
Paul Giles (University of Cambridge) analyzes the new transnational turn in American Studies:
One issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible in the new millennium is the lazy tendency to speak of American Studies as synonymous with study of the United States. Such a distinction has become even more important since the U.S., in the post-NAFTA era, has begun thinking of itself for trade purposes as part of the continent of America. Indeed, just as in the next century Britain will probably find itself involved in stronger social and economic links with Europe, so the United States will position itself as the central player in a geopolitical area bounded by Canada and Latin America. This shift, alongside changing demographic patterns within the United States itself, will generate a compelling need for the next generation of Americanists, particularly literature specialists, to be more conversant with Hispanic and other non-Anglophone languages than my generation has been.
Richard Hinchcliffe (Central Lancashire), postgraduate representative, makes an appeal for more openness to ethnic minorities in American Studies programmes:
American Studies as a discipline has pioneered much of the interest in race, gender and sexuality within the culture, politics and history of America. As an academic discipline it helps to maintain the focus of higher education upon the need for the continual emancipation of all the diverse ethnic and cultural groups that make up the population of North America. However, the academic community itself whilst far from being dominated by male power is nevertheless conspicuously white. While this might reflect on the humanities in general in some parts of the U.K. higher education establishment, we cannot afford to let an academic community that frequently pronounces on the historical, cultural and political matters of race be an all-white intellectual enclave.
American studies conferences are very much all-white affairs and if we want to engage scholars from different ethnic backgrounds and enrich our discipline with fresh ideas and challenges then we need to do something positive about it. The recruitment of ethnic minorities for American studies courses must start in schools, sixth form colleges and access courses, but in order that these feeder systems should get the message BAAS should use its establishment weight and begin a high-profile campaign across all the humanities in higher education to increase the intake of students from ethnic minorities. While it is patronising to assume that all students from ethnic minorities should be interested in American Studies, it is surely increasingly untenable for the American Studies community to pronounce on the politics of race without being in the least bit representative of those at the receiving end of white colonial power. As western society becomes increasingly multi-cultural those sectors of education that appear out of step with this trend may begin to appear out-of-date and irrelevant. It will not matter how much they can lay claim to be, in some way, responsible in the past for the establishment of that multi-cultural society, unless multi-culturalism is reflected through its membership it will begin to speak for less of the community as a whole and its influence may be weakened as a result.
George McKay (Central Lancashire) offers an assessment of the ways in which his own institution has engaged with shifting paradigms in American Studies:
At University of Central Lancashire we have spent the past few yearsworking through our curriculum. In some ways we have found ourselvestaking issue with the dominant paradigm of American Studies asconsisting in the main of the study of literature and history. This has meant two things, both of which we’re hoping to continue. First, we have embraced developments in Cultural Studies more widely, both by extendingthe range of texts and practices we look at to include popular music, sport, subculture, and so on-as well as literature, history, politicsoptions- and by having a core through the degree of exploring cultural theory. Second, we have shifted from looking at American Studies as adiscrete national discipline to placing it in a transatlantic, sometimes global, framework, where we are concerned with exploring the workings of American cultural power overseas. We are interested in the study of theUnited States, its regions and identities, of course, but we areinterested in the impact of American culture on, in particular, Europe,too. And we look at the ‘bad’ as well as the ‘good’ sides of that!
Jenel Virden (Hull) focuses on the importance of strengthening transatlantic links:
In the recent past American Studies in Britain made it through the quality assessment of teaching with flying colours, with an overall performance at a very high level. We are now pushing on in the research assessment exercise which will, no doubt, also go well. Our performance in both of these areas has been helped by our close association with universities and scholars in the United States and I believe the future of American Studies in Britain lies in forging even more and stronger links with America. Through more student exchanges, faculty exchanges, scholarly collaborations and the encouragement of overseas links on editorial boards and at conferences, American Studies in Britain can look forward to the next millenium with enthusiasm and optimism.
Douglas Tallack (Nottingham) makes the following strategic points:
American Studies will need to be less preoccupied with curriculum wars, interesting though we academics find them, and more strategic in exploiting its inter-disciplinary experience and history to link itself in with new developments. Schools of American Studies should become natural homes for developments which are not necessarily wholly American in content e.g. visual culture, comparative area studies.
American Studies also needs to make the most of its constituent disciplines (e.g. History, Literature, Politics, Geography) because these are still likely to be the main routes into the subject. At the same time, it needs to define itself as Area Studies (offering expertise within the ‘special relationship’ because whatever we might think of this concept politically it is significant). This suggests that while AS remains inter-disciplinary in many of its most exciting manifestations it is strategically important also to be multi-disciplinary.
Finally, Richard Ellis (Nottingham Trent) concludes on a suitably apocalyptic note as agent provocateur:
The next decades’ ‘swarming activity’ for Not-BAAS: an apocalyptic provocation
A range of transnational turns, pivoting around globalisation and the exploration of all Atlanticisms (- all Black Atlantics, of course, but over and above these other Atlantics [Jewish Atlantics, Muslim Atlantics, Fundamentalist Christian Atlantics, and a gamut of cultural Atlantics: Romantic Atlantics, Post-modern Atlantics …], etc.), and by extension ‘Pacificisms’ and ‘Americanisms’ (as these might be tentatively termed) will rapidly become the sine qua non of what is at present inadequately labeled ‘American Studies’. What is apparently a defined field (defined by its nationalistic and erroneous label [the United States, America]) will increasingly be seen not in terms of homogenization (processes of cultural hegemony) but in terms of dialectical exchanges, or (I should better say) dialogic exchanges (with no dialectical synthesis arrived at) between on the one hand dominant economic and cultural formations and practices (multinational corporations, conglomerates, but also international ‘Hollywood’, international TV corporations and other international media ventures, including the net) and on the other hand arenas of diversified and diversifying, hybrid socio-cultural alternativization (let’s say, acounter-cultural Atlantic, a [post-]Marxist Atlantic, a Youth Atlantic). Faith in any mapping of this post – ‘American Studies’ field (necessarily rechristened and offering only – in de Certeau’s words a ‘fiction of knowledge’) will be overtaken by a exploration of what de Certeau calls ‘swarming activity’. So BAAS perhaps needs to reconsider what it calls itself. Should it extend its range to embrace only the whole continent, or re-christen itself the Association of US Studies (AUSS), or (rather) discover another more radical and globally-oriented re-designation (the Association of America-in-the-World Studies [AAWS])? Plainly, I am also suggesting that our association’s title has to abandon the label ‘British’, too, as Europe confederates and Britain separates out into individual EEC memberships (Wales, Scotland, Wessex, etc). But I also want to suggest that what is required is immediate attention to the available vocabulary (to get rid of the ugly neologisms I am drawing upon or coining). Behind all this echoes David Nye’s plaintive internet inquiry: how are the institutions supporting the members of AUSS or AAWS or AUSWS (formerly BAAS) to afford the hybrid proliferation I am envisaging (in terms of library support, staffing expertise, etc.)? Agglomerations of some sort are called for (regional and/or local AUSWS confederations, for example). All change (for sure?), and maybe the sooner we rechristen ourselves the bigger, and better, choice of titles our association will have.
BAAS Glasgow 1999
BAAS AGM Glasgow 1999: Chair’s Report
I returned home from last year’s BAAS conference feeling good. In the closing session that I had chaired, Malcolm Bradbury had in equal proportion taught, entertained and charmed us with his erudition. I brought the news that my colleagues had honoured me with the Chair of the British Association for American Studies, and the BAAS AGM had signalled interesting challenges that must be tackled. In the mail waiting for me was a letter from my university announcing my Professorship of American Studies, plus a good review of a recently published book, and the proofs of another piece on its way to publication. It was a sunny day. I was feeling pretty pleased with myself.
So, while neither DIY nor gardening have ever been my strong suit, I was not too dismayed to find 141 rolls of turf stacked in front of the house. My wife Ros, having engineered a complete remodelling of the gardens, had decided that turfing the lawn was certainly something we could manage ourselves. We would save the cost of hiring turf layers, and invest our own labour into the project, thereby gaining both financial and moral virtue. Energised by all my good news, and a celebratory cup of tea, rather than return to the book typescript that awaited completion, I launched myself at the turf.
One square metre of turf is heavier than it looks. Rolled, with the earth side out, it is slippery, difficult to handle, and enormously messy. Every roll had to be manhandled from the road, through a narrow passage, down a flight of steps, to the lawn site.
It began to rain. The sun disappeared. The pile of (expensive) turf became ever more slippery, and threatened to dissolve as the heavy drops of water hit and dislodged the soil. I raced the rain, staggering around clutching rolls of earth heavier than anything I have ever lifted, in intimate, though decreasingly loving, embrace, having to hug the cylinders tight to prevent them turning into uncontrollable snakes of mud. I was so encrusted with mud that a number of garden creatures, mistaking me for a small planetoid, were considering setting up home. I was tired, soaked, very cold, and still had 40 or 50 rolls of turf to move. It was at this point that a neighbour, full of cheer and bonhomie, commented ‘that must feel different, doing some real work for a change.’
I was reminded of my late grandmother who, when my much younger cousin gained entry to Oxford University, pointed out that she was not convinced he should go, since ‘our Philip’s been at university for years and years, and he still doesn’t have a proper job.’ Eliza Davies loved all her grandchildren unconditionally, whatever they did, but she did consider it her responsibility to warn them that they should be able to work for their living.
There remains a dislocation in society, between the broad perception and our own, of the value of academic work. The past year has produced plenty of evidence that misperceptions of the breadth, value and nature of American Studies also exist within communities that have huge impact on our professional lives. The executive of BAAS has adopted a prominent role in putting the case for American Studies in many ways.
At the 1998 Annual General Meeting of BAAS a great deal of concern was voiced regarding the proposals of the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) on ‘subject benchmarking’. The newly elected BAAS committee took as its first priority the defence of American Studies against the proposal that our subject be considered by QAA as an offshoot of English Literature. The strong representations made by BAAS and its members were successful. Within hours of the consultation deadline the Chief Executive of the QAA indicated that the original plan could not stand. Discussions between BAAS and the QAA resulted in the creation of a subject benchmarking category of Area Studies not primarily based on foreign languages – a group to serve American Studies, but also acting as a service to others, such as those with whom we already share a Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) panel. A measure of BAAS success may be that this was the only subject group change made by QAA in the light of the national consultation. As a result of our prominent lobbying effort, BAAS was also asked to nominate a member for the QAA Working Group on Multidisciplinarity and Modularity, and Professor Douglas Tallack continues to take an active part in this Group’s work.
In pursuing its work for the profession over the last year, the Association has been in consultation with many other national bodies. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) and the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) received a firm indication of the American Studies community’s position when they proposed to abolish the American Studies subject coding. In this, as in the lobby of QAA, BAAS was supported actively by a former colleague, Barry Sheerman, now MP for Huddersfield. The Higher education funding councils have maintained the American Studies RAE panel, to be chaired by Professor Judie Newman, former Chair of BAAS, and BAAS conducted a wide consultation exercise before making nominations to this and other relevant RAE panels. The Association has been in touch with the new Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB) to press the position of American Studies in the emerging AHRB system. Among BAAS members, Professors Helen Taylor, Mick Gidley and Michael Heale are now serving on AHRB panels.
After some considerable effort on our part, BAAS was the only subject association consulted by the Department for Education on arrangements for the financial support of students. Contacts were also made with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the British North America Committee, to spread the word of the threat to future Americanist knowledge in the UK by policies that could damage student exchange programmes. The latest information suggests that BAAS’ representations have had good effect, with some specific changes from the last consultation document reflecting the BAAS position, for example the retention of a grant for medical insurance and visa costs. Many colleagues have helped in this campaign, but it is fair to mention in particular those BAAS members at the Universities of Lancaster, Sussex and Swansea, who have been generous with information, suggestions and comments that helped the BAAS executive respond quickly and positively in defence of our subject area and its students.
As members of the Co-ordinating Council of Area Studies Associations (CCASA) our members were invited to be included in the Area Studies Directory of Expertise in the UK. The launch was covered by Huw Richards in the THES, and led directly to another article by Huw Richards on American Studies, published in The Guardian. Perhaps American Studies colleagues are not great form-fillers, but it seems that plenty of colleagues did not put themselves in the Directory. It is being maintained and updated on an internet homepage, and I would encourage members to add themselves to this virtual database.
BAAS’ long relationship with the American Politics Group (APG) was maintained with a further APG/BAAS colloquium in London. The Chair of BAAS was also convenor of APG’s 25th anniversary conference, held in January at Selwyn College, Cambridge. BAAS sent formal congratulations at the time, and is happy to record those good wishes in this annual report. BAAS is now a member of the Association of Learned Societies in the Social Sciences (ALSISS), which is shortly to launch the Academy of Social Sciences. It is important to be sure that Americanist interests are represented at the beginning of such a significant development in UK education.
As Cultural Attaché at the American Embassy, Robin Berrington was a good friend of the Association. This London posting was the finale of a dynamic career. I have no doubt that BAAS members will join me in wishing Robin a happy and creative retirement. I look forward to the continuation of a productive relationship with the Embassy, and welcome the new Attaché, T.J. Dowling, to the British American Studies community.
In 1998 the Association continued to promote American Studies through the award of BAAS Short Term Awards to seven young scholars, and the presentation of the BAAS essay prize. As well as mounting the annual conference, BAAS co-sponsored a programme of several specialist conferences, including events to serve postgraduate students, thematic scholarly events, and meetings for teachers and for schools students. In addition the BAAS Library and Resources Subcommittee mounted a very successful conference at the British Library. I am pleased to acknowledge the valuable co-operation of our various partners in these ventures, without whose help BAAS would not be able to lend the range of support that it does to American Studies teaching, learning and scholarship in the UK.
The Treasurer continued the redesign of the subscriptions system, aiming to simplify the payments system, reduce costs, and thereby maintain the efficiency of the Association’s operation. BAAS’ publishing co-operation with Cambridge University Press maintained the quality and international reputation of the Journal of American Studies. Co-operation with Edinburgh University Press has resulted in the ‘BAAS Paperbacks’ series developing a substantial, and trans-Atlantic, reputation. Our own Newsletter has been renamed American Studies in Britain: the Newsletter of BAAS, and has acquired its own ISSN. Building on the work of previous editors, Dr Susan Castillo has transformed the Newsletter into an exciting and especially attractive vehicle for American Studies and for the Association. The BAAS homepage has moved to Nottingham Trent University, where, under the watchful eye of Dr Dick Ellis, it too has developed into a new and increasingly valuable part of the Association’s work. The plan to mount out of print ‘BAAS Pamphlets’ on the site is going ahead.
