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I am pleased to announce that, thanks to Professor Miles Taylor, the director of the Institute of Historical Research (University of London), and the IHR staff, the American Friends of the IHR (AFIHR) are now able to offer a new benefit that will be helpful for many scholars. It was a worrying development when the Royal Historical Society’s Bibliography of British and Irish History became a proprietary service under the aegis of Brepols Publishing some time ago. Many libraries have been unable to afford institutional subscriptions to BBIH since then, and annual subscriptions for individuals are now pegged at $171.
 Beginning January 1, 2013, however, AFIHR members can have annual subscriptions for $55, a savings of approximately two-thirds. The basic level for AFIHR membership is $45. If you wish to take advantage of this opportunity, please note that subscriptions are for the calendar year that begins January 1 and that the IHR needs to provide Brepols a list of AFIHR members who have opted to buy the subscription by mid-November. If you are not a member of the AFIHR, the advantages that come with membership are listed on our website. If you know of anyone who might find this extraordinary resource useful, please pass along this information. Our website provides a membership form that is easy to download and print (
                                                                        Sears McGee
                                                                        President – AFIHR
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The North American Conference on British Studies is seeking a new editorial team for the Journal of British Studies, including a new general editor or co-editors, and a new book review editor or co-editors. The current editors' term ends in summer 2014, and the Association hopes to select new editors a year earlier to facilitate the transition process.  Editors are appointed to a five-year term.  Those interested in applying should contact Professor Cynthia Herrup of the University of Southern California History Department ([email protected]). The application deadline for both positions is November 30, 2012.


The Journal of British Studies, published four times a year, is the premier journal in the field, with a very high ISI citation impact rating. Starting in January2013, the journal will be published by Cambridge University Press.



Interested parties should be aware that the editorship and the book review editorship (both open to a team) are not related. Applicants should specify which of these positions interests them.  Editorial subventions provide funding for editorial assistants for each of the two positions, but applicants will require a commitment of support from their home institutions.  The current editorial teams are happy to answer questions about their duties.  You can contact Brian Cowan ([email protected]) or Elizabeth Elbourne ([email protected]) about the journal editors’ responsibilities and Amy Froide ([email protected]) or Gail Savage ([email protected]) about the book review editors’ responsibilities.  Questions and inquiries can also be directed to the NACBS president, Dane Kennedy ([email protected]), or vice president/president-elect, Keith Wrightson ([email protected]).

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Speakers for PBS

Posted by jaskelly under Announcement | Tags: downton abbey, pbs | 0 Comments

PBS stations across the country are looking for speakers as they hold December events to promote the third season of Downton Abbey on MASTERPIECE.
Downton Abbey won last year’s Primetime Emmy® award for “Outstanding Miniseries” and just received another 16 Emmy nominations for its second season. New episodes begin January 6, 2013 and, as this third season opens, the characters are in 1920 and the context has moved from the Edwardian Era to the Interwar years.
Are you able to speak to this time in British history? Would you be interested in educating an audience about the lifestyles and social changes occurring in the worlds of both the British aristocracy as well as the mainstream population?
If so, please contact [email protected] who is coordinating a centralized speakers bureau for PBS stations across the country to access. You may also reach Gay at #617/300-5308.  Please send along your CV and a photo of yourself and indicate topics(s) you would enjoy sharing. Please know there is no guarantee that individual PBS stations can do more than provide an honorarium.

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Dear NACBS Members and Friends,

I'm writing to let you know that the North American Conference on British Studies and History Working Papers ( will once again team up to help NACBS conference participants and panels pre-circulate their papers. Already, we have a few panels planning to participate, and we invite you to submit your papers as well.

As you probably know, Tim Hitchcock and I are working together on a digital space that we are calling History Working Papers (HWP). HWP is an online space for scholars to share works-in-progress with their peers. After uploading a conference paper, essay, or article manuscript to the HWP website, authors can invite others to read their work and make comments in the margins. As more people respond, writers get more feedback. But, unlike traditional comments done on paper, HWP allows commenters and authors to interact with each other. They can read each other's marginalia and engage in dialogue about it. In fact, entire threaded discussions can take place in the margins.

