BAAS Executive Committee Meeting: June 27, 2008
Minutes of the 255th meeting of the Executive Committee, held at University of Manchester on June 27, 2008.
H Macpherson (Chair), C Morley (Secretary) T Saxon (Treasurer), I Bell, M
Collins, W Kaufman, A Lawson, S MacLachlan, I Scott and M Whalan.
Apologies: P Blackburn, S Castillo, P Davies, R Ellis, M Halliwell, G Lewis, and R Mason.
2. Minutes of the Previous Meeting
After minor corrections, these were accepted as a true record and will now go on the website.
3. Matters Arising
Action List Review
The Secretary asked the Exec to comment on the status of their Action List duties.
(a) HM to report on the meeting of American Studies HoDs in her Chair’s Business.
(b) IS noted that discussion regarding Exec members applying for BAAS awards would arise in his Awards report. He also noted that awards publicity has been discussed amongst members of the Awards subcom. Information on past TAs is still being tracked down and will be discussed at length under Awards Business.
(c) WK reported that the Exeter PG conference bid to the US Embassy had been successful. He is in the process of dealing with other business since taking over the role of Development Chair from Richard Crockatt.
4. Chair’s Business
(a) The Chair began her report by welcoming new members of the Committee: Michael Collins, Mark Whalan, Robert Mason and Andrew Lawson. She also extended congratulations to those who were re-elected at the AGM: Catherine Morley (in her first full term as Secretary); Will Kaufman (as executive committee member and Chair of the Development Subcom); Theresa Saxon, who has been elected Treasurer to fulfil Graham Thompson’s unexpired term of office (1 year). She also noted that Martin Halliwell was elected as Vice Chair by the Committee.
HM noted that Jacqueline Fear-Segal has won the American Studies Network book prize for her book White Man’s Club (University of Nebraska Press, 2007).
She also noted that the Times Higher Education (THE) recently announced that Jude Davies won the Arthur Miller Prize, which was awarded at the BAAS annual banquet in Edinburgh.
HM reported that Professor Matthew Jones (Nottingham) has been appointed by the Prime Minister as a Cabinet Office official historian, and commissioned to write the history of the Chevaline programme. Chevaline was the name for a secret British effort to improve the Polaris submarine-launched ballistic missiles procured from the United States as a result of the Nassau Agreement of 1962 between Kennedy and Macmillan. Initiated by the Heath government in the early 1970s, the Chevaline programme was designed to enable Polaris to penetrate improving Soviet anti-missile defences, and so sustain the credibility of Britain’s nuclear deterrent, but soon ran into major problems leading to spiralling costs and delays. Chevaline finally entered service in 1982, but not before the revelation of its existence by the Thatcher government in 1980 prompted a wave of public and parliamentary criticism of the poor management and lack of accountability of a programme which involved final expenditure of over £1 billion. During the course of his four-year assignment to the project, Professor Jones will have access to all relevant UK government documents, and work on archival sources in the United States, as well as examining the private papers of key ministers and officials and will carry out interviews. The project will cover such areas as Whitehall policymaking, Anglo-American relations, and the central issue of why successive British governments considered it essential to maintain an ‘independent’ nuclear deterrent and the steps they were prepared to take to ensure its credibility.
HM was sent a copy of the American Studies Resource Centre annual report (circulated).
HM attended the Regional Awards Winner reception and dinner for the AHRC on 11 June. She was unable to attend the subject association meeting (CM attended on behalf of BAAS and circulated a report) or the regional meeting itself. HM noted that Professor Shearer West, the new Director of Research at the AHRC, has confirmed attendance at the Nottingham Conference.
HM was invited on behalf of BAAS to attend James Dunkerley’s leaving reception at the ISA but was unable to attend. She was also unable to attend a Fulbright function.
HM will, on behalf of BAAS, be attending the annual 4th of July Barbeque at Winfield House on 3 July.
