BAAS Executive Committee: 11 June 2010 at 1.00pm
1. Present: M Halliwell (Chair), W Kaufman (Vice Chair), C Morley (Secretary), T Saxon (Treasurer), C Bates, I Bell, M Collins, D Ellis, J Fagg, Z Feghali, G Lewis, I Morgan and T Ruys Smith.
Apologies: S Castillo, P Davies, S Lucas, R Mason, M Whalan.
2. Minutes of the Previous Meeting
After some minor amendments, 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. WK mentioned that Development business with schools was ongoing and criteria for small conference grants was being redeveloped and would be sent to the Secretary for addition to the website in due course. WK also noted that he had conducted an audit on Awards monies granted and conference bursaries for PGs, and had arrived at the conclusion that there was no justification for applying to the Embassy for additional funds.
All other Action List duties will be addressed under the relevant section below.
4. Chair’s Business (MH reporting)
MH made the following announcements:
- Andrew Warnes has been promoted to a Reader at the University of Leeds
- Tim Lustig has been promoted to Senior Lecturer at Keele University. Martin Crawford, Steve Mills and Mike Tappin are all retiring from Keele.
- Dick Ellis (Birmingham) will be a Research Fellow at the W.E.B. DuBois Institute at Harvard University in August.
- Peter Rawlings has been made Head of the newly reconfigured Department of English, Linguistics and Communication at University of the West of England.
- Will Kaufman (Central Lancashire) has been awarded an AHRC Fellowship (£34,488) for his new project on ‘Radical Guthrie’.
- Sylvia Ellis (Northumbria) has been awarded £7500 by the Nuffield Foundation for a pilot study on US Universities’ Women’s Centres.
- MH has updated the Heads list and will try to have a representative from each American Studies unit, or cognate department with and American Studies concentration. He noted that he would kept interested parties and friends of BAAS on the list (limiting one per institution). Colleagues are invited to write to MH if interested in being added to the list.
- In future MH will be sending the Academy of Social Sciences bulletin through Iwan Morgan. He asked colleagues to inform Iwan if they would like to see the bulletin on a regular basis; otherwise relevant news items will be extracted for Exec meetings.
- MH is in the initial stages of exploring the possibility of the US Embassy (possibly with the UK Embassy) in India sponsoring a delegation of Indian Americanists to form a roundtable at the 2011 BAAS Conference to discuss the development of American Studies in India, perhaps with an international relations focus. If this venture is successful, MH intends to replicate the model with the US/UK Embassies in China for the 2012 BAAS Conference. Simon Newman has suggested that if funds are a prohibiting factor, then video conference links could be an option. Michael Macey in Delhi is, in principle, interested in pursuing this venture. MH noted the problem regarding the relatively low value of the rupee which means that academics tend not to travel. SN suggested video conference links might be the way around this and suggested Australia would be a good option to consider for future years. MH will pursue this further.
- MH corresponded with BAAS Exec Colleagues to define new roles on the Committee: Michael Collins (Website and Communication), Iwan Morgan (Academic of Social Science, HOTCUS and APG Liaison), John Fagg (UKCASA and LLAS Liaison), Robert Mason (TAShips), Tom Ruys Smith (Impact Database), George Lewis (Chair of Conference Subcom), Mark Whalan (Chair of Publications Subcom). MH also met with Zalfa and Michael to discuss the Postgraduate Representative’s role. This now means that we all have distinct roles on the Exec. These roles can be developed over the course of the coming year.
- MH wrote to Edward Action, the VC at UEA, to thank him for his support of the BAAS 2010 Annual Conference and received a positive response.
- MH attended a meeting of scholarly associations to assess the future of research funding for the humanities and social sciences at the British Academy in late May (the notes have already been circulated among Exec members).
- MH was invited to the launch of the RCUK’s Impacts: People and Skills Publication on 14 June at the British Academy. He is unable to attend, but Tom Ruys Smith will represent BAAS and report back at the next meeting.