Projects are always in progress. We are conducting an investigation into the continuing difficulty faced by American Studies graduates who wish to enter PGCE programmes, and will report on this in the future. Several American Studies programmes volunteered to provide information on the employment of American Studies graduates, and the results of this data collection will be made available to BAAS members. We are discussing with UCAS ways in which the data on recruitment to American Studies undergraduate programmes held in their Cheltenham headquarters might be used to aid the American Studies community.
The whole American Studies community owes a great deal to those colleagues who launched the Association in the 1950s. This year we have lost two particular friends, and former Chairs of BAAS, from those early years: Harry Allen, who had lived in recent years in the USA, and Herbert Nicholas, an apparently permanent fixture in Oxford. As is often the case, many of us were surprised by the eventual mortality of these dear friends and great mentors, and it serves to remind us of the debts we owe.
The individual American Studies scholars in the past year whose contribution has been recognised include Susan Castillo, awarded a Readership at Glasgow, Philip Davies, Professor at De Montfort, Jay Kleinberg, Professor at Brunel, George McKay, Reader at Central Lancashire, Peter Messent, Professor at Nottingham, Helen Taylor, Professor at Exeter.
I would like to thanks all the members of the BAAS executive committee, the various sub-committees of BAAS, the officers of BAAS branches, the editorial board of the Journal, and others who donate their time and energy to support the Association. The Association depends completely on the hard work, commitment and reliability of volunteers to progress its aims and objectives. For the management of an excellent 1999 conference, thanks are due to Simon Newman, supported by Susan Castillo and their team of local helpers. Particular thanks are due to those members of the BAAS Executive whose current terms of office come to an end at this AGM: Jay Kleinberg, Vivien Miller, Allan Lloyd Smith, Jenel Virden, and Andy Watts. I have no doubt that these members of BAAS will continue to work for the Association in many ways.
The dominant contemporary motif for Americanists through the past year has inevitably been progress of President Clinton from allegation to impeachment trial. I seemed to become adopted by the BBC local radio network as a designated spokesperson on the President’s alleged fumblings. Impeachment having failed, I am pleased not to be up at 5 am to give radio interviews, but regret that I may not soon repeat the experience of being on ‘Three Counties Radio’ (Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire), when an interviewer, using that stream of consciousness style that is familiar on local radio, said something like, ‘… This is Three Counties Radio, with Professor Philip Davies speaking with us about President Bill Clinton, serving Beds, Bucks and Herts.’ I stumbled on, trying to get to grips with the real work – getting the word out about American Studies. I trust the next year will bring different, but equally interesting, times for our profession.
Philip John Davies, Chair: British Association for American Studies, Professor of American Studies, De Montfort University Leicester
BAAS AGM Glasgow 1999: Minutes
The 1999 AGM of BAAS was held on Sunday, 28 March at the University of Glasgow.
Secretary Jenel Virden (to 2002)
Committee Dick Ellis (to 2002), Paul Giles (to 2002), Simon Newman (to 2002)
The Treasurer circulated accounts which were approved and reported that BAAS is working to disaggregate the journal subscription from the membership fees so that it can be paid directly to CUP, this is being done at the suggestion of the auditor. It helps allow for overseas subscriptions to be paid by Visa. The Treasurer also recommended that the postgraduate subscription rate be increased beginning in 2000 to £10 per year. This was put to the vote of the AGM and passed.
The Chair’s Report included mention of:
- The QAA subject benchmarking and the movement by BAAS which successfully headed off the consolidation of American Studies with English Literature.
- The successful BAAS campaign this year which reversed the UCAS proposal to abolish the American Studies subject code.
- The appointment of Judie Newman to Chair the American Studies RAE panel.
- The fact that three members of BAAS are currently serving on the AHRB.
- The successful BAAS campaign to get the DfEE to reverse its decision on the financial support of overseas students in relation to the United States. He thanked the Universities of Lancaster, Sussex and Swansea for providing him with much needed information on this subject.
- The suggestion that BAAS members should be sure to add themselves to the CCASA area studies directory.
- A special thanks to retiring Cultural AttachÉ Robin Berrington for his support and encouragement of BAAS and the expression of hope that the new Attaché, TJ Dowling, who was at the conference, would continue to work positively with BAAS.
Conferences: Simon Newman and Susan Castillo and the team of helpers they assembled were thanked for their fine efforts at organising the Glasgow conference. Next year’s conference will be held at Swansea from 6-9 April. Michael McDonnell is organising the conference and would welcome suggestions for panels. Future conferences are tentatively planned for Keele, Aberystwyth and Oxford.
Publications: Jay Kleinberg reviewed the situation of all publications and fielded questions about the Journal. She also expressed her thanks to the membership for her six years on the executive.
Development: Douglas Tallack reviewed the past year with special reference to the QAA plans, PGCE, ant Teacher Conferences.
Library and Resources: Phil Davies reported a successful conference at the British Library.
EAAS: The Chair reported that the next conference would be in Graz, Austria in 2000.
AOB: The Secretary thanked the Chair for his hard work throughout the year.
BAAS Glasgow 1999: Panel Report Update
Session Title ‘Strategies of Protest, Strategies of Resistance: New Perspectives on Civil Rights in the South’
Chair: Peter Ling (Nottingham)
Nahfiza Ahmed, (Southampton) The Neighborhood Organization Workers [NOW] of Mobile, Alabama: Black Power Politics and Local Civil Rights Activism in the Deep South, 1968-1971.
John Howard (York) ‘Trumped-Up Charges:’ Framing Leaders of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement.
John Kirk (Wales-Lampeter) The Other Freedom Summers: The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the Arkansas Delta, 1962-1967.
George Lewis (Newcastle) Red-Baiting, Gender, and White Resistance: Dr. Louise O. Wensel and the Virginia Senatorial Election of 1958.
This session illustrated the extraordinarily high quality of research being done by British Americanists on the Civil Rights Movement. It was a privilege to be chair.
The speakers presented sharply angled portraits of the racial struggle at the local level in four different states. In Alabama’s second industrial centre – Mobile – an older style of racial negotiation had persisted until 1969 when a new black organization (NOW) demanded a more combative approach. Despite the polarization that followed, this new assertiveness was essential to black empowerment in the city. In Mississippi’s dirty war against the movement, black NAACP leader Aaron Henry and white movement attorney Bill Higgs faced charges of sexual indecency. Evidence suggests that both men were gay but Henry’s ability to continue as a long-term community leader compared to Higgs’s forced flight from the state tentatively suggests how pressing necessity and some toleration secured greater support for black than for white leaders. As black Mississippi stirred for action in the early 1960s, across the state line in the Arkansas Delta, SNCC workers struggled to find a way to galvanize local people. They faced both the challenge of older, more moderate leaders a la Mobile and Mississippi-style white repression. Ironically, repression ultimately undercut the position of accommodationist black leaders. One of the best features of recent scholarship has been a greater probing of the character of white resistance. In Virginia, Senator Harry Byrd marshalled the opposition to desegregation. His Democratic machine was so dominant that local Republicans decided not to run a candidate in 1958, leaving Dr. Louise Wensel as his sole challenger. A physician and white working mother with five children, Wensel regarded Byrd’s threat to close the public schools rather than desegregate as totalitarian, thus neatly turning against Byrd the Cold War rhetoric that he, like most southern politicians of the time, deployed against racial reformers. However, with seemingly little direct encouragement from Byrd, the local press weakened Wensel’s challenge by a sexist emphasis on her ‘femininity.’ Ultimately, she attracted just over 27% of votes cast. Like sexual orientation, gender constrained political opportunities in the white communities of the South.
How should these diverse facets of the movement inform its presentation in general histories of the period? asked one listener. By making it more difficult, seemed to be the consensus in reply, but also more fascinating and compelling.
BAAS AGM, Swansea 2000
The Annual General Meeting of the British Association for American Studies will be held on Saturday 8th April 2000 at the University of Wales Swansea.
- Elections: Treasurer, three committee members, postgraduate representative, any other offices that fall vacant before the AGM
- Treasurer’s Report
- Chair’s Report
- Amendments to the Constitution
- Annual Conferences 2001-2003
- Report of the Publications Subcommittee
- Report of the Development Subcommittee
- Report of the Libraries and Resources Subcommittee
- Report of the Representative to EAAS
- Any Other Business
Members are reminded that the Treasurer may come to the AGM to propose a change in subscription rates for calendar year 2001.
At the 2000 AGM elections will be held for the postgraduate representative on the BAAS Committee (two year term), three positions on the Committee (three year term), for the Treasurer of the Association (three year term), and for any other offices that fall vacant before the AGM. Current incumbents of these positions may stand for re-election if not disbarred by the Constitution’s limits on length of continuous service in Committee posts.
The procedure for nomination is as follows. Nominations should reach the Secretary, Jenel Virden, by 12.00 noon on Saturday 8th April. Nominations should be in written form, signed by a proposer, seconder, and the candidate, who should state willingness to serve if elected. The institutional affiliations of the candidate, proposer and seconder should be included. Candidates for postgraduate representative must be registered postgraduate students not in permanent teaching employment. As with last year, all candidates for office will be asked to provide a brief statement outlining their educational backgrounds, areas of teaching and/or research interests and vision of the role of BAAS in the upcoming years. These need to be to the Secretary at the time of nomination so that they can be posted and available for the membership to read before the AGM.
The Conference Scene
From Sahara to Sunbelt?: Narratives of the South and Southernness in the Twentieth Century
School of American and Canadian Studies, University of Nottingham, Saturday 4 December 1999, 10am-5pm
We are inviting proposals for papers to be given at this one-day conference. Proposals of no more than 500 words for papers dealing with fictional and/or nonfictional narratives – novels, short stories, poetry, drama, film, history, biography, autobiography, music, etc. – of the South and Southernness in the twentieth century are welcome. Please send proposals by 1 October 1999 to Professor Richard H. King at: (mail) School of American and Canadian Studies, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD; (fax) (0115) 851 4270; (email) Richard.King@nottingham.ac.uk. All general enquiries should be directed to Professor King.
The conference fee will be approximately £10 (£6.50 postgraduates/unwaged), including buffet lunch and interval refreshments. Further details, including speakers, will be announced soon.
Commonwealth Fund Conference – The State of American History, 17-19 February 2000.
The Commonwealth Fund Conference in American History for the year 2000 will be organised on the theme of ‘The State of American History.’ It will be held at University College London from 17th to 19th February. Speakers who have so far agreed to take part include John Ashworth, Alan Brinkley, Christopher Clark, Adam Fairclough, Daniel Feller, Neil Foley, Robert Gross, Howell Harris, Michael Heale, Jay Kleinberg, James Kloppenberg, Patricia Nelson Limerick, Simon Newman, Michael O’Brien, Peter Parish, Joy Porter, Michael Tadman, Douglas Tallack, David Turley and Peter Way.
For further information, contact the conference chair: Melvyn Stokes, History Dept., University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT or e-mail: email@example.com
The Image of the 20th Century, Society for the Interdisciplinary Study of Social Imagery, Ninth Annual Conference.
Call for Papers: The Image of the 20th Century (and the End of the Millenium) in Literature, Media, and Society, March 9-11, 2000, Colorado Springs, Colorado. An interdisciplinary conference exploring the importance and significance of the Twentieth Century (and the Millenium) in culture, literature, history, politics, economics, film, television, art, music, social theory, business. The view of the past and the future as we begin the next century and the next millenium. Different perspectives on different issues, such as change, technology, religion, race, sex, war, environment, and the market. Possible topics would include:
- The 20th Century in literature and popular culture-novels, poetry, drama, movies, TV;
- Modernity and Postmodernity in the 20th Century;
- Capitalism and socialism in the 20th Century;
- The First and Third Worlds, colonialism and imperialism in the 20th Century;
- Wars, conflicts, and cultures in the 20th Century;
- Men, women, families, children in the 20th Century; Race, ethnicity, diversity in the 20th Century;
- Markets, government, politics, production, class in the 20th Century;
- Visions, stories, images of events, values, and lives in the last century;
- Visions, stories, images of the future, as optimistic and pessimistic science fiction;
- The 20th Century as the end of the Millenium, the history, ideas, changes;
- The view of the present (and the future) from 1000 years, the view from milleniums;
- Nature, the environment, population-in the Century and the Millenium;
- Science, communication, information, genetics – in the 20th and the 21st Centuries;
- Other imaginative variations.
An annual conference addressing the role and structure of imagery in social life, with a different thematic focus each year. A Proceedings will be published from selected papers presented at the conference. Previous themes have included The Image of Violence, The Image of Technology, The Image of Nature, The Image of America. Eclectic and innovative approaches are encouraged. For previous programs, etc., see webpage: http://meteor.uscolo.edu/sissi
Please submit a one-page abstract, or a panel proposal with abstracts, by December 1, 1999. Proposals for organized panels are encouraged and graduate students are welcome. Email: century@iscp;p.edu; fax: (719) 549-2705; mail:SISSI (Century), University of Southern Colorado, Pueblo, CO 81001-4901.
For further information contact Will Wright, Department of Sociology, University of Southern Colorado [719-549-2538; firstname.lastname@example.org] or Steven Kaplan, Dean of Arts and Sciences-Professor of English, Butler University, Indianapolis, IN [317-940-9874; email@example.com]
Television and the Fantastic, Interdisciplinary Conference, 7-9th April 2001, University of Reading
An Interdisciplinary Conference Hosted by the Science Fiction Foundation and the Association for Research in Popular fictions.
Proposals welcome on: specific programmes, writers or performers; cultureal aesthetic, social or historical issues; fan culture; specific genres; transcultural reception of televisual narratives; methodologies.
250 word abstracts by 1st September to: Dr Farah Mendlesohn, Middlesex University, White Hart Lane, London N17 8HR; email: Farah3@mdx.ac.uk.
Nelson Algren: An International Symposium, 9 June 2000 at the School of English University of Leeds.
Call for papers.
Proposals (max.250 words) are invited on any aspect of the work of Nelson Algren. Submissions might include issues relating to gender relations, urban space, addiction, and transience. The conference fee is £15 (£8 concessions) and will include registration, programme, buffet lunch and refreshments.
