As a teacher of American Studies, and indeed as Editor of ASIB, I am frequently assumed to be someone who will defend the United States through thick and thin. The events of this summer have supplied my friends and others with ample scope for questions geared to shuttle me into a defence of American foreign policy. Despite protestations of a literature specialisation and diplomatic to-ing and fro-ing on my part, I rarely escape a barrage of anti-American opinion. Indeed, one does not need to look far these days to see how far the tide has turned in public sentiment towards the United States – every bookshop in Britain groans under the weight of such polemics.
My standard line after such calls to justify my professional existence is to point out the difference between American policies and the American literature, history and politics that we in BAAS teach and research every day. I often drift into my personal experiences and my travels in the US to demonstrate the vastness of the continent and its inherent variety.
My sense of the multiplicity and diversity of American culture was strengthened this summer by two very different experiences of the United States. In the first instance, I travelled to New York City aboard the Queen Mary 2. We cruised from Southampton to NYC, passing, on arrival, the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge. The crossing itself was a splendidly surreal affair of sumptuous mock art-deco decadence, the walls of the decks lined with sepia photographs of glamorous passengers from a bygone era: Charlie Chaplin, Vera Lynn, Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Billie Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald and so on. The ship itself seemed a vessel of transatlantic exchange, transporting celebrities who would offer insights into one nation or the other.
New York, with its easy East Coast affluence and sass, brought the expected frenzy, heat and bustle, unfriendly commuters and angry men in cafes bemoaning the current lot of the American people. Like many visitors to the United States, I left with a sense that Americans felt themselves misrepresented to the world, apologetic for their nation.
A few weeks later, however, I saw a very different side of American life. Visiting Red Cloud, Nebraska, for my BAAS-funded research into the works of Willa Cather, I saw the rural Midwest for the first time. It could hardly have been more different: the gentle pace of small-town life, the great air-raid warning waking the townsfolk every morning at six, the sweeping prairies and unhurried smiles. A local undertaker drove me the 120 miles from Red Cloud to Lincoln airport, extolling the virtues of Tony Blair and the Republicans. Both experiences were unmistakeably American, and even if there were any doubt, the staggering abundance of national flags made it perfectly obvious.
But neither bore much resemblance to the caricatures of American life and culture that pass for commentary in so many of our daily papers. On the one hand, we are bombarded with invective against the great imperialist Satan, suffused with mad religiosity and blood-lust; on the other, equally impassioned pundits insist on America as the champion of freedom, the beacon of hope, and other similarly debased clichés.
Of course, neither version does justice to the truth. For the great attraction of the United States – and of American Studies – is that it encompasses so much. No stereotype can do justice to a country that stretches from the frozen plains of Minnesota to the deserts of Texas and from New England clam chowder to New Orleans seafood gumbo. What single slogan, after all, can capture all at once the imagination of Walt Disney, the grace of Muhammad Ali, the genius of Philip Roth or the easy cadences of Sandra Cisneros?
As many readers will recognise, American Studies is not universally admired in British university common rooms. But in today’s fevered world of political controversy and instant opinion, it is arguably one of the most important of all the humanities. If the United States
stands alone as the world’s hyperpower, then understanding it – in all its exhilarating, bewildering vastness – is more vital than ever.
BAAS, however, as evidenced by the extensive list of new members inside, is in fine fettle. Last year’s conference, held at the University of Kent at Canterbury, was a great success. Next year’s conference, which will be hosted in Leicester, will be no less an exhibition of the wonderful diversity of our scholarship – covering everything from those New York delis to the prairies of Red Cloud, with some weighty polemics thrown in for good measure.
Department of English Studies
Institute for Historical and Cultural Research
Oxford Brookes University
Gipsy Lane Campus
BAAS Annual Conference: University of Leicester 2007
Call for Papers
The BAAS Annual Conference for the year 2007 will be hosted by the Centre for American Studies at the University of Leicester, from 19-22 April.
2007 marks the tenth birthday of the Centre for American Studies at the University of Leicester so we are particularly pleased to host the conference this year. It also promises to be a very interesting year for reflecting on American history and culture given that it will be 400 years after the founding of Jamestown, Virginia and 50 years since Little Rock and Sputnik.
There is no overarching theme for the conference and we would encourage papers across as wide a range of disciplines as possible, on any American Studies topic broadly defined. At the 2007 conference we would like to showcase Leicester as one of the most diverse and multicultural of cities in the United Kingdom by inviting papers that deal with ethnicity and/or cultural diversity. We would, though, encourage panel proposals on any theme, roundtable discussions, and innovative ideas for sessions which we might incorporate into the schedule.
Proposals for 20-minute papers should be a maximum of 250 words with a provisional title. These will be arranged into panel groups. Panel proposals and roundtable discussions by two or more people, sharing a common theme, are also invited. We would like to include papers across the spectrum of higher education: from postgraduates to senior scholars.
Proposals for BAAS 2007 at the University of Leicester should be submitted by
31 October 2006, preferably by email attachment, to:
Dr George Lewis
BAAS Conference Secretary
Centre for American Studies
School of Historical Studies
University of Leicester
Leicester. LE1 7RH. U.K.
Any other comments or suggestions about BAAS 2007 are also welcome to:
Leicester Conference Secretary
Dr George Lewis
Tel: +44 116 2525370
Fax: +44 116 2523986
Director of American Studies
Professor Martin Halliwell
Tel: +44 116 2522645
Fax: +44 116 2522065
BAAS Annual Conference: University of Kent, 2006
Annual General Meeting, held at the BAAS annual conference, University of Kent, Saturday 22nd April 2006
This, the fiftieth year of the British Association for American Studies, has been a good year for the organization. In the run-up to the Research Assessment Exercise in 2008 BAAS members have secured a large number and wide variety of research awards; been appointed to new academic posts; and have published monographs, essays and articles with an impressive array of international presses.
Congratulations to BAAS members on a variety of promotions, appointments and awards. These include Martin Halliwell, who was appointed to a chair in American Studies at Leicester; Brian Ward (currently at Florida) to a chair in American Studies at the University of Manchester; Peter Ling and Sharon Monteith to chairs in American Studies at Nottingham; Bridget Bennet to a chair in American Literature at Leeds; and Susan Castillo to a chair in American Studies at King’s College, London.
Heidi Macpherson was appointed Head of the Department of Humanities at the University of Central Lancashire; David Seed of the University of Liverpool was appointed to the AHRC Postgraduate Panel for English Language and Literature; Martin Halliwell and Sharon Monteith were appointed members of the AHRC Peer Review College; and Jay Kleinberg was appointed a member of the International Board of the American Studies Association.
BAAS members have continued to receive a wide variety of research grants and awards. Peter Ling at Nottingham has received a large AHRC grant for his project on “Social Capital and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference”, which will include two PhD studentships and a postdoctoral research assistantship. In fact BAAS members have secured support for their research from virtually every major British grant-giving institution, including AHRC Research Leave Awards and research grants; British Academy Small and Larger Research Grants; and awards from the Leverhulme Trust, the Nuffield Foundation, the Carnegie Trust. Further afield BAAS members have secured fellowships and research awards from such major institutions as the Library of Congress, the John Carter Brown Library, and Harvard University.
The point here is that although relatively few American Studies departments will be entered for RAE 2008 under the American Studies and Anglophone Area Studies, and although interdisciplinary American Studies sometimes fall between the disciplinary categories of the British Academy and the AHRC, the large academic and postgraduate membership of Britain’s American Studies community continue to excel in their scholarship. The awards made after yesterday’s banquet are a tangible way in which this organization can support and reward excellent work and innovative research: these depend upon the continued support of the BAAS membership.
The BAAS Executive Committee continue to work to support this academic community, and to protect its best interests. This includes a good deal of work with the media, as the public face or voice of British American Studies, and committee members have been interviewed by a range of British radio, television and newspaper journalists, as well as by other from other abroad. Committee members represent BAAS and the American Studies community at conferences and events around the world, including the annual conferences of the American Studies Association and the International American Studies Association.
In a variety of ways, BAAS work hard to provide opportunities for members at conferences, through publishing outlets, and through an increasing number of fellowships and awards. BAAS sponsors postgraduate conferences and regional conferences, helping make it possible for postgraduate students to attend and to present what are often their first conference papers. BAAS’s on-line, peer-reviewed postgraduate journal U.S. Studies Online, now edited by Elizabeth Rosen, has emerged as an excellent academic journal, and editor Jay Kleinberg and Associate Editor Susan Castillo continue to confirm the status of the Journal of American Studies as a world-leading publication. The BAAS paperbacks series published by Edinburgh University Press and edited by Carol Smith and Simon Newman is expanding, with healthy sales of a wide variety of books.
Furthermore, members of the BAAS Committee regularly respond to a variety of questionnaires, initiatives and other documents and policies that require responses in order to protect the interests of the American Studies community. Over the past year this has included a good deal of work in communications with the organizers of RAE 2008; with the QAA in regard to subject benchmarking; with the AHRC with regard to doctoral research, nominations for the Peer Review College, and AHRC participation in the ESF European Reference Index for the Humanities.
The Executive Committee enjoys an excellent working relationship with the staff of the US Embassy in London, and we were delighted to have Ambassador Tuttle as our guest at yesterday’s banquet, where he was able to give awards supported by the Embassy. Over the past year we have been working closely with Sue Wedlake, Cultural Affairs Assistant at the Embassy, but also with new staff members including Rick Roberts (Minister Counselor for Public Affairs), Michael Macey (Cultural Attache) and Beth Poisson (Press Counselor). We are fortunate to work with embassy staff who are genuinely interested in academic research and teaching, and who are happy to support a wide range of projects.
As Chair I see first-hand the hard work and dedication of members of the BAAS Executive Committee and the various sub-committees, and on your behalf I would like to publicly thank them for all of the hard work done on top of full time academic posts, often with little support from their universities: these are Heidi Macpherson (Secretary); Graham Thompson (Treasurer); Carol Smith (Vice-Chair and Chair of the Publications Sub-committee); Ian Scott (Chair of the Development Sub-committee); Sarah MacLachlan (Chair of the Conference sub-committee); committee members Kathryn Cooper, Richard Crockatt, Jude Davies, Clare Elliott, Will Kaufman, Jay Kleinberg, Catherine Morley, Martin Padget, Ian Ralston, Jenel Virden, and Tim Woods. Thanks also to ex-officio committee members George Conyne, Martin Halliwell, George Lewis, and Ken Morgan, and the members of the hard-working Libraries and Resources committee under Ian Ralston.
Finally, I would like to thank George Conyne and his colleagues and the support staff here at the University of Kent, for all of their hard work in organizing an excellent conference. This annual event continues to be an excellent showcase for Britain’s American Studies community, and the kind of socially enjoyable occasion that makes the intellectual and academic dimensions all the more enjoyable.
Minutes of 2006 BAAS AGM
The 2006 AGM of BAAS was held on Saturday 22 April at University of Kent at Canterbury at 2pm.
Treasurer: Graham Thompson (to 2009)
Martin Halliwell (to 2009)
Theresa Saxon (to 2009)
Ian Scott (to 2009)*
Postgraduate Rep : Josephine Metcalfe (to 2008)*
*Not eligible for re-election
The Treasurer reported that there was a successful handover meeting in June 2005 when he received the full set of documents from Nick Selby, the previous Treasurer. However, getting bank details changed caused some unnecessary delays. GT reported that the 2004 accounts have been submitted as required to the Charity Commission.
GT reported on membership figures; there were 575 members at end of 2005, including 202 postgraduates; current numbers are somewhat lower because individuals do not always renew at the beginning of the year. Including those who have yet to update their standing orders, membership stands at 470; however, individuals who have not updated their standing orders to the correct amount will not receive JAS and are technically not eligible for BAAS rates of conference, nor are they eligible to vote in the elections. GT will shortly write to all individuals who are currently in this position to remind them to update their SOs.
GT then circulated copies of the draft audited accounts, which he asked the AGM to approve. He noted in particular the following changes:
Last year was the first year of distributing hard copy of JAS to members and this had an impact on the accounts in terms of outgoings.
The 50th anniversary conference was more expensive than previous conferences, but a lot of the increase in costs was covered by incoming money from the US Embassy. BAAS had paid conference fees for visiting students from Virginia and New Hampshire last year to offer evidence of our ongoing relationship with these universities; we have BAAS Teaching Assistantships there. GT also noted that there had been an increase in support for a variety of conferences in order to encourage the growth and sustenance of American Studies in the UK.
GT also noted that in previous years, the accountant had expressed some concern about the fact that our outgoings were not as high as our balances; however, due to the proactive nature of the Committee this year in funding special initiatives, this was no longer seen to be an issue.
Richard Crockatt proposed that the accounts be approved; George Conyne seconded the motion, and it was carried unanimously.
GT reported that the Committee had proposed to raise the amount of STAs to £750 next year to take into consideration rising costs of flights to US. This was welcomed.
GT noted two further issues. First, overseas scholars who wished to be members of BAAS sometimes found it hard to secure US dollar or sterling cheques. Thus from this year, an electronic payment system will be set up as an optional way of paying; individuals choosing to pay their subscriptions this way will face a small additional charge. GT also noted that he was in the process of claiming back GiftAid; BAAS had purchased a software system to accumulate the correct information to allow us to make a claim this year.
The Chair was unable to attend in person, but Carol Smith, the Vice Chair, read out Simon Newman’s report. The report noted that the 50th year of BAAS had been a good year. In the run-up to the Research Assessment Exercise in 2008, BAAS members have secured a large number and wide variety of research awards; been appointed to new academic posts; and have published monographs, essays and articles with an impressive array of international presses. Congratulations were extended to the following BAAS members in relation to appointments, promotions, and awards.
Martin Halliwell, who was appointed to a chair in American Studies at Leicester; Brian Ward (currently at Florida) to a chair in American Studies at the University of Manchester; Peter Ling and Sharon Monteith to chairs in American Studies at Nottingham; Bridget Bennet to a chair in American Literature at Leeds; and Susan Castillo to a chair in American Studies at King’s College, London.
David Seed of the University of Liverpool was appointed to the AHRC Postgraduate Panel for English Language and Literature; Martin Halliwell, Heidi Macpherson, Richard Crockatt, and Sharon Monteith were appointed members of the AHRC Peer Review College; and Jay Kleinberg was appointed a member of the International Board of the American Studies Association.
Peter Ling at Nottingham has received a large AHRC grant for his project on “Social Capital and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference”, which will include two PhD studentships and a postdoctoral research assistantship. In fact, BAAS members have secured support for their research from virtually every major British grant-giving institution, including AHRC Research Leave Awards and research grants; British Academy Small and Larger Research Grants; and awards from the Leverhulme Trust, the Nuffield Foundation, the Carnegie Trust. Further afield BAAS members have secured fellowships and research awards from such major institutions as the Library of Congress, the John Carter Brown Library, and Harvard University.
The report noted that although relatively few American Studies departments will be entered for RAE 2008 under American Studies and Anglophone Area Studies, and although interdisciplinary American Studies projects sometimes fall between the disciplinary categories of the British Academy and the AHRC, the large academic and postgraduate membership of Britain’s American Studies community continue to excel in their scholarship. The awards made after the Conference Banquet reflect a tangible way in which BAAS can support and reward excellent work and innovative research: these depend upon the continued support of the BAAS membership.
The BAAS Executive Committee continue to work to support this academic community, and to protect its best interests. This includes a good deal of work with the media, as the public face or voice of British American Studies, and committee members have been interviewed by a range of radio, television and newspaper journalists in the UK and abroad. Committee members represent BAAS and the American Studies community at conferences and events around the world, including the annual conferences of the American Studies Association and the International American Studies Association.
In a variety of ways, BAAS works hard to provide opportunities for members at conferences, through publishing outlets, and through an increasing number of fellowships and awards. BAAS sponsors postgraduate conferences and regional conferences, helping make it possible for postgraduate students to attend and to present what are often their first conference papers. BAAS’s on-line, peer-reviewed postgraduate journal U.S. Studies Online, now edited by Elizabeth Rosen, has emerged as an excellent academic journal, and editor Jay Kleinberg and Associate Editor Susan Castillo continue to confirm the status of the Journal of American Studies as a world-leading publication. The BAAS paperbacks series published by Edinburgh University Press and edited by Carol Smith and Simon Newman is expanding, with healthy sales of a wide variety of books.
Furthermore, members of the BAAS Committee regularly respond to a variety of questionnaires, initiatives and other documents and policies that require responses in order to protect the interests of the American Studies community. Over the past year this has included a good deal of work in communications with the organizers of RAE 2008; with the QAA in regard to subject benchmarking; with the AHRC with regard to doctoral research, nominations for the Peer Review College, and AHRC participation in the ESF European Reference Index for the Humanities.
The Executive Committee enjoys an excellent working relationship with the staff of the US Embassy in London, and we were delighted to have Ambassador Tuttle as our guest at yesterday’s banquet, where he was able to give awards supported by the Embassy. Over the past year we have been working closely with Sue Wedlake, Cultural Affairs Assistant at the Embassy, but also with new staff members including Rick Roberts (Minister Counsellor for Public Affairs), Michael Macey (Cultural Attaché) and Beth Poisson (Press Counsellor). We are fortunate to work with embassy staff who are genuinely interested in academic research and teaching, and who are happy to support a wide range of projects.
The report was followed by a round of applause from the members who were present.