(e) Consultations and Activities
ERIH (European Reference Index for the Humanities): As noted in the April meeting, the Literature list was supposed to be in place by the end of October, but it was only recently published; it runs to 20 pages (circulated, available online at the ERIH website and attached alongside these minutes). HM noted that the Journal of American Studies is deemed to rate an A, but there are anomalies. American Literary History rates an A, as does American Literary Realism, American Literary Scholarship, American Quarterly, and Amerikastudien. However, American Literature rates only a B (Canadian Literature rates an A, however). Comparative American Studies rates a B as does Symbiosis and the European Journal of American Culture. BAAS will suggest that the editors of these journals lobby on behalf of their journal.
BAAS has put forward names for the ERIH panels as requested: for history, Simon Newman; for Literature, Graham Thompson; for Film and Media, Mark Jancovich; and for Interdisciplinary Studies, Martin Halliwell.
HM reported that she is seeking an update as to whether or not the BLARs subcom was able to respond to the US patents consultation: she has yet to hear back from Dick Ellis on this one, but BAAS didn’t see any problems with it.
HM reported to the Committee on the Heads of American Studies lunch at the ISA, London, Tuesday 24th June. There was a good turnout at the meeting, with 18 people attending and representing a range of institutions. The meeting discussed recruitment, links with schools and colleges, and research post-RAE. There was overall disquiet felt over falling student numbers though the information was mixed.
IB reiterated that the annual meeting should be a regular event to maintain a feeling of solidarity amongst colleagues. He mentioned the importance of sharing good innovative programmes, such as the Working in America programme at Liverpool John Moores. IB also mentioned the American Studies League tables (Guardian, Times and Independent) and noted the wide high performance in American Studies programmes.
It was noted at the meeting that the AHRC Block Grant programme will work against the interdisciplinarity inherent in American Studies. HM noted that BAAS has lobbied hard on this.
HM noted that when she raised issues about the problems with the Block Grant programme and interdisciplinarity, she was told that institutions need to stress the interdisciplinarity of their programmes (though this does not seem to be part of the official guidance). HM noted the need for more and more Peer Review College members to cope with the new systems and registered her concerns over the AHRC’s plans.
HM has been contacted by various postgraduates seeking advice and guidance on publication opportunities, which she responded to.
HM has had further discussions with Penny Egan at the Fulbright Commission but has made clear that BAAS cannot sponsor a Visiting Professor, though we would be happy to be involved in any interviewing or assessing of nominations.
HM reported on the issue of publicity for Nottingham conference – an approved advert in the TLS has gone through, but she reiterated that we need to ensure good journalists are present at the conference, and also that we have a press release relating to the prize winners.
5. Secretary’s Business
(a) CM noted that, as usual, her main role revolved around information flow. She regularly passed information on to Alison Kelly, Clare Elliot and Graham Thompson for ASIB, the mailbase and website. She helped direct people with research and grant queries to the appropriate sources; she has also dealt with enquiries from the 12-Yard TV production company regarding a UK-version of ‘Who Dares Wins’; fielded enquires for fellowship opportunities and course information from many academics and students (both postgraduate and undergraduate); and has updated the Charities Commission information with details of the new committee members. CM (along with HM and TS) has also been contacted by various postgraduates seeking advice and guidance on publication opportunities, which she responded to.
(b) CM wrote to the Embassy with an update of the new committee members and structure and wrote to welcome all the new committee members (with details of their Trustee status).
(c) On behalf of BAAS, CM attended the AHRC’s Meeting with the Subject Associations in May and circulated a full report electronically.
(d) On behalf of BAAS, CM sent cards to Richard King (on the occasion of his retirement), to James Dunkerley (stepping down as Director of the ISA), to Paul Giles (stepping down as Director of the Rothermere American Institute), and to Phil Davies (on his retirement from DeMontfort). She also attended a luncheon to mark the end of Paul Giles’s directorship of the RAI.
(e) CM noted that she has been contacted by various American Studies colleagues requesting lists of American Studies departments (always in connection with conference advertising). As she is not in possession of such a list, she raised the issue of what BAAS’s policy was on this matter and whether if might be worthwhile compiling such a list. It was generally agreed that such a list was unnecessary as BAAS was always happy to advertise conferences and other academic events via the website and the mailbase. Subsequent to the meeting PD reminded CM that lists of all American Studies programmes are easily accessible on the Eccles Centre’s webpages.