The keynote speaker will be Bettina Drew (author of Nelson Algren: A Life On The Wild Side).
Proposals for individual papers of twenty minutes should be sent by 1 November 1999 to: Robert Ward, School of English, University of Leeds, Leeds, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom, LS2 9JT; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Fax: Abroad [+44] UK (0)113-233-4774
Robert Ward, School of English, University of Leeds
Incense and Insensibility: Science Fiction, Psychedelia & the 1960s and 1970s, Liverpool University
On June 12 there was a one-day conference organized by the English Department at Liverpool University on ‘Incense and Insensibility: Science Fiction, Psychedelia & the 1960s and 1970s’. The papers included a considerable number of American topics such as Burroughs, ‘Barbarella’, Kesey and Philip K. Dick. The focus concentrated on the origins of the drugs culture and its impact on popular culture of the period. Anyone seeking further details on the papers should contact Elliot Atkins, English Department, Liverpool University, Liverpool L69 3BX.
SASA – First Conference
Following a meeting at the Glasgow BAAS conference, Dr Colin Nicolson of Stirling University drew up a constitution for the Scottish Association for the Study of America (SASA. Website: http://www.arts.gla.ac.uk/CAS/sasa/), one provision of which makes it an affiliate of the BAAS. Principal C. Duncan Rice of Aberdeen University, SASA’s honorary president, drafted a letter encouraging people to join the new organization. Dr Susan-Mary Grant of Newcastle University edited and issued SASA’s first Newsletter. On Tuesday May 11, 1999, Principal Andrew Miller of Stirling University hosted a lunch at which the launch of SASA was formally announced, and at which the guest of honour, U.S. Ambassador Philip Lader, gave the new venture his blessing.
The first annual conference of SASA took place at the National Library of Scotland and the University of Edinburgh on October 27, 1999. The conference organizer, Professor Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones of the University of Edinburgh, had expected a core of about ten to twelve people to attend, but the numbers were larger than this, with every room packed to capacity. Represented were six Scottish universities engaged in the study of America: Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, St. Andrews and Strathclyde. It is hoped that the conference will in retrospect prove to have been a fillip to the study of America in Scotland, where BAAS membership has hitherto been relatively thin on the ground.
The conference opened in the Librarian’s Room at the National Library of Scotland, where 32 postgraduates and a sprinkling of other researchers heard a 90-minute induction talk by Dr Kevin Halliwell, secretary of the North American Studies Group of the Scottish Confederation of University and Research Libraries.
The centrepiece of the conference, made possible by a grant from the BAAS, was a Master Class for postgraduates. 38 people heard Simon Cuthbert-Kerr (Strathclyde) talk on the Black Church as a source of civil rights activism, Sam Maddra (Glasgow) on the significance of Glasgow’s repatriation of the Ghost Dance Shirt to the Wounded Knee Survivors’ Association, Kathryn Nichol (Edinburgh) on community and movement in Toni Morrison’s novel, Paradise and Kathryn Napier(Glasgow) on poetic voice and cultural explanation in Louise Edrich’s poetry. Professor Robin Winks (Yale University and this year’s Harmsworth Professor of American History at Oxford) commented on each paper. Susan Manning, Edinburgh’s new literature professor, added her own critiques, and there was time for some brief open discussion.
54 people now heard Robin Winks deliver a talk of his own, ‘American Conservation: The U.S. national parks movement from 1864 and its influence outside the U.S.’
The next item on the agenda was a triple book launch. 150 people attended this event at the Empire Rooms in the Festival Theatre. All three authors were members of the Department of History at the University of Edinburgh: Frank Cogliano, Revolutionary America, 1763-1815: A Political History (Routledge), Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones, Peace Now! American Society and the Ending of the Vietnam War (Yale UP) and David Stafford, Roosevelt and Churchill: Men of Secrets (Little, Brown).
Those who could linger at the end of the day, 28 in all, attended a conference dinner at the small restaurant booked for the occasion.
The next SASA conference will be at Glasgow University in the early autumn of 2000. Enquiries to the conference organizer, Dr Simon Newman: S.Newman@modhist.arts.gla.ac.uk.
Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones, University of Edinburgh
American History in Schools
Problems and Progress: the challenge of teaching A level American history
A generation of students who have grown up with American culture in the shops, on TV and on the sports field find American history an increasingly popular option. Teaching it can be fun and rewarding, but there is often a lack of expertise and resources. However, a growing range of publications, access to the Internet, and a sense of community among teachers of American History are among the encouraging signs the author notes.
Any comment on teaching in England today is usually wrist-slashingly depressing – and in some ways teaching American history is no different. All the usual problems are there. Yet, there are bright spots, otherwise it would not be the fastest growing history option at a time when history A level generally is declining.
Education at all levels is under pressure. The hoped-for changes did not materialise after May 1997 as we might have wished; classes are too large and schools are under-funded. This is especially true of VI form and FE, which have seen cuts of 27% in the last few years, and where A level classes of 30 are becoming the norm. (No French students here riding to the rescue.) But what are the particular problems of teaching American history?
We may not wish to admit this as teachers, but one issue is lack of expertise. We might be competent historians and good teachers, but few of us are trained in American history. We know where to get information, how to present that information and how to prepare students for exams, but probably the majority of us especially the older (how I hate that word) teachers got our degrees in British and European history. It means we might not have the nuances of the periods we teach as we would on, for example, Gladstone’s foreign policy. Most teachers’ updates naturally concentrate on the more popular options so we have little opportunity to increase our own knowledge. Time for reading is at a premium; so more support for staff would be welcome.
The more immediate difficulty is resources. Getting books on US history at the right level is not easy. As American history has only recently become popular there simply are not the books available, and ones that are available are expensive. Several publishers have some good GCSE titles, some of which can be very useful for weaker students, but good A level texts are rare. BAAS pamphlets can be very useful, though their quality is variable, and the excellent Access to History series from Hodder and Stoughton is producing more American titles, though again the standard is variable. More books and pamphlets are needed both as course texts and as reference texts for personal studies. The publishers need to talk to the teachers to find out what they need. Recently, for example, one of my students found a small paperback on twentieth century US history published by Manchester University Press which would be ideal for the NEAB A level, but it is out of print. National Curriculum has taken the focus to the secondary level, but publishers should not forget the growing post-16 sector.
Linked to this is the lack of other resources. Student-friendly magazines such as History Review have few articles on modern America, and student conferences such as those run by Sovereign Education are never on the USA. But before we all abandon teaching US history and return to Peel and the Corn Laws, we should note the positive aspects.
American history is popular. Many students cover the Crash, Vietnam or Civil Rights at GCSE and want to go on to look at more American topics. To a generation that watches Friends, Seinfeld and Larry Sanders, (the latter two watched by the more discerning student), wears baseball caps, eats Haagen Das and cheers the Manchester Giants, America is simply more attractive than Britain. In my college the introduction of American history has seen the number of students taking history A level double. The United States is the fastest growing history option at NEAB. All of this in spite of history often being seen as difficult and boring.
While resources need to be better, there have been several improvements in the last couple of years. The BAAS pamphlets and Access to History titles have already been noted. The BAAS pamphlets can be good introductions to topics, and there are several excellent ones, particularly those on Civil Rights, Vietnam and the New Deal. Access to History already has titles on the New Deal, the Cold War and Vietnam, among others, and it is hoped there are more in the pipeline. And although the magazines do not put in enough articles on US history, they are starting to appear.
One increasing source of information is the Internet. Internet access varies tremendously from institution to institution, but the government has recently made a pledge to get every school on-line so we should expect to use it more and find more of our students being familiar with it. Many of us are already using the Internet and finding our students getting information from it, particularly for personal studies: references to CIA documents in work on Cuba, for example, are no longer so unusual. And as the web becomes more sophisticated the volume and variety of documents we will be able to get access to is very exciting (when it isn’t terrifying). It is also getting simpler to get at material as higher education institutions provide pointers to other sites. The American Studies Centre at John Moores University has many hot links on its site, and is even prepared to give Internet help to schools who want to book visits there.
And, without wishing to appear sycophantic, the recent BAAS conference at Nottingham and the annual conferences Ian Ralston organises at Liverpool Maritime Museum have both been valuable, and dare I say fun, for staff and students.
The enthusiasm shown by the BAAS and by teachers of US history when they get together gives one much hope. There seems to me to be a growing sense of identity and comradeship (if that word is still permitted under New Labour) among teachers of A level American history. A small group has already got together to talk about where to go from here and further conferences are planned. If we can harness and build on this the future does not look too bad.
But we do need to be aware that the Dearing Review is still talking of ‘a substantial amount’ of British history. If we want American history to survive we must continue to lobby as teachers, in partnership with the universities, with BAAS and with the American embassy for A level American history to survive. There are difficulties and in many ways teaching Gladstone and Disraeli is easier, but I started teaching American history because I thought it would be fun. I haven’t changed my mind, and my students seem to like it too. Long may it continue.
How well is American Studies doing in Britain today?
Courses with an American content are quite healthy at present, although a minority interest in many schools. Including an American angle does not seem to make much difference to either the stability or the autonomy of courses. These are some of the conclusions we drew from analysing a questionnaire sent out to our subscribers in Autumn 1998.
How well is American Studies doing in schools in Britain today? This is what we aimed to find out when we sent out our questionnaire with last year’s American Studies Today. Of nearly 500 questionnaires sent out, 47 were returned. This is a response rate of 9.4%, certainly an improvement on our last survey, on the use of IT in American Studies, when only 17 were returned.
We asked a range of questions, including how many of you actually taught on courses which were either specifically American orientated or which included an American content. Most of you (81%) had an American content, but less than half (38%) were teaching on specifically American Studies courses. Even for those with an American content, it is a minority interest in many schools, as of the 38 respondents who did have an American content, just over half were entering more than 26 students for exams.
In terms of level, the vast majority of you were teaching on A level courses, with about 1/4 teaching GCSE. Six respondents from Scotland were teaching Highers. The most popular subject areas were History with 29 responses and Politics with 23. Surprisingly, in view of the popularity of American texts with English literature teachers, only 5 respondents were teaching Literature, one less than those who were teaching film or media studies.
How secure are the courses you teach on, and does having an American content make any difference? Overall, 72% of you felt that your courses were stable. Of those who taught an American content, this figure was 74%. Do you have any say in the content of your course? Three quarters of all respondents said they did, and this figure was exactly the same for those teaching on courses with an American content. So, including an American slant does not seem to make much difference to either the stability or the autonomy of your course.
Overall, although only a minority of respondents were teaching specifically American oriented courses, the future for courses with an American content seems to be reasonably healthy.
Kathryn Cooper of Loreto VI Form College, Manchester
News from American Studies Centres
American Studies Resources Centre
Annual Report 1998-99
This academic year has again seen a number of significant developments in the work of the ASRC; particularly in the continued expansion of its web site, conference programme, as well as services to schools, colleges and increasingly universities both in the UK and abroad.
The year began with the ASRC’s annual schools/FE student conference at the Maritime Museum in Liverpool. This years topic of An Introduction to the Theory and Practice of American Government attracted a capacity audience of 200 students from across the country. The success of these annual events was highlighted by the fact that a ‘waiting list’ of a further 100 existed. It is clearly the case that the direct contact the ASRC has with A Level and Access teachers does allow us to focus on their specific needs and cover topic areas that are of direct relevance to the needs of their students. While a larger lecture theatre (than the present 200 maximum) would allow us to meet the increased demand for conference places, it is felt that the location of the Museum and their American exhibits, adds an extra dimension to conferences. Our thanks go to this years speakers (Niall Palmer, Esther Jubb and Ian Scott) as well as Dilys Horwich and her staff in the Education Section of the Museum for all their hard work and support, and to BAAS for the continued financial support which makes these ventures possible. Next years conference will be on October 20th. and will consider, Hoover, Roosevelt and the New Deal.
In March the ASRC, in conjunction with the University of Westminster and the Smithsonian Institute, organised a major conference at the US Embassy on Muhammad Ali. Papers were presented by Chris Brookeman (University of Westminster) and John C.Walter (University of Washington (see later section on Visitors) on Ali’s impact on American Culture and Society and the social/political role of boxing. This was followed by a live television link up with Prof. Jeffrey Sammons (New York University) and Al Brown, a boxing promoter in Atlanta. A panel in London, consisting of Chris Brookeman, John C.Walter, Johnella Butler (University of Washington) and Kasia Boddy (University of London) addressed questions that had arisen during the lectures, as well as considering other aspects of the career, representation and impact of Ali. A full report of the conference was carried in the last issue of American Studies in Britain as well as in the present issue of American Studies Today. Media coverage of the event was also extensive, with reports in the Independent, The Times, Daily Telegraph, and Daily Mail as well as ten regional newspapers. BBC Radio Five and GLR also reported the event. The success of the day has had two consequences. Firstly, the ASRC will be launching an Ali section on its web site, with articles, reviews and links. Secondly, the ASRC and the University of Westminster will again be collaborating to produce a further series of lectures on other aspects of American culture and history. Details, once finalised, will be announced on the ASRC web site. Our thanks go to Sue Wedlake at the US Embassy for her support and hard work, as well as all the speakers and participants.
In May the ASRC, in conjunction with the National Museum and Galleries on Merseyside, ran a one day programme on Navajo culture and art. The well known Navajo artist and educator, Dennis Lee Rogers gave a demonstration of sand painting and dance, as well as discussing the issues and problems faced by Native Americans. This event attracted over 80 participants and (again) received extensive media coverage. It is hoped that a similar event will take place next year. (Details of this are also carried on the ASRC web site.)
As part of an extension of its work within JMU, the ASRC also organised the first Thanksgiving lecture and celebration for American Studies students. Stephen C.Kenny presented a highly entertaining and informative lecture entitled ‘The Image of the Pig in Southern Culture.’ The lecture focused on the work of the artist Tarlton Blackwell, as well as considering the ‘role’ the pig has played in everything from Southern cooking and the food industry to popular culture. This was followed by a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Steve’s lecture is also available in the ‘On Line’ section of the ASRC web site. Our thanks go to Steve Kenny, and to John Freeman (JMU) for his encouragement and support.