Sarah MacLachlan offered a short report and formally thanked George Conyne for organizing this year’s conference, which had been stimulating, with two excellent plenaries from Michael Zuckerman and Margaret Walsh. She noted that the Executive and the membership were looking forward to Michael Bérubé’s plenary address after the AGM. SM reported that next year’s conference dates were 19-22 April and it would be held at the University of Leicester; thanks were extended to the Vice Chancellor for hosting the reception on the first evening of the conference. George Lewis and Martin Halliwell would be acting as Conference Secretaries for the event, and a call for papers would be distributed shortly in addition to the CFP in the conference pack. The 2008 conference will be held at Edinburgh University, 27-30 March, organized by Robert Mason and that the 2009 conference will be held at Nottingham and organized by Graham Thompson. SM reported that negotiations are underway for the 2010 conference and that the successful applicant will be announced shortly. SM then invited suggestions for future conferences.
Carol Smith reminded the AGM that minutes of all meetings are published on the website, and so individuals may keep updated about current activities that way. She then reported on some of the highlights of the year in relation to the Publication Subcommittee. In relation to BRRAM, Ken Morgan continued to negotiate with various sources, including the House of Commons and Lords, Beaverbrook and Lloyd F. George; the Edward Long papers will be published shortly. BRRAM and BAAS signed a new contract this year; in exchange for advertisement space in ASIB, BRRAM now offers all BAAS members a 10% discount.
CS noted apologies from the JAS editor, Jay Kleinberg, who could not attend the conference, and she reported that the main business of the subcommittee this year had been the appointment of a new editor and associate editor. Following the normal BAAS and CUP procedures, Prof. Susan Castillo (Kings College London) would take up the editorship on 1 January 2007 and Prof. Scott Lucas (Birmingham) would become Associate Editor. Thanks were extended to the present editorial team (Jay Kleinberg and Susan Castillo) for their continued steering of such a prestigious journal. They received a round of applause. Thanks were also extended to the editorial assistants, Maggie Selby and John Matlin.
CS reported that the EUP series continues to do well, with two books in the series recently published: Niall Palmer’s The Twenties in America and Will Kaufman’s The Civil War in American Culture. CS offered her thanks to those who responded to the call for new books which had been published in various sources, and reported that there are currently discussions ongoing in relation to the following topics: theatre; African-American music; the short story; and science fiction and television. CS and SN remain interested in hearing from anyone with an idea for a new book in the series.
CS reported that Catherine Morley had finished her first year as editor of ASIB, and that the newsletter continued to be an excellent source of information for members. The next deadline is 15 August 2006 if anyone had articles or notices that they wanted to include. Another new editor this year was Elizabeth Rosen, who finished her first year as the editor of U.S. Studies Online, the BAAS postgraduate journal which publishes essays from British and non-UK based postgraduates; this year, a new CFP went out through the UPenn list and the response had been very high. There were some changes to the editorial board this year, with Douglas Tallack resigned as editorial board member and being replaced by Will Kaufman and Jude Davies.
CS reported that the BAAS website goes from strength to strength: 4 April 2006 saw the highest ever number of unique hits in one day, totalling 1596.
As a final note, CS reported that the 2006 BAAS Book Prize had been won by Richard Follett, as announced at the Conference Banquet. CS noted that the book prize was an excellent way to promote American Studies, and she asked that individuals remind their publishers of the strict December deadline for receipt of books, since late material cannot be considered. There had been a strong field this year, and it was likely that next year, as the prize becomes even more well known, there would be another good selection of excellent texts to choose from.
IS reported on funding opportunities, postgraduate events, Area Studies networks, and planned changes to the subcommittee for the following year. In particular, he noted that BAAS is happy to receive applications for funding. BAAS has a mission to extend our reach and help to all manner of groups and associations. A new funding form will shortly be available from the website to help individuals target their funding applications.
IS thanked Clare Elliott for all of her hard work as postgraduate representative, and noted that the 2005 postgraduate conference, held at Sheffield, was a big success; thanks were extended to Anne Marie Evans and Elizabeth Boyle. IS reported that the next postgraduate conference will be held in Nottingham in November and that information on this conference is already available on the web. IS reported that there were ongoing discussions about extended the postgraduate conference over two days, which speaks to the range and quality of the work currently being done by postgraduates.
IS reported that he sits on the Area Studies subcommittee of the LLAS as the BAAS representative, and he paid tribute to the work done by the Area Studies subcommittee, especially Dick Ellis and Jude Davies who coordinate the work on publicity. There are plans to work with them on publicity materials for teachers.
IS reported that there will be a substantial change this year to the subcommittee structure for BAAS, with a new subcommittee proposed: the Prize Subcommittee. This is work that was originally undertaken by the Development subcommittee, but prizes have become a much bigger part of what BAAS does. This year, there were around 28 awards with a total value of over £30K, as opposed to a few years ago, when BAAS had 6 awards worth about £1400. Thus in order to manage and extend the prizes without detriment to the other work done by the Development subcommittee, it was agreed that there would now be two different subcommittees. Further publicity about the prizes would soon follow. IS thanked the US Embassy, in particular Sue Wedlake, for their help, as well as individuals who had been anonymous judges of the various awards. Thanks were also extended to those BAAS members who offer financial support for the STAs and other awards through voluntary contributions.
Libraries and Resources:
IR reported that the revamped libraries’ newsletter, now the annual journal Resources for American Studies, had been successfully relaunched. This year’s issue of the journal will be distributed to all BAAS members along with the autumn publication of ASIB. The editors welcome feedback and responses; anyone with articles or resource reviews should please send them to the editor, Matthew Shaw, at the British Library. His email address is Matthew.Shaw@bl.uk
The subcommittee is also seeking feedback from members on the next project, to build on success of newspaper database. A request from Kevin Halliwell, the special projects officer, went out on the mailbase regarding what the next database should examine. IR asked members to reply to this call, and noted that it would be reissued. IR also noted that there were two new members of the subcommittee: Donald Tate, from the University of Glasgow Library, and Catherine Morley, from Oxford Brookes. IR offered thanks to all members of the subcommittee, in particular Matthew Shaw, who had put in a phenomenal amount of work as editor of the journal; and Sue Wedlake, the Public Affairs officer at US Embassy, who had been a good friend to the subcommittee.
JV offered a report on EAAS, and noted that she will be contributing to the next issue of ASIB with even more information about EAAS, what it does, and what members can do for it. JV reported that the EAAS Board met at Nicosia in Cyprus during the conference, which was held 6-10 April, 2006. The Treasurer, Hans-Jürgen Grabbe, noted that the accounts remain healthy at about 20,000 euros. JV also reported that there is an Amsterdam trust fund, which generates 6-8,000 a year.
JV noted that the first volume of EJAS is now online, and on behalf of BAAS, she thanked Dick Ellis who wrote the BAAS contribution. The EAAS Board selected a committee of 7 to run on line journal, and the editor will be chosen at the next meeting of the committee, later in April. JV suggested that members continue to consult the updated website, www.eaas.info. She also reported that the American Studies in Europe Newsletter is now fully electronic. The new Vice president, Martin Heusser, will run the newsletter as per normal practice. JV was pleased to report that the EAAS webmaster had commended BAAS’s website.
JV reported that EAAS has received a request from the Bulgaria American Studies Association (BASA) to join EAAS. The EAAS board is now 20 members strong, so it needs to find a way to coordinate new membership, especially as some associations are small. Germany, France and UK are the biggest ones. There have been suggestions for Regional associations like the Nordic Association, but there are some historical and political concerns that need to be worked through for this to become viable. JV will put together a talking point paper for discussion about this at next board meeting.
JV reported on future conferences: the next will be held 9-12 May 2008 in Oslo, hosted by the Nordic Association; the later date is to take account of Scandinavian weather patterns. The theme, yet to be finalized, is “e pluribus unum OR e pluribus plura.” The following conference, in 2010, will be held at the Clinton Institute, University College Dublin. JV reported that the conference proceedings for both the Bordeaux and the Prague conferences are now out. The latter proceedings, America in the Course of Human Events, include contributions from BAAS members, such as Carol Smith. There is ongoing discussion about the next set of proceedings, including options for ensuring more coherence, and the possibility that a new publisher will be approached.
The Nicosia conference had 220 delegates and a good range of papers and topics. However, it was pointed out that there had not been a single plenary or parallel lecture by a woman delegate. Partly in response to this, a new woman’s caucus will be forming.
JV reported that like BAAS, EAAS also gives out awards and prizes. However, there was a disappointing response rate, with only 5 applications for postgraduate travel grants, and none of them from the UK. JV has agreed to put together a list of postgraduate reps in other EAAS associations, though she noted that many did not have such a representative yet.
Finally, JV reported that elections had taken place, and Martin Heusser (Switzerland) was elected Vice President, and Jenel Virden had been elected Secretary General.
Iain Patterson announced that Michael Heale was unwell and unable to attend the conference, the first he has missed in 40 years. Good wishes for a speedy recovery were extended to him, and the Secretary agreed to send a card on behalf of the Association.
The AGM concluded at 3pm.
BAAS Requests and Notices
Message from BAAS Chair, Professor Simon Newman
To BAAS members and others in the American Studies subject community:
As many of you are no doubt aware, the government is considering how best to reorganise the RAE after 2008, in order to find a cheaper way of assessing and then funding research. Last week the Department for Education and Skills published a consultation document entitled ‘Reform of higher education research assessment and funding,’ which can be found at http://www.dfes.gov.uk/consultations/conDetails.cfm?consultationId=1404
It is becoming ever more apparent that there will be a shift to some form of metrics, though the degree to which this will affect the arts and humanities and the social sciences is unclear. We cannot simply say no, for the government will not accept a system of peer review for the arts and humanities that is far more labour intensive and thus expensive than the one for the sciences.
I will respond to this document on behalf of BAAS, and would very much appreciate ideas and suggestions as to how we can constructively engage with this. The American Studies subject community has been very effective at communicating our ideas to the RAE organizers, the AHRC and other bodies,and I hope that as many BAAS members as possible will send in their own responses. (The on-line response form can be found at the above website).
I hope that you all enjoy a productive but restful summer.
With best wishes,
Simon P. Newman
Sir Denis Brogan Professor of American Studies
Chair, British Association for American Studies (BAAS)
Department of History
1 University Gardens
University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8QQ
Telephone 0141 330 3585
BAAS L&RS Request
The BAAS Library & Resources Subcommittee would like to follow up its database of US Newspaper holdings in UK libraries by providing some more information on resources in American Studies. Limited resources in the group, however, mean we are only able at present to pursue one of the following options. We would therefore like to invite colleagues with
American Studies interests to indicate which of the following holdings surveys they would regard as most useful. Please email your response to Kevin Halliwell (BAAS L&RS Special Projects Officer) at email@example.com.
The options are:
1) UK holdings of visual resources (photographic collections, artworks and other image collections) in American Studies.
2) UK holdings of microform collections (microfilm and microfiche) in American Studies.
3) UK holdings of microform and digital collections (microform collections and electronic databases) in American Studies.
4) Artefact collections of interest to American Studies (in libraries, museums, archives, galleries).
5) Special Collections of relevance to American Studies (mainly library collections of printed and manuscript material).
6) UK manuscript collections of interest to American Studies.’
Dr Kevin Halliwell
Curator, US & Commonwealth Collections
National Library of Scotland
George IV Bridge
EDINBURGH EH1 1EW
Tel.: +44 (0)131 623 3837
Fax: +44 (0)131 623 3809
BAAS Database of External Examiners
The Secretary of BAAS, Heidi Macpherson, holds a list of potential external examiners. If individuals would like to put their names forward for this list, please email her on firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the following information, in list form if possible:
Name and title
Affiliation with complete contact details including address, telephone, fax, and email Externalling experience (with dates if appropriate)
Current externalling positions (with end dates)
Research interests (short descriptions only)
By providing this information, you agree to it being passed on to universities who are seeking an external for American Studies or a related discipline. Should you wish your name to be removed in the future, please contact the Secretary.
Any university representative interested in receiving the list should also contact the Secretary. BAAS only acts as a holder of the list; it does not “matchmake”.
Paper copies can also be requested by sending a letter to:
Dr. Heidi Macpherson
Department of Humanities (Fylde 425)
University of Central Lancashire
Preston PR1 2HE
Call for a new Editor for U.S. Studies Online
This summer Elizabeth Rosen will complete her successful term as Editor of U.S. Studies Online and therefore the British Association of American Studies (BAAS) welcomes applications for a new editor (for a term of two years).
This online journal enables postgraduate students at British Universities and beyond to have their work published in a refereed environment. Each issue covers a broad range of topics, drawing upon the interdisciplinary nature of American Studies to incorporate History, Politics, Cultural Studies, Literature and Film. The editor works with the editorial board (see http:http://cc.webspaceworld.me/new-baas-site) to produce two or three issues a year. S/he will be expected to attend the BAAS post-graduate conference (Nottingham 18th Nov 2006), papers from which constitute one issue, and have good contacts though the BAAS postgraduate network. S/he must be a postgraduate and be a member of BAAS. Knowledge of and skills in managing online resources will be useful.
Please send a letter of application with C.V. and arrange for a reference to be sent.
Applications and further information from – by e-mail only
Carol Smith (Chair BAAS Publications Sub-committee)
The successful applicant will be notified in September
Change of Timing for the AGM 2007
In a change to the usual practice, the BAAS Executive Committee have decided to hold the AGM on the first full day of the Annual Conference, Friday, 20 April 2006. (The conference begins with registration on the afternoon of the 19th.)
Elections will be held for the Chair of BAAS (three year term), three members of the Committee (also three year terms; one current incumbent is ineligible for re-election), the EAAS representative (five year term, non-renewable) and any offices that fall vacant before the AGM due to resignations from the Committee. Anyone currently serving on the Committee who wishes to stand for a different office will need to resign his or her post in order to stand in the elections.
Elections can only take place if the meeting is quorate; please make every effort to attend.
The procedure for nominations is as follows: nominations should reach the Secretary, Heidi Macpherson, by 12.00 noon on Friday 20 April 2007. 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. 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 in a prominent location and available for the membership to read before the AGM. Those standing for election are expected to attend the AGM.
Downloadable nomination forms will be available from the website in early January and will be printed in the next issue of ASIB. The Secretary requests that those who send forms to her through the post or via email also keep a copy and bring it with them to the conference, in case of delays or missing post. All forms will need to be signed.
Dept. of Humanities
University of Central Lancashire
Preston PR1 2HE
The Edinburgh University Press /BASS book series continues to be a vibrant success in publishing books in all areas of American Studies in Britain with co-publishing deals in America. Recent publications are The Civil Rights Movement, Mark Newman and The Vietnam War in History, Literature and Film, Mark Taylor. Forthcoming are The Twenties in America, Niall Palmer, The Civil War in American Culture, Will Kaufman and Contemporary Native American Literature, Rebecca Tillett.
The series editors (Simon Newman – S.Newman@history.glas.ac.uk and Carol Smith – Carol.Smith@winchester.ac.uk ) welcome new proposals at any time. They will be happy to advise and shape proposals and are particularly seeking books on the American short story, American music (all types) and the American city and its representations.
U.S. Studies Online: The BAAS Postgraduate Journal
US Studies Online is seeking articles on American literature, culture, history or politics for upcoming issues. US Studies is a refereed journal and submission guidelines can be found at our website:
It seems odd to me now, after being the EAAS representative for BAAS for several years, but people at the BAAS conference often ask me ‘what is the EAAS?’ To be quite honest I was one of those people when I first joined BAAS and it took some time for me to understand completely the role of the EAAS. The EAAS was founded just over 50 years ago and is a ‘federation of constituent national or joint-national associations,’ which includes 20 national American Studies Associations today. Member associations include: France, Switzerland, Germany, Great Britain, Czech Republic, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Belgium, Poland, Ireland, Hungary, Romania, Denmark, Belarus, Turkey, Greece, Russia, The Netherlands and Austria. As you can imagine, the size of the member associations varies enormously from the ‘Big Four’ (Germany, France, Great Britain and Spain) to much smaller associations, with membership in double-digits (Belarus, Hungary, Switzerland and Ireland). The EAAS is a non-profit organization with each national association making a small contribution to a general EAAS fund charged at the rate of a few Euros per member (which comes from membership fees to the national association). That money is then utilized by the EAAS to sustain its objectives, which include ‘the study of and research in all areas of American culture and society and the promotion of co-operation and intercommunication among European students of the United States of America.’ The EAAS does this by, in part, sponsoring a biennial conference and generating opportunities for European scholars of America. The latest project is the launch of an electronic journal (noted below). EAAS is run by a Board, consisting of a single voting representative from each member association. The Board meets once a year; a day or two before the conference on conference years and in the spring of each non-conference year at different locations. The EAAS is held together by the same things that bring people to join BAAS, an interest in the study of America and a firm belief in promoting the collegiality among fellow scholars of all backgrounds. If you haven’t been to an EAAS conference yet, I highly recommend them.