Anyone who enquires can be advised to go to
http://www.bl.uk/eccles/amstudiesug.html – for undergraduate programmes
http://www.bl.uk/eccles/amstudiespg.html – for taught p/grad
http://www.bl.uk/eccles/amstudiescanada.html – for Canadian studies
(f) CM reported that she had sent out a call to the Exec requesting a committee member to take up the position of BLARs. DE and TS have been in discussion about this and TS is to take up this vacant BLARs position.
(g) CM to update the BAAS leaflet with new committee details.
(h) CM wrote a press release on the BAAS Awards for the THE – not published due to timing. This will be ready to go out next year.
6. Treasurer’s Business
(a) The Treasurer circulated a report to the committee noting that the bank accounts (as at 25/06/08) were as follows: General Deposit, £24,726.70; Short Term Awards, £4,732.91; Current, £18,350.90 (with cheques amounting to approximately £14,000 due to arrive); Education and Development, £5,084.57; Conference, £969.96; making a total of £53,865.04. The amount in the RBS Jersey is to be clarified and the US Dollar Account has $7,371.90.
(b) TS reported that fully paid up members for 2008 currently stand at 535 including 193 postgraduates. This compares favourably to the position last year, which was 462 members (with 163 postgraduates). When those who haven’t so far updated their Standing Orders are included, the numbers rise to 631 (254 postgraduate) compared to 531 (with 183 postgraduate) in June 2007.
(c) TS noted that the accounts have now been signed off and returned to the accountants. The Charity Commission Annual Return has also been completed.
(d) TS discussed the transfer of accounts from GT. The main bank account has now been transferred, except for some minor information which she is awaiting to enable online banking. Until that is received, which should be the week ending 4th July 2008, she will continue telephone banking.
(e) TS noted that the main problem in the transfer of accounts though has been with Paypal which is very inflexible and seems unable to deal with the change of personnel. Because the account was registered to GT it refuses to register TS as it can only accommodate a single registered user. TS suggested that the solution to this problem might be to assign the Current Account to Paypal, and then organise regular transfers to the General Deposit Account. However, because we pay bank charges for each transaction, this is not ideal.
(f) TS also brought the issue of dormant bank accounts to the attention of the Committee. The only recent transaction on the Education and Development Account has been an interest payment and there has been no activity at all on the Conference Account since May 2007. SM, HM and CM thought it best to reactivate the conference account for conference surplus and the conference float, but merge the Education and Development account which is no longer in use. HM suggested going back to NS, JB and GT and ask if they felt it best to keep the separate accounts and if not then to amalgamate accounts. TS to report back on this for the next meeting of the Exec and the Conference subcom.
(g) TS raised the issue of subscriptions, querying how we decide when these are to be increased. HM noted that 2010 is the earliest that we can raise the subscription. It will have to be raised at the 2009 election (advertised with six weeks notice).
(h) She also discussed the issue of the disposal of old files and correspondence in accordance with Inland Revenue and Charity Commission guidelines. HM suggested that she check the Charity Commission guidelines, discard unnecessary items and thereafter liaise with CM on sending some items to the BAAS Archives at Birmingham.
7. Development Subcommittee (WK reporting)
(a) WK noted a brief issue on Conference Support Award: there seemed to be some confusion as to whether this was to support individuals or organisations (it is to assist in the organisation of conferences). It was decided to rename the award for clarity. WK to lead on this.
(b) WK noted that DE had sent him a report on the CD rom, discussing the possibility of conducting a survey to assess impact. WK to forward this report to CM for Secretary’s records.
(c) WK noted that the BAAS graduate survey has been collated and sent on the GT for the web (the survey is anonymous). WK is to write to American Studies heads and get the names of high-profile American Studies graduates and possibly secure a blurb endorsement to post on the web. IB reminded the committee that Alex Salmond has an MA in American Studies and should therefore be approached. CM to write to Tom Wolfe’s publishers, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, about the possibility of attaining such a blurb.
(d) WK raised the issue of procedure involved with the award of conference funding. HM confirmed that the correct procedure was for WK to email successful applicants, copying Treasurer. The successful recipient is obliged to submit report to WK. The submission of a report is crucial as BAAS needs a paper trail for our accounts and for the Charities Commission.