- MH was invited to the Eccles Centre’s Bryant Lecture and Dinner on 17 May (Heidi Macpherson attended the Lecture as outgoing BAAS Chair).
- MH will attend the LLAS Advisory Board meeting on 15 June, followed by a celebration of 10 years of the subject centre.
- Iwan Morgan will be attending the AGM of the Academy of Social Sciences, on behalf of BAAS, on 30 June.
- MH noted that we were asked to nominate impact case studies to UKCASA for a HEFCE consultation. Will Kaufman and Dick Ellis are putting forward case studies. It is unclear at this stage whether they will be accepted (subsequent to the meeting we heard that only DE would attend the meeting). This HEFCE workshop is to be held on 30 June, with a follow-up meeting of UKCASA on 1 July which JF and DE will attend.
- MH has had meetings with 3 former chairs of BAAS, and 2 more scheduled for the summer. In May he met with Maxine Molyneux, Iwan Morgan and Tim Lynch at the ISA, and with Liza Davies and Sue Wedlake at the US Embassy. CB will also see the Embassy representatives later in June.
- MH reported that he had written a letter for the THE responding to a piece reporting a complaint by Martin Davidson, the CEO of the British Council, about the lack of study abroad opportunities in BA degrees in the UK. The letter was printed in shortened form in this week’s THE. The lead article lamented study abroad opportunities in the UK. MH reminded them of year abroad opportunities embedded in American Studies degrees.
Consultations and Activities
- MH responded on behalf of BAAS to the REF consultation on the proposed change to the placement of the Area Studies subpanel. Subsequently, MH corresponded with the Heads of UEA, Nottingham and Warwick to ascertain their intentions for the REF – including a meeting with Pete Messent, Head of American Studies at Nottingham.
Along with most other associations, BAAS was opposed to the proposed subpanel reorganization for three reasons:
- This relocation would sever the humanities and social science branches of American Studies;
- The proposal to place Area Studies as a branch of Literature and Language would effectively disenfranchise US historians in particular. It would force all historians to submit to the History panel without even the option of a viable subpanel to which to cross-refer;
- We argued that an Area Studies subpanel that is fully representative of humanities and social science disciplines is not only crucial for multidisciplinary units that will submit directly to the Area Studies subpanel, but also to those UOAs that submit to other disciplines (History, Literature, Politics, Cultural/Media Studies) and wish to cross-refer to a representative Area Studies subpanel.
- MH noted that it was not worth discussing Impact until the Autumn, when the picture will be a little more clear.
- MH noted that he would send the ‘Why American Studies?’ to contacts in India over the summer.
- The Heads of American Studies meeting will take place in the autumn and it will be held at the ISA.
- DE suggested that it might be worth taking a longitudinal view of AS departments and single honours degrees to analyse the sharp decline in the institutional status of American Studies. He suggested that we think through the implications of this for the community. DE reminded the Exec of an email by Paul Giles which advocated that BAAS (and American Studies more generally) should embrace the changes in the discipline. WK noted that this position was important and he suggested that perhaps BAAS’s focus on named degrees means that we are in danger of alienating those operating in the parent disciplines. He reminded the Exec that our aim is to protect AS wherever it exists, but perhaps named AS programmes have been privileged in the past. MH agreed that the institutional dynamics have changed over the last few years and suggested that one way of looking at the current situation was to argue that there is more of a level playing field without the flagship departments. JF returned to the issue of disciplinary ‘visibility’, named units created this visibility for the subject more broadly and highlighted its interdisciplinarity. MH noted the visibility of AS in the University League Tables, but reiterated the need to discuss this matter more fully at the AS Heads meeting. He suggested that, should we undertake this study, we employ a PG to conduct the work. DE proposed we look at other subjects, such as Modern Languages, which fought back on a philosophical/holistic level (i.e. making their case on the basis of their intrinsic value as well as their necessity in order to compete on an international level) – rather than on a piecemeal/individual level. This had worked to a degree and might be something that BAAS could contemplate. He warned that if we accept the drift AS will get more and more isolated, with fewer and fewer modules and provision. MH suggested that we tackle the issue in two stages: firstly, we will discuss the matter of Impact with the AS Heads, and then contemplate how to present this philosophical dimension of American Studies to government and think tanks. These issues and the matter of the study are to be revisited at the September meeting.