ASRC Web site
David Forster has continued to develop the ASRC site and its range of materials and services. This year saw the inclusion of the Guide to American Studies in British Universities, (produced by the Eccles Centre) in an on line version. As well as details of American Studies programmes at both under and post graduate level, David added direct links to all the Universities listed. In addition, David has updated and added to the various links and has included many more book reviews and original articles. The increased number of hits to the site is testament to the success of David’s work. From February of last year till early July 1999, the site received over 155,000 hits. The monthly figure has also increased dramatically. In the period May till June (1999) the site was averaging close to 17,000 hits per month. The development of the Ali section (as previously noted) is on going and hopefully will be on line in the near future. Our thanks go to David, Bob Burchell and Jean Kemble at the Eccles Centre, as well as all the contributors of articles and book reviews. (www.americansc.org.uk)
US Visitors and guest lecturers
As noted in the section of this report on conferences, the ASRC played host to John C.Walter and Johnella Butler of the University of Washington. As well as his lecture at the Ali conference, John presented a paper to JMU and LCC students on the success of African American Athletes and changing patterns of Supreme Court cases dealing with issues of race and equal rights. John and Johnella also visited the Slavery Gallery at Liverpool Maritime Museum, where they were given a guided tour by ASRC Advisory Panel member and lecturer at Liverpool University, Mike Boyle. Of particular interest were the comments of Professor Butler, who noted that there was not a comparable exhibit in the US that looked at slavery and the Transatlantic trade from a thematic basis.
Later in the year the ASRC was also visited by Pam Wonsek of City University New York. As well as looking at the developments within the ASRC and the Learning Methods Unit of JMU, Pam visited both the Slavery Gallery (again guided by Mike Boyle), and the North American collection at Liverpool Museum, where she was met by Lynn Summter, curator of the gallery. Talks also took place regarding extending the existing links between JMU and CUNY.
Student Essay competition
This year saw the launch of an annual original essay award for JMU American Studies students. The winner for 1999 was David Clensy. David submitted an essay looking at America’s Atomic Monopoly and its implications in the post World War Two period for relations between the US and Soviet Union. An abbreviated version of this was also published in American Studies Today and in the ‘On Line’ section of the web site. David also received a book token and was presented with this and a certificate of merit when he graduated this year. It is planned that a similar award will be offered to American Studies students at Liverpool Community College next year.
Requests and student visits to the ASRC
Requests for information, the loan of AV materials and visits to the ASRC increased yet again this year. Although figures related to JMU and LCC students are not included in the final figures, and were not formally recorded, it is clear that there has been a vast increase in the use of the ASRC’s facilities by these students. Details of other requests/visits are indicated below and clearly suggest that despite the problems faced by HE/FE/schools the services of the ASRC are highly regarded and welcomed by students and teachers alike.
The increased demands on ASRC staff were partly eased by the help of volunteer Emma Kilkelly, an American Studies student at JMU and by post graduate researcher Steve Kenny. Plans to introduce a work based module for students in the ASRC were delayed, but will come into operation in the academic year 1999-2000. This will not only provide invaluable support for the ASRC but will also allow JMU students to gain an insight into the operations of information services and support the development of their academic, transferable and interpersonal skills.
In conclusion, the ASRC would like to thank again all those mentioned earlier in this report who have made this another successful and productive year. In addition our thanks also go to Steve Jackson and Harry Pepp (JMU) and Steve Daw (LCC) for their support and encouragement, as well as the British Association of American Studies.
Conferences/visits: 1980 hours (not including JMU/LCC students/staff.)
Information/AV requests: 805 (not including JMU/LCC students/staff.)
Web site hits (Sept. 98 – June 99): 124,982
Ian Ralston, Director, American Studies Centre
Accessing Archival material: The Lomaxes’ Folk Music Collection at the Library of Congress
For members who like their country music essentially traditional and rural, with its folk roots showing, the Web can now prove its worth through providing access to The John and Ruby Lomax 1939 Southern States Recording Trip Collection. Online access is now available through the Library of Congress American Memory Web site at: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/lohtml/lohome.html. If you have used Bill C Malone’s under-rated but no less classic monograph turned paperback _Country Music USA_ (University of Texas Press, Austin 1985 published in the UK by Equation, Wellingborough) and have wondered however anyone overseas could ever gain access to even a small part of the material discussed, or are merely tired of carrying Smithsonian CDs back from visits to DC, then this is a source well worth exploring. Some of this has appeared on Folkways UNIT and The ethnographic field collection includes 686 sound recordings, as well as photographic prints, fieldnotes, dust jackets, and other manuscripts documenting folksingers and folksongs discovered on the Lomaxes’ 6,502-mile trip through the states of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, and Georgia. And remember this was 1939!
Starting in Texas on 31st March 1939, returning to DC on 14th June 1939, John Avery Lomax, Honorary Consultant and Curator of the Archive of American Folk Song (now the Archive of Folk Culture, American Folklife Center), and his wife, Ruby Terrill Lomax, recorded approximately 25 hours of music from more than 300 performers. These recordings represent a broad spectrum of musical styles, including ballads, blues, children’s songs, cowboy songs, fiddle tunes, field hollers, lullabies, play-party songs, religious dramas, spirituals, and work songs. Over a 100 songs are sung in Spanish, a suitable reminder that Hispanic influences in American culture are not limited to but the distant colonial and recent modern periods.
A special presentation on the collection provides a state-by-state snapshot of the Lomaxes’ expedition, highlighting the diverse musical styles of each region, the variety of documentation archived by the collectors, and many of their experiences on this field expedition through the rural South in the 1930s.
Visitors to the site can search for items in many ways, including by city, state, and county where the recording took place, performer name, song title, musical genre, and recording venue. Alsoincluded in the collection is an extensive bibliography and discography for those interested in doing further research on the folk music documented in this collection. In conjunction with the New Deal state by state guides there is wonderful scope for a wide range of approaches to the Depression South.
Other folklife-related online collections, selected publications of the American Folklife Center, and information about products and services are available from the Center’s homepage: http://lcweb.loc.gov/folklife
American Memory is a project of the National Digital Library Program of the Library of Congress, which, in collaboration with other institutions, is bringing important American historical materials to citizens everywhere.
Through American Memory, fifty-nine multimedia collections of digitised documents, photographs, recorded sound, motion pictures and text are now available online, freely available to the public for educational purposes. This collection is the fifth American Folklife Center contribution to the American Memory Web site. All American Memory collections can be accessed through http://www.memory.loc.gov
Any questions? Check the Web pages and if in doubt email email@example.com.
Steve Mills, David Bruce Centre for American Studies, Keele University
American Studies at the University of Luton
A Minor in American Studies has been validated as part of the BA Honours programme at the University of Luton. The Minor arose out of a convergence of interests among members of the Departments of History and Literary Studies. The programme, externally reviewed by Professor Colin Bonwick of the University of Keele and Dr George McKay of the University of Central Lancashire, draws largely upon existing modules to provide an examination of American literature, history and film from both interdisciplinary and intradisciplinary perspectives.
The programme begins with a new module, Introduction to American Studies, which introduces students to the discipline by exploring some of the fundamental themes and preoccupations of American culture, as well as familiarising them with the concepts and procedures of interdisciplinary study. In subsequent semesters, students are obliged to study core modules in American Literature 1900-1945 and American History 1607-1877 as a means of providing them with a firm grounding in the disciplines of literary and historical study.
After successfully completing these mandatory modules, students can follow various routes through the Minor, focusing for example on a particular discipline or a specific period, or taking a more general overview of the field.
The teaching team anticipate that the distinctiveness of American Studies as a field at Luton will emerge from the ongoing development of a research centre on Americanisation which is being pioneered by the Department of History. One aim of the centre is the generation of a focus of collaborative research and publication in the American Studies discipline area, including projects which can feed into and shape the teaching of the subject on the undergraduate programme.
The manager of the Minor is Dr John Moore, Senior Lecturer in American Literary Studies at the University of Luton.
Ethnic America in Wales
In order to build upon its growing research interests in ethnic American literatures and cultures, Drs Helena Grice, Martin Padget and Tim Woods from the Department of English, who all contribute towards the Honours degree scheme in American Studies, held a conference at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, on the 2-4 July entitled Reconfiguring Ethnic America. This was an interdisciplinary conference, drawing on the subjects of literature, sociology, visual art, politics, popular culture, history, philosophy, and cultural theory.
This was attended by delegates from Germany, the United States, Canada, Scotland, Wales and England, representing a variety of disciplinary interests in literature, history, film, music, and sociology. The conference of approximately fifty delegates sought to foster a dialogue between academics on both sides of the Atlantic about current research concerning such issues as cultural hybridity, racial identities and differences, whiteness, cultural pluralism and civil rights, and the cultures of the different ethnic communities in the United States, such as African Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, Chicano Americans, and Euro-Americans. Other seminar sessions included literatures of the Caribbean, race and region, and Euro-American immigration. The plenary speakers were Professor Arnold Krupat (Sarah Lawrence University, New York), an expert on Native American cultures who opened the conference with an address on nationalism, indigenism and cosmopolitanism in relation to Native American literature; and Dr Maria Lauret (University of Sussex), who spoke on the politics of studying African American culture as a white feminist. It was a matter of great regret to all participants that Professor Amy Ling (University of Wisconsin, Madison) was unable to attend due to severe illness, although her plenary address on the Asian American writer Yan Phou Lee was delivered in her absence.
Further information can be received from Dr Helena Grice, Dept. of English, Hugh Owen Building, Penglais, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Wales, SY23 3DY, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark Leaf, 1925-1999
Older members of BAAS will be saddened to learn of the sudden and unexpected death of Mark Leaf, in his sleep at the age of 73, at his summer home in France. For a full decade Mark was the linch-pin of the association, but many will remember him rather as one of the most lively and imaginative minds in the field, renowned for his provocative comments and questions in committee, seminar, and conference session.
Mark entered the profession late in his career. After war service and a brief spell at Oxford, he took over the family wholesale grocery business and ran it for twelve years. Then, in his mid-thirties, he went to his local university in Nottingham, gained a First, and started postgraduate work in American literature. In 1964 he was appointed to a lectureship at Durham, where he spent the remainder of his career as an energetic, widely-read, and stimulating teacher of English literature and American Studies until his early retirement in 1984.
In 1972 he ran a hugely successful BAAS conference at Durham, and for his pains was elected to the BAAS committee. In short order he became co-editor of the Newsletter, 1974-75, Treasurer, 1975-78, Secretary, 1978-84, and EAAS representative, 1980-86. Indeed, at one point he acted as both treasurer and secretary, at the same time as helping to start the BAAS Pamphlet operation. The chairmen of those years-Allen, Parish, Welland, Erickson-all recognised how his commitment, energy and initiative helped to keep the organisation afloat and growing through some difficult years.
His friends and acquaintances will recall most strongly the pleasure of his company, the liveliness of his conversation, the unpredictable eccentricity of his mind. He had an ability to see familiar problems from a fresh, novel point of view, to invert the perspective, and to perceive implications and extensions of ideas and arguments concealed to other people. Many a visiting lecturer in Durham was stumped for a reply to a question or comment by Mark, sometimes because the idea was too far-fetched, but commonly because it opened up entirely new avenues of thought. Typically, he claimed that he could always think of a good question because he slept through most of the paper, hearing so little that his mind was unencumbered by an excess of information or the speaker’s subtle qualifications!
Sadly, Mark put little of his outpouring of ideas on to paper. Perhaps there were too many ideas; perhaps he lacked the singlemindedness to restrict himself to developing them systematically. Somehow he always felt that his late entry to the profession and his business experience undermined his academic credentials. But, more than that, he was always interested in practical achievement: in organising, in decision-making, in creating structures, in starting new useful ventures, in improving the world around. As a result, he energetically involved himself in university politics, in the AUT (as long-serving branch secretary), in the local Labour Party; and when he retired in 1984, he cut himself off from academe and worked for Amnesty International, becoming its national treasurer.
The driving force was always his concern for causes he thought worthwhile-an academic subject that expressed humane values and cultivated critical intelligence, a colleague who had been unfairly treated, a student who deserved extra assistance, a movement that aimed to improve the lot of mankind. In their defence he could be a tough and tireless negotiator. This essential humanity and concern for civilised values, coupled with his diffident charm, made him a kind friend to many, a committed teacher, a thoughtful colleague, and now a cherished memory.
Donald Ratcliffe, University of Durham
New Program in Early American Economy and Society, The Library Company of Philadelphia
New Program in Early American Economy and Society, The Library Company of Philadelphia announces the establishment of a new Program in Early American Economy and Society that will foster scholarship in and public understanding of the origins and growth of America’s economic system and the nation’s business history through the Civil War. The Library Company, founded in 1731, is an independent research library that has one of the premier collections in the nation of printed materials relating to the study of early American economy, business, and technology. The new Program will offer short-term and long-term research fellowships to doctoral candidates and senior scholars; bimonthly seminars throughout the academic year to be held at the Library Company and at co-sponsoring institutions; conferences that will appeal to both scholarly and lay audiences; teacher training institutes; publications such as conference proceedings and monographs; and a variety of public programs such as lectures, exhibitions, and a web site.
The Program will also enable the Library Company to augment, catalog, and conserve its collections in this field, and Program staff will carry out a survey of research resources at the Library Company and at many other regional repositories, documenting the wealth of information available at Philadelphia-area institutions bearing on this subject. The Program will be the first in the nation dedicated to collecting and explicating American economic history in its formative years, and will fill a void in our understanding of this important aspect of the formation and growth of American society. The Director of the Program is Cathy D. Matson, Associate Professor of History at the University of Delaware and a noted scholar in the field. For further information, contact Professor Matson at email@example.com.
NCC Washington Update, Vol 5, #16, May 17, 1999
NCC Washington Update, Vol 5, #16, May 17, 1999 by Page Putnam Miller, Director of the National Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History firstname.lastname@example.org
- Subcommittee Recommends Approximately Level Funding in FY’2000 for NHPRC and National Archives
- Judge Orders Historic Grand Jury Records To Be Made Public
- FOIA Suit Filed for CIA’s Official Histories
1. Subcommittee Recommends Approximately Level Funding in FY’2000 for NHPRC and National Archives-On May 14 the House Appropriations Subcommittee On Treasury, Postal Service, and General Government, which has responsibility for the budgets of the National Archives and the grants program of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission met to ‘mark-up’ its FY 2000 appropriations bill. Although details from this subcommittee meeting are still not available, indications are that the Subcommittee recommended level funding for the competitive grants program for NHPRC, which would mean $6 million in 2000.