(e) WK noted that there had been 4 funding requests for funding for conference organisation:
Trevor Burnard at Warwick requested funds for the 2nd biennial EAAH in Venice. Professor Burnard requested £300 to fund the visiting speaker Professor Peter Onaf (current Harmsworth professor). It was agreed to recommend that this conference be offered the £300 they requested, but that BAAS stipulate that it is for the support of postgraduates, rather than to fund the visiting speaker’s travel to Venice.
Phil Davies at the Eccles Centre requested funds to support the Congress to Campus event. It was agreed to recommend support of this annual event to the sum of £300.
WK also received a request from Mark Storey for support of a PG conference at the University of Nottingham: New Perspectives on the American 19th Century. It was agreed to recommend support of this annual event to the sum of £300 for a postgraduate fee waiver (30 PGs to attend for free).
WK received a request from Brian Ward for support of the BAAS Postgraduate Conference 2008. It was agreed to recommend support of this annual event to the sum of £300.
(f) WK noted that it is perhaps worth strengthening/reiterating the clause regarding allocation of funds in support of PG attendance on the Conference Support Award application form. WK to lead on this.
8. Postgraduate Business (MC reporting)
(a) MC began by thanking JM for her hard work as PG representative and for the successful handover of information.
(b) MC reported that the postgraduate conference had successfully bid to the US Embassy for money for the conference. The deadline for the call for papers was 30 June. He will send out a call for the next year’s hosts (2009) on the mailbase and in ASIB as well as at the conference. HM suggested that he got JM’s postgraduate email list too. She also suggested that MC contact JM about the EAAS postgraduate reps list.
(c) MC reported that he had been put on the Nottingham BAAS conference subcommittee to represent PG students at the BAAS Annual Conference.
(d) MC noted that Rebecca Cobby (Nottingham) had started up a new Facebook site, “International American Studies Postgraduates” which had 97 members from 31 institutions. He used the site to advertise both the PG and the annual BAAS conferences and he will inform other PGs of the site. It was seen as a good thing, though for obvious reasons BAAS would not be linked to it directly or be seen to sponsor it.
9. Publications Subcommittee (CM reporting on behalf of MH)
(a) BRRAM (KM sent a written report).
Dr Tony McCulloch has been delayed in writing introductions for two titles: “The American Correspondence of Arthur C. Murray with Franklin D. Roosevelt” and “The Canadian Papers of the 4th Earl of Minto.” However, it is anticipated that he will be able to complete these introductions over the summer.
There will be a delay in the publication of “The Manuscripts of Samuel Martin…” because the British Library has supplied unusable duplicate negatives from microfilms originally done in the 1960s. Roderic Vassie is in contact with the British Library about how to resolve this matter.
The microfilm reels of the Goulburn Papers have been sent to the Surrey History Centre, Woking. Professor Ken Morgan’s introductory guide is available online on the MAP website.
No further progress has occurred with the USPG Papers at Rhodes House Library, Oxford. MAP are still awaiting the agreement of the Bodleian Library to off-site filming.
Roderic Vassie and KM have discussed the possibility of an online resource drawn from existing BRRAM titles on transatlantic slavery and the slave trade. Further information will be presented at the next sub-committee meeting.
Over the summer KM will be visiting the House of Lords Record Office and the University of London Archives to identify future projects for the BRRAM series.
KM will submit a brief article on the BRRAM series for a forthcoming edition of ASIB.
(b) Edinburgh University Press (EUP)
CS sent a brief written report. Figures and details below were supplied by Ms Nicola Ramsay at EUP.
The current title in production is Celeste Marie-Bernier’s African American Visual Arts which is to be published July 2008 (co-publication with University of North Carolina Press: taking 250 hardbacks and 2500 paperbacks).
Titles under contract include Kasia Boddy’s The American Short Story since 1950 which is to be published September 09 (ts due September 08) and Theresa Saxon’s North American Theatre to be published February 10 (ts due December 08).