Much has happened at EAAS in the interval since the last ASIB went to print. The Biennial conference took place in Nicosia, Cyprus from 7-10 April 2006 under the theme: “Conformism, Non-Conformism, and Anti-Conformism in the Culture of the United States.” It was well attended and the workshop titles and individual papers represented a wide range of disciplines and subjects within American Studies. The Workshop Reports will appear in the forthcoming edition of the EAAS newsletter due out soon (No. 57, to be found on the web site under EAAS publications) on the EAAS web site, www.eaas.info
The CFP for the next EAAS conference has also gone out (see elsewhere in ASIB) and will be held in Oslo, Norway from 9-12 May 2008. The theme for that conference is: “E Pluribus Unum” or “E Pluribus Plura”? For those of you who haven’t been to an EAAS conference before, they differ somewhat from your usual conference. In this case the call goes out now for people to propose workshops whose titles fit within the theme. The Board then meets to decide which workshops to include and the workshop chairs (usually two chairs – from different countries) send out a subsequent CFP for individual papers under these separate titles. There is also the possibility of proposing a ‘parallel lecture’ which does what it says on the box. Of the parallel lecture proposals that EAAS receives, 8 or so are selected for the conference. These are often given by senior academics within the American Studies community. The Guidelines for workshops is available on the EAAS web site or contact me if you think you would like to submit a proposal and have any questions. The EAAS conference in 2010 will be hosted by the University College Dublin’s Clinton Institute for American Studies.
As many of you already know the EAAS has launched the on-line European Journal of American Studies (EJAS). The first issue has already appeared, edited by EAAS President Marc Chénetier. The second issue is in production and an editorial board has been appointed to be led by co-editors Cornelius van Minnen and Pawel Frelik. The editors are currently putting together a working advisory board. For more details about this exciting new project and to discover how to submit proposals for articles or offer to review books please see the EAAS web site under publications.
Elections for Vice President and Secretary General were held in Nicosia by the EAAS Board and the list of officers now includes:
President, Marc Chénetier (Université de Paris VII) – email@example.com
Vice President, Martin Heusser (Universität Zürich) – firstname.lastname@example.org
Treasurer, Hans-Jürgen Grabbe (Martin-Luther-Universität) – email@example.com
Secretary General, Jenel Virden (University of Hull) – firstname.lastname@example.org
As I have now been elected as Secretary General for EAAS, and my four year term as BAAS representative will come to an end at the Leicester conference, there is the possibility of running an election for the EAAS representative place for BAAS. BAAS will only be able to have 1 vote on the EAAS Board, however.
Although there is much more I could write about EAAS I think I have gone on long enough. I would just end by noting that EAAS also sponsors travel grants for post-graduates, works in co-operation with the American Studies Network to sponsor a book prize, and advertises conferences and CFPs. If anyone has any questions, suggestions or comments please get in touch. Also, if any BAAS members would like me to mention recent publications in the EAAS newsletter please forward the relevant information to me. I will pass on any new information about EAAS to the BAAS web page but the best way to keep on top of EAAS information is to check the EAAS web site.
Jenel Virden, J.Virden@hull.ac.uk
EAAS Conference Oslo, Norway, May 9-12, 2008
Theme: “E Pluribus Unum” or “E Pluribus Plura”?
The motto “E Pluribus Unum” mostly subsumes an institutional and political will. But, from all historical data and possibly even more from contemporary dissensions, it appears that the social and cultural realities of America might well illustrate the possibility for an “E Pluribus Plura” version of the formula. How does the United States negotiate the inner tensions that, because of its constitutive diversity, might threaten its unity? How do traditions (political, artistic, literary…), modes of consensus building (from myth to national icons and patriotic assertions of exceptionalism), the feeling of a wished-for common good counteract potential strife and the tensions of particular interests and particular groups, make up for the aporias of nationhood and communitarian feeling, of ideological consensus and a tradition of dissent? Could it be that there are indeed several “Americas”? Is being an American necessarily being in many ways double? Can the politically unifying, centripetal power of the State, hidden under the neutral Unum, accommodate the centrifugal forces that might generate a societal and cultural “plura” out of the hallowed political and territorial “pluribus”? Do diversities imply, for their survival and development, a “middle ground”, a “mainstream”, a “tradition” – some kind of American norm? Seen in light of the various subdisciplines of our fields, these are some of the questions that might generate the wished-for contributions to this Conference.
January 31, 2007: Deadline for submission of workshop and parallel lecture proposals to include a one-page abstract and a ½ page c.v. of potential workshop chairs and parallel lecturers.
Please do not submit proposals for individual workshop papers at this time. These will be sent to selected workshop chairs who will be announced in the May 2007 issue of ASE.
September 1, 2007: Workshop paper proposals (with 150-200 word abstract) to be sent to Workshop Chairs.
September 15, 2007: Deadline for sending the tentative list of speakers and titles of workshop papers to be included in the October 2007 issue of ASE.
December 1, 2007: Deadline for submitting FINAL titles of papers and names and addresses of speakers.
January 10, 2008: Deadline for information to be included in the 2008 biennial conference program.
Please send all information via e-mail to the EAAS Secretary General, Jenel Virden, at email@example.com
News from Centres
American Studies Centre (JMU) Annual Report 2005-2006
This year has again been another productive and busy year for the ASRC, with a successful conference programme and a continued extensive use of the ASRC’s facilities.
Conferences and visiting speakers
The annual schools conference, held at the Maritime Museum Liverpool in October, attracted another capacity audience of students and teachers of American politics. The topic this year of The Imperial Presidency, Special Interest Groups, Voting Behaviour, and Congressional Powers, saw lectures given by John Dumbrell (Leicester), Jon Herbert (Keele), Eddie Ashbee (Copenhagen) and Colleen Harris (Loreto, Manchester). The continued success of these schools conferences again highlights the point made in last years report that the study of the USA in schools remains healthy and vibrant. This can only have a continued positive impact on the promotion of American Studies at degree level.
In April the ASRC played host to journalist Dr.Ezekiel Mobley, and Dr.Kathryn Grabowski from the University of Pittsburgh. Dr.Mobley presented a lecture at Liverpool John Moores on the Memin Pinguin controversy and African American –Latin American relations. The transcript of the lecture is available on the ASRC web site at http://www.americansc.org.uk/Online/Ezekiel.htm A visit was also made to the Toxteth TV community project in Liverpool. After presenting an inspirational lecture to a large group of trainees and staff on the development of community TV in Pittsburgh, Ezekiel and Kathy were given a guided tour of the extensive facilities at Toxteth TV by Sue Scott, a lecturer at Liverpool Community College. Following on from this, programmes made by the Toxteth students were broadcast on TV Channel 21 in Pittsburgh. It is anticipated that closer ties will be developed between the Pittsburgh and Liverpool and that exchanges will continue. Earlier in the year the ASRC was again visited by CL Henson, a member of the Centre’s US Advisory Panel and former head of the Special Education Unit of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
ASRC Web site (ARNet) and American Study Today magazine
By June of 2006 the total figure for hits to the web site stood at close to 9 million. The busiest month this academic year was February, with a total of 93,000 hits being received. The addition of new articles, book reviews and an updating of other online sections by Resources Coordinator Dave Forster and Research Assistant Helen Tamburro, has further contributed to the continued success of this valuable resource. The September issue of the ASRC’s hard copy journal, American Studies Today was distributed to a record number of schools, colleges, universities and individuals. Again, this consisted of a wide range of original articles, book reviews and news. The September 2006 issue is in the final stages of preparation and will be posted before the end of the 2005-6 academic year.
Requests and Student Visits to the ASRC
The level of information and research support requests received by the ASRC remains at the high levels of previous years. These have again included contacts from the media, particularly the BBC, the Discovery Channel and National Geographic TV. Extensive use of the ASRC’s facilities continues to be made by students and staff from Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool Community College and others educational institutions. Requests from all over the world via email also continued to increase.
2007 marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the ASRC in Liverpool. It is anticipated that this will be celebrated by special guest lectures as well as a continued full programme of other events.
The Annual Schools Conference will take place in January 2007 and will consider the impact of the Depression and the New Deal. Details will be posted to all those on the ASRC mailing list in early December, as well as being available on the ASRC web site in September.
Finally, thanks go all those who helped make this another successful year. Particular thanks go to Resources Coordinator Dave Forster for his work on the ASRC web site and magazine and Research Assistant Helen Tamburro for her invaluable work in coordinating the distribution of review texts, updating of the ASRC web site pages and dealing with the numerous requests for information via email. Thanks for support must also go to the Public Affairs Office of the US Embassy (in particular Sue Wedlake and Michael Macy), the British Association for American Studies (BAAS), the Eccles Centre at the British Library, the speakers at ASRC conferences and lectures, contributors to the web site and magazine and others too numerous to mention.
Ian Ralston (ASRC Director)
The Eccles Centre for American Studies @ the British Library
Recent and forthcoming activities:
Cartooning Political America
This one-day conference, held in October 2005, brought together commentators including Chris Lamb, Colin Seymour-Ure, Allan McLaurin, Matthew Shaw and Kenneth Baker, and editorial cartoonists Nick Garland (Telegraph), Peter Brookes (Times),Steve Bell (Guardian), KAL (International Herald Tribune, Baltimore Sun) and Pulitzer Prize winner Matt Davies. It is intended that some of the papers will appear in Journalism Studies.
Held over two days in May 2006, in co-operation with the Institute for the Study of the Americans, this conference brought together a team of top quality speakers from the USA and UK. Plenary addresses were given by William Frey and Rhodes Cook. A book from the papers is planned, to be edited by Iwan Morgan and Philip Davies.
Research resource events
American Research Heaven was an open seminar mounted in November 2005, introducingthe newly acquired ‘Readex’ electronic database of documents presented to Congress. This rich resource in political history will grow steadily as more documents are added to the electronically searchable files. In March 2006 ‘Books Express’ joined with the Centre to sponsor a Gallerywatch seminar on research tools concerned with US Congress.
The Eccles Lecture at BAAS
… was in 2006 delivered by Margaret Walsh, and took as its topic the US 1950s automobile industry. The Lecture will be published in pamphlet form by the Eccles Centre. The 2005 lecture, by John Dumbrell is now available from the Centre, or at the Centre’s webpages http://www.bl.uk/ecclescentre
The Eccles Lecture at BACS
… was a new initiative in 2006, and was delivered by Canadian aboriginal fimlm-maker Alanis Obomsawin.
The 2006 Bryant Lecture
… was delivered by venture capitalist and former CEO of Pepsi Cola, and of Apple Computers, John Sculley, who spoke about digital innovation and the creation and storage of research information in the US and globally.
Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary Exhibition:
The British Library’s US curator, Dr Matthew Shaw, curated an exhibition of materials covering all aspects of Ben Franklin’s life – especially the almost two decades that he lived in London. The exhibition, on the Upper Ground Floor of the Library, was open from early April to July 5th.
The Centre sponsored a concert on Franklin’s Glass Armonica, an instrument invented while he was living in London. A full auditorium heard Alisdair Malloy and the London Soloists play pieces by Mozart, Gluck, and Beeethoven as well as examples of the modern use that has been made of this instrument in film scores and rock music.
This is London: American Newspaper Correspondents in London
On the evening of July 18th, as part of the BL’s major exhibition ‘The Front Page’, the Centre is sponsored a panel, featuring the London correspondents of the New York Times, the Washington Post and Time magazine.
Autumn 2006 Lectures:
New Insights into the Battle of the Little Big Horn
A lecture by Doug Scott, President of the Society for Historical Archaeology. 2pm,
British Library Conference Centre. See www.americancivilwar.org.uk/meetings_2006.htm for the booking form (£15)
Ben Franklin tercentenary lectures
The Centre will be hosting lectures at the Library Conference Centre on October 11th and November 1st organised in co-operation with the Ben Franklin House, and stimulated by Ben Franklin’s status as a Man of Science and a Man of Letters. Check the Eccles Centre webpages for details http://www.bl.uk/ecclescentre
The APG/BAAS colloquium
… will take place at the US Embassy on Friday November 17th. Speakers will include Iwan Morgan and Rob Singh, reviewing the emerging ‘heritage’ in domestic and foreign policy areas of the Bush second term; a video link session with a Washington-based expert, on the impact of the midterm elections; and a panel featuring two former Members of the US Congress, and other experts on American political future.
The Bryant Lecture 2007
… is planned for Wednesday March 14th, with former Senator and presidential hopeful Gary Hart PhD as the speaker. Entry is free, but ticketed. If you would like to be on the guest list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
BAAS Schools Conference 2006
Organized by members of the BAAS North West Group a half-day conference on ‘Black Civil Rights’ was held at the Geoffrey Manton Building, Manchester Metropolitan University on Wednesday 8 February. More than a hundred students from schools and sixth-form colleges in the region attended what was a highly successful event. The main presentations, all by BAAS members, were as follows:
John Kirk (Royal Holloway, University of London) examined the most recent work on Martin Luther King. Noting the scholarly focus on King’s leadership during the Montgomery Bus Boycott, 1955-56 and the years 1963-65 he highlighted the need for more study on the years 1956-62 and 1965-68 which remain comparatively neglected periods in King’s life.
Kevern Verney (Edge Hill College of H. E.) considered the changing historiography of the Civil Rights Movement. He demonstrated how an initial ‘King-centric’ approach and a preoccupation with a ‘Montgomery to Memphis’ timeline had developed into a more complex analytical framework. This was reflected in a better appreciation of the Movement in earlier decades and at local level and the significance of civil rights issues in the international arena.
Eithne Quinn (University of Manchester) analysed Hollywood depictions of the civil rights struggle. Looking at the career of Sidney Poitier in particular she examined the complex symbolism and meaning in two of his most successful films of the period, In the Heat of the Night (1967) and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967).
In a lively concluding session all three speakers formed a joint panel answering questions raised by members of the audience.
In what was an interesting an enjoyable afternoon the conference highlighted the positive role of BAAS in encouraging the development of American Studies at school and sixth form level. My thanks to my fellow speakers and also to Glyn Barker, Kathryn Cooper, Sarah MacLachlan, and Ian Scott in helping to make the event possible.
Report on the BAAS North West Group 2006
In addition to the schools conference on ‘Black Civil Rights’ held at Manchester Metropolitan University on 8 February (see elsewhere) the North West Group also organised the following events this academic year:
Thursday 23 March: Research seminar by Professor John Walton (University of Central Lancashire), ‘Transatlantic Popular Resorts: Blackpool and Coney Island’.
Friday 21 or Saturday 22 April. AGM of the BAAS North West Group.
Thursday 8 June. Research seminar by Dr Vanessa Toulmin (National Fairground Archive, University of Sheffield), ‘Barnum and Bunkum: The Impact of American Showmen on British Popular Culture, 1840-1940’.
BAAS Northwest Group
Edge Hill College of Higher Education
Exhibition Review: Americans in Paris, National Gallery, London
22 February – 21 May, 2006
Americans in Paris, 1860-1900, curated by Kathleen Adler and Erica E. Hirschler, with H. Barbara Weinberg.
The oblique story told by Americans in Paris, 1860-1900 is of teacups, armchairs, mirrors, and painted paintings on painted walls and easels. But, first, the straightforward story of an exhibition that moved from the National Gallery in London to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and will close at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. There, as in London, one may presume that the capstone will be Childe Hassam’s Allies Day, May 1917 (1917), which is indebted to Paris street-scenes by Monet, but, appropriately, shows the Union Jack, the Tricoleur and the Stars and Stripes flying on Fifth Avenue. Americans in Paris, then, re-tells the international theme of Henry James, to whom the catalogue and the audio-tour regularly genuflect (See Kathleen Adler, Erica E. Hirschler, H. Barbara Weinberg, with contributions from David Park Curry, Rodolphe Rapetti and Christopher Riopelle, with the assistance of Megan Holloway Fort and Kathleen Mrachet, Americans in Paris, 1860-1900, London: National Gallery Company Limited, 2006). American artists, such as Ellen Day Hale, William Merritt Chase and Willard Metcalf visited Paris, spent some time picking up the directions of modern art, before returning home. Mary Cassatt, Elizabeth Nourse and Henry Ossawa Tanner – an African-American who experienced less discrimination than in the U.S. – were among those who stayed. The expatriate theme is completed by James McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent who moved to London, while continuing to speculate on American allegiances. Whistler’s Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1: Portrait of the Artist’s Mother (1871) dominates the second room in the exhibition, evoking, at once, in its almost monochrome colours a stern New England puritanism and pared-down, European modernism. The curators accord it further and interesting prominence by flanking it with Chase’s Portrait of Miss Dora Wheeler (1883) and Cecelia Beaux’s Les derniers jours d’enfance (1885). Even so, it is difficult to leave the exhibition without thinking of Sargent as the leading expatriate artist, given the traditional but still dramatic pairing of his two American women in Paris: his “white” and “black” women, Mrs Henry White (Margaret Stuyvesant Rutherfurd) (1883) and Madam X (Madam Pierre Gautreau) (1883-4).
Most of the American artists who transplanted to Paris, including Thomas Eakins, who represented the academic realist strand, came home and resumed an artistically enriched career. The other main strand was an American variety of Impressionism, on which the critical and curatorial line hasn’t changed since the important American Impressionism and Realism: The Painting of Modern Life, 1885-1915, also co-curated by Barbara Weinberg from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and opening there in 1994. That exhibition promoted, in American art criticism, a social history of American art strongly influenced by T J Clark’s monograph on Manet, The Painting of Modern Life (1984). The helpful audio-tour of Americans in Paris reaches a similar conclusion, accusing Edmund Tarbell’s Three Sisters – A Study in June Sunlight (1890) of losing its painterly nerve. The summary view that American artists learned their techniques in Paris but could not match the subtle social and political critique of the French is mostly fair, though not entirely so, and Tarbell’s 1899 painting Across the Room (c. 1899) – also exhibited in the last room – is a disturbing depiction of a well-dressed woman with a blank look on her face, isolated on a sofa at the far side of a polished wood-floored room. On the whole, though, the interpretation holds, and an earlier room entitled “Summers in the Country”, contains some striking instances of American Impressionist works that verge on respectful art-tourism: Robinson’s A Bird’s Eye View (1889), Metcalf’s Poppy Field (Landscape at Giverny) (1886) and John Leslie Breck’s Giverny Landscape (1888).