It is anticipated that the operating budget of the National Archives will have a few adjustments but will be very close to the 1999 level. Although the 13 subcommittees have not yet received the numbers establishing their allotted amount of the total federal budget, some of the subcommittees, including the Treasury Subcommittee, have started work on their bills. The full House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to consider the Treasury Appropriations bill on Thursday, May 20. The other bills that appear to be on a fast track are the Agriculture and Transportation appropriations bills and the Legislative Branch appropriations bill.
2. Judge Orders Historic Grand Jury Records To Be Made Public-On May 13 Judge Peter K. Leisure of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ordered the release of thousands of pages of 1940s grand jury testimony in the investigation of Alger Hiss. This case, No. M-11-189, focused on the grand jury proceedings that led to Hiss’s indictment and later conviction of two counts of perjury arising out of his denials under oath before the Grand Jury of having passed State Department documents to a Communist agent.
Current law requires that grand jury information remain secret except in certain ‘special circumstances’ where a ‘particularized need’ for the material is demonstrated. In the past, release for historical research has not been regarded as meeting this standard. Thus, Judge Leisure’s decision is a ground breaking one for he concluded that the petitioners fulfilled their burden to justify disclosure. The opinion states: ‘The Court is confident that disclosure will fill in important gaps in the existing historical record, foster further academic and other critical discussion of the far-ranging issues raised by the Hiss case, and lead to additional noteworthy historical works on those subjects, all to the immense benefit of the public. The materials should languish on archival shelves, behind locked doors, no longer.’
In December, 1998 Public Citizen, a non-profit litigation group, filed a petition requesting the release of these papers on behalf of the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, the Society of American Archivists, and the American Society for Legal History. The petition built on a 1997 decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York City in the case of Bruce Craig v. United States of America (No. 96-6264). In that decision the Court denied historian Bruce Craig access to the specific historical records that he sought; however, the Court made clear that historical interests are appropriate grounds for the release of grand jury material and provided some specific guidance for determining the ‘special circumstances’ when sensitive grand jury records should be unsealed for historical reasons.
The oral arguments in this case were made on May 12, at which time, Judge Leisure praised the petitioners for the most ‘complete and thorough papers that he had even had’ submitted to him. The plaintiffs’ petition included declarations by 11 historians, as well as journalists and film makers, and friends and family of both Hiss and Whittaker Chambers. All attested to the importance of this material in shedding light on specific historical questions related to the Hiss-Chambers episode and on broader questions about domestic policy and legal practices in the early Cold War era.
Judge Leisure concluded that most of the transcripts should be opened for many reasons, including the historical significance of the records, the lack of need to keep the materials secret, and the long passage of time since the special grand juries were convened. The opinion stated: ‘Alleged Soviet espionage against the United States was a controversial, highly-visible and significant issue in domestic politics during the 1940s and 50s.’ The Judge stressed that ‘of all the events pertaining to that issue, the Hiss case is among the most historically important.’ The Court opinion highlights 4 historical issues on which the grand jury materials are likely to contain information: the extent to which the House Un-American Activities Committee was involved in the Grand Jury proceedings; allegations concerning Hiss; Soviet espionage activity in the United States; and alleged improprieties in the Doe II Grand Jury proceedings.
In summarizing the Government’s case for keeping these records closed, Judge Leisure asserts that aside from its generic objections to disclosure, the Government does not content there is any particular reason to keep secret the fifty-year old grand jury materials at issue. He notes that the Government made no objections based on national security interest or offered arguments that disclosure would undermine any of the rationales for maintaining grand jury secrecy and that the few privacy concerns the Government raised were addressed. Finally, on this point, the opinion states: ‘In view of the Government’s failure to identify any material need to keep the grand jury materials secret, the court wonders why the Government opposes disclosure at all.’ While this is a ground breaking decision, the case makes clear that grand jury records should be opened only in very exceptional cases where there is broad public and researcher interest in the issues, where the records are very old, and where there are no outstanding privacy issues.
3. FOIA Suit Filed for CIA’s Official Histories-On May 13 the National Security Archive, a non-profit public interest research institute that collects, catalogues, and publishes declassified and unclassified government documentation on national security and foreign affairs policy, practices, and activities, filed a suit under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain official CIA historical materials. The suit focuses on two official CIA histories -one pertaining to the CIA’s involvement in the 1948 Italian elections and the other to a 1953 coup in Iran-and on CIA-prepared biographies of nine former Cold War Communist leaders of Eastern European, seven of whom are dead and the remaining two have been out of power for more than a decade. Tom Blanton, Executive Director of the National Security Archive, noted that CIA Director James Woolsey testified in 1993 that documents on these two covert actions are vitally important for historical research, government accountability, and informed current policy making. The National Security Archive decided to file the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia when they learned that their appeal to the CIA on the denied FOIA request was in a queue at the CIA of approximately 350 pending appeals. NCC invites you to redistribute the NCC Washington Updates. A complete backfile of these reports is maintained by H-Net at http://www.h-net.msu.edu/~ncc To subscribe to the ‘NCC Washington Update,’ send an e-mail message to email@example.com acc ording to the following model: SUBSCRIBE H-NCC firstname lastname, institution.
This announcement has been posted by H-ANNOUNCE, a service of H-Net, Michigan State University. List archive and information about how to post: http://www.h-net.msu.edu/events/announce.html
Swingin’ the Dream: Big Band Jazz and the Rebirth of American Culture by Lewis A. Erenberg
Lewis A. Erenberg, Swingin’ the Dream: Big Band Jazz and the Rebirth of American Culture (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1998) xxi + 293p. ISBN 0-226-21516-4, (cloth) $28.00.
Eric Hobsbaum in his valuable review essay ‘Some Like it Hot’ called for a study of the Swing Era which would look at ‘the music business…, the transformation of the record industry… the college and noncollege dancing public and the rise of the specialist jazz/pop press’1 as well as the ways in which the political anc cultural milieu of the Roosevelt era shaped the artistic growth of jazz. Hobsbaum’s request has been answered by the appearance in this decade of two volumes, the first being David Stowe’s Swing Changes in 1994.
In the second Lewis Erenberg follows up his monograph on New York nightlife between 1890 and 1930, Steppin’ Out published in 1981, with another work on popular entertainment in which the culture of the USA is transformed and in which the Big Apple looms large: swing is after all an urban phenomenon. Already on page 5 we learn that, as a result of Benny Goodman’s success, New York is again ‘the capital of the dance band industry’. Chapter 6 is devoted entirely to The City of Swing, its hotels and theatres, its clubs which brought Harlem jazz downtown, and its control of radio, recording and publishing.
Although their texts belong to different genres, sociology and social history respectively, Stoewe and Erenberg have been obliged to use similar source material: files of Downbeat and Metronome, reminiscences of jazz musicians, and contemporary evidence of race prejudice, though the former has provided more material on the FBI and on the technology of radio and recording. Both scholars focus on the Goodman Orchestra’s Carnegie Hall concert, attended incidentally by trumpeter Al Hirt who later worked with the Dorsey Brothers – and who died during the recent Duke Ellington centenary week. Stowe actually begins with that epoch-making occasion in January 1938; Erenberg starts Chapter 3 (on Goodman) with the same material but begins the book with the band’s equally crucial appearance at the Palomar Ballroom, Los Angeles in August 1935 when, the author suggests, ‘the swing era was born’. He makes the point that the stylish midtown venue facilitated a cultural statement, one demanding that American urban music be given the same respect as European concert music. Of course Duke Ellington was at that time developing his own unique musical language, challenging European tradition and the hegemony, but drawing upon European techniques.
Like Stowe, Erenberg, discerning its importance in bringing jazz to the centre of US culture, uses swing music, that is, big band jazz from 1920s to late 1940s, as a way of revealing the spirit of the times in the 1930s. The notion that swing was merely the music world’s commercialisation of jazz is firmly rejected. Rather it was the manifestation of a democratic society’s musical culture within which black and white musicians interacted to produce ‘a new model of pluralist democracy’. Central to this picture is a new appreciation in the 1930s of the role and importance of Afro-American music and dance in US culture. After the war Ralph Ellison would describe Harlem as an outpost of American optimism, lending weight to Erenberg’s claim that black bands were not just conservative and assimilationist, but living examples for black communities especially their young people. Indeed swing is perceived as having deep roots in the leisure activities of the young so that one of the author’s aimes is to alert readers to a ‘missing era’ of youth culture.
When like Stowe before him Erenberg presents the phenomenon as a self-consciously American music, articulating in a spirit of hope the valuse of freedom and democracy, it is easy to understand how it would function ideologically in the fight against Fascism. Support for the idea of its influence beyond the shores of the USA is found in the popularity of swing during World War II in Occupied Europe where, in the context of Nazi hostility, an enjoyment of this form of jazz took on the force of a political statement. Erenberg writes at the end of his book: ‘Swing bands… defined a mass youth style around music, dance and fashion, and conveyed hopeful fisions of the future.’2 The provocative display of youth style was replicated in Europe where the rebellious groups were known as ‘Les Petits Swings’ (Paris) or ‘Swing Jugend’ (Germany) – with the difference that in Europe such activity was of necessity clandesting, the punishment for discovery was prison or in many cases confinement in a concentration camp.3
Erenberg wants swing to be perceived as a challenge to the mainstream but the movement changed from the early 30s to the beginning of the 40s. Records and sheet music demanded the promotion of popular songs, so that instead of showcasing the abilities of instrumentalists through solos, bands increasingly adopted a more homogenous style suited to the accompaniment of vocalists. This is registered by Erenberg (with undisguised disdain) as he describes the triumph during the war years of Glenn Miller’s ‘sweet seing’. Miller became ‘the living embodiment fo American culture abroad’ by means of an orchestra in which black musicians played no visible role. By the value system expressed in Swingin’ the Dream this represents a ironic regression: Goodman had defined swing as hot improvised jazz, a reaction against the bland ‘white’ jazz of the 20s. The corporate sentimental sounds of Miller would be one of the elements leading to factionalism and the fragmentation of the jazz world in the late 1940s and 50s. Indeed Erenberg’s narrative of swing contains a sombre sub-text in which racism persists, efforts to achieve equality and desegregation in jazz were undertaken in an ambience of menace, and any victories were precarious. Even at the end of the decade the music business in New York resisted challenges to the colour bar and prevented black bands from appearing on commercial radio programmes.
One figure virtually ignored in Swingin’ the Dream yet relevant to its main themes is Billy Strayhorn who, before achieving national recognition with Duke Ellington, had his own mixed-race trio, the Mad Hatters. Appropriately for an admirer of Teddy Wilson, Strayhorn chose numbers from the Benny Goodman repertoire for his own group. He urgently wished to cross the colour divide which disfigured the Pittsburgh jazz scene and in 1937, through connections he managed to get an engagement in the white area of East Liberty, though the bohemian location Charlie Ray’s was barely legitimate. Like the Goodman quartet the Strayhorn trio came up against racist attitudes – which only stiffened Strayhorn’s resolve to develop and succeed. In general Erenberg’s narrative is comprehensive; his notes are fulsome and illustrations are pertinent. However, the absence of either a bibliography or a discography is regrettable and the style is sometimes bombastic. Swing dancing, we are gravely informed, turned stylistic movement into ‘a way to withstand the chaos and uncertainty of the modern world’.
Erenberg puts the spotlight on audiences and on critics, such as John Hammond, who were influential as writers, impresarios and record producers. The would-be populist Hammond, ignoring similarities such as their blues-rooted tradition of celebration, promoted Count Basie as an expression of authentic black musical culture while deriding Duke Ellington’s music as vapid and gutless, distanced in Hammond’s words from ‘the troubles of his people or of mankind’. The absurdity of the critic’s comments was evident at the time. Ellington, like Basie a cultural hero in the black community, performed benefits for the Scottsboro boys, the Lincoln Brigade and similar causes. ‘Our music is always intended to be definitely and purely racial,’ Ellington announced. In a 4-page Special published recently to mark the centenary in The Guardian (April 16), half a page was given over to Ellington’s pronouncements on race. Erenberg is eloquent on this aspect, citing the Duke’s musical Jump For Joy (1941) which satirized segregation and attacked the stereotyping of black Americans. As Mercer Ellington noted, there was a pronounced militancy in this anti-Uncle Tom musical which included the number ‘I’ve Got a Passport from Georgia (and I’m Going to the USA)’: small wonder that as Swing Changes revealed, the FBI opened a file on the Duke.
Ellington once said he was the world’s greatest listener, an activity that was part of a learning process but which was also related to his roles as collaborator and enabler, encouraging his soloists’ creativity. The critic Stanley Crouch has compared him with the makers of early Hollywood film comedy who expected to see ‘rudimentary beginnings improvised into form’. Yet the emphasis on working collectively, on breaking down barriers of various kinds was, as Erenberg’s compendious volume shows, at the very heart of the swing era enterprise.
In his magisterial survey of American music Charles Hamm observed that ‘even at the peak of the swing era, Ellington continued to search for more distinctive voicings… to play various small groups of instruments off against each other and the entire band.’4 But it could also be said that, even as he sought to become an innovative ‘distinctive artist’, he strove, after the arrival of Strayhorn in 1939 and the subsequent recruitment of Ben Webster and Jimmy Blanton, to emulate the driving style of his contemporaries. Strayhorn’s ‘Take the A Train’, the orchestra’s most popular swing arrangement, became their theme tune while Ellington’s own ‘Harlem Air Shaft’ was very much in the energetic Kansas City style with its riffs for brass and reeds. In the guise of swing, Erenberg writes, jazz ‘defined and dominated’ American popular music. Its greatest practitioners, Basie, Goodman and Ellington, were necessarily and willingly representative. They were also musical and cultural giants.