New areas to cover include: TV; Slavery in the 19th Century (Revolution – Civil War) (Carol and Simon to consider possible authors); Immigration (Carol and Simon to consider possible authors); The Press (Carol to ask Head of Journalism for view/ ideas for authors); Sport in America(n Culture); The Cold War (politics, culture, society); Foreign Policy (post-45/ post-Cold War); 1st World War; Contemporary America (Post 1960s); Literature – sub-genres (poetry, drama, crime fiction, etc.); American Film/ Cinema/ Hollywood; America at War; African Americans.
MH to invite CS and SN to possibly advertise a Call for Authors (in relation to the above titles) in the next edition of ASIB.
(c) Journal of American Studies
The Committee happily ratified an extension to Janet Beer’s and Shelley Fisher Fishkin’s terms of office.
CM raised the issue of creating a position on the board in Women’s History. This was discussed as SC had reported that the journal has been receiving many articles in this area in recent months. The Committee is happy to create a position in Women’s History (if the constitution permits – SC and MH to check with Martine Walsh at CUP) and will come up with a long/shortlist for the September meeting. MH and SC to lead on this.
The Committee also discussed the issue of whether retired scholars should be considered for the Board. After much debate, with colleagues discussing the merits of opening the board to younger colleagues and the benefit of having more senior board members, it was agreed that the standing of the person concerned should have more weight than their position. However, it was stressed by colleagues that we do need to think about intellectual weight and target only distinguished people with an active research profile.
(d) American Studies in Britain (ASIB)
CM reported that a good deal of material for ASIB 99 is already in. AK will chase outstanding items in advance of the copy deadline of 15 August. At present these include:
an update on EUP/BAAS series;
an announcement concerning a new editor for US Studies Online;
details of Eccles Centre activities;
details of the 2008 postgraduate conference in Exeter;
an update on BAAS Membership of Committees;
an update on BRRAM.
Additionally, MH intends to supply a report on his Founders Award trip.
CM noted that AK’s new distribution company has proved very satisfactory and will be used again – typesetting and printing will continue at Oxford Brookes.
CM noted the issue of paper-weight (curling copy): apparently AK has discussed this with the printer Sally Bourton. According to Bourton, the way forward is to lighten the paper (to take effect from the publication of the next issue).
CM also reported that Bob Pomfret’s typesetting costs are set to increase. Labour previously was set at £20/hour. This is now to increase to £25/hour under instructions from Brookes. So the next issue will cost approx £200 to typeset, compared with £167.60 for the last issue. AK did discuss the possibility of moving the typesetting to a different company but there are numerous advantages to keeping it with Bob Pomfret, the most important being that he has now created the template for ASIB (a time consuming and costly process). The Committee agreed that Bob Pomfret should remain typesetter.
The Committee discussed the question of running an obituary for Dr Robert Harrison (d. May 07). This is to go ahead. Subsequent to the meeting Tim Woods at Aberystwyth forwarded copy to AK.
AK will accept copy for ASIB 99 until 15 August.
(e) US Studies Online
Issue 12 has just been published. It showcases some of the best papers from the Manchester postgraduate conference last November. EB is especially pleased with the images for Henry Knight’s paper on California Citrus labels:
For Issue 13, EB has currently got eight papers in the system: two in the editing stage, five being redrafted, and two currently with referees.
EB was unable to make the Edinburgh BAAS conference, but adverts encouraging
submissions have gone up on the UPenn site and in ASIB (Spring 2008), and will hopefully stimulate interest from both UK and US postgrads.
EB has standardized a report form to be sent out to the referee with every article
(circulated). Referees choose one of four recommendations when responding, which makes the outcome clearer for everyone. The Committee endorsed this action.
EB’s two-year term as editor of US Studies Online is due to come to an end in August.
EB has drafted an advert to go into the next edition of ASIB and to go out via the mail-base. After minor amendments EB’s advert was approved. CM to forward advert to AK and Clare Elliott. MH to write to EB requesting that she maintains the role of Editor until a new candidate is appointed in the Autumn.