The few exceptions to the persuasive official itinerary may, perversely, be the ones that attract attention. Tanner’s Les Invalides, Paris (1896) adjoins Charles Curran’s In the Luxembourg Garden (1889), Nelson Bickford’s In the Tuileries Garden, Paris (1881) and Maurice Prendergast’s The Luxembourg Garden, Paris (1892-4), but its disorientating slanting perspective, large painted spaces and indistinct figures bisecting the structuring bands, contrast with the neighbouring conventionally busy scenes in which space is filled up with anecdotes and characters. And then there are the remarkable works collected in two rooms captioned “At Home in Paris”. In Mary Fairchild’s Portrait of Mlle S. H. (Sara Tyson Hallowell) (1886), the consistent browns of wallpaper, couch and the woman’s dress concentrate around a brilliant blue teacup, as the Tennessee landscape is obliged to do around Wallace Stevens’ jar. Cassatt has three paintings of tea-time, with The Tea (1880) notable because the two women are compositionally dominated by the silver tea-set, angled, Matisse-like, on the table in front of them, and by the cup that obscures much of one woman’s face as she delicately sips from it. The cup does not obscure her eyes, though, and she and her companion have a distracted look common to many of Cassatt’s women. They seem less at home than the domestic settings and rituals would suggest, and this group of paintings sits uneasily with the portraits of, and by, mostly, men who easily, if superficially, adopt flâneur-like poses in the opening room of the exhibition. Objects are as important as they are in the Victorian novel, and exaggeratedly so in Sargent’s very large The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit (1882). The giant Japanese vases, a red screen and a dark interior in the background dominate the painting, even as the four girls are the ostensible subject matter and are painted very precisely. An obsession with things runs through these “at home” paintings, though only Cassatt’s Little Girl in a Blue Armchair (1878) fully uses modernist composition to play off against traditional detailed representation. The little girl is both individualized – she is bored and, at once, a child and a woman – and claustrophobically embraced by the startling blue armchair and suite and the lack of contextualising space. Another Cassatt painting might almost be the girl grown up. In Woman with a Pearl Necklace in a Loge (1879) the young woman seems to be under the same kind of surveillance as in Cassatt’s accompanying but more famous, In the Loge (1878), until we notice that the occupants of the other loges, behind her, are reflected in a mirror and are, therefore, in front of her. The visual self-consciousness is equally compelling in Mary Fairchild’s In the Nursery – Giverny Studio (Dans la nursery) (c 1896-8). There is a subtle politics in the mix of, on the one hand, domesticity and acceptance of traditional women’s work, carried out by the woman of the house and her female servant, and, on the other hand, the room doubling as Fairchild’s studio. We see her own work – also doubled, as it were – on an easel.
The international theme is inescapable, though, and remains a helpful structure in which to appreciate formal developments in American art. Hassam’s flag painting rather conveniently concludes the exhibition, but a less obviously iconic conclusion to the theme might have been the two Winslow Homer paintings featured earlier. Prisoners from the Front (1866) is American in Civil War theme and traditional in the subservience of paint to drawing. In A Summer Night (1890) the white flecks and vague shapes are not explicable by reference, but only by a self-consciousness about paint that, fifty years later, would be very much at home in New York’s high modernism.
Douglas Tallack, University of Nottingham
After They’ve Seen Paree…
Staging this major show of the works of American impressionists in London brings an ironical transnational dynamic to an overwhelmingly rich hanging of the work of some of the most significant and remembered artists of the period. Paris, London and New York have been the centres of the international art world for the last two centuries and this exhibition transports the life of the bustling Paris of the nineteenth century to the cool underground rooms of the National Gallery’s Sainsbury Wing, via the eye, mind, and brush of some of the United States’ most singular and best loved painters.
These many men and women left their homes in distant America to travel to France in order to study at the Beaux-Arts, as well as numerous private studios. Paris, in the glittering days of the Second Empire and Third Republic presented hundreds of young Americans with an opportunity to see so much art with their own eyes, both brand new pieces, from whose creators they took instruction, and the older works that revealed to them a heritage in which they wished to share. Carolus-Duran, a friend of Manet and Monet who became the teacher of many of the most familiar names in the group, attracted renown at a young age due to his insistence that his students paint directly onto canvas, rather than pre-sketching their work. John Singer Sargent was delighted by the contrast between the atelier kept by Carolus on the rue Notre-Dame des Champs, where no more than thirty students were taught, and the studios of other instructors, where hundreds of men and women studied at once. His 1879 portrait of his master is one of the very darkest pieces in the exhibition, with a striking contrast between the studio background, Carolus’s drab clothing, and the bright white of his lace cuffs. The two most prominent of Sargent’s society portraits hanging here, Madame X and Mrs Henry White, similarly bring out their startlingly bright subjects from colourless or darkly coloured backgrounds.
Sargent, one of the most recognizable among these Americans in Paris, might be seen as the least American of the artists in the exhibition being born in Florence to expatriate American parents. Likewise, Whistler, whose 1871 portrait of his mother, Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1, is the best known of the eighty-odd paintings hung here, was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, but spent much of his childhood in Europe and eventually permanently settled in London, as did Sargent. Having studied in Paris from 1855, but settling down on the other side of the channel by 1860, Whistler painted his mother in Chelsea in 1871.
Oscar Wilde wrote that ‘They say when good Americans die they go to Paris’, what this exhibition might conversely tell us is that Paris gives birth to good Americans. These artists, children of the United States, were moulded by their Parisian education, and their subjects, natural for an artist in Paris, were both exotic and automatically privileged for those who might later see the work in the Museum of Fine Arts, or their own Boston drawing room, and thus Paris gives to them the ultimate prize, to be an artist with an American lineage but one who could not be accused of being in any way parochial or provincial. Mary Cassatt, who has pictures in the main exhibition as well as a small adjunct hanging of her own, was the only American to be officially associated with the impressionists. Given the opportunity by Degas to participate in the fourth Impressionist exhibition in 1879, Cassatt went on to show with the impressionists three further times. Fully integrated into Parisian life unlike many of her compatriots, Cassatt’s work includes many informal and familial portraits, the most engaging, at least from the point of view of an Americanist, being The Tea (1880), which, in the setting of an immaculate Paris flat, foregrounds the artist’s sister drinking from an American tea-set that had crossed the Atlantic as a family heirloom.
Of those painters who did return to the New World, their subjects often remained constant with those they had painted in France, with, naturally and wonderfully, American landscapes in the impressionist style featuring heavily. Williard Metcalf’s Gloucester Harbour (1895), is a much stiller picture than his Giverny Poppy Field of 1886, but one in which the influence of Monet’s palette is as strong. Winslow Homer’s A Summer Night, painted at his home in Maine in 1890, depicts two women dancing against a striking background of dark sky, dark sand and black rocks, on which the foam of the crashing surf is picked out in white and an almost unbelievable blue. A Boston illustrator who served as an artist-correspondent during the Civil War, had settled in Maine after studying in Paris and spending time in Northumberland. A Summer Night was sent to the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris where it and the other works entered by Homer won a gold medal. Purchased by the French government and now in the collection of the Musee d’Orsay, the travels of this picture and its artist make it the typifying piece in this exhibition which is, fundamentally, about the exchange of ideas and images, across both the Atlantic and the Channel.
The exhibition travels to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, from 25 June to 24 September, then the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 17 October until 28 January 2007.
Joe Kennedy, University of Sussex
‘America Actually’: Report of the 50th Anniversary Postgraduate Conference
The 2005 BAAS Postgraduate Conference was enormously popular, attracting over 72 delegates, including 60 postgraduate students. As always, the conference succeeded in providing a supportive and informal environment within which young academics could present their work.
The conference provided a forum for some interesting research within American Studies. Scholars attended from across the UK, but also from Switzerland, Romania, Florida, New York, and Chicago. This ensured variety not just in academic discipline, but also in attitudes and opinion. Dr Graham Thompson (University of Nottingham) offered a stimulating and well-received plenary examining the current state of American Studies in the UK. The panel sessions sparked some intense debate around many issues, including international foreign policy, race, Hurricane Katrina, and Iraq. Papers ranged from an exploration of hypertext fiction to a discussion of Eminem’s lyrics and phenomenological conventions in the work of Paul Auster.
The aim of the conference was to provide a stimulating and welcoming environment for postgraduates to present their research and receive helpful feedback, and the lively discussions after each panel were a highlight of the day, often continuing into coffee breaks. The workshop on developing and using WebCT software in the classroom, led by Dr Bob McKay (University of Sheffield), allowed delegates to explore new pedagogical methods for teaching American Studies. The publishing workshop was led by Dr Holly Farrington (Open University), Dr Hugh Wilford (University of Sheffield) and Dr Shirley Foster (University of Sheffield) and offered practical advice to postgraduates on the politics of publication, editing, writing reviews and negotiating book contracts. Throughout the day, Dr Liz Rosen, editor of US Studies Online, was also available to answer questions about submitting articles for publication.
The organisers would like to thank the British Association for American Studies and the US Embassy in London for their financial support, and continuing encouragement of UK postgraduate work in American Studies.
Anne-Marie Evans and Elizabeth Boyle,
University of Sheffield
Travel Award Reports
David Anderson, University of Dundee
Properly, my first thanks go to the British Association for American Studies for their award of a short-term travel grant in support of my recent research trip to the University of Georgia during a suitably humid two-week stay in Athens. When quizzed as to the purpose of my visit by a clearly no-nonsense airport immigration officer, I was met with a look of disbelieving incredulity for I spent the bulk of my time in that most bohemian of American college towns in their fabulously well-equipped university library examining materials relating to Old South plantation Christmases and southern Christmas celebrations during the Civil War.
Christmas tends to assume a strong sense of its own significance in times of protracted conflict, especially when the meaning of Christmas itself is clouded. That this is the case was not lost on southerners during the Civil War. Ensconced in the history stacks in the main library – with regular visits to the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the Georgiana collection in the Georgia Room, and supplemented with additional materials from an excellent Interlibrary Loan system – I set about examining scores of Civil War memoirs and biographies, along with military histories and campaign narratives; earmarking relevant articles and opinion pieces in southern sympathetic publications such as the Southern Historical Society Papers and Confederate Veteran magazine; and painstakingly summarizing anguished diary and journal entries and the often wrenching exchange of letters between family members and friends. Contained therein one finds a repeated commentary upon the larcenous nature of history, its rude habit of intrusion into peoples’ lives, and the theft of the irreplaceable. Indeed, for those southerners who remained at home – predominantly wives, mothers, and sisters – Christmas was a time of loneliness, constant worry, and ominous foreboding. Children, however, felt the temper of the times more than most. Toys and decorations were usually homemade because of the scarcity of materials and crippling wartime prices. One ingenious Richmond family decorated their Christmas tree with the ears and tails of butchered hogs; the tails garlanded with paper, the ears doubling as candle-holders. Common gifts included various fruits and assortments of nuts, candy, popcorn, and cakes. Others were not so lucky. General Howell Cobb’s children were informed that nefarious Yankees had shot Santa Claus.
By Christmas 1864 many war-weary Confederates had become almost endemically depressed. Camp life was generally tedious and rumors and hearsay filtered through the ranks regarding Yankee whereabouts. Wretched weather conditions invariably emphasized wretched circumstances as thoughts of food and furloughs occupied yuletide minds. Drunkenness was a particularly acute problem at this time of year as soldiers imbibed hastily concocted eggnog rather freely. There were, however, some seasonal entertainments to occupy even the most forlorn of souls: parties, games, singing, dancing, and wrestling competitions, races, and snowball fights being the most popular. One Alabamian wrote of the soldiers in his company who drummed out a percussive version of ‘Dixie’ on a variety of pots and pans while others impersonated their superiors in an unrehearsed march past. I had hoped to unearth some examples of seasonal fraternization between Union and Confederate soldiers in ways similar to the famous game of football between British and German soldiers during the First World War but, unfortunately, found nothing – on that front the search continues.
During my research trip I also examined several plantation reminiscences and similarly themed remembrances in relation to New South nostalgia for Old South Christmases. As an integral part of the literary Lost Cause, these plantation reminiscences traversed the abyss of the Civil War years to an antebellum era that appeared simpler and more contented than the complicated and seemingly gloomy postwar scene. In most wars stability and sameness are among the earliest casualties, their loss emphasising the rift and rupture between past and present, then and now, old and new. Nostalgia emerges, then, in one of its forms, as a means of rewinding time and preserving the past against the discontinuity of experience. Through an investigation of older medical journals and various psychology based studies, I was also able to detail the etymology of nostalgia from a type of homesickness that plagued – and killed – seventeenth century Swiss mercenaries to its usage today as a more generalized form of longing.
The variation of style, structure, and substance in most plantation reminiscences is slight, and one standard chapter – the plantation Christmas – provided an acutely nostalgic setting in which an Old South of agrarian rapture, social gaiety, and lavish hospitality could be recalled in all its former glory. Indeed, here one can locate all elements of that plantation lifestyle that takes out breath away: extended visits and splendid parties; elaborately prepared dinners and a generally sybaritic description of an abundance of food; eggnog fueled badinage and drinking with Bacchanalian excess; innocent childhoods and youthful exuberance; and relaxed social barriers between master and enslaved, all enveloped by a sense that here was a picture of the Old South at its absolute moment of perfection.
These nostalgic reveries for an Old South de luxe are acutely aware of what was past, very nearly funereal in their writing for an irrevocably lost world. They represent nostalgia for the Old South at its most rampant, essentially a fictionalization of a past that more often than not taxes credibility and completely erases any conflicting memories of the era. Indeed, perhaps the most damning verdict of the Christmas season came from the pen of antislavery propagandist Frederick Douglass in his Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, the second of three autobiographies, published in 1881. Christmas on the plantation, asserted Douglass, with its emphasis on revelry and carousing, muted any insurrectionary desires among slaves and diverted attentions away from thoughts of freedom and liberty.
I am currently writing-up my research and once again thank BAAS for their financial support and warm encouragement.
Oliver Belas, Royal Holloway, University of London
My thesis is an investigation of African American genre fiction, and the first part examines the detective fiction of Rudolph Fisher and Chester Himes. Thanks to a BAAS Postgraduate Short Travel Term Award, I was able between mid May and early June of 2006 to conduct a three week research trip to the United States, during which time I visited Emory University’s Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL); Yale University’s Beinecke Library; and New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. The trip was geared primarily to furthering my work on Himes, with a secondary emphasis on Fisher (on whom the available archive is a lot smaller).
Situated on the tenth floor of the Robert W. Woodruff Library, Emory’s MARBL holds the substantial (and in places chaotic) Michel Fabre Archive of African American Letters, which contains a large body of Himes’s letters to Fabre and others, and an extensive correspondence between Fabre and Lesley Packard, Himes’s wife. This first leg of the trip culminated in a minor discovery – an unopened envelope containing a floppy disk copy of an interview, as far as we can tell unpublished, by Fabre of Lesley Packard. Other unexpected materials of interest included a type-script alternative ending to Himes’s second volume of autobiography, and a scathing but incisive criticism of Himes and his work made by Ralph Ellison in a letter to Horace Cayton.
Week two was spent at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. The Beinecke’s James Weldon Johnson Collection contains the Carl Van Vechten Correspondence, which includes some three hundred pages of letters to Van Vechten from Himes, written between 1946 and 1964. For those familiar with Himes, this collection of letters shows a perhaps surprisingly intimate side, and illustrates the emergence of a hardening bitterness from a once relatively optimistic writer. The Van Vechten papers also contain a brief correspondence between Van Vechten and Fisher, and although one can not glean much biographical detail from these letters they do hint at a “taking of sides” in areas of the New Negro culture debate. Sadly, what looked to be the largest folder of letters written by Fisher (in the Dorothy Peterson Collection) is currently under restricted access.
The Schomburg Centre in Harlem, the final stop on the research tour, contains amongst other materials of interest a 1937-1942 correspondence between Himes and his cousin Henry Lee Moon, and the Henry Lee and Mollie Moon Papers have provided me with invaluable contextual material. Henry Moon was prominent in the New York Federal Writers’ Project, Roosevelt’s so-called “Black Cabinet”, and the NAACP; and apart from the fact that in his letters to Moon Himes displays a rare deference, Moon is interesting because of the direct and indirect contact he gave Himes with some of the dominant literary, social, and political currents of the day.
The research trip has provided me with access to important resources which have not been collected and published, and the materials gathered over the past few weeks will contribute greatly to my attempt to read Himes and Fisher broadly in their cultural, political, and historical contexts, and locally in relation to their interpersonal networks. The staff at all three libraries were extremely knowledgeable and helpful, and I would like here to extend particular thanks to Carmelita Pickett at Emory for her warm and friendly assistance in preparation of my trip. Finally, of course, I thank BAAS, without whose support I could not have undertaken the trip in the first place.
Jeff Farley, University of Glasgow
Upon receiving the Malcolm Bradbury award for 2005, I was able to spend some time in New York City pursuing my research into jazz. It was the first time I was ever in New York, and so the trip was invaluable because I was able not only to see the centre of jazz since the late 1920s, but also to see the city from which so much of American culture emanates. This was probably the most unexpected benefit from the generous scholarship—to be able to see and experience what I see only in words most of the time.