5. Secretary’s Business
- CM noted that, as usual, her main role revolved around information flow. She regularly passed information on to Alison Kelly, Clare Elliot and Michael Collins for ASIB, the mailbase and the website respectively. These have increased hugely since the launch of the new website, with AS events pouring in every day. She helped direct people with research and awards queries to the appropriate sources. She also fielded a number of queries for AS graduates looking for Careers opportunities.
- 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); she is awaiting materials from the Charities Commission so she can update our records with details of the new committee members.
- CM noted that she has begun work on the newly designed BAAS leaflet. She will circulate it electronically before printing for committee approval. The design has been slow to allow the incorporation of the new web design and new logo.
- CM noted that most of her time this quarter had been given over to the website. She and MC attended a training session with Clear and Creative in Oxford on 17 May 2010, and since then they both have been busy adding materials. There have, inevitably, been a few teething problems with the website but generally everything seems to be working well and the feedback has been very positive. There are aspects of the site that require updating, such as the addition of Minutes, recent editions of ASIB, and amended links to AS centres, but these will be attended to in due course.
- CM will represent BAAS at an ESRC event on the Humanities and Social Science on 16 June 2010.
6. Treasurer’s Business (TS reporting)
- The Treasurer noted that the bank accounts (as at 09/06/10) were as follows: General Deposit, £25,222.48; Short Term Awards, £1,882.69; Current, £13,550.48; making a total of £40,655.65. The RBS Jersey account has been closed and the US Dollar Account has $9,450.43
- TS reported that fully paid up members for 2010 currently stand at 307 (124 postgraduate). This does not compare favourably to the position last year, which was 475 (with 166 postgraduates). When those who haven’t so far updated their Standing Orders are included, the numbers rise to 495 (177 postgraduate), and with those who have not yet renewed from 2010 (i.e. those who pay by cheque) are included the numbers rise to 611 (243 postgraduate).
- The balance on the Current Account is high as there are award payments that have yet to go through. CE will send out a call asking members to update their Standing Orders. TS will write to those remaining individuals who have not yet updated.
- TS had received a query this year from someone attending the conference who was not a BAAS member so paid the non-member rate, but was told that the extra money would constitute the cost of their BAAS membership. The Exec agreed that this was not the case and BAAS membership was not to be rolled into the conference cost in this manner.
- TS reported that she was about to send off a Gift Aid claim for £2051.
- DE asked about the possibility of setting up a Direct Debit facility for the BAAS membership. TS said it would be too expensive to set up. DE asked TS to ascertain what the exact cost of Direct Debit to see if this might be worthwhile.
7. Development Subcommittee (WK)
- WK began his report by welcoming John Fagg, Zalfa Feghali and Iwan Morgan to the subcom.
- Following the previous meeting, the subcom agreed via email to offer support of £300 to Matthew Hill for the Nottingham Poetry series.
- WK reported that Steven Ross had requested £500 for the BAAS PG conference (13 November 2010). The amount requested had been fully costed and the Executive Committee unanimously agreed to support this request. MH will write to Dr Reena Sastri to thank her for her support of the BAAS PG conference.
- WK reported that the subcom had discussed how best to utilise the website’s Schools pages. One idea, for instance, was to add materials that would be attractive to teachers. For the next meeting, CB will produce a template, format and model (from a student perspective) and the subcom will decide how to develop this. CB noted that next year’s schools conference season will soon be starting and we should try to ensure we have a BAAS presence to build our network of contacts. CM suggested that we collate Schools conferences contacts, use this to promote BAAS, and to advertise Schools prize. CB will pursue this. CM will send all available Schools contacts lists to CB.
8. Publications Subcommittee (MH reporting on behalf of MW)
- Roderic Vassie attended the meeting on behalf of KM.