- E.J. Hobsbaum, ‘Some Like It Hot’, New York Review of Books, April 13, 1989, p.33. Back
- Erenberg, Swingin’ the Dream, p.251. Back
- See my ‘Swing and the Dissolute Life: Youth, Style and Popular Music in Wartime Europe’, Popular Music, Vol.8,2(May 1989), pp.157-63. Back
- Charles Hamm, Music in the New World, (New York and London: W.W. Norton, 1983), p.524. Back
From Goosecreek to Gandercleugh: Studies in Scottish-American Literary and Cultural History by Andrew Hook
One of the pleasures of being taught by Andrew Hook was the emphasis which he maintained (in an era of overwrought urns and symbols-for-symbols’-sake) on the social , historical, and political charge of American Literature. Like a bolt from the blue, Hook’s seminar discussion of The Scarlet Letter revealed (to a benighted, if slick, operator of practical criticism principles) just how hegemony works, and how a symbol is used by a culture. It is no surprise therefore that in his latest volume he draws attention to John Nichol’s American Literature (1882), a thoroughly historicist work founded upon the belief that a text cannot be understood outwith its context.
Nichol’s history of American Literature has a fair claim to be the first of its kind in the field. He chose to specialise in American Literature in Britain at a time when this was close to career suicide, and he was of course a Scot, one in the line of distinguished Americanists (D.W.Brogan, Esmond Wright, Peter Parrish, William Brock and Andrew Hook ) who fostered American Studies in the universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen and even Saint Andrews (where as early as 1874 examination candidates in English had to ‘give some account of American Literature.’ ) In this collection of twelve essays (unrevised but prefaced by introductory and linking material) Hook expands upon the influence of Scottish culture upon America, Americans in Scotland and the Scottish-American connections embodied in Hogg, Macaulay, Carlyle, Henry George, Scott and William Faulkner. The discussion of the latter reveals that Hook is no narrow filiopietist, with the argument underlining the unsavoury connections which persist between Scotland and the South, as the recent overtures reported from the Ku Klux Klan to Scottish Nationalists have revealed. Fiery crosses originate, after all, in Scott’s invented Highlands. Early initiates to the Klan had to recite from Burns’s ‘To A Louse’. As Hook notes, recent films have also offered succour to Southern right wing mythmaking. Both Braveheart and Rob Roy rely heavily in their plots on the ‘they’re raping our women’ scare stories of the South (medievalised as droit de seigneur in Braveheart) with the added homophobic suggestion that the English-as-evil -Others might also be raping our men.
Hook candidly admits the occasional longueurs. Samuel Miller’s Brief Retrospect may be significant in the Scottish Virtuoso tradition, but is also in the tradition of boring the reader to death. He also makes it clear that Scott’s success in America depended less on his bogus aristocratic values and more on the less glamourous fact that the ground had already been well-manured for him by John Home, James MacPherson, Allan Ramsay and of course, Burns. A clear distinction is made between the Scots of his tale, and the Gaelic Scots. (These essays are essentially studies in Lowlander-American cultural history, with the major players located well to the South of the Highland line.) One quibble, perhaps? Hook is rightly withering about Carlyle but does not expand upon the Imperial context of the Scottish-American relation. The binary model does not allow for comparative material. Hook , for example, argues that the Scots invented literary study as we know it in their rhetoric classes. Yet Gauri Viswanathan has made an equally strong case for its invention in India, itself of course colonised by the Scots, culturally and by the sword. One would like to know more of the intricacies of the Scottish-Imperialist influence, and of what the connections were to other English-speaking colonies.
Judie Newman, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
The knowledge and authority that David Seed brings to bear on post-war American science fiction if everywhere evident throughout this book. Starting with the birth of the Cold War in fears of the Atom Bomb (and invoking Derrida’s notion of ‘nuclear ultimacy’), and closing with Reagan’s Strategic Defence Initiative (the ‘Star Wars’ programme), the book surveys, between these historical points, the ideological entanglement of an impressively huge range of science fiction texts within American politics and culture. Seed contends that ‘science fiction novelists made constant interventions in the debates that were raging throughout the Cold War on such matters as civil defence, foreign policy and internal security’ (p. 9). The book is an attempt, therefore, to assert the importance of science fiction-often neglected, forgotten or rejected as too populist a form-in critical understanding of post-war America.
In this respect, the book is only partially successful. Because of its heavy reliance on plot summaries, the book has a tendency to avoid extended and detailed analyses of science fiction’s ‘interventions’ into Cold War debates. The analytic models of Derridean ‘nuclear criticism’ and of Hayden White’s ‘tropical discourses’ that are promised in the book’s opening pages remain largely unused throughout the remainder of the book. This means that although many fascinating themes are touched upon, they are rarely developed in any great depth. Despite the book’s stated aims, then, this has the effect, seemingly, of reconfirming suspicions that only at the most superficial of levels do science fiction texts betray the ideological conditions of the culture from which they arise. For example, it is only in the book’s final chapter that any consideration is given to the economic pressures driving the arms trade and therefore to the ‘textual economics’ underpinning the production of science fiction.
The book is most successful, and most convincing in its assertion of the continuity between Cold War and science fiction discourses, when it attends to the ‘subtexts’ (p.55) of its narratives. The extended and developed critical analyses of the trope of the nuclear family in Chapter 4, of metaphors of the body in relation to the arms race in Chapter 8, and of the mutual operations of power, language and representation in Dr Strangelove and Riddley Walker in Chapters 11 and 12, yield rich and fascinating insights into Cold War America. Such readings do justify the book’s claims for science fiction’s role as reflector and, to an extent, creator of post-war American ideology.
Given the book’s clarity of style, and its enthusiastic conviction in the importance of science fiction as a genre, it provides a highly useful survey of an important (and very large) body of post-war texts. It will be invaluable as a reference tool for students, and as a starting point for further debates about science fiction and the culture and ideology of the Cold War.
Nick Selby, University of Wales, Swansea
Susan Manning (University of Edinburgh) is the first holder of the Grierson Chair of English Literature at the University of Edinburgh, having moved from Cambridge University in time for the 1999-2000 academic year. Among her recent publications are a World’s Classics edition of Crevecoeur’s Letters from an American Farmer (1997) and an essay on Emily Dickinson and William James in Karen Kilcup, ed., Soft Canons: American Women Writers and the Masculine Tradition (University of Iowa Press, 1999). She is currently completing a major Scottish-American comparative study, Fragments of Union.
Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones (University of Edinburgh) is in 2000 the holder of an Arts and Humanities Research Board research leave award given for the writing of a book on Hyperbole, Public Relations and the History of U.S. Secret Intelligence.
Professor Philip Davies: Political Parties and the Collapse of Old Orders, (co-author and co-editor with Professor J.K. White), (New York, State University of New York Press, 1998); Historical Atlas of North America, (co-author with D. Ryan, D. Brown, R. Mendel) (New York, Macmillan, 1998); ‘The Media and US Politics’, in Developments in American Politics 3, (London: Macmillan Press, 1998; and Chatham, New Jersey: Chatham House, 1998), edited by Gillian Peele, Christopher J. Bailey, Bruce Cain and B. Guy Peters, pp. 337-353.; ‘Ethnicity, Race and 1990s US Politics: A nation of immigrants’, Politics Review, v. 7, no. 4 (April 1998), pp. 29-33.; ‘Demographic Movements within the USA’, in The USA and Canada: 1998, (London: Europa, 1998), pp. 152-55.
Judie Newman’s article, ‘Was Tom White? Stowe’s Dred and Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson’, in Slavery and Abolition, vol. 20, no. 2, August 1999, pp. 125-136.
Susan Castillo, ‘Gems in the Quarry’: George Cable’s Strange True Stories of Louisiana in Southern Literary Journal, Spring 1999.
I was originally awarded a travel grant to conduct research at the William L. Clements Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This archive, part of the University of Michigan, houses a vast array of documents, maps and prints pertaining to the colonial period. Shortly after I had made travel arrangements, I discovered that I had been invited to present a paper at the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture conference at the University of Texas. Thus, fortunately I was able to use my grant to cover travel costs to both Austin and Ann Arbor.
The three-day conference in Texas was extremely enjoyable. A number of papers were given on topics related to my own particular interest: Anglo-Indian relations during the colonial period. My D.Phil., which I am currently pursuing at the University of Sussex, examines relations between Iroquois Indians and British settlers in colonial New York during the 1740s-1770s. Moving away from a strict political and diplomatic approach, I am interested in the themes of class, gender and race. The paper I gave at Texas discussed how political crisis, warfare and the manipulative endeavours of Superintendent of Indian Affairs, Sir William Johnson, caused considerable strain to be exerted onto existing Iroquois gender roles. The conference proved an ideal environment to meet scholars with similar research interests, as well as to learn something about current trends in research and writing on the colonial period.
From Austin I flew directly up to Ann Arbor. This is a very pleasant college campus town situated thirty minutes (by car) outside of Detroit. The staff of the library looked after me extremely well during my four weeks stay. The two principle collections I examined were the papers of George Clinton, Governor of New York and the papers of Sir Thomas Gage, Commander-in-Chief of North America. Both of these men had much to do with Indian Affairs and I found numerous correspondences with the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, as well as copies of treaties and Indian council minutes. The Native American History Collection also contained some extremely valuable documents. I was particularly excited to look at recent purchases made by the library for this collection, including the journal kept by the New York Commissioners of Indian Affairs. This lengthy manuscript had been in private ownership up until only a few years ago.
In addition to hand written manuscripts, I also spent time looking at the library’s substantial collection of eighteenth-century pamphlets, maps and prints. The staff greatly assisted me in finding some appropriate engravings of Iroquois Indians, as well as maps of Iroquoia, so that I can provide some visual aids in my dissertation. This archive was one of the friendliest I have had the pleasure of working at, making my research trip highly productive and thoroughly enjoyable. Neither this research trip nor the conference at Texas would have been possible without the travel grant. Therefore I would very much like to take this opportunity to express my sincerest appreciation to BAAS for their financial assistance.
The purpose of my two-week visit to the United States was to research materials at the Harry Ransom Research Center (HRC) in support of my Ph.D. thesis on the work of the ‘confessional’ poet Anne Sexton (1928-1974). The HRC acquired Sexton’s archive after her death; their collection includes Sexton’s correspondence, manuscripts, unpublished poems, diaries, books, paintings, and even her typewriter.
Anne Sexton was a New Englander, and had no particular connection with Texas (other than once giving a poetry reading there-an event, incidentally, which is recalled by its organiser in his contribution to a fascinating collection of essays, Rossetti to Sexton: Six Women Poets at Texas, published by the HRC). Given the immensity of the Sexton collection, the lack of any authorial connection with the immediate area, and the brevity of my visit, I have to confess (to the dismay of envious friends) that I took little advantage of the local surroundings or the sunshine, and simply got my head down and worked!
I began by looking at Anne Sexton’s library. The contents of this are listed on a card index which, in addition to bibliographical details, indicates annotated items. Usually, this was helpful, although it sometimes transpired that a supposedly annotated text was second-hand, and that the marginalia were not Sexton’s. On the whole, though, my study of Sexton’s library yielded interesting material. The annotations on her editions of Dostoyevsky’s The Possessed and James’s The Golden Bowl, for instance, will prove useful in my subsequent readings of a number of Sexton’s poems. Similarly, Sexton’s querulous, heavily scored ‘NO’s’ and ‘NOT I’s’ and ‘GOD I HOPE NOT’s’ in a book about Catholicism, and her frank riposte ‘NOT ME’ to a claim in a bereavement guide that ‘the real Christian is very cheerful about death’, gives valuable insight into the private thought of someone who has often been claimed as a religious poet. As usual, in the study of a library such as this, one learns as much from what is absent, as from what is there and my visit to the HRC has directed me to new lines of enquiry about Sexton’s latent influences and sources.
I found Sexton’s unpublished correspondence to be of great academic interest. Luckily, early in her career, Sexton developed a sense of the importance of her literary legacy. She invariably kept copies of both sides of her correspondence and occasionally, later in life, took the opportunity to clarify or qualify her original intention. This is true, incidentally, of the letters and of other material, for example, in Sexton’s own copy of the journal ‘New World Writing’ (in which one of her stories was published alongside Tillie Olsen’s Tell Me A Riddle) Sexton has written ‘Tillie Olsen’s masterpiece stopped all my further prose […] This was the first draft (I think) I mainly send it out to see what would happen. A.S. 1973’.
A selection of letters by Anne Sexton (Anne Sexton: A Self-Portrait in Letters) was published in 1979 and this has been relied on time and again in academic work on the poet. One unfortunate consequence of this is that statements made by Sexton in correspondence, have been accepted as originating from her own perspective on an issue (for example, on confessionalism) whereas it has long been my contention, that Sexton was simply responding to a point put to her by the original correspondent. My study at the HRC of both sides of an exchange of letters has allowed me to establish that this was, indeed, often the case.
My scrutiny of Sexton’s unpublished poems was less rewarding. Much previously unpublished material was collected in The Complete Poems of Anne Sexton in 1981 and what is left, arguably, remains unpublished for a reason… . However, the notes and worksheets which exist, particularly for the early volumes of poetry, provided rich pickings.
The HRC itself is well-organised, speedy, efficient and its staff are personable and helpful. For readers with the necessary permissions, photocopies can be provided; although these are prepared and despatched some time after one’s visit-which can lead to delays. In addition to studying at the HRC, I made much use of the University’s impressive main library, and managed to track down numerous items which had previously eluded me.
During my stay, I met visiting scholars who were working on other authors represented in the HRC collections (for example, Tennessee Williams and Lillian Hellman). I also visited several of the exhibitions running at the University, including the intriguing ‘Authors and their Pets’ (which featured a crocheted poodle made for Gertrude Stein by Pablo Picasso), ‘Modernists in New Mexico: A Community of Writers, 1916-1941’, and finally ‘Artists and Authors: Selected Portraits from the Permanent Collection’. The last included two self-portraits by Anne Sexton. One of these is a clear, but haunting image of Sexton’s face (‘haunting’ not least because it is hung directly opposite a Frida Kahlo self-portrait, forming a startling point of comparison). In the other Sexton painting, the poet’s features are obliterated by heavy-literally self-effacing-brushstrokes.
Together, these portraits form a vivid exemplification of Sexton’s attempts at, and failures of, self-representation, and remain in my mind as a potent symbol of the issues raised by my research.
I should like to express my gratitude to the British Association for American Studies for offering me the short-term travel award which made this visit possible. I should also like to thank the Daphne Doughton Fund of Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education for indispensable additional support.