I spent a lot of time at the Schomburg Centre in Harlem, which has an indispensable collection of not only jazz-related material but also of media, arts, photographs, videos, recordings of rare value in African American culture since the 1920s. Here I was able to see some rare footage of shows and newsprint which helped me get a much more detailed understanding of how jazz has been represented in various forms of media. I also spent a lot of time in the comfortable New York Performing Arts Library, which is at the famous Lincoln Centre at 66th and Broadway. This is home to Julliard School of Music (former school of Miles Davis, to name just one) and the present day leading ‘establishment’ for jazz—Jazz at the Lincoln Centre run in part by Wynton Marsalis. Here I was able to pour through old issues of jazz magazines, newspapers, and fan publications from the 1920s to the 1960s. I was also able to view several films including the excellent 1943 Cabin in the Sky starring Lena Horne, Ethel Waters, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington.
What I was not able to see here, I supplemented with a short trip to the LOC in Washington D.C. The amount of amazing information stored there is staggering to think about and I put in many open-to-close days trying to get through their collection of rare music publications from 1920s to the present. Outside of the library, I also got to see some live jazz at the Friday night fish fry at a Baptist church on the south side.
As I found out, research libraries in New York are not known for their long opening hours. This afforded me time wander around New York.
Harlem was a beautiful area I was really excited to explore and I had a great time walking around and talking to people there. It was interesting to see first-hand the differences that remain between Harlem and most the rest of Manhattan. I won’t forget the surprise upon paying 20% less for the same Coke from the same type of shop in Harlem as compared to Midtown. It also amazed me to walk the streets and think of what was happening there every night about eighty years ago that was to change the way many people around the world heard music.
The lauded 52nd Street of 1940s, a place even Duke waxed nostalgic about, is now completely devoid of jazz clubs, which for the most part are located in the Village. I had the opportunity to see several shows down that direction and elsewhere in Manhattan and in Brooklyn. It was through this experience that I really began to see how easy it was for the best musicians of the day to be able to exchange ideas. It was such an experience to see just how many clubs can be within a ten minutes walk, let alone even in the same city.
I really enjoyed all my time that this award made possible. The effects that this research has on my thesis and on my future as an academic will, I think, prove to be immeasurable. I would truly like to thank BAAS for their generosity and support.
Nick Monk, University of Warwick
The following is a brief account of my recent trip to the United States funded, in part, by a BAAS travel award. My proposal to the BAAS was threefold: that I present a paper at the American Literature Association conference in San Francisco; that I visit South Texas to view the Cormac McCarthy archive at Texas State University at San Marcos; and, finally, that I visit a number of Native American sites and museums in New Mexico. Firstly, then, I was fortunate enough to invited by the Cormac McCarthy Society to deliver a paper on an ALA panel the subject of which was “Cormac McCarthy: Novels of the Border”. My paper was entitled “Spiritual Formation in the Border Trilogy and Leslie Silko’s Ceremony” and was concerned with the notion that both McCarthy’s and Silko’s novels are versions of the bildungsroman that focus on the spiritual, and might, therefore, be described as seeleroman, or “novels of the soul”. My argument was that whilst Silko’s principal character, Tayo, at the conclusion of his journey, is re-connected to his community, landscape and religion; McCarthy’s protagonists in the Border Trilogy, are left with mere traces of salvation; illusory and fragmented. The panel was well attended and my paper provoked a lively debate concerning McCarthy’s work and the notion of nihilism – a controversial area amongst McCarthy scholars. Earlier I had been able to attend another McCarthy panel in which one of the contributors offered an account of the opening night of McCarthy’s new play “The Sunset Limited”, which began a run in Chicago a few weeks ago. There was some fascinating and highly relevant material I was able to glean from this, and which I will be using in my dissertation.
Finally, at the ALA, I was able to attend a number of other panels at which I met numerous scholars in my field – the panels on Native American literature were particularly useful in this regard – and the opportunity to discuss my work with academics of all levels at a large conference was of enormous benefit.
The second part of my trip involved a journey by road through New Mexico and South Texas. I was able to visit The Native American Museum of Art in Santa Fe, the Acoma Pueblo, and, importantly, I was able to spend a full day at the Laguna Pueblo, from where Leslie Silko originates. Even more useful, perhaps, was the opportunity I had to spend time walking in, and photographing, the landscapes of the Southwest that are so important to the fiction of both McCarthy and Silko, and upon which I will focus in my two dissertation chapters concerning “cultural geography”. I feel certain that to have experienced this environment first-hand cannot fail to enrich my understanding. Finally, I was able to view the McCarthy archive, part of the Southwestern Writer’s Collection in the Albert. B. Alkek Library. The archive contains, amongst other items, typescripts of McCarthy’s plays, extensive research material by John Sepich on McCarthy’s novel Blood Meridian, and the drafts and proofs of the first ever collection of critical essays on McCarthy. This material is unavailable anywhere else.
The visit was of enormous benefit as I was able to discover vital evidence, in McCarthy’s unpublished screenplay “Of Whales and Men”, in support of a number of assertions I make in my dissertation – the most significant of which concerns McCarthy’s profound suspicion of Eurocentric modernity and instrumental reason. In addition I was able to read McCarthy’s adaptation for the screen of his novel The Crossing, and review a considerable volume of correspondence between a number of significant McCarthy scholars. In conclusion, then, I would say that to be able to combine a presentation at a major conference in the United States, to travel through the region upon which my thesis is focused, and to research a unique archive of relevant material was an extraordinary and singularly valuable experience.
Conference and Seminar Announcements
American Modernism: Cultural Transactions
22-23 September 2006, Institute for Historical and Cultural Research, Oxford Brookes University
American Modernism: Cultural Transactions (22-23 September 2006) is a two-day event where a number of professorial speakers from the U.K. and a plenary U.S.-based speaker will discuss the manifestations and perimeters of modern American literary and popular culture. The event aims to assess the impact and the magnitude of transatlantic influences, address questions pertaining to the rise and domicile of the literary avant-garde and examine issues surrounding race, gender and sexuality in the period. In short, it aims to assess the U.S.’s current place in the global landscape in light of its modernist cultural transactions
American Modernism: Cultural Transactions was conceived under the IHCR’s focus group in the Cultures of Modernism. The conference aims to bring together scholars of international standing to engage in a series of dialogues that address the cogency of the term with specific emphasis upon their own research. Speakers include: Professor Janet Beer (Manchester Metropolitan), Dr Paul Giles (Oxford), Professor Martin Halliwell (Leicester), Professor Steven Mattthews (Oxford Brookes), Dr Mark Whalan (Exeter), Professor Tim Armstrong (Royal Holloway), Dr Rebecca Tillett (UEA) and Professor Laura Marcus (Sussex). Each dialogue will last for one hour (including questions) and the conference will commence with a plenary discussion of the difficulties inherent in the term ‘American Modernism’ by Professor Cassandra Laity (Drew University), co-editor of the journal Modernism/modernity.
The first afternoon of the conference will be dedicated entirely to postgraduate research and work in the field of American Modernism. To register for the conference please download a registration form from the conference website: ah.brookes.ac.uk/conferences/americanmodernism
and return to Dr Catherine Morley email@example.com
or Dr Alex Goody firstname.lastname@example.org
The conference is open to all BAAS members and the general public. Please contact the organisers at the above e-mail address for registration.
Conference Fee: £35 (waged) and £20 (unwaged/PG).
University of Westminster, London, England. – Representations of 9/11 (UK)
Call for papers for a one-day Interdisciplinary Conference
The UK Network for Modern Fiction Studies in partnership with the University of Hull invites proposals for papers and panels for our Interdisciplinary “Representations of 9/11” Conference.
Confirmed Keynote Speaker: Prof. Peter Brooker, University of Nottingham
In an article in the New York Times, Michiko Katutani wrote that of the emergent artistic responses to 9/11, “Thus far, words alone have proved curiously inadequate as a means of testimony”. In the aftermath of 9/11, many artists were called upon to express their views of the most appalling events that had just taken place. It was as if, more than most people, they might frame some response adequate to the moment: as artists with language, their linguistic responses might somehow achieve an expressive intensity capable of embodying or representing the events themselves and the feelings they generated. This raises the question of artistic responsibility and the role of the artist in relation to the pressure of momentous contemporary events.
Possible topics include but are not limited to:
The problems of representation
The politics of representation
Representation of New York City post-9/11
The role of the artist in relation to the momentous contemporary events
Iain Banks; Paul Auster; Don DeLillo; Glyn Maxwell; Frederic Beigbeder; Jonathan Safran-Foer; Philip Roth; Art Spiegelman; Ken Loach; J.G. Ballard; 11’09”01 Film anthology; Will Self; David Hare; Martin Amis; Ian McEwan; Claire Tristram; Slavoz Zizek; Jean Baudrillard
We will be pursuing various publishing outputs related to the conference.
Send abstracts (no more than 250 words) for proposed 20 minute papers by 30th September 2006 to martyn.colebrook_at_english.hull.ac.uk. Please mark the subject of your email “Representations of 9/11 abstract”. Alternatively, you can post your abstracts to Martyn Colebrook, Department of English, University of Hull, Cottingham Road, Hull, East Yorkshire, England HU6 7RX. Proposals for comprised panels of three speakers are also welcome.
Institute of North American Studies
The Department of North American Studies, part of the larger Institute of North American and European Studies, is hoping to create links with other universities with American Studies programs
The Department of North American Studies, part of the larger Institute of North American and European Studies, was founded in January 2005. The Department brings together a diverse collection of professors and lecturers from a wide variety of disciplines within the University of Tehran. This multi-disciplinary approach encompasses History, Literature, Politics, Economics, and Cultural Studies to produce innovative research and analysis and to provide students with a broad base of knowledge and skills for their future careers.
The Department of North American Studies has established a fruitful partnership with
the Department of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Birmingham,
United Kingdom, and we are hoping to create links with other universities with American Studies programs. As the department is the first of its kind in the country, we are hoping that sister programs within the American Studies Association might be able to assist us by sending audio and video material as well as books on American literature (including literary texts), history, culture, politics, and Philosophy.
Seyed Mohammad Marandi
Head of the North American Studies Department
University of Tehran
P.O. Box: 14155-6468
Web site: inaes.ut.ac.irinaes.ir
This message is posted on behalf of on behalf of the American Studies Association’s International Initiative. For further information contact, the International Initiative Project Director, Shelley Fisher Fishkin, email@example.com or the Project Coordinator, Kate.Delaney@covad.net
Salzburg Seminar American Studies Alumni Association (SSASAA)
Redefining America: Race, Ethnicity and Immigration
7-10 September 2006
Keynote Speaker: Emory Elliott, University Professor of the University of California and Distinguished Professor of English, University of California Riverside; President-Elect, American Studies Association Ronald Clifton, Adjunct Professor of American Studies, Stetson University, Deland, Florida
Deborah L. Madsen, Professor of American Literature and Culture, University of Geneva
Ruben Rumbaut, Professor of Sociology, University of California Irvine (via video conference – status pending)
In the last thirty years, millions of people from Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa have migrated and immigrated to the United States, contributing to remarkable social, political and cultural transformations for both the new arrivals and the communities and regions in which they have settled. Economic shifts, social tensions, and political conflict have often accompanied these population changes.
At the same time, the cultural production of the new immigrants often mediates the social pressures of change as they often bring with them not only family but a variety of goods, styles of dress, religious practices, forms of art and expression, and perspectives on all aspects of human experience that daily transform the cultural fabric of their communities and of the United States. This symposium will focus on how these factors relate to current social, political and economic dynamics in the United States and their implication for cultural change and America’s role in the world. Discussion will be invited on how the literature, film, music, art, and other forms of cultural production mediate or not the conflicts and tensions produced by such rapid immigration and social changes.
The 2006 SSASAA symposium is open to all Salzburg Seminar alumni interested in the field of American Studies, as well as any scholar working actively in the area of American Studies. The symposium will consist of presentations by distinguished scholars of American Studies as well as theme-based discussion groups. Additional events include a barbeque, receptions, a concert in Schloss Leopoldskron, and a gala dinner on the final evening.
Payment information: The fee for the symposium is 500 Euro for a single 800 Euro for a double room. If the total payment is made by March 1, 2006, the fee is 475 Euro for a single and 760 Euro for a double. The fee includes accommodation and meals for three nights, tuition and fees and social events, but does not include travel expenses. Limited financial aid is available for partial scholarships to help cover the symposium fee. This need should be stated at the time of registration.
Credit cards are accepted (payment in Euro only)
In order to reserve a space, a completed registration form and a 100
Euro deposit (refundable until July 1) is required.
Space is limited and reservations will be confirmed in the order in which they are received. For further information about the SSASAA symposium, contact SSASAA leader Marty Gecek, firstname.lastname@example.org
Transatlantic Conflict and Consensus: Culture, History, and Politics
The Maastricht Center for Transatlantic Studies issues a call for papers for its fourth biennial conference on Transatlantic Studies. The conference, entitled “Transatlantic Conflict and Consensus: Culture, History, and Politics”, will be held October 25-28, 2006, on the campus of Teikyo University Holland, Maastricht, The Netherlands.
Along with presentation of accepted papers, the conference will feature speakers representing the American view of transatlantic relations, a continental European view of transatlantic relations, and an academic overview of the discussion.
Organizing and sponsor institutions of the conference include the Maastricht Center for Transatlantic Studies; Gloucestershire University, UK; and The University of South Dakota, USA. Contact Dr. Neil Wynn at email@example.com or Dr. Tim Schorn at firstname.lastname@example.org, or see the conference website, for additional information.
The Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford
U.S. National Identity in the 21st Century, 9-11 November 2006
The Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford, invites registrations for a three-day interdisciplinary conference examining the subject of American national identity in the twenty-first century. The RAI welcomes proposals analyzing the historical, social, political, literary, and cultural meanings of the American nation.
After 9/11, there was an upsurge of patriotism among the American people but five years on, has this strong sense of united nationhood proved resilient? Can a national identity fuelled by fear and anger be sustained? Or can a more positive patriotism be fostered? Alongside the impact of 9/11, numerous changes in international relations and global affairs have transformed the ways in which the United States understands itself and in how others perceive it. From the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of China, to the spread of digital information technology and global corporatism, to the election of Bush and the invasion of Iraq, the pace of change is rapid and seemingly uncontrollable. Do the founding principles of the United States still translate into a workable creed for the globalized twenty-first century? Or have the pressures of multiculturalism, multilingualism, and transnationalism changed the shape and direction of the country beyond recognition?
This conference will engage with the meaning of the United States of America today and in the past, as a nation and as an international presence. It allows for interdisciplinary approaches, with the historical, political, cultural, and literary significance of American-ness all contributing to the constructions of the identity of the nation and its people.
To register for the conference contact: Cheryl Hudson, Assistant Director, Academic Programme, Rothermere American Institute, Oxford, OX1 3TG, or e-mail email@example.com
Eccles Centre: Custer at Little Big Horn
Custer at the Little Big Horn – some new insights
A lecture by Doug Scott, President of the US Society for Historical Archaeology. Sponsored by the Eccles Centre for American Studies and the American Civil War Round Table UK
Saturday 7th October, 1.30 for 2.00 pm start, the British Library Conference Centre, £15
Book through www.americancivilwar.org.uk
Hellenic Association for American Studies
Ex-centric Narratives, Identity and Multivocality in Anglo-American Cultures
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, School of English
HELAAS Graduate Student International Conference Inaugural, March 15-18, 2007
The Hellenic Association for American Studies, and the Department of American
Literature and Culture of the School of English of Aristotle University aim to bring together Greek and foreign graduate students (MA & PhD) as well as young scholars at the start of their careers from various fields and disciplines to a conference which is organized at the Aristotle University Campus.
The conference, which is the first of its kind to be held in Greece, invites papers that address the concepts of de-centrism and ex-centrism within a globalized context where borders between the canonical and the other are being contested. Within this context, individual cultures and individual writers and artists are now viewed as participants in an intercultural and multiple exchange of experiences and perspectives in their attempt to move beyond “boundaries.” With the peripheral having now become the center of contemporary culture, this conference is interested in examining cultural and literary diversity that have merged from the reciprocal traffic of ideas and influences between cultures, politics, aesthetics and disciplines with an emphasis on identity as a site of crisis and fragmentation. To investigate the newly created political and socio-cultural reality as well as the literary and artistic aesthetics, prospective participants are encouraged to contribute paper proposals relating to the conference theme, in the fields of literature, history, film, language, pedagogy, psychology, music, art, politics, economics, and law.
Ex-centricity, identity and multivocality may be examined in relation to one of the suggested topics below, the list not being exhaustive.
Personal Boundaries in the Negotiation of Identity
Locality and Belonging
Place and Identity
Contested Landscapes/ Contested Narratives
Local v/s transnational politics
Setting boundaries – Transcending Boundaries; Spatial and Social Organization
Ethnic Groups – Minorities – Immigration – Alienation – Exile
Local vs. Global: Shifting Borders and Hybrid Identities
Doppelganger metaphor /Otherness
Polyphony vs. Authorial voices in politics/history, philosophy, psychology,
Gender – Racial identity
New Novels – Old Narratives
Multileveledness – Politext – Hypertexts
Cultural Preservations and Electronic Technologies
Embodiment – Disembodiment
Selected papers will be published in electronic and hard copy format.
Please submit a 250-300 word abstract, for a 20-minute presentation and a short bio to the address below by October 31, 2006.