EB sent a report to MH in which she mentioned future improvements to US Studies
Online and recommended the introduction of a third yearly issue. Such a move would, according to EB, increase the opportunities for postgrads to publish with the journal, but it would need to be supported by increased advertising to raise awareness of the journal. Also, a regular deadline for submissions may be a way to stimulate more interest. The first of these items was discussed by the Committee and, as before, rejected on the basis that there were not enough incoming submissions to warrant a third issue. Of course, this is open to review if the situation changes. The issue of regular deadlines will be raised with the new Editor.
EB’s report also drew attention to the fact that an increasing percentage of submissions
are initially rejected, with a request for resubmission (major changes needed). In itself, this can be very useful for the author but it does mean that the editor needs to be conscientious in encouraging resubmissions from these authors. Therefore, the incoming Editor will need to be aware of the necessity for sensitivity in dealing with authors but also of the very ‘hands-on’ nature of the position.
Decision regarding the new editor to be announced/decided in September meeting or shortly thereafter. MH to lead on this.
(f) BAAS Website
Currently down – efforts have been made to contact the Webster but he is away until 30 June.
10. Conference Subcommittee (SM reporting)
(a) SM reported that the Conference subcom has reviewed the timetable for the annual conference organisation and thought it best to bring it forward as it is increasingly clear that the organiser and the subcom need to start thinking about the conference at least two years in advance.
(b) SM noted that CMB submitted a report on the progress of the Nottingham conference – publicity seems to be in hand, the call for papers has been widely publicised and the poster is being designed (plenary speakers will be listed on the poster). Thus far, the conference has been advertised on both the BAAS and the EAAS websites. CMB has sent email adverts to the following organisations: BRANCH, Southern Historical Association, H-Net, ENCS (European Network for Cinema Studies), H-Film, Cinema-L, Screen-L, MeCCSA (Media, Communications, and Cultural Studies Association), SCMS (Society for Cinema and Media Studies), OAH (Organization of American Historians), The Mellon Program, the University of Pennsylvania, European Association for American Studies, American Studies Association. Emails have also been sent to the American Studies national associations in the following countries: Korea, South Africa, Canada, Turkey, Israel, Brazil, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain and Switzerland. CMB will also write to BRANCH, OEAH, TSA and HOTCUS to see if they would like to submit a panel.
(c) TS suggested having a poster in advance as a cfp and then later as an advertisement with the plenary information. This will be taken forward for future conferences.
(d) SM also reported that the accommodation for Nottingham 2008 is booked in Hugh Stewart and Cripps Halls of Residence which are right next to one another. All meals will be held in one of the halls and the late bar is booked. The first reception will be combined with the American Prints: From Hopper to Pollock exhibition at the Arts Centre, University Park Campus. The reception will be hosted in such a way as to enable delegates to wander around the exhibition. The second reception will be held at Nottingham Castle and is booked. The third reception will be held in the Portland Building which is less glamorous than the castle but will be close to the banquet which will be held in the top floor ball room. Entertainment for the banquet will be provided by Dr Jazz. Entertainment and all reception venues are now booked. The plenary lectures for the conference will be delivered by Professor Janet Beer (Eccles lecture), Professor George Lipsitz (JAS lecture) and Professor Alison Graham (Nottingham lecture).
(e) SM noted that an advertisement for the conference was placed in the TLS on 20 June. The primary aim of this advert was to raise the profile of the organisation.
(f) SM reported that the numbers of attendees for the conference is a potentially problematic issue as no venues cater for more than 250 people. SM feels that we should not worry about numbers for accommodation as delegates will be informed that they are not guaranteed accommodation, rather delegates will have to be registered in the first 200 to be guaranteed accommodation. In terms of cost, the complete conference fee looks set to be approximately £295.
(g) At this point, SM pointed out that items which need to be finalised include the poster, the booking form, the automated response system and abstracts online.
(h) In terms of future conferences, UEA is secure for 2010 and the preliminary organisation is now in place and UCLAN is committed to hosting the conference in 2011. IS is to start running some checks for the 2012 conference at Manchester and will have some secure dates by the September meeting. Exeter are investigating options for 2013.
(i) HM recorded her formal thanks to RM for his work on the 2008 Edinburgh BAAS conference.
