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The Making of the Working British Historian


Angela Woollacott
Case Western Reserve University
NACBS Program Committee

A special panel at the North American Conference on British Studies annual meeting, Boston, 19-21 November 1999

This session was put together in response to suggestions that the NACBS should address the needs and exigencies of graduate students and recent Ph.D.s in our field. An article in the American Historical Association's newsletter, Perspectives (May 1999), suggested that, although the job market has opened up a little in the last ten to twelve years, it has been considerably outpaced by the increased production of History Ph.D.s. The NACBS Report on the State and Future of British Studies in North America identified the job market and publication prospects for junior scholars as areas that particularly need to be addressed. Our four panelists examined separate aspects of these topics at the conference, and their papers have been collected in this online forum. Let me introduce each panelist.

George Behlmer, "Getting (and Surviving) the Job Interview"

George Behlmer has taught Modern British History at the University of Washington since 1979. His most recent book is Friends of the Family: The English Home and Its Guardians 1850-1940, published last year by Stanford University Press. He is now working on constructions of "savagery" in Britain's tropical empire. Last year he served on a Modern European History search committee that reviewed 304 applications, which qualifies him to speak about the job interview. "Getting (and Surviving) the Job Interview" is available in these formats:
Adobe PDF DocumentAdobe PDF Document
HTML DocumentHTML Document

Margot Finn, "Publish, Don't Perish"

Margot Finn is editor of the Journal of British Studies. She is currently an Associate Professor of History at Emory University; as of July 2000, if the Home Office cooperates with a work permit, she will be at the University of Warwick. Her book, After Chartism: Class and Nation in English Radical Politics 1848-1874, was published by Cambridge in 1993. She is currently at work on a book project called "The Character of Credit: Social, Legal, and Cultural Construction of Debt in England, ca. 1750-1900." Margot's authority for speaking to us on the subject of publishing articles includes the fact that she won NACBS's Walter D. Love article prize for 1999. "Publish, Don't Perish" is available in these formats:
Adobe PDF DocumentAdobe PDF Document
HTML DocumentHTML Document

Norris Pope, "Publishing a First Book"

We are very pleased to have on the panel Norris Pope, Director of Stanford University Press. Norris earned his doctorate in Modern History at Oxford, and is the author of Dickens and Charity, published in North America by Columbia. He has taught occasionally in the English and History departments at Stanford. He has been at the press for twenty years, and has held positions ranging from Assistant Editor to Editor-in-Chief to Chief Financial Officer. He is responsible for most of the press's publishing in British History. "Publishing a First Book" is available in these formats:
Adobe PDF DocumentAdobe PDF Document
HTML DocumentHTML Document

Paul Deslandes, "Holding Patterns: Postdoctoral Survival Strategies for British Historians"

Paul Deslandes has just this fall entered the coveted realm of the tenure-track job. He is Assistant Professor of History at Texas Tech University. Paul earned his Ph.D. in 1996 at the University of Toronto, with a dissertation entitled "Masculinity, Identity and Culture: Male Undergraduate Life at Oxford and Cambridge 1850-1920." He published an article related to his dissertation in the Journal of British Studies in 1998. Prior to his current position, Paul spent a year working on an exhibition supported by a Connecticut Humanities Council Grant, one year as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Trinity College, Hartford, and another year as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Sweet Briar College. "Holding Patterns" is available in these formats:
Adobe PDF DocumentAdobe PDF Document
HTML DocumentHTML Document

Angela Woollacott, Associate Professor of History at Case Western Reserve University, is the Chair of the NACBS Program Committee.


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This Forum was edited for online publication by the NACBS Webmaster, Peter Hansen, Associate Professor of History at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Suggestions for future forums are most welcome.