E-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or post to:
“Ex-centric Narratives”, 2007 HELAAS Graduate Conference,
School of English, Department of American Literature and Culture,
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, 54 124
Transatlantic Exchange: African Americans and the Celtic Nations
University of Wales Swansea, March 28 – 30 2007
Deadline for panels/ papers: 29/9/2006
Conference website: http://www.swansea.ac.uk/english/crew/transatlanticexchange
In his introduction to the thirtieth anniversary edition of Invisible Man Ralph Ellison described the gestation of his seminal novel and recalled publishing a story entitled ‘In a Strange Country’ ‘in which a young African American seaman, ashore in Swansea, South Wales, was forced to grapple with the troublesome ‘American’ aspects of his identity.’ This conference – taking place in Ellison’s ‘strange country’ and in the town where he was stationed during the Second World War – aims to grapple with some of the ‘troublesome’ aspects of African American and Celtic identities, and to explore moments of interaction, of correspondence, of hostility and of attraction between cultural traditions. To evoke the idea of a ‘Celtic’ or ‘African American’ identity is already to invite controversy. The conference seeks, however, to encourage transatlantic approaches that move out of self-enclosed, exceptionalist, models in exploring specific moments of interaction that are often completely ignored when a merely ‘British’ or ‘American’ perspective is brought to bear.
The Keynote Speakers are:
Professor John F. Callahan, Lewis and Clark College, Oregon, USA.
Dr. Glenn Jordan, University of Glamorgan, Wales
Professor Werner Sollors, Harvard University, Massachusetts, USA. (provisional).
Professor Jeffrey C. Stewart, George Mason University, Virginia, USA.
Possible topics for paper or panel proposals might include, but are no means limited to:
The role of the Celts in the slave trade
African-American abolitionists in Ireland, Wales and Scotland.
Pan-Africanism and Pan-Celticism
The use of ‘Celtic’ identities in the American South
The Harlem and Celtic Renaissances
Responses by Ida B. Wells, Paul Robeson, Ralph Ellison and others to their visits to
Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
The idea of the ‘folk’ in Black and Celtic cultural and political thought.
Gender, Ethnicity and Nationalism
Boxing and Sport.
African-Americans and the making of Black Celtic, or Afro-Celtic, identities.
Black and Celtic Marxisms / Nationalisms / Feminisms / Religious Traditions.
Influences and correspondences between literary and political traditions.
African-American texts in Welsh and Gaelic translations.
The case for comparative and transatlantic models in relation to Celtic and African-American studies.
The main language of the conference will be English, but proposals for papers/panels in Welsh are also welcome.
Please submit abstracts of not more than 250 words by Friday 29th of September 2006 to
Dr. Daniel Williams, CREW (Centre for Research into the English Literature and
Language of Wales), Department of English, University of Wales Swansea, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 8PP, Wales UK.
Institute for the Study of the Americas
The Institute for the Study of the Americas (ISA), University of London, is calling for event proposals on topics relating to the Americas for the 2006-07 academic year. The successful event (a short seminar series, workshop, lecture or conference) will be held in London under the auspices of the Institute as part of its events programme (see http://americas.sas.ac.uk/events/events.php for a preliminary list of 2006-07 events).
The Institute hosts academic events on Latin America, the USA, Canada, the Caribbean and comparative topics, covering the disciplines of politics, history, economics, political economy, sociology, anthropology, cultural studies and literature, environment and geography, foreign policy and international relations, development, music and archaeology. Many of its events have a multi-disciplinary approach.
The Institute will provide a venue, administrative support through its Events Officer and a contribution of £1500 towards appropriate expenses (such as speaker travel, accommodation and some catering costs) for the successful event.
Event proposals should outline the theme of the event, the proposed participants and an indicative budget and be no more than two sides of A4.
Proposals should be sent to Karen Perkins at ISA on Karen.email@example.com by Wednesday 20 September, for consideration by the Institute’s Academic Staff Committee at its 28 September meeting. Proposals are encouraged from academic staff of UK universities.
Administrative Manager, Institute for the Study of the Americas
School of Advanced Study, University of London
31 Tavistock Square
London WC1H 9HA
Tel 020 7862 8875
Fax 020 7862 8886
Chatham House conference: Latin America – New challenges, new responses
Chatham House, London, 14 November 2006
Organized by Chatham House, the Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London and the Inter-American Development Bank. Supported by the UK Department for International Development and the EU-Latin America Research Observatory
Conference web site: http://www.chathamhouse.org.uk/latinamerica
Coinciding with a major electoral year for Latin America, this free conference will explore the major political, social and economic challenges new governments will face as the region moves beyond the era of the Washington consensus.
The region’s new political makeup will be a starting point for examining likely policy objectives and challenges in the areas of citizen participation, social cohesion and inequality, gas and oil resources, violence and security.
Social Cohesion, Violence and Security Policy
Energy Security, Nationalization and Regional Integration
Social Policy and Inequality
Confirmed speakers include:
Dr Julia Buxton, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for International Co-operation and
Security, University of Bedford
Professor James Dunkerley, Director, Institute for the Study of the Americas,
University of London
Luis Giusti, former President, Petroleos de Venezuela, Senior Adviser, Centre for
Strategic and International Studies
Alejandro Grinspun, Regional Antipoverty Programmes Coordinator, UNDP
Marta Lagos, Founding Director, Latinobarómetro
Dr Fiona Macaulay, Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford
Fiona Mackie, Economist Intelligence Unit
Professor Maxine Molyneux, Professor of Sociology, Institute for the Study of the
Americas, University of London
Dr Tim Power, Lecturer in Brazilian Studies, University of Oxford
Dr Javier Santiso, Chief Development Economist, OECD
Michael Schifter, Vice President for Policy, Inter-American Dialogue
James Baldwin: Work, Life, Legacies
School of English & Drama, Queen Mary, University of London, June 29-30, 2007
Queen Mary, University of London is hosting a two day international conference to mark the 20th anniversary of James Baldwin’s death. The conference will revisit
Baldwin’s extraordinary career as a novelist, essayist and playwright, his thinking about national, sexual and racial identity and difference and his analysis of politics and culture. Writers, critics, artists and filmmakers will look at all aspects of Baldwin’s career as writer and activist, in Europe and in the United States and at his formidable legacy and widening influence on culture and politics in the new millennium.
Confirmed speakers include:
Caryl Phillips, Colm Tóibín, Cheryl Wall, Stuart Hall, Dwight McBride
Invited speakers include: Horace Ové, Isaac Julien
We welcome papers on every aspect of Baldwin’s life and work, and would be especially interested in his influence on writers and writing, the theatre, art practices, on the politics and theory of race and of sexuality, on American identity, on his years in Europe, and his time in Turkey and Africa.
University of Birmingham – Olaudah Equiano and Transnational Agency
The University of Birmingham in conjunction with the City of Birmingham is planning in 2007 an exhibition revolving around its strong abolitionist past and taking as a specific focus the visit of Olaudah Equiano to what is now the UK’s second largest city. To coincide with this exhibition, the University will host a one-day symposium which is intended to serve as part of the preparations for this event.
Entitled ‘Olaudah Equiano and Transnational Agency’, the symposium will feature short position papers by leading international Equiano scholars, including Vincent Carretta (University of Maryland, author of Equiano the African: Biography of a Self-Made Man), Chis Apap (University of New York)and Gesa Mackenthun (University of Rostock).
‘Olaudah Equiano and Transnational Agency ‘ is set for Friday 27 October 06. The symposium will commence with registration between 10.00 and 11.00am and will finish in the early evening.
Enrollment for this symposium will cost £10.00 ($15.00), which includes a buffet lunch and refreshments, including morning coffee and afternoon tea and biscuits. Spaces on the symposium are limited, in order to facilitate discussion, so book early to avoid disappointment. (After October the enrollment will increase to £15 ($30.00.)
Enquiries should be directed to
We warmly invite you to this symposium and look forward to welcoming
you to the University of Birmingham.
Sara K Wood and R J Ellis,
Chair, Dept. of American & Canadian Studies
University of Birmingham
Birmingham B15 2TT
Editor, Comparative American Studies
Beyond the Book: Contemporary Cultures of Reading
University of Birmingham, 1 & 2 September 2007
Keynote Speakers: Janice Radway (Duke University) & Elizabeth Long (Rice University)
Book groups, Lit Blogs, on-line bookstores, book festivals, reader magazines, ‘One Book, One Community,’ Reader’s Guides, ‘Richard & Judy’s Book Club,’ Book TV, ‘Canada Reads,’ the ‘Nancy Pearl Action Figure,’ ‘Tuesday Night Book Club,’ … reading is hot!
This conference will explore the diverse formations, mediations, practices and representations of reading and readers in the contemporary moment. Cultures of reading are dynamic and complex: they involve not only readers reading, but also multiple agencies including publishers, booksellers,broadcast networks, national, regional and municipal governments, and educational institutions. The aim of the conference is to interrogate the relations among these agents and their investment in the meanings of reading.
The study of readers and reading encourages, maybe demands, multi-and interdisciplinary analysis. We therefore invite scholars from across the humanities and social sciences to consider the contemporary meanings and experiences of reading in any culture or location. Selected papers will be included in an edited collection on contemporary cultures of reading/book cultures.
Possible topics for consideration:
Reading as a form of popular culture
Books & reading as cultural events
Investigating reading and reader response: methodological problems & strategies
The production of readers and/or reading
Books/Reading and/in/through the mass media
Reading together: shared reading
Reading as a medium of/for social change
Reading and the state
Please send proposals for 20-minute papers (abstracts of 200-300 words) or complete three-person panel sessions (including abstracts for each paper) by 15 January 2007 to: firstname.lastname@example.org using “BTB proposal” as the subject line in your email.
Proposals may also be sent to:
Beyond the Book Conference
Department of American & Canadian Studies
University of Birmingham
Eighth conference of the Scottish Association for the Study of America
University of Edinburgh, 2 March 2007
The Scottish Association for the Study of America (SASA) was formed in 1999 to encourage and facilitate the study of America in Scotland. The annual conference aims to provide a forum for Americanist postgraduate students andfaculty to share and discuss their research. Neither membership of the Association, nor participation at the conference is limited to scholars based in Scotland. The next conference will take place at the University of Edinburgh on Friday 2 March, 2007. Proposals are invited from scholars of international relations, politics, history, literature, religious studies and other cognate disciplines. Proposals for both individual papers and panels are welcomed; each paper proposal should not exceed one page and must include a provisional title and full contact information.
Postgraduate students are particularly encouraged to submit. Proposals may be sent electronically or by post to the address below. The deadline is 1 December 2006.
For further information, please contact: Kirsten Phimister School of History and Classics University of Edinburgh William Robertson Building 50 George Square Edinburgh EH8 9JY United Kingdom
American Politics Group Annual Conference
University of Leicester, Leicester, January 4-6, 2007
The conference organisers are delighted to receive paper proposals on any aspect of American politics, including political history, cultural and media politics, and US foreign policy. Please send a brief, one page description of the proposed paper to either Dr Alex Waddan and/or Professor John Dumbrell (Department of Politics and International Relations, University of
Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK).
Do try to attend and contribute to this conference. Any suggestions for panels, roundtable discussions or other activities will be considered. The keynote speaker for the conference will be Professor James Pfiffner (George Mason University: visiting professor at the Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London).
2008 OAH David Thelen Award
The Organization of American Historians sponsors a biennial award (formerly the Foreign Language Article Prize through 1998) for the best article on American history published in a foreign language. The winning article will be published in the Journal of American History. David Thelen was editor of the Journal of American History 1985-1999.
Entries must have been published during the preceding two calendar years. 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 or processes that began, developed, or ended in what is now the United States. It should make a significant and original contribution to the understanding of U.S. history. 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 this award.
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 award is to expose Americanists to scholarship originally published in a language other than English to overcome the language barrier that keeps scholars apart this award 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. The essay and five copies of the article, clearly labeled “2008 David Thelen Award Entry,” must be mailed to the following address and received by May 1, 2007
Edward T. Linenthal, Editor, Journal of American History
David Thelen Award Committee
1215 East Atwater Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47401
The application should also include the following information: name, mailing address, institutional affiliation, fax number, email 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. The final prize decision will be made by the David Thelen Award Committee by February 1, 2008. 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 $500 subvention for refining the article’s English translation.
Anne Marie Acklam is a PhD candidate at the Departments of Art History & Theory at the University of Essex. Her research focuses on the performance and installation work of Luiseño artist James Luna and draws upon a broader context of Native/-American art. This has included the organisation of an ‘artist in residence’ project by James Luna at the University of Essex and research visits to the U.S. and Canada.
Nicholas Allen is an undergraduate at the University of Reading where he studies international relations and politics. His American Studies interests include race and ethnicity, specifically race and slavery in English Colonial America from 1607-1770.
David Anderson completed his PhD at the University of Dundee in 2004 and currently holds a teaching assistantship at Dundee’s Department of American Studies. His main subject interest is in the post-Civil War American South and his current research examines post-Civil War nostalgia for the Old South and Christmas in the Confederacy. His research has taken him to Chapel Hill, Duke, Emory, the University of Florida, University of Georgia, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and the University of Virginia. He has published in the Journal of Southern History and Crossroads Annual.
Kathryn Ashton is an M.Res student at the University of Keele. Her research interests lie in late 19th Century literature, particularly the work of Edith Wharton.
Emma Barber is a PhD candidate at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her academic background is in English but her current research is in the field of medical history, specifically the American Civil War and its impact on the medical profession.
Guy Barefoot has been a lecturer in Film Studies and a member of the Centre for American Studies at the University of Leicester since 2003. As a film specialist, his main interest has been Hollywood during the era of the studio system. His book, Gaslight Melodrama: From Victorian London to 1940s Hollywood, was published in 2001, and his interest in melodrama in American cinema and culture is currently being extended in a project on the Hollywood sound serial, with a particular focus on the 1930s.
Martyn Beer is a history teacher at the Queen Elizabeth Secondary School in Cumbria. He teaches the AQA A-Level History syllabus, focusing on 20th Century US domestic and foreign policy.
Alex Benchimal teaches 20th Century American literature at the University of Glasgow. His research interests include Jewish-American and African-American intellectual culture in the 20th Century. He is also interested in the cultural practices of the I.W.W. and intellectual sociability in the Transcendentalist movement.
David Boulting is a PhD candidate and graduate teaching assistant at the University of Salford. He holds an M.Phil from the University of Wales at Aberystwyth. His current research interests include American war literature and representation of war in American popular culture.
Anthony Caleshu is originally from the United States and has been teaching in Ireland and England since the 1990s. He currently holds the post of Senior Lecturer in English and Creative Writing at the University of Plymouth. His research interest is primarily in postmodern and contemporary poetry. At the moment he is working on the poets John Berryman and James Tate and on ‘posture in poetry.’
Hamilton Carroll is a Research Fellow at the Clinton institute for American Studies at University College Dublin. He was educated at Indiana University and has published in Modern Fiction Studies on Asian-American Literature. He is currently completing a monograph on neo-liberalism and masculinity in US culture.
Chin-jau Chyan is a PhD candidate in the Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies at the University of Essex. Her research focuses on female hard-boiled detective fiction.
Michael James Collins is a graduate student at the University of Nottingham. His work examines the writing of Bret Easton Ellis, spatiality and architecture. He is about to commence a PhD on Ellis, Chuck Palahniuk and Coupland.
Sally Connolly is a Visiting Fellow at the University of Harvard. She has recently completed her doctoral dissertation, ‘A Genealogy of Poetry: Elegies for Poets Since 1939.’
Paul Crosthwaite is engaged on a PhD project, ‘Shock Waves: Temporality, History and Trauma in the Postmodernist Response to WWII’, at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. His essay, ‘Time Bombs: Pynchon, Postmodernism, and the Temporality of Total War’, will appear in The Stories of World War II (Amsterdam: Vrije UP, 2006). In 2005 he co-organised an international conference on the work of Paul Virilio.
Nina Dietrich is a postgraduate student at the University of Kent. Her research interests include American modernist literature, with a particular interest in Willa Cather.
Roy Drummond graduated from St. John’s College Cambridge before becoming Head of English at Framlingham College. He is currently completing a thesis on Henry James’s short fiction of the 1890s, beyond which he has interests in American prose fiction and film.
Leonard James Ellison is a retired engineer and has spent the last forty years researching the ACW. Most of his research has been on the effect the ACW had on Merseyside and Lancs. He gives regular talks in the North War and in the US on the Civil War and he is a member of ACWRT(UK) and the Librarian and the Civil War Preservation Trust in Washington. He has written many articles on the ACW, including the Liverpool Daily Post and the Washington Post. He has also spoken for the BBC and various local radio stations on the ACW.
Jacqueline Fear-Segal is a lecturer at the School of American Studies at the University of East Anglia. Her main interest is in Native American history but she also works on the history of childhood and 20th Century US social history.
Andrew Fearnley is a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge. His work examines the intersection of ideas about race and mental health in the post-bellum United States.
Serena Formica is a PhD candidate in Film Studies at the University of Nottingham. Her research interests include divergence and convergence in the work of Peter Weir and in American and Australian film more generally. She has spent time at the Mongonet Herrick Library and USC in Los Angeles.
James Fountain is a PhD student at the University of Glasgow. His work looks at British and American literary responses to the Wall Street Crash in the 1930s. The authors under scrutiny include John Dos Passos, Ernest Hemingway, Graham Greene, George Orwell and Joseph McLeod.