(j) SM raised the issue of the correct procedure for applying for Embassy funding issue for the annual conference. HM confirmed that the Conference subcom needs to liaise with the Development subcom on this matter so that all are kept abreast of developments and activities. SM and WK and TS to discuss this via email. SM also noted that the Embassy require a full report on spending, with details of Teacher and PG subsidies, advertising and postage costs, etc. She pointed out that we could also bid for assistance with the cost of placing the abstracts online and the fees for room hire, etc.
(k) SM raised the issue of institutional support for the conference organiser (i.e. in terms of teaching remission, etc.). The practice in the past has been for the Chair to write to the VC and/or Head of Department of the host institution and/or department outlining the demands of conference organisation, etc. HM to write to Nottingham regarding the 2008 conference. SM suggested the possibility of BAAS providing some financial support for this. HM noted that in the past we’ve felt that the host institution would/should fund this and that this is a possible grey area in terms of our Charity status. MW pointed out that as the REF is moving towards prioritising Knowledge Transfer, this might be used as a means of selling teaching remission for conference organisation to host institutions. SM suggested that a way around the issue might be to increase the conference honorarium. TS will look into this issue properly for the next meeting as there may be some issues with the Charities Commission.
11. Awards Subcommittee (IS reporting)
(a) IS reported that he had met with Eric Sandeen at EAAS who was very enthusiastic about the Wyoming TAship, which they’re happy to continue. The advert for the TAship has gone out through the usual channels with the deadline set for December. SM and IB will serve alongside IS on the judging committee panel.
(b) IS noted that the Awards subcom had discussed the issue of the eligibility of Committee members entering for BAAS grants/essay prizes. The Exec agreed that it was probably best that Committee members were deemed ineligible to apply for STAs, PG and Founders’ awards. However, it was agreed that it was unfair to disbar Exec members from the Arthur Miller Prize and the Book Prize as these were eminent awards for research. In terms of the Eccles Awards, IS noted that PD was adamant that there was no disbarment. As BAAS does not own this award it was agreed that PD had the final decision.
(c) IS reported that he and his assistant had been compiling an Awards portfolio with full details of the administration of the Awards over the past two years of awards. This will be passed on to IS’s successor when IS steps down in 2009.
(d) IS reported that printing and publicity costs for 2008 had come to £527. This will rise to £571.05 in 2009 as the company which prints the posters will have to include VAT. The Committee were happy with this.
(e) IS reported that PD wrote to him and to HM regarding the renewal of the Eccles Awards. PD has offered to fund a European Fellow and two European PG Awards as new awards. In addition, PD has offered to raise the UK PG Award by 25% to £500. PD suggested that the European Awards would be a modest £200 more generous than the UK awards to assist with airfares. The Eccles Awards funds break down as follows: The North American Professor award is worth £6000; 3 UK Fellowships at £2000 each are worth £6000; 5 UK PG awards at £500 each amount to £2,500; one European fellowship would be worth £2,200 each; 2 European PG awards at £700 would total £1,400. The total grants, therefore, would amount to £18,100. PD also proposed an increase in the grant to BAAS for administration costs, raising it to £1,400. Thus these new awards and the increased admin grant mean that the total prize money to be awarded by the Eccles Centre amounts to £19,500.
(f) IS asked Michelle (his assistant in administrating the grants) to prepare a detailed allocation list of her work for BAAS and last year she worked in excess of 200 hours. With new awards coming on stream, IS proposed that BAAS add £250 to the Eccles money in order to meet Michelle’s costs. This was agreed by the Committee.
12. Libraries and Resources Subcommittee
(a) Nothing new to report as the next meeting will take place in the British Library on 2 July.
(b) On the issue of INTUTE, DE is to discuss at BLARs meeting and have a proposal for the Development subcom for the September meeting.
13. EAAS (WK reporting on behalf of PD)
PD sent a written report.
(a) PD reported that he had attended his first EAAS council meeting in Oslo. The committee meets for half a day prior to the conference.
(b) It was decided that in future the annual payment by members to EAAS will be based on the number of paid up members on December 31 of the calendar year. Practice varies among EAAS members, with many operating a rolling membership renewal, but there are others as well as BAAS that operate a calendar year membership, and in that case the end of year number is a more accurate indication of membership numbers. This will increase the cost of EAAS membership to BAAS, but will also result in more accurate reporting of the strength of the subject in the UK.