I arrived in Washington D.C. on February 14 and found my way to the boarding house where I was staying at with relative ease due to the fact that a brief stop over in New Jersey had allowed me to get over my jet lag. The Library of Congress was actually closed on the February 15 due to the Presidents Day holiday so I had the opportunity to familiarise myself with Washington D.C. The following day I was able to visit the Library of Congress; which contained in its manuscript division the Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
As this was my first research trip I was excited to get started. My first step was to make an appointment with the women’s studies specialist, Sheridan Harvey. As a reference librarian in the main reading room she proved to be extremely knowledgeable about the sources available in the Library of Congress on the American women’s suffrage movement. After explaining that my research centred on the ideas of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and that I wanted to examine the Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, she advised me of their location in the manuscript division. The manuscript division not only contained the five rolls of microfilm filmed from the Library of Congress’s own collection of Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s papers but it also owned a copy of the microfilm collection of The Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony edited by Ann D. Gordon. This microfilm collection contained reproductions of many original documents from various depositories throughout the United States on 45 reels of microfilm. Currently no library in the United Kingdom owns this microfilm collection so this was an invaluable opportunity for me to examine the sources that it contained.
Access to the Library of Congress offered me the opportunity to study virtually the complete collections of Stanton’s writings and speeches in one place. The chance to study such a complete collection of Stanton’s writings enabled me to form a solid introduction to Stanton’s ideas on which I can base my future thesis.
During my last week in Washington D.C. I took the chance to briefly study a few of the other collections that are located in the Library of Congress such as the Papers of Carrie Chapman Catt and the Gerritsen Collection of Women’s History. Despite being at the Library of Congress for just under four weeks the huge amounts of resources available result in the feeling that you have only sampled a small selection of the materials available. This feeling was reinforced by the fact that after I had finished my research I used an extra week before I returned home to organise my papers and find out further details of the locations of other collections that would be relevant to my thesis.
Overall the trip was very productive and enabled to gather some extremely useful material for my thesis. It also highlighted many future avenues for further investigation. I want to thank BAAS for granting me a short-term travel award and enabling me to make this research trip.
I needed to go to the United States in order to gather material for my doctoral research on Congress and foreign policy, including a wide variety of congressional documents and interviews with congressional aides responsible for foreign policy issues. The aim of my research is to establish under what conditions Congress is likely to intervene in foreign affairs and to examine what factors are likely to determine whether or not it succeeds in influencing policy. In order to achieve this, I have developed a model of legislative behaviour that I am testing by analysing congressional involvement in policy towards Eastern Europe from 1945 to 1992.
Thanks to the kind support of BAAS and the David Bruce Centre, I was able to make a three week research trip to Washington DC over the Easter period, arriving on Wednesday the 24th of March and departing on Friday the 17th of April. Overall, the trip was extremely productive and enabled me to collect a large amount of material relevant to my research. Because it coincided with the start of the NATO campaign in Kosovo, it also presented me with the opportunity to closely observe Congress’s reaction to a foreign policy crisis.
My first priority was to consult and copy congressional documentation relating to major pieces of legislation on Eastern Europe. Most of my time was therefore spent in the Library of Congress, where I used all three main buildings to access and use its congressional holdings. This work took up the best part of two weeks, during which I located and consulted 36 Published Hearings, 7 Unpublished Hearings, 21 Committee Prints, 51 Statutes and Treaties, and 86 House and Senate Reports.
The hearings that I consulted relate to congressional activity throughout the post-war period, and include a number of secret sessions on policy not made public at the time, such as the hearings held by the Committee of Foreign Relations on emergency food assistance to Yugoslavia in 1950 and the Berlin situation in 1959. The Committee Prints consist of reports submitted to Congress by its own support agencies, outside bodies and members of Congress who made study visits to Eastern Europe. These reports include submissions by the Commission on Security and Co-operation in Europe, the body responsible for monitoring the implementation of the Helsinki Accords, and the findings of several trips made by Senator Claiborne Pell to Czechoslovakia during 1968. The statutes that I collected include all of the major bills and resolutions affecting Eastern Europe passed during the 1945-1992 period, whilst the House and Senate Reports contain earlier versions of the same legislation. Together with Congressional Record, I can therefore use this material to construct detailed legislative histories of all the major bills.
Having collected the necessary congressional documents, I turned my attention to consulting secondary material. This included a number books focusing on either American policy towards Eastern Europe, or the political activities of Eastern European ethnic groups in the United States. I also found two doctoral dissertations on Congress and Eastern Europe produced during the 1960s, one by George Bush’s National Security Adviser, Brent Scrowcroft. The reading room in the Jefferson building also housed a complete collection of Congressional Quarterly Almanacs, so I was able to copy relevant sections from some of the early volumes (1945-1960) that I have been unable to locate in the UK. I also found some useful information on ethnic communities in the reference works Ethnic Information Sources of the United States (Volumes 1 and 2) and The Population of the United States.
In a change from my original plans, I made a visit during my final week to the National Archives building at College Park to examine State Department files from 1945-1969. After getting to grips with the Archive’s rules and procedures, I found relevant documents in 14 files on Eastern Europe, many of which included declassified information on American aid and trade measures, particularly Yugoslav aid in the 1950s and Poland’s trade status during the 1960s. These files also provided some valuable insight into the management of executive branch relations with Congress, and two related to Walter Mondale and Paul Findley, members of Congress active on Eastern Europe during the mid and late 1960s. Perhaps the most revealing evidence that I came across in these files was a letter from an associate of Findley, suggesting that he had dropped his opposition to MFN trade status for Poland because he was planning a presidential bid, and did not want to alienate Polish-American voters.
I was therefore able to consult a diverse range of sources and ended up collecting far more material than I had originally planned. As result of coming across so much in the way of written evidence, I was not able to spend much time on interviews, which I did not consider to be quite as vital as I had already met with several relevant aides and interest group representatives on a previous trip. I also encountered some problems arranging interviews as a result of the Kosovo conflict, because many of the congressional advisers on Eastern Europe were extremely busy, and could not therefore see me. I did, however, conduct a follow up interview with a former foreign policy adviser at the Republican National Committee (RNC), now working for the Joint Economic Committee. I used this discussion to raise several points relating to our previous meeting, and we discussed the impact of the impeachment proceedings on congressional involvement in foreign policy and the politics of the Kosovo crisis in Congress.
Being in Washington during the NATO campaign in Kosovo was obviously of great interest to me given my area of research, and I was able to keep a close eye on developments in Congress and the country at large through the local media. Unfortunately, the foreign policy committees did not hold hearings until the day of my departure, so I was not able to witness congressional proceedings firsthand.
In spite of some frustrations regarding interviews, my trip was therefore extremely productive, and I now have all of the necessary material in place to complete my thesis.
My first stop on this three-stage trip to the United States was in Abilene, Kansas, to visit the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, where I consulted numerous collections, most importantly, the CD Jackson collection, the James Hagerty papers, the Eisenhower Pre Presidential and Presidential collections and several oral histories.
The CD Jackson papers, covering the period 1931 to 1989 provide the most extensive record of the activities of Eisenhower’s psychological warfare expert. Within the collection, I covered the period 1952 to the close of the Eisenhower administration, focusing not only upon documentation covering the periods during which Jackson was officially working for the Administration, but also, and even more so, the periods during which he was, nominally at least, supposed to be working for Time Inc. Even during these times, the Jackson papers reveal large volumes of correspondence and contact between Jackson and officials of the Administration, including Eisenhower himself, Foster and Allen Dulles and members of the USIA. Documentation suggests that Jackson never really ‘left’ the administration, but continued to suggest, formulate and debate key ideas and policies to the government. Equally, he appears to have acted as intermediary for various Time Incers, enabling them to access high-level government officials with ideas and suggestions. Jackson also appears to have transmitted information from government sources to staff at Time Inc., some of it highly confidential. Similar processes are indicated by the CD Jackson Records, which detail Jackson’s activities during his official sabbatical from Time Inc (1953/4). Alongside his input at high levels of government, such as the NSC, PSB, CIA and USIA, Jackson continued to maintain close contact with colleagues at Time Inc.
The James Hagerty papers, which it was hoped would illustrate the relationship between the President’s press secretary and Time Inc. in more detail proved disappointing in this respect, since the collection consisted to a great extent of published press releases and materials rather than ‘behind the scenes’ information. However, they did provide some insight into the Eisenhower Administration’s dealings with the press in general, their thoughts regarding the press and public opinion and full texts of presidential statements and speeches as released to the press.
Eisenhower’s papers as President and his Pre-Presidential papers revealed further details of the relationships that existed between the administration and Time Inc. during this period. In particular, they revealed the reliance upon and gratitude for the services of Jackson and Hughes felt by many within the administration and Eisenhower in particular. They also reveal the frequent and lengthy correspondence between Eisenhower and Henry Luce, Clare Luce, Jackson and Hughes. In combination with the Jackson papers, they also reveal the extent of the involvement of Jackson in key speeches such as ‘Chance for Peace’ (Death of Stalin) and ‘Atoms for Peace’ (Candor/Wheaties) and in governmental activities such as the Quantico Meetings (1955) and Operation Alert (1957). Again, Jackson’s involvement in government and in policymaking did not terminate with the end of his official period of employment.
The oral histories of Clare Boothe Luce, Marie McCrum (Secretary to CD Jackson), James Hagerty and Jim Shepley (Life reporter) added further weight to these ideas and areas, particularly contributing additional anecdotal information, frequently only inferred in, or indeed, absent from, more official forms of documentation.
Various other collections at the Eisenhower Library, such as the Records of the White House Office of the Staff Secretary, the John Foster Dulles Papers as Secretary of State and the White House Central Files, added smaller pieces of additional information which combined to create a complex understanding of the relationships between Time Inc. and the Eisenhower administration during this period.
After three weeks in Kansas (not a sign of a tornado, although there was one, believe it or not, in Birmingham, moments after I departed for the U.S.) I headed off to South Carolina to consult the Billings Papers at the University of South Carolina. The Time Life Fortune collection of the John Shaw Billings papers covered in detail the inner workings of Time Inc whilst Billings was Editor there. In depth documentation revealed editorial policy and its argument and formulation, publication of key articles, and interdepartmental and interpersonal correspondence pertaining to matters of foreign and domestic policy and to journalistic issues such as objectivity and the conflict between free speech and internal security. Similar issues and discussions also occurred frequently throughout Billing’s correspondence with other key figures such as Henry Luce, CD Jackson, Emmet Hughes, and other Time Inc. personnel. Materials from the years following Billings departure from Time Inc. show continuing correspondence and friendship with various Time Incers, including Jackson, and an ongoing influence and interest in editorial matters.
Billings diaries for the period, meticulously hand-written daily for many years, reveal some fascinating anecdotal details, such as interpersonal likes, dislikes and arguments, interdepartmental wrangling and so on, as well as Billings personal opinions on key Cold War events, such as the death of Stalin, all of which add further complexity to the picture of editorial policy and decision making at Time Inc. Particularly engaging and relevant were the diary records of his luncheons with other key players, particularly Luce and CD Jackson, which reveal fascinating ‘off the record’ comments, discussions and personal opinions, often absent from more official lines of communication.
My research then took me to Princeton University, to view the Emmet Hughes papers. This small, but dense collection proved to be enthralling, providing large quantities of information, which dovetailed well with my other completed elements of research. Hughes’ papers make it very apparent that he is a neglected and under-researched character in the Eisenhower administration, particularly within the speechwriting staff. His papers reveal the intricacies of presidential speechwriting : Numerous drafts, combined with detailed diary entries, make it possible to trace the evolution of key speeches and ideas, particularly the Campaign, Inaugural and State of the Union speeches, and keynote speeches such as Atoms for Peace and Chance for Peace, and to assess the contributions to those processes of numerous individuals and departments. Like Jackson, Hughes became an invaluable member of the Eisenhower team, returning in 1956 to write campaign speeches, and maintaining contact with Time Incers and with officials of the administration throughout his career.
I was able to complete my research in New York City, where I consulted the excellent collections of Time Inc. publications for the period in the New York Public Library, and where I was forced to purchase large quantities of additional luggage in which to transport safely home my enormous, and still expanding, collection of photocopies! (I am currently awaiting delivery of several filing cabinets in which to house them!) I would like to thank BAAS for their generous support for this project, without which this research trip would not have been possible.
In the summer of 1996 I was given a copy of The Morgesons (1862), written by Elizabeth Drew Barstow Stoddard. It was fascinating, powerful and – for its time – extremely unusual, in that its principal focus was the sexual identity of the heroine. I read Stoddard’s two other novels, Two Men (1865) and Temple House (1867), both of which were startlingly original, and began a study of her work which, in May of this year, took me to the United States to view holdings relating to this remarkable New England writer. As well as her three novels, a book of childrens’ stories, Lolly Dink’s Doings (1874) and a collection of poetry, Poems (1895), Stoddard wrote numerous short stories over a period of forty years, which were published in journals such as the Atlantic Monthly, Lippincotts and Harper’s Magazine. In much of her work, and especially in her novels, Stoddard explored the sensual female self and the primitive energies of mankind. This focus, combined with a realist style, surprised and alarmed her readers of the 1860s, so that although she received critical acclaim, she failed to achieve a popular audience.
In her letters and articles can be found the record of Elizabeth Stoddard’s writing career, its hopes and its many failures. Some of these materials I was able to read at the Boston Public Library, New York City Library, the Massachusetts Historical Society and at Harvard, but the finest collection relating to her life and work is held at Pennsylvania State University, in the Allison-Shelley collection. My research visit to this site was an opportunity only made possible by the BAAS Marcus Cunliffe Award, and this, combined with the superb materials available there, and the extraordinary help and guidance I received from the chief archivist, combined to make the research I was able to carry out of the greatest value in preparing my PhD thesis. In addition to the primary and secondary materials made available to me, I was also introduced to Professor Susan Harris, who has researched and published on Elizabeth Stoddard and who not only generously shared with me some of Stoddard’s letters and reviews of her novels, which she had gleaned from other sites in the United States, she also bought me lunch!