Lucy Frank works on nineteenth-century women’s writing and literary and popular responses to the Civil War. In March 2007 she will spend some time at the Philadelphia Library Company as a Barra International Scholar. She is currently working on a project that examines the representation of mourning in relation to the Civil War, focusing specifically on Mark Twain, Henry James and Charles Chesnutt. Her edited collection of essays, ‘Representations of Death in Nineteenth-Century American Writing and Culture’ is forthcoming with Ashgate in 2007.
Danielle Fuller is Director of the Regional Centre for Canadian Studies in the Department of American & Canadian Studies at the University of Birmingham. Her background is in American and Canadian literary studies but she continues to shunt sideways into book history, cultural studies and the sociology of literature. She is currently collaborating with DeNel Rehberg Sedo on an interdisciplinary project, “Beyond the Book: Mass Reading Events and Contemporary Cultures of Reading in the UK, USA and Canada,” (www.beyondthebookproject.org) funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (2005-2008). This project aims to produce a trans-national analysis of shared reading mediating by mass reading events such as “One Book, One Chicago” and “Richard & Judy’s Book Club.” US research sites for this study include Chicago, Seattle and Arizona.
Alexander Hincliffe is a PhD student at the University of Nottingham. He is researching the construction of the ‘Other’ in early Cold War (1947-1959) Hollywood cinema.
Jayne Hoare is a librarian at Cambridge University Library working in English-language collection development, with special emphasis on American Studies. She holds a degree in American Studies from the University of Birmingham and a Postgraduate Dip. In Library and Information Studies from UCE, Birmingham.
Zoe Hyman is currently doing an M.Phil at the University of Sussex. Her research is based on the Killen trial of 2005 in order to examine a ‘truth and reconciliation’ model in the American South.
Nadja Anna Janssen holds an MA in American History, Sociology and Political Science from the Free University of Berlin. She is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Sussex undertaking a thesis on the Neo-Conservative Critique of Post-WWII Liberalism. Her other fields of interest include American-Jewish history and American diplomatic history after WWII.
Mara Keire is a Lecturer in the Department of History at Queen Mary, University of London.
Louis J. Kern is Professor of History at Hofstra. He teaches American cultural history, American literature, film and popular culture. His current interest examines the early eugenics movement from 1870-1900.
Nicole King is the Academic Coordinator of the English Subject Centre. She is based at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Aurelia Laitano is a postgraduate student at the Unviersity of Glasgow. Her main interests are 18th, 19th and 20th Century American literature with a particular interest in writers of the American Renaissance.
Richard Larscham is Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. His main interests are in the poets of New England and the work on Sylvia Plath.
Jason Michael Lippy is a postgraduate student at the Research Institute for Irish and Scottish Studies at the University of Aberdeen. He received his BA from Dickinson College, Pennsylvania and further postgraduate qualifications from Penn State University and the University of North Carolina. In addition, he has participated in historical research at the Ephrata Cloister Pennsylvania, the Centre for Pennsylvania Culture Studies and the Charlotte History Museum.
Scott Lucas is Professor of American Studies at the University of Birmingham, having moved from Modern History to American and Canadian Studies in 1997. His background is in international history (particularly in relation to US and British foreign policy) and international relations. Professor Lucas’s most recent books have all been on US foreign policy in the early Cold War, on George Orwell, and on the concept of the ‘betrayal of dissent’ within US and British political culture. He is currently working on a project that aspires to reconsider US foreign policy from the Cold War to the War on Terror, based on the concept of ‘political warfare’ and the perpetual tension between the objectives of power and liberation.
Laura McDonald is based at the Graduate Centre for the Study of Drama at the University of Toronto. She is interested in American musical theatre.
James Mackay is based at the University of Glasgow where he is undertaking a thesis entitled ‘Ethnic Imposture in Native American Literature.’ His case studies include Hysmeyohsts Storm and Forrest Carter – among others. His research interests include: Native American literature, society and history; faking literature; spiritual and religious literature; authority and authenticity in the humanities.
Polina Mackay holds a PhD in American literature and her interests include Beat Generation literature, especially the works of Willaim S. Burroughs, experimental fiction and film, and the contemporary Gothic. Her next major project is a book on Burroughs’s influence on women artists and a collection of essays on Beat literature and travel.
Christina Makris is an associate tutor at the University of Sussex.
Rachel M. E. Malkin is a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge. Her thesis considers aspects on the discourse of the ordinary in 20th Century American thought and writing. She is particularly interested in literary-philosophical convergences, both in America and between the US and Europe.
Sarah Martin completed a PhD in 2003 on Histories of Law and Space in Contemporary Native American Literature at Goldsmiths College, University of London. She is currently researching further topics in Native American literature as well as pursuing a developing interest in Jeffersonian politics in American literature.
Christopher McKenna is a Lecturer at the Said Business School, University of Oxford.
Artemis Michailidou is a Lecturer in American Literature at the University of Athiens. Her research interests include modern American poetry, feminist criticism, comparative literature and the fiction of the American South. She has recently published articles in the Journal of American Studies and in Comparative American Studies.
HollyGale Millette is a postgraduate research student with interests in transatlantic popular culture and biography of the 19th and 20th centuries. She is also interests in 19th American theatre, fine art, Native-American and African-American culture, as well as globalisation.
Nick Monk is currently studying for a PhD at the University of Warwick. He holds an MA from Rutgers (The State University of New Jersey) and an MA from the University of Warwick in 1999. He has recently published an article on Cormac McCarthy; taught in the US; lectured for the Open University; and taught at Warwick.
Carolyn Morningstar teaches at Mansfield College, University of Oxford. Her current research interests include Walt Whitman, the St. Louis Philosophical Society, the ‘Phrenological Fowlers’, twentieth-century theatre and the influence of German idealist philosophy on American nineteenth-century literary production.
Louise Mousseau is a PhD candidate at the Unviersity of Sheffield. Her work studies narrative ecphrasis in contemporary New York fiction, looking at the ways in which depictions on the New York art scene create an alternative historiography of American culture.
Tom Packer is researching a D. Phil at St. Cross College, University of Oxford, on ‘Senator Jesse Helms and North Carolina Politcs 1972-1984.’ He holds a BSc in Government and History from the LSE and an MA in the History of International Relations (also from the LSE). His interests include Conservatism, Religion and recent political history.
Bruce Pilbeam is a Senior Lecturer in American Studies at London Metropolitan University. His research interests are primarily in the area of contemporary political ideologies, with a special interest in conservatism. He was published various articles in this area, as well as a book entitled Conservatism in Crisis? Anglo-American Conservative Ideology after the Cold War.
Finn Pollard is a Lecturer in American History at the University of Glasgow. His interests include the literature, culture and politics of the early American Republic, in particular the life and writings of Washington Orving and Hugh Henry Brackenridge. He is also interested in the life and writings of Henry Adams.
Claire Powell is a student at Dame Alice Owens School in Hertfordshire. Her interests lie in the Civil Rights Movement and in the Vietnam War.
Nicola Presley is a postgraduate student at Bath Spa University. She has research interests in contemporary women’s poetry, especially Plath, Sexton and Olds. She is also interested in representations of motherhood, indeterminacy and the relationship between self and place.
Diego Quiroz is a PhD candidate, researching corporate social responsibility, at the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. He holds an LL.M in international Human Rights Law and advanced studies in European Community law, peace and conflict resolution, intellectual property and human rights. His current interests include international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law, literature and art.
Edward Ragg completed a PhD on Wallace Stevens (University of Cambridge) in 2004 and was co-organiser of ‘Fifty Years On: Wallace Stevens in Europe’ – the first international conference (held at the Rothermere American Institute) to address the modernist aspects of Stevens’s work. Edward teaches at Cambridge and is currently planning a book entitled The Question of Abstraction: Wallace Stevens’s Poetry and Prose as well as articles derived from this research. He also writes poetry and has published poems in PN Review, Aesthetica and other magazines.
Lucas Richert is a doctoral candidate at the Institute for the Study of the Americas, UCL. His research interests include the Reagan era and the pharmaceutical industry.
Katharina Elisabeth Rietzler has recently commenced a PhD at UCL on the topic of ‘American Philanthropic Organisations in Interwar Europe.’
Cara Rodway is a PhD candidate at Kings College London. Her interests lie in 20th Century American history and literature. Her doctoral work examines the social and cultural history of road-side spaces, briefly summarized as mobility, motels and moral holidays!
Tessa Kate Roynon is a doctoral student at the University of Warwick. Her research interests include American literature, African-American literature – especially Toni Morrison, and the classical tradition in the Black Atlantic.
Barbara Roy-Macauley is an advisory teacher in the London borough of Redbridge. She is interested in inner city communities and has been an interviewer at the Broadwater Farm Estate after the Tottenham riots. Her current work is with vulnerable children and she is researching an article on the behaviour of boys in the Caribbean community, with possible links to other aspects of the black Diaspora.
David Sarias is a postgraduate student at the University of Sheffield. He is in the final stages of a doctoral thesis entitled ‘Anatomy of Counter-Hegemony: The New Right in the United States from Buckley to Nixon (1955-1974).’
Linda Sher is a research student in the Department of American Studies at Kings College London.
Gary Smith is a research student at tutor in the Department of History at the University of Dundee.
Tara Stubbs is a PhD candidate at St. John’s College, Cambridge. Her thesis focuses on the American modernist poet Marianne Moore and her interests in Irish writers and writing. Tara’s broader interests include American immigrant literature and the development of Irish-American culture in the US.
Alex Symons is currently studying for a doctoral degree at the University of Nottingham. His research is a reception study about the filmmaker Mel Brooks. His interests include comedy theory, reputation and distinctions of audience, taste and class cultures.
Sarah Louise Thwaites is a PhD student at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. Her research project is an interdisciplinary study of American prose fiction between 1826 and 1855 and the scientific origins of photography which arrived in America in 1939. She will focus on the work of Fenimore Cooper, Hawthorne and Melville.
William E. Van Vugt is Professor of English and American History at Calvin College, Michigan. He is the author of numerous books on topics such as British migration and the history of South Africa.
Robin Cheyne Vandome is a PhD student working on American intellectual history at Christ’s College Cambridge. His current focus is on the presence of modernist thought in Progressive Era America. Previous research has included a study of Richard Hofstadter’s intellectual development.
Professor Phil Davies (Eccles Centre) has recently published:
Winning Elections with Political Marketing, edited by Philip John Davies and Bruce I. Newman, (The Haworth Press, New York, 2006)
Right On? Political Change and Continuity in George Bush’s America, edited by Iwan Morgan and Philip Davies (London, Institute for the Study of the Americas, 2006)
Politics USA, Robert J. McKeever and Philip Davies (London, Pearson Longman, 2006)
A Brief Introduction to US Politics, Robert J. McKeever and Philip Davies (London, Pearson Longman, 2006)
‘The grinding politics of realpolitik: the US, the UK and Europe’, Philip John Davies, John Dumbrell, Tim Hames, Elizabeth Meehan and Shirley Williams in 21st Century Society, v.1, no. 1 (June 2006), pp. 73-98.
Paul Grainge has been appointed Senior Lecturer in Film Studies in the School of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Nottingham.
John A. Kirk has been promoted to a chair in United States history in the Department of History, Royal Holloway, University of London.
John Wrighton of the University of Wales at Aberyswtyth has recently been awarded the Rose and Sigmund Strochlitz Travel from the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at the University of Connecticut. As part of his doctoral research project into the ethics and politics of modern American poetry, he will be visiting the center this summer in order to access their unique archive of materials from the Beat and Black Mountain writers as well as their Alternative Press Collection.
The editors of 49th Parallel would like to announce that the First Special Edition 2006 commemorating the ‘Engaging the “New” American Studies’ Conference held at the University of Birmingham in May is now published and available online at http://www.49thparallel.bham.ac.uk/. This edition marks the foreign policy strand of the conference, under the probing title ‘US Hyper-Power’ features articles from Giles Scott-Smith, Maria Ryan, Adam Cooper and Lizzie Telfer, Howard Fuller, Ryan O’Kane, Christabelle Peters, Mark Spokes, and Bevan Sewell. We hope you enjoy this special edition, which offers but a sample of the immensely rewarding and engaging scholarly debate witnessed in Birmingham last May. The Second Special Issue marking the cultural strand of the Conference is due to be published in September 2006.
University of Gloucestershire Acquires Paul Oliver Collection of African American Music and Related Traditions
The University of Gloucestershire has been granted custody of a major part of the Paul Oliver Collection of African American Music by the European Blues Association (which has a base in Gloucester). The announcement of the agreement was celebrated by a launch including performances by Michael Roach and Philadelphia Jerry Ricks organized by the Department of Humanities This extensive collection of books, papers, recordings, visual material, and other artifacts represents an enormously valuable resource in teaching and research as Paul Oliver is one of the world’s leading authorities on the Blues. Among his many publications are the award-winning Blues Fell This Morning, The Story of the Blues, and Blues Off the Record. His work, which began in the 1950s, includes interviews, fieldwork, and research in recording and printed sources tracing the origins and development of African American music and culture from the time of slavery through to the Twentieth Century. Paul also met with and corresponded with figures such as Richard Wright and Langston Hughes, as well as numerous blues legends. The Paul Oliver collection is therefore an invaluable resource for students and researchers working in American and African American History, African American Literature, American Studies, Cultural Studies, Music and Popular Music Studies, Anthropology, and Transatlantic Studies. It is anticipated that the material will gradually become available for use by researchers early in 2007.
Bruce Baker (RHUL) and Brian Kelly (Queens University Belfast) have recently received a major AHRC award for their project “After Slavery: Race, Labour and Politics in the Post-Emancipation Carolinas. The total project cost (2006-2010) is £290,000.
Bruce Baker describes the nature of the project here:
The tumultuous half century that followed slave emancipation in the US South has been the subject of extensive historical examination and passionate debate in recent years, revisiting question that scholars working within the prevailing racial assumptions of the first half of the twentieth century had considered settled. In place of passive slaves who, as one historian suggested, “twanged banjos around the railroad stations” waiting for “some Yankee” to “come along and give each of them forty acres and a mule,” virtually all scholars no acknowledge that African Americans played a central role in compelling a reluctant Northern government to follow through on emancipation. In place of an older depiction of the immediate post-emancipation period as a ‘tragic era’ marked by corruption and anarchy, revisionist historians have asserted freed people’s centrality in the attempt to reconstruct the South along democratic and bi-racial lines. Reconstruction, formerly held up as a morality tale confirming the folly of any attempt to “artificially force” racial equality, is now more likely to be viewed as America’s “great missed opportunity” for building a society based on egalitarian principles.
The recent historical literature on African Americans and the post-emancipation
South has vulnerabilities of its own, however: weaknesses which present critical openings for the historical project proposed in “After Slavery: Race, Labour and Politics in the Post-Emancipation Carolinas”. Revisionist historians have sometimes projected a monolithic black community, downplaying the fissures and cleavages that developed among black Southerners, particularly during the years that followed the collapse of Reconstruction in 1877. Secondly, in challenging the racialist assumptions of an earlier generation of historians, contemporary scholars have by and large engaged them on their own terrain–within the parameters of a race relations framework–often losing sight of the larger social and economic context in which Southerners of both races lived their lives. Thirdly, in their promotion of a ‘celebratory’ history of the post-Reconstruction black South and their stress on black agency, historians have simultaneously underestimated the structural impediments to black progress and overstated the room for manoeuvre available to African Americans. Finally, and perhaps unavoidably, the development of African-American history as a distinct field has relieved historians of the obligation to examine closely the full complexity of changing relations between black and white Southerners at the bottom of Southern society. While a more dependable history of the post-emancipation South could not ignore the very substantial antagonism that often prevailed between these two groups, it should also take note of the areas and historical moments where their interests overlapped or converged.
This project will undertake a series of close studies of labour and African-American history in the post-emancipation Carolinas in order to address questions that have as much to do with the changing nature of work and the effects of class-based alliances and tensions as they do with issues of race. In taking such an approach, we are to some extent revisiting and refining an analysis of the period pioneered by W. E. B. Du Bois in the 1930s in his work Black Reconstruction, a book that broke with the conventions of its period both by placing African Americans at the centre of the narrative and by considering them first and foremost in their capacity as workers. Building on several innovative labour-centred histories of Reconstruction written in the last decade, this project will also use its original research to advance a broad historiographical argument that the time has come for a new synthesis of the post-emancipation American South.
Bruce E. Baker
Lecturer in United States History
Royal Holloway, University of London
British Academy Fellowships for Study in the USA
The British Academy has partnership arrangements with three American institutions, the Huntington Library, the Newberry Library, and the American Philosophical Society. Fellowships are available providing airfare and a maintenance allowance for one-to-three months of research by postdoctoral researchers at the Huntington, the Newberry, or at any libraries in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. These awards are not particularly well known, and may not be as competitive as other British Academy awards. They should be of particular interest to BAAS members.
Information about the Huntington Library can be found at
Situated in San Marino, on the western outskirts of Los Angeles, it is the most significant research library in the western United States, with particular strengths in literature; early American history; Native American studies; and western history and literature.
The Newberry Library is situated on the near north side of Chicago, and is an equally significant private research library, with particular strengths in the exploration and settlement of the Americas; the history, literature and culture of Chicago and the Midwest, and Native American studies. More information about the library can be found at
The American Philosophical Society is adjacent to Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Its fellowship allows study at any research libraries in the greater Philadelphia area, including the libraries at the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University; the Library Company of Philadelphia; the Free Library of Philadelphia; and libraries within easy reach of the city including Princeton University and the Winterthur Museum and Library in Delaware.