- The subcom was happy to recommend Evie Vernon to write the Introduction to the latest BRRAM release. This decision was endorsed by the Exec.
- KM will visit ISA to look at Latin American materials.
- MC will explore ways of linking MAP/BRRAM holdings to the BAAS website
Edinburgh University Press (EUP)
- Kasia Boddy’s book on the Short Story will be released in August.
- Theresa Saxon’s book an American Theatre will be released next summer.
- SN and SC are currently considering proposals on American rock ‘n roll and American autobiography
Journal of American Studies (JAS)
- The next Editorial Board meeting will be held on 20 September.
- MW will pursue nominations to replace Sabine Broeck. JAS would like to appoint a senior European Americanist.
American Studies in Britain (ASIB)
- KA, AK’s successor is yet to submit his PhD. MH has, therefore, asked Alison to see the next edition of ASIB through to typesetting stage. KA will take over in August.
- In future, new members will submit their biographies electronically and this electronic version will be forwarded to the Editor of ASIB.
US Studies Online
- The Spring edition is now online (PG conference edition).
- FD will step down from her position as Editor in the Autumn. MW will send an advert for a new Editor to AK for the Autumn edition of ASIB (deadline for applications – 1 January 2011). This role will be aimed at late stage PGs/early career scholars with a fixed three-year term. MC will stand in as Acting Editor until a new editor is appointed. It must be stated clearly on the advert that the Editor is expected to attend the Annual BAAS conference and the BAAS PG conference.
- The new BAAS website went live on 27 May. MC noted thanks to CM and to Simon Gregory at C&C.
- MC and CM attended website training on 17 May and both can update materials on the site. MC requested that colleagues send events information directly to him.
- MC is investigating how we might organise new membership through the website, including PayPal and changes to the Standing Orders. This will mean that TS can monitor information more easily and process membership more quickly. Simon Gregory has quoted £240+VAT for this. MC will investigate the costs of Photoshop training.
- The UCLAN BAAS link now works; HOTCUS has been added as affiliated organisation.
- MC is looking into ways of archiving old events and linking them into the architecture of the site. He noted that it is important to keep records of all BAAS-supported events (and e-posters for the BAAS conference) as this would be a way of monitoring BAAS’s impact.
9. Conference Subcommittee (GL reporting)
- GL noted official thanks to Tom Ruys Smith and his team at UEA. The UEA accounts are being formalised and once the Treasurer has confirmed the UEA accounts have been closed, TRS will receive the conference secretary’s honorarium of £500.
- GL reported that the subcom had looked at UEA in terms of improvements that might be made at future BAAS events. The subcom are considering various ideas which might have a greater capture for the AGM. There was universal praise for the pared-down version of prize giving. GL noted that there had been a small technical hitch in processing the payment for the CUP speaker. TS is working on this.
- The conference poster for UCLAN is now on the website and will go out in the BAAS mailbase. Hotel accommodation is based at The Legacy and the Preston Holiday Inn (10-15 minute walk from the conference venue) and it is hoped that lack of shuttle bus provision will bring the costs down. TS will explore the possibilities of using the UCLAN mobility bus for delegates who may not wish to walk those distances. We can book a maximum of 90 rooms in advance. The subcom suggested that BAAS pay for 40 rooms in advance and then book a further 90. GL noted that UEA used 120-130 rooms and had 250 delegates across the whole conference. The conference banquet will be held at the Deepdale Football Club. Friday night will be a free night again (due to success of this at UEA). A list of restaurants will be provided in the conference pack. An auto-reply to paper submission has been set up and abstracts online will be handled by the conference organiser.
- GL will write to invite the following organisations to offer panel sessions: HOTCUS; BrANCH; NAN; APG; BACS; SLAS; BGEAH; APC; MSG; and possibly WISP.
- GL suggested that it might be interesting to think about panels organised around various anniversaries such as 10th anniversary of 9/11; Civil Rights; the JFK inauguration; Tulsa Riots; 50 years Freedom Rights; and 160 years since publication Moby Dick. IM noted that 2011 would mark the 50th anniversary of ‘The Twist’.