(c) In his report PD noted that EAAS, or at least the BAAS nominee to the council, would need to have a list of names of BAAS members in order to check that those wishing to be active in the EAAS conference are members in good standing. EAAS recognizes that these lists are owned by constituent member institutions, and that EAAS is specifically barred from using these lists in any other way than for the specific purpose of checking the membership status of conference participants. This was discussed amongst the Committee as BAAS is not able to pass membership lists on to other bodies. WK to inform Phil that EAAS will have to send on a list of registrees which will be checked by BAAS Treasurer. HM reiterated that BAAS cannot send lists for data protection reasons.
(d) PD’s report noted that member organizations were encouraged to follow the recent French example in giving financial aid to PhD students from other European countries to take part in activities aimed at young scholars. The BAAS postgraduate conference was noted as a particularly successful national initiative that might be internationalised in this way.
(e) PD’s report noted that member organizations are encouraged to advertise and report on any such useful activities through American Studies in Europe (with or without grants). All copy for American Studies in Europe should go through PD. PD suggested that those with news items for ASIB also send it to him. PD made specific reference to the BAAS PG Conference and requested that make it a matter of course to send him information (MC to ask the organizers to forward information to PD). PD stressed the need to utilize EAAS and foreground American Studies activities in Britain. The deadline for forwarding information to PD is mid August.
(f) In his report, PD noted that EAAS is anchored financially by the Amsterdam Trust Fund, accumulated and fostered by Rob Kroes some years ago. EAAS is moving towards a firmly constituted legal position under European law (something akin to BAAS’s charitable status) and the role of the Trust Fund will be reviewed as part of the legal process.
(g) PD’s report noted that increasing number of national associations wish to join EAAS. As this creates considerable governance difficulties within the association, as well as financial pressures, a working party was established to consider ways forward.
(h) At the EAAS conference in Oslo, there were some technical problems – with the ambassadorial reception, with the quality of the conference banquet, and with the expense of Oslo. It was decided at the EAAS meeting that a previous practice of not allowing workshop chairs to deliver papers should be reinforced. It was also mooted that the end of conference shoptalks might not be serving a useful purpose, and that time might be used more productively.
(i) The next EAAS conference will be held in Dublin, 26-29 March 2010. The conference theme is ‘”Forever Young”? The Changing Images of America’ – which allows plenty of room for all kinds of approaches. The call for workshop proposals will, as always, be made well in advance of the conference.
(j) PD’s report noted that the EAAS online journal, the European Journal of American Studies, http://ejas.revues.org/ encourages submissions from all American Studies approaches.
He also noted the EAAS travel grants (for details, see http://www.eaas.eu/travel_grants.htm https://exchange.aber.ac.uk/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.eaas.eu/travel_grants.htm), one of which was won by a British applicant in the most recent competition.
(k) PD’s report concluded by noting that the cost to BAAS of supporting its representative to this year’s meeting was considerably defrayed by the Eccles Centre, which paid all hotel and conference registration, and by EAAS, which pays a small per diem towards subsistence costs.
14. Any Other Business
(a) SC sent a note via the Secretary to register her thanks to HM and Martine Walsh for lobbying on behalf of JAS and securing the successful ERIH rating.
(b) CM noted that RM and PD had attended the UKCASA meeting on behalf of BAAS. RM sent a short report to CM noting that much of the meeting was devoted to a presentation by Martin Williamson, Head of Research Analysts at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Williamson emphasized that he and his colleagues wanted to improve their contacts with people in area studies. PD stepped down as UKCASA chair. The new chair is Professor Susan Hodgett (Ulster), who works in Canadian Studies, and Professor Tony Chafer, the UKCASA treasurer, reported that the financial condition of UKCASA is healthy enough that it is not necessary to ask member organizations for a subscription fee on an annual basis. Instead, he will contact member organizations for a membership contribution when necessary (probably between about 18 months and 2 years).
15. Date of next meeting
The next Executive Committee meeting will be held at the University of Leicester on 26 September 2008. Subcommittees will meet at 10.30am.
Dr. Catherine Morley