More information about the awards and the application process can be found at
The application deadline is 15 January for awards over the following research year (1 July to 30 June).
The Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford
The Rothermere American Institute is a centre for research in the field of American studies based at the University of Oxford, UK. It houses a major library, seminar rooms, and offices for Fellows. The Institute was opened in 2001 by former US President Bill Clinton.
We are now inviting scholars to apply for fellowships to commence from September 2007. We offer fellowships for up to one year; however appointments may be awarded for shorter time periods.
No stipends are offered, but new and efficient offices are provided to scholars, including computers, phones and access to administrative support. We also offer travel grants for research purposes with a value of up to £500. During the periods when the colleges of the University are in operation, we provide Senior Fellows with common room rights at one of the neighbouring colleges.
For more details and an application form, please visit our website at http://www.rai.ox.ac.uk/scholars/application.html, or contact the Assistant Director at the Rothermere American Institute, 1A South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3TG, United Kingdom.
University of London Research Fellowships at the School of Advanced Study
Applications are invited from academic staff in the Colleges of the University of London for Research Fellowships for the period May-August 2007. The Fellowships are 4-month appointments, designed to provide relief from teaching and administration in order to give academic staff dedicated research time not otherwise available to them within the research leave arrangements of their College. The Fellowships are available to staff of any grade in permanent academic posts at Colleges of the University of London in a discipline of the Humanities and Social Sciences relevant to any Institute of the School of Advanced Study. Fellowships are not remunerated. The School will provide £5,000 (paid to the College or Department, as appropriate) towards buy-out of teaching. Fellows will have access to a desk and appropriate facilities, in shared office space in the School. Fellows will normally be expected to give a seminar in the Dean’s seminar series, and will be expected to contribute to the life of the School in other relevant ways.
Applicants are required to submit a research proposal (max. 1,500 words). The research to be pursued may be a new project or a more mature one: a defined research output is assumed as the goal of the research but it is not required that this would immediately follow the Fellowship. The project proposal should indicate the contribution to the project expected from the proposed period of research leave. A statement about other academic commitments that might affect how the proposed research leave is used should also be included, and information about any other funding sources applied to (or expected to be applied to).
Applications must be on the attached form, and must include a brief cv and the names of two academic referees. Applications require the endorsement of the applicant’s head of department.
The closing date for applications is 30 September 2006.
For further information and application form see the website www.sas.ac.uk or contact:
The Dean’s Office
School of Advanced Study
University of London
Senate House, Malet Street
London WC1E 7HU
T: 020 7862 8659
F: 020 7862 8657
Call for Articles: European Journal of American Culture
The European Journal of American Culture is looking for articles on race and ethnicity in America, with an emphasis on history and politics, but articles on literature, film and popular culture will also be welcomed. Potential contributors should contact either Simon Topping
(email@example.com) or Kris Allerfeldt (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a brief outline of their topic. The deadline for submissions is summer 2007.
Call for Articles: EJAS Special Issue: Reading/Misreading ‘America’
As part of its goal to broaden American Studies and to foster a transEuropean ‘academic space’ for discussing the United States, EJAS would like to devote an issue to investigating the many representations of ‘America’, and how and why they are used in particular contexts.
Narratives and images of the United States and what is ‘American’ have so multiplied and become globalised that they have become detached from the country itself. It is no longer a question of what ‘America’ is, but of what people do with the many available ‘Americas’. Narratives of America are used and abused for specific political, cultural, and social purposes, each one related in some way to a piece of reality that is the United States but each one also possessing a life and a power of its own. Readings (both literary and visual) have been created and claimed even by those who have had little or no contact with the USA. They have differed wildly between historical periods, generations, nations, and political perspectives, and have been as much empowering (freedom, individualism) as denigrating (inequality, violence) in their intent. Such narratives are inseparable from power relations and social hierarchies, but these relations play out in different ways and can be equally enabling and debilitating.
EJAS invites articles from all disciplines and approaches to examine the causes and consequences of these readings/interpretations of America:
How have narratives and images of the USA been used in Europe in support of
particular (political/cultural/social) causes – including US foreign policy itself?
How have Americans mis-read their own country – and themselves?
Why are certain readings of ‘America’ particularly attractive in particular European countries, and what are the consequences?
Is it possible to ‘misread’ America when its identities are so fluid and multifaceted?
Translating America: How have cultural preferences in Europe affected the adoption/
translation of particular US literary canons and specific authors?
Alongside Special Issues, EJAS runs regular accretive issues and welcomes submissions on all subjects related to its interests. The Journal will post articles online in the regular issue as soon as they are accepted and cleared for publication. The accretive issues will be closed each June and December.
EJAS does not accept abstracts and proposals – only finished articles in compliance with the
Submission guidelines posted on the EJAS website will be considered for publication.
Université Paris 7-Denis Diderot
Institut Universitaire de France
President, European Association for American Studies
30 rue Pouchet
Tel/fax : +33 (0)1 48 56 15 54
e-mail : email@example.com
Call for Articles: The Journal of the Vernacular Architecture
Vernacular architecture shapes everyday life. Comprised of those buildings generated in a particular place, by a particular community, or for a particular function, vernacular architecture comports behavior, constructs identity, orchestrates ritual, and mediates social politics. Dedicated to the study of ordinary architecture, Perspectives in
Vernacular Architecture, the scholarly refereed journal of the Vernacular
Architecture Forum, invites submissions of articles that explore the ways the built environment constructs the everyday. The editors encourage the submission of articles employing cross-disciplinary methodologies and engaging topics within and beyond North America. We are particularly interested in articles that incorporate field work as a component of the research.
All manuscripts should conform to the Chicago Manual of Style.
Contributors agree that manuscripts submitted to the PVA will not be submitted for publication elsewhere while under review by PVA. Two hard copies of the manuscript and photocopied reproductions of the illustrations should be sent directly to each of the two editors. Please feel free to direct any inquiries to either editor via email:
Associate Professor of Architecture
110 Gerlinger Hall
1246 University of Oregon
Eugene, Oregon 97403-1246
Louis P. Nelson
Assistant Professor of Architectural History
School of Architecture
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4122
BAAS Membership of Committees
Professor Simon Newman, Chair,
Director, American Studies, Modern History,
2 University Gardens,
Glasgow G12 8QQ
Tel: 0141 330 3585
Fax: 0141 330 5000
Dr Heidi Macpherson,* Secretary,
Department of Humanities,
University of Central Lancashire,
Preston, PR1 2HE
Tel: 01772 893040
Fax: 01772 892970
Dr Graham Thompson, Treasurer,
School of American & Canadian Studies,
University of Nottingham,
Nottingham, NG7 2RD
Tel: 0115 9514269
Fax: 0115 9514270
Executive Commitee (after 2006 AGM)
In addition to these three officers, the current committee line up of BAAS is:
Professor Richard Crockatt,
School of American Studies,
University of East Anglia,
Norwich NR4 7TJ
Tel: 01603 872456
Dr Jude Davies,*
Faculty of Arts,
University of Winchester,
Winchester SO22 4NR
Tel: 01962 827363
Professor Martin Haliwell,
Centre for American Studies,
University of Leicester,
Leicester LE1 7RH
Tel: 0116 252 2645
Fax: 0116 2522065
Dr Will Kaufman,
Department of Humanities,
University of Central Lancashire,
Preston PR1 2HE
Tel: 01772 893035
Fax: 01772 892924
Professor Jay Kleinberg, (Ex-Officio),
Editor, Journal of American Studies,
School of International Studies,
Middlesex, UB8 3PH
Tel: 0181 891 0121
Fax: 0181 891 8306
Ms Hannah Lowe, (Co-opted), Development Subcommittee,
Dr Sarah MacLachlan,
Department of English,
Manchester Metropolitan University,
Geoffrey Manton Building,
Rosamond Street West,
Manchester, M15 6LL
Tel: 0161 247 1755
Fax: 0161 247 6345
Ms. Josephine Metcalf,*
English and American Studies Subject Area,
School of Arts, Histories and Cultures,
University of Manchester,
Manchester M13 9PL
Dr Catherine Morley,†
School of Humanities,
Oxford Brookes University,
Gipsy Lane Campus, Headington,
Oxford, OX3 OBP
Tel: 01865 484977
Mr Ian Ralston, (Ex-Officio), Chair, Library & Resouces Subcommittee,
American Studies Centre,
Aldham Robarts Centre,
Liverpool John Moores University,
Liverpool L3 5UZ
Tel: 0151 231 3241
Fax: 0151 231 3241
Dr Theresa Saxon,
Department of Humanities,
University of Central Lancashire,
Preston PR1 2HE
Tel: 01772 893026
Fax: 01772 892924
Dr Ian Scott,*
Department of English and American Studies,
University of Manchester,
Manchester, M13 9PL
Tel: 0161 275 3059
Fax: 0161 275 3256
Ms Carol Smith,*
Faculty of Arts,
University of Winchester,
Winchester SO22 4NR
Tel: 0196 282 7370
Dr Jenel Virden,* Representative to EAAS,
Department of American Studies,
University of Hull,
Hull HU6 7RX
Tel: 01482 465638/303
Fax: 01482 466107
* indicates this person not eligible for re-election to this position.
† Indicates that the newly-elected Committee member is fulfilling an unexpired position due to resignations from the Committee.
All co-optations must be reviewed annually.
BAAS Sub-Committee Members
Professor Richard Crockatt (Chair)
Dr Jude Davies
Ms Hannah Lowe
Ms. Josephine Metcalf
Professor Simon Newman
Mr Ian Ralston
Dr Ian Scott (Chair)
Professor Martin Haliwell
Dr Will Kaufman
Dr Heidi Macpherson
Ms Carol Smith (Chair)
Professor Jay Kleinberg
Dr Catherine Morley
Dr Theresa Saxon
Professor Jay Kleinberg (Editor of Journal of American Studies), until 31 December 2006
Professor Susan Castillo (editor elect of Journal of American Studies)
Professor Ken Morgan (Editor of BRRAM)
Dr Sarah MacLachlan (Chair)
Dr Graham Thompson
Dr Jenel Virden
Dr George Lewis (Leicester Conference Secretary, 2007)
Dr Robert Mason (Edinburgh Conference Secretary, 2008)
Libraries and Resources:
Mr Ian Ralston (Chair)
Ms Jane Hoare (Secretary) (Cambridge University Library)
Mr Dave Forster (Treasurer) (American Studies Centre, Liverpool John Moores University)
Ms Kate Bateman (Eccles Centre)
Dr Jude Davies (BAAS representative)
Professor Philip Davies (Eccles Centre)
Dr Kevin Halliwell (National Library of Scotland)
Dr Catherine Morley (BAAS representative, Oxford Brookes)
Ms Jean Petrovic (Eccles Centre)
Mr Matthew Shaw (British Library)
Rose Goodier (John Rylands University Library of Manchester)
Mr Donald Tait (University of Glasgow Library)
Report on Symposium to Honour Professor Mick Gidley
School of English, University of Leeds, Friday June 16, 2006
Function: noun. Etymology: Latin, from Greek symposion, from sympinein to drink together, from syn- + pinein to drink — more at POTABLE. Date:1711
1 a : a convivial party (as after a banquet in ancient Greece) with music and conversation b : a social gathering at which there is free interchange of ideas
2 a : a formal meeting at which several specialists deliver short addresses on a topic or on related topics — compare COLLOQUIUM b : a collection of opinions on a subject; especially: one published by a periodical. Webster’s
10.00 Coffee and ‘Registration’
10.30-10.40 Introduction. Jay Prosser, Senior Lecturer in American Literature, University of Leeds
10.45– 11.45 Panel 1. American Studies
Chair: Bridget Bennett, Senior Lecturer in American Literature, University of Leeds
Susan Castillo, John Nichol Professor of American Literature, University of Glasgow: Mick as colleague
Rob Kroes, Professor of American Studies, University of Amsterdam Euro/EAS/NIAS year
David Nye, Professor of History and American Studies, University of Warwick: Mick Abroad
Eric Sandeen, Professor of American Studies, University of Wyoming: Mick in Wyoming
11.55-1.20 Panel 2. Teaching and Collegiality
Chair: Denis Flannery, Senior Lecturer in American Literature, University of Leeds
Christine Bold, Professor of American Literature, University of Guelph, Ontario: Mick as External – and Beyond
Ann Massa, Senior Fellow in American Literature, University of Leeds: Mick as Boss
Richard Haw, Assistant Professor, English and IDS, John Jay College, CUNY: The Mick effect
Andrew Warnes, Lecturer, American Literature and Culture, University of Leeds: Mick as teacher (and more)
Helen Mayhew, Broadcaster and producer, BBC Radio: New Orleans R&B
David Horn, Senior Fellow, School of Music, University of Liverpool: American music
1.20-2.30 BUFFET LUNCH
2.30-3.40 Panel 3. Native America
Chair: Andrew Warnes, Lecturer in American Literature and Culture, University of Leeds
Richard King, Professor of American Studies, University of Nottingham: On Native Grounds
Paul Oliver, Visiting Professor of Architecture, Oxford Brookes University: Curtis’s Photographs
David Murray, Professor of American Studies, University of Nottingham: Native American representations and Mick’s role
Helen Carr, Professor of English, Goldsmiths, University of London: Native Americans at Exeter
Clifford Trafzer, Professor of History, University of California, Riverside: Among American Indian People
Read in absentia by Rachel Farebrother, Lecturer in English, Leeds Metropolitan University and former PhD student
3.50-5.00 Panel 4. Ways of Looking
Chair: Richard Haw, Assistant Professor, English and IDS, John Jay College, CUNY
Russell Roberts, Head of Photography, NMPFT, Bradford: Mick as collaborator (Photography)
Douglas Tallack, Professor of American Studies, University of Nottingham: Ways of Seeing
Ron Tamplin, Professor and Honorary Fellow, University of Exeter: Exeter years
Richard Maltby, Professor of Screen Studies, Flinders University, Adelaide: Long-time research (Exeter)
Alan Trachtenberg, Neil Gray Professor of English and American Studies, Yale University: ‘Stands What I Am’: Mick and American Studies
Miles Orvell, Professor of English and American Studies, Temple University: A Tribute to Mick (Am Studies)
Read in absentia by Rob Ward, Lecturer, School of Culture, Media and the Environment, St Martins College, Lancaster University and former PhD student
5 .00 TEA AND DRINKS WITH THE SCHOOL OF ENGLISH (PRESENTATION)
[In addition, the original programme included a short poem by Heinz Ickstadt, Professor of American Literature at the Free University, Berlin, and the names of absent friends and colleagues who had sent brief messages, including independent writers, such as N. Scott Momaday and James Ayres, former students from Exeter and Leeds, and many members of BAAS, EAAS, ASA, and the European American Indian Workshop.]
New Titles In Microform Series
The collected papers of the Bolton Whitman Fellowship
Regarded as the father of American poetry, Walt Whitman (1819-1892) maintained an active correspondence with this obscure group of socialist and ordinary working-class readers. Indeed, once, when the critic Herbert Gilchrist asked Whitman: “It surprises me that you should be so taken with those Bolton folks; they’re not famous in England at all,” the poet was heard by Horace Traubel to reply: “It surprises you, does it? Well, I’ve had my bellyful of famous people! Thank God they’re just nobody at all, like all people who are worthwhile.”
In addition to letters, the papers include photographs and journals of pilgrimages by founding members to Whitman in New Jersey, as well as records of the group’s annual celebration of his birthday. So close became the relationship that the friendship between the poet’s inner circle and the group continued long after his death.
Order no. R50030: 17 reels
Price for set £1,054/$2,040
These papers comprise the bulk of the archive generated by members of the group. Together with the letters, essays, etc. deposited at John Rylands Library, Manchester, by Charles F. Sixsmith, who refused to unite them with the main collection (above), following a disagreement in the early 1950s with the librarian in Bolton over the ownership of certain Whitman relics, not least the stuffed subject of the poem, ‘My Canary Bird’, and the Johnston papers, they form an essential resource for the reader-oriented study of the foremost exponent of 19th century American poetry. All three collections are available, each with a detailed finding list which can be consulted online.
Materials on the history of Jamaica in the Edward Long papers
The first edition of The history of Jamaica, or, General survey of the antient and modern state of that island: with reflections on its situations, settlements, inhabitants, climate, products, commerce, laws and government, was published in 1774 by T. Lowndes, London. This microfilm publication, accompanied by an introduction by Professor Kenneth Morgan, Brunel University, brings together all the extant drafts and additional material collected by Edward Long (1734-1813) for his planned but never completed second edition, deposited at the British Library, London.
Along with Long’s plentiful manuscript revisions and notes, including an annotated copy of the first edition with copious marginalia in his own hand, this archive contains many unique copies and transcriptions of earlier British histories of Jamaica and of the proceedings of its House of Assembly, of which Long was a prominent member. All this is supplemented by a wealth of information on topics as diverse as the meteorology, zoology and defences of the island.
Of particular significance today, at the bicentenary of the 1807 act on the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire, are the many proslavery writings by Long and others. Nor was the “Negro-cause” the only issue on which the views of the West Indian plantation-owning class ran counter to the growing consensus in late 18th century Britain, as shown in Long’s staunch polemic against any British embargo of trade with the newly independent United States of America.
Order no. R50027: 12 reels: Price for set £804/$1,560
MICROFORM ACADEMIC PUBLISHERS. For more details or orders: www.microform.co.uk/academic/