As a young woman, Elizabeth Stoddard attended the literary gatherings at the New York home of Anne Lynch, where she met the poet Richard Henry Stoddard, whom she married in 1852. Elizabeth Stoddard knew some of the most creative, literary and artistic people of her period: James Russell Lowell, William Dean Howells, Algernon Swinburne, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Edwin Booth, Kate Field, Walt Whitman. Yet most of the Stoddards’ inner circle (E.C. Stedman, Bayard Taylor, George Henry Boker, T.B. Aldrich) were mediocrities; indeed, only Elizabeth Stoddard can be considered an original amongst those writers closest to her. Included in the Allison-Shelley collection is an exchange of letters relating to Stoddard’s first story, which James Russell Lowell, then editor of the Atlantic, was to publish in the spring of 1860. In these letters Lowell warns Stoddard against going ‘too near the edge’ in her writings, but it was a warning she was unable to heed, her work continued to be both original and unconventional in its consideration of sexual identity. In her writings she explored the sensual female self and the primitive energies of mankind, rendering her dialogue in an obscure, fragmented way that reminds us now of the poetry of Emily Dickinson, but was confusing to the audience of her day. Bayard Taylor was to write to a mutual friend of Elizabeth Stoddard’s first book, in November 1862, ‘We have just received Lizzie Stoddard’s book, and have read three-quarters of it. Powerful, full of admirable things, but infected with the St. Vitus’s dance. She is more original than agreeable.’ This, unfortunately, was to be the popular opinion.
Finally, when Stoddard’s books were re-published in 1888/9 and again in 1901, in the wake of the realist school, she achieved some small success and recognition. Of this she wrote to William Dean Howells, ‘at last I am noticed, and I have dropped a tear of fine pleasure over what you have written of me, it is lovely. . . . I do not understand why I should be so entirely dead. In all summaries of novels, my name is left out.’ This sense of her own failure is traced over many years in the vast collection of letters Stoddard wrote to both friends and publishers, together with her views on other literature of the period, plays, concerts, philosophy, the role of women, social and cultural values, and religion. The collection offers an invaluable insight into the literary world of her time, and includes a hand-written manuscript of a short story by Stoddard, still in draft form, which remained unpublished. In this text can be discerned what was to be the focus of her work of the rest of her life—a merging of mankind’s natural self and sexual identity with that of Nature’s rhythms.
Stoddard’s work, only recently rediscovered, is perhaps more likely to be appreciated by today’s literary scholars and readers than those of her own time. The Allison-Shelley collection includes exciting material relating to a number of nineteenth century Americans: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Herman Melville, Edwin Booth, as well as both Richard Henry Stoddard and Elizabeth Stoddard. Yet it is access to the particularly fine collection of Elizabeth Stoddard’s letters, literary works, journalistic pieces and unpublished materials, which may yet prove the most important, allowing this highly original and individual American writer to receive the recognition due to her. The woman who was to enquire of Lowell, ‘Tell me whether in writing, one should aim at entering a circle already established or making one?’ may be noticed at last.
The Organization of American Historians sponsors an annual prize (formerly the Foreign-Language Article Prize) for the best article on American history published in a foreign language. The winning article will be translated into English and published in the Journal of American History. Entries must have been published in the preceding calendar year.
The Organization of American Historians defines both ‘history’ and ‘American’ broadly. To be eligible, an article should be concerned with the past (recent or distant) or with issues of continuity and change. It should also be concerned with events of processes that began, developed, or ended in what is now the United States. We welcome comparative and international studies that fall within these guidelines.
The Organization of American Historians invites authors of eligible articles to nominate their work. We urge scholars who know of eligible publications written by others to inform those authors of the prize. Under unusual circumstances unpublished manuscripts will be considered. We ask authors to consult with the committee chair before submitting unpublished material.
Since the purpose of the prize is to expose Americanists to scholarship originally published in a language other than English-to overcome the language barrier that keeps scholars apart-this prize is not open to articles whose manuscripts were originally submitted for publication in English or by people for whom English is their first language.
Please write a one- to two- page essay (in English) explaining why the article is a significant and original contribution to our understanding of American history. Send five copies of the essay and article by May 1, 2000, to the following address: Chair, David Thelen Prize Committee, Journal of American History, 1215 East Atwater Avenue, Bloomington, IN 47401
The application should also include the following information: name, mailing address, institutional affiliation, fax number and e-mail address (if available), and language of submitted article. Copies of the article and application will be reviewed by contributing editors of the Journal of American History who are proficient in the language of the submission, as well as by referees (proficient in the language of the submitted article) who are experts on its subject matter. Three finalists will be asked to submit English translations of their articles to the committee by November 1, 2000. Each of these finalists will receive a $250 subvention from the committee to cover the cost of translation.
The final prize decision will be made by the David Thelen Prize Committee by February 1, 2001. The winner will be notified by the OAH and furnished with details of the Annual Meeting and the awards presentation. In addition, the winning article will be printed in the Journal of American History and its author awarded a certificate and a $500 subvention for refining the article’s English translation.
Previous Winners of the David Thelen Prize
1994 Arnaldo Testi, ‘Theodore Roosevelt’s Autobiography: The Laborious Construction of a Strong and Masculine Character, ‘(Rivista di Storia Contemporanea, January 1991) (JAH, March 1995)
1995 Ute Mehnert, ‘German Global Politics and the American Two-Front Dilemma: The ‘Japanese Danger’ in German-American Relations, 1904-1917,’ (Historische Zeitschrift 257, no. 3, 1993) (JAH, March 1996)
1996 Marco Sioli, ‘Huguenot Traditions in the Mountains of Kentucky: The Memoirs of Daniel Trabue,’ (Memoire privee, memoire collective dans l’Amerique pre-industrielle, 1994), (JAH, March 1998)
1997 Francois Weil, ‘Capitalism and Industrialization in New England, 1815-1845,’ (Annales Histoire, Sciences Sociales, January-February, 1995) (JAH, March 1998)
1998 Catherine Collomp, ‘Immigrants Labor Markets, and the State, a Comparative Approach: France and the United States, 1880-1930,’ (Annales Histoire, Sciences Sociales, September-October, 1996) (JAH, June 1999)
1999 Gervasio Luis Garcia, ‘The Other is Oneself: Puerto Rico in the Eyes of the North Americans in 1898,’ (Revista de Indias, 1997) (JAH, forthcoming).
All Entries Must Be Clearly Labeled ‘2001 David Thelen Prize’
The National Maritime Museum holds the largest and finest collections of maritime-related objects in the world. These include: paintings, prints and drawings; navigational and scientific instruments; charts, maps and atlases dating from the 15th century; original manuscripts; specialist library of over 100,000 volumes; ship models; unrivalled holdings of maritime artefacts. The Centre for Maritime Research encourages original work on these collections and in areas related to the Museum’s interests through a range of fellowships which are designed to meet the needs of scholars and museum professionals today.
Senior Caird Fellowship: Two one-year, postdoctoral awards are offered annually for advanced research in Maritime History, or an area related to the Museum’s interests. Applicants are required to demonstrate that their projects can be completed within the duration of the fellowship, although in exceptional cases the fellowship may be extended for a further year. The awards are either made directly to the fellows, or to their institutions to fund temporary replacements. £13,500 p.a.
Caird Doctoral Fellowship: A three-year studentship for full-time research on the Museum’s collections or an area related to the Museum’s interests leading to the award of a PhD. The student may normally be registered at any British university. Offered annually, £6,000 p.a.
Short-term Caird Fellowship: These awards are for periods of up to three months to encourage research into the Museum’s collections by overseas scholars, museum professionals or those living at a distance from London. £1,500 per month.
Sackler Research Fellowship: A two-year postdoctoral award for advanced research into the history of Astronomy and Navigational Sciences at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. Offered bi-annually. £12,500 p.a.
Recent projects either completed or in the process of completion by Museum Fellows include:
The Safeguard of the Sea, a history of the Navy in three volumes by Dr N.A.M. Rodger
A major publication on 18th-century prints of port life, which considers their relationship to national character and identity
Critical catalogues of the collection of globes, armillary spheres, and sundials.
Fellowships are advertised each September. Interviews take place in December/January. Successful applicants take up their award in the October of the following academic year. For application forms, telephone 020 8312 6716 or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation
Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, International Center for Jefferson Studies, Short-Term Fellowships and Travel Grants, 2000
The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, which owns and operates Thomas Jefferson’s historic home at Monticello, is pleased to announce a program of short-term residential fellowships and travel grants at its International Center for Jefferson Studies open to all scholars working on Jefferson projects. Foreign nationals are particularly encouraged to apply.
Short-Term Fellowships are awarded for periods of one to three months to doctoral candidates and postdoctoral scholars from any country. Awards carry a stipend of $1,500 for United States and Canadian fellows plus pre-approved round-trip airfare, and $2,000 for overseas fellows plus airfare. Residential accommodation may be available on a limited basis. Fellows are expected to be in residence at the Center during the course of the fellowship, and no awards are made for work carried on elsewhere.
Fellows have access to Monticello’s expert staff and research holdings as well as to the extensive resources of the Alderman Library at the University of Virginia. Occasional visits may be made to the Library of Virginia and the Virginia Historical Society in nearby Richmond, and to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Applicants should submit four copies of (1) a succinct description of the research project (500-words), and (2) a curriculum vitae. In addition, please arrange for three references to be sent directly to the Center at the address below.
Travel Grants are available on a limited basis for scholars and teachers wishing to make short-term visits to Monticello to pursue research or educational projects. Application procedures and deadlines are the same as for fellowships.
Deadlines for Applications: 1 November 1999 and 1 April 2000
Candidates who submit applications by 1 November will normally be considered for awards between February and July, and candidates who apply by 1 April for July to January.
Applications and references should be addressed to the Fellowship Committee, International Center for Jefferson Studies, Monticello, Post Office Box 316, Charlottesville, Virginia 22902, USA. Announcement of awards will be made no later than 1 January and 1 June 2000.
The fellowship and grants program is underwritten by endowments established for this purpose by the Batten Foundation and First Union National Bank of Virginia, and by a grant from the Coca-Cola Company.
Princeton University: Anschutz Distinguished Fellowship in American Studies 2001
The Princeton Program in American Studies, founded in 1943, sponsors teaching, research, and public discussion about the history, literature, art, and culture of the United States, in ways that span the traditional disciplines.
The Anschutz Distinguished Fellowship, created through an endowment by the Anschutz family, will be awarded in the spring term of 2001 to a writer, critic, journalist, musician, artist, or other contributor to the arts, letters, or commerce – not necessarily an academic scholar – who is interested in spending a semester in residence at Princeton. The Anschutz Fellow is expected to teach one undergraduate seminar for the American Studies Program and deliver one public lecture to the University. The Fellow will enjoy full access to Firestone Library and to a wide range of activities throughout the University.
The Anschutz Fellow will receive a stipend of $25,000 (plus benefits) in addition to travel to and housing in Princeton.
To apply: Applicants should submit a curriculum vitae and a statement (of approximately 1,000 words) describing their proposed seminar and public lecture by mail, postmarked by January 15, 2000.
Send the above to: Sean Wilentz, Director, Program in American Studies, 42 McCosh Hall, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544
If you have questions, you may contact: Judith Ferszt, Program Manager, Program in American Studies, 42 McCosh Hall, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544. Telephone: (609) 258-4710. E-mail: email@example.com
Notes and Queries
Professor Waldemar Zacharasiewicz of Vienna University would like to know of publications on Southern writers/subjects by BAAS members in 1998 (and 1997). Professor Zacharasiewicz’s address is Institut fur Anglistik und Amerikanistik,Universitat Wien, Universitatscampus Hof 8, Spitalgasse 2A-1090 Vienna, Austria, Tel.: +43(1)4277-42410FAX: +43(1)4277-42497.
To Err Is Human
Peter Ling’s conference report ‘Strategies of Protest, Strategies of Resistance: New Perspectives on Civil Rights in the South’ was not included in the previous edition of American Studies in Britain. Our sincere apologies for this omission. Please find this report in the present edition on pp.10-11.
The full title of Karen Wilkinson’s paper in the previous edition of American S tudies in Britain should have read: ‘Enduring the Storm of the Tempest: Self Reliance in the Novels of Susan Warner.
Susana Isabel Araujo, originally from Lisbon, is currently preparing her D. Phil at the University of Sussex.
Elliot J. Atkins is writing his Ph. D. dissertation on the work of Thomas M. Disch at the University of Liverpool. Among his areas of interest are the post-war American novel and US science fiction.
Sarah Churchwell lectures in the School of English and American Studies at the University of East Anglia.
Roger Andrew Clark is Senior Lecturer at Ripon & York, with interests in Cultural Studies and literature.
Daniel Cordle lectures in English and American Literature at Nottingham Trent University.
Brian Dunn is a postgraduate in American literature in the Department of English at University College London.
Lawrence Goldman is a Fellow and Tutor in Modern History at St. Peter’s College, Oxford. Among his research interests, he lists the history of slavery and emancipation, Anglo-American reform to 1914, and US social thought.
Stephanie Jones is preparing her Ph. D. at Birkbeck College on New Deal cultural production in California and the Southwest.
Mark Ledwidge is a postgraduate student living in Manchester.
Lorna Jowett lectures in American Studies at University College Northampton.
Laurence Marriott is a Ph. D. student researching English and American literary naturalism at University College Northampton.
Kathryn E. McLean Nicol is a postgraduate student in the Department of English at Edinburgh University.
Madeline Minson has recently completed a Ph. D. thesis on the work of Henry David Thoreau. Other research interests include ecocriticism and the American tradition of nature writing.
Stephanie Munro is a postgraduate student at the University of Sheffield, writing a thesis on ‘Trauma and Narrative Rupture in the Work of Four African-American Women Writers’
Paolo Palladino is Wellcome Trust University Award lecturer at Lancaster University, and is researching topics in the history of biomedical and agricultural sciences in North America and Great Britain.
Mark Scott Rawlinson is preparing his Ph. D. at the University of Nottingham.
Annette Louise Rubery has a long-standing interest in the relationship between literature and art, particularly during the early years of the 20th century; her Ph. D. (from Warwick) was on ‘Portrait, Landscape and Identity in the work of Gertrude Stein and Georgia O’Keefe’.
Louise Jayne Stimpson is a graduate student in the Department of Cultural Studies, King Alfred’s College, Winchester.
Appointment: Editor of American Studies in Britain
Applications are invited for the post of Editor of American Studies in Britain. Applications, in the form of a letter and accompanying c.v., should be sent to each of the following people:
Dr Jenel Virden
Secretary of BAAS
American Studies Department
University of Hull
Hull HU6 7RX
Tel: 01482 465638/303; Fax: 01482 465303; Email: J.Virden@amstuds.hull.ac.uk
Professor Hugh Brogan
Chair of BAAS Publications Committee
Department of History
University of Essex
Tel: 01206 872307
Deadline for receipt of applications is: 15 January 2000.