- GL reported that the subcom had also discussed various ways of involving local schools in the conference. TS will put UCLAN’s teaching liaison officer, Bernard Quinn, in touch with the BAAS teachers’ rep.
- The plenary speakers for UCLAN 2011 are all confirmed: Heidi Macpherson (UCLAN plenary); John Howard (JAS plenary); Nigel Bowles (ECCLES plenary). Given that the JAS speaker will be UK-based, the cost of the flight will not be required. DE wondered if this money could be used for postgraduate travel grants. MH will make enquiries with Martine Walsh.
- GL formally thanked Sarah MacLachlan for the hard work that she put in during her six years on the sub-committee, and for her often unseen work in ensuring that so many past BAAS conferences ran smoothly and successfully.
10. Awards Subcommittee (IB reporting)
- IB was pleased to announce that the New Hampshire TA-Ship has come through for the forthcoming year. A panel had selected Laura Crean from the University of Glasgow to take the place from August. He mentioned that Ms Crean had asked about the possibility of deferring her place. The Exec agreed that given the rolling nature of TA-ship this would not be possible. IB will advise the candidate.
- IB noted that the posters for next tranche of awards will be distributed over the summer. He asked CM to look into the cost of producing the posters with C&C.
- IB enquired about the new Arthur Miller First Book Prize. He asked if there were any strict rules about whether candidates could apply for both the BAAS Book Prize and the new Arthur Miller Award. The committee agreed that given the amount of work involved in the adjudication of these prizes candidates could apply for only one or the other award. IB will make enquiries with Chris Bigsby about who forms the adjudicating committee (BAAS or UEA) and he will also ascertain the prize amount. This information needs to be reported back to the Treasurer.
- IB raised the matter of posters for schools prizes. The current list of schools contacts is far too long and unmanageable in terms of the distribution of posters. CB will advise on which schools to target (CM will forward the current lists to CB).
11. Libraries and Resources Committee (DE reporting)
- DE noted that the next meeting of BLARs will take place on 16 July.
- DE noted that the subcom are still pursuing ideas regarding resources sharing and will present a paper to the Exec at the September meeting.
- DE mentioned that BLARs were keen to engage with MC and JF regarding the website.
There was no new EAAS news since April.
13. Any Other Business
- In response to an ACSS/ESRC forum, IM has written to about 20 individuals in the Social Sciences to briefly indicate the impact of their work as they see it. He is hoping to compile a database that might be used at short notice to flag significant work in the Social Sciences area. He is hoping to have heard back from all those contacted by the end of July.
- JF circulated a letter from Michael Kelly regarding the role of LLAS and the 40% they are facing. The letter requested support from organisations. MH agreed to write, on behalf of BAAS, to the head of the HEA. JF also mentioned that the LLAS produces a monthly bulletin which he will, in future, summarise and circulate to the Exec.
- JF raised the issue of voting at the AGM and wondered if there were different ways of organising the voting. DE suggested that we could move to hustings, debates, questions, etc, which could go out as podcasts prior to the AGM. The Exec agreed to revisit this issue at the next meeting.
- MH mentioned that Tim Lynch from the ISA was looking for information about the ISA to include in his Chair’s Report, which will be printed in the next ASIB.
- DE mentioned that Dr Steve Hewitt (Birmingham) met with the Queen in an advisory capacity prior to her recent visit to Canada.
- The Secretary raised the matter of future meeting dates, noting that it would be useful to set out dates well in advance. The Exec agreed that this was a sensible idea and agreed to meet on 17 September at the University of Leicester, 14 January 2011 at the University of Manchester, and on 14 April 2011 at the University of Central Lancashire.
14. Date of next meeting
The next Executive Committee meeting will be held at the University of Leicester on Friday 17 September. Subcoms will commence at 10.30am.
Dr. Catherine Morley
Office Phone: (0116) 223 1068