NACBS has allowed us to offer HWP to conference panels and participants this year. I am writing to encourage you to take advantage of the system. Not only will it be able to help you generate some pre-conference buzz for your panels, but it is a tool to help you create more informative and useful panels. Here is a short summary of what you can expect from HWP:

HWP will allow you and the people on your NACBS panel to post your conference papers online (either individually or as a whole panel) several weeks before the conference begins. By posting papers ahead of time, HWPP gives conference chairs, panelists, and participants the ability to experiment with alternative approaches to your panels. While panels and individuals can simply use HWP to pre-circulate papers and hold a traditional conference panel, you have the opportunity to be creative and do much more. By integrating an online conversation both before and after the conference, you will find that your panels are much more dynamic.

Here are some ideas on how you can take advantage of HWPP:

1. The most effective way to use HWP is as a whole panel. Chairs should round up participants' papers several weeks before the conference begins and send them to Jason M. Kelly at [email protected]. Within days, they will be posted to HWPP under the heading for your panel.

2. Chairs should encourage the commentator and one or two other peers to read the papers and put their comments in the margins. They might also consider sending out an announcement about the pre-circulated drafts to H-Albion or NACBS's Facebook page in order get others to read and comment as well. Remember, whether a participant or a peer, it is important for you to ask people to comment. You will be surprised at how many people are willing to participate.

3. Having a panel pre-meeting is a great way to meet each other and discuss some of your papers' ideas. Chairs, commentators, and panelists can meet using Skype, Google+, Adobe Connect or any number of other video conferencing tools.

4. Chairs might consider an alternative format for their NACBS panel. There are a number of format options, from PechaKucha to five-minute papers to short poster sessions. We encourage you to keep talks to a shorter length in order to allow more time for group discussion. Doing this is very effective, and you may be surprised at the improved dynamic and the rich outcomes that emerge. At a recent NACBS panel, for example, the chairs adopted a modified PechaKucha model. Even though there were ten speakers, there was still enough time for an exciting one-hour discussion.

5. Remember, that when the conference is over, HWP will still be available. We encourage you to continue using it as you revise your papers for submission to journals.
The History Working Papers Project is quite an exciting system, as I am sure you will notice. Please visit the site and have a look around ( Watch the videos, read the papers, and make comments. There are already papers online so that you can see what papers and comments look like. Be sure to send us any questions you have about the site.

I do hope that you consider using the system for your panel this year. I think it will be a great addition to the NACBS and the way scholars in the humanities approach conference panels and scholarship more generally.

Best wishes,
-- Jason M. Kelly PhD, FSA
Director, IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute
Associate Professor of British History, IUPUI

IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute
Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
755 W. Michigan Street UL 1140D
Indianapolis, IN 46202-5195

telephone: 317.274.1689
fax: 317.274.1024
email: [email protected]

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All the breath and the bloom of the year in the bag of one bee:

—Robert Browning 

CFP: NVSA 2013


Boston University: April 5-7, 2013

NVSA solicits submissions for its annual conference. The topic this year is 1874.


The conference will feature a keynote panel including Isobel Armstrong, Robert J. Richards, and Herbert Tucker, and a walking tour of Victorian Boston led by Martha Vicinus.

* * *

The Northeast Victorian Studies Association calls for papers from all disciplines on any aspect of 1874, the year in which The Way We Live Now was serialized in monthly numbers, John Tyndall delivered his “Belfast Address” on scientific materialism, Benjamin Disraeli was appointed prime minister for the second time, and red became the standard color for pillarboxes of the Royal Mail. We welcome submissions on any topic relevant to 1874, as well as papers that engage with the conceptual and methodological issues raised by taking a single year as a focus for study.


What are the consequences of thinking about Victorian works of art, texts, objects, and events in relation to their specific year in history? How is our perspective on the period—or on periodization itself—altered by this vantage point? What does the close examination of a single year—a year literally picked out of a hat by the program committee rather than chosen for its significance—reveal about the relationship between dates that “matter” in Victorian Studies and dates that do not? Is the calendar year a significant unit of time or useful organizational framework for our exploration of the Victorian period as a whole? How is our understanding of annual publications, commemorations, and other yearly events and forms changed when we concentrate on a single occurrence of each? In 1874 S. O. Beeton’s Christmas annual Jon Duan sold 250,000 copies in three weeks, vastly outperforming Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd. Which, then, is the “major” text under the rubric of our conference? How does our sense of the canonical and non-canonical shift as a result of such micro-periodization?

Other texts and events from 1874 worth considering:


M. E. Braddon’s Lost for Love

William Benjamin Carpenter’s Principles of Mental Physiology

Wilkie Collins’s The Frozen Deep and Other Stories published; The Law and the Lady serialized

John William Draper’s History of the Conflict between Religion and Science

Amelia Edwards’s A Night on the Borders of the Black Forest

George Eliot’s The Legend of Jubal, Arion, and A Minor Prophet; first one-volume edition of Middlemarch

F. W. Farrar’s Life of Christ

John Forster’s Life of Charles Dickens, final volume

Francis Galton’s English Men of Science

W. S. Gilbert’s Charity

John Richard Green’s Short History of the English People

Thomas Huxley’s “On the Hypothesis that Animals are Automata”

G. H. Lewes’s Problems of Life and Mind, Vol. 1

Henry Maudsley’s Responsibility in Mental Disease

George Meredith’s Beauchamp’s Career serialized

Margaret Oliphant’s A Rose in June and For Love and Life

John Ruskin’s Fors Clavigera: Letters to the Workmen and Labourers of Great Britain, Vol. 4

Henry Sidgwick’s Methods of Ethics

James Sully’s Sensation and Intuition

Algernon Charles Swinburne’s Bothwell: A Tragedy

James Thomson’s The City of Dreadful Night

Anthony Trollope’s Lady Anna and Phineas Redux published

Alfred Russell Wallace’s “A Defence of Modern Spiritualism”

Mrs. Henry Wood’s Johnny Ludlow


London School of Medicine for Women founded

Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge founded

Fiji Islands annexed by Britain

Ghana established as a British colony

Shipton-on-Cherwell train crash (and other notable train crashes)

David Livingstone’s body returned to England

Victoria Embankment opened

Astley Deep Pit disaster

Public Worship Regulation Act

Factory Act of 1874

1874 Transit of Venus

Wilkie Collins’s readings in America

Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease founded

First Impressionist exhibition, Paris

           *     *     *

Proposals (no more than 500 words) by Oct. 15, 2012 (e-mail submissions only, in Word format):

Professor Tyson Stolte, Chair, NVSA Program Committee ([email protected]).

Please note: all submissions to NVSA are evaluated anonymously. Successful proposals will stay within the 500-word limit and make a compelling case for the talk and its relation to the conference topic.

Please do not send complete papers, and do not include your name on the proposal.

Please include your name, institutional and email addresses, and proposal title in a cover letter. Papers should take 15 minutes (20 minutes maximum) so as to provide ample time for discussion.

For information about NVSA membership and travel grants, please visit the NVSA website at


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Posted by jaskelly under Announcement, Conferences, Regionals | Tags: cfp, pccbs | 0 Comments


The Pacific Coast Conference on British Studies (PCCBS) invites paper and panel proposals for its fortieth annual meeting, to be held at the Faculty Club at the University of California, Berkeley, March 8-10, 2013.

The PCCBS invites papers representing all fields of British Studies -- broadly defined to include those who study the United Kingdom, its component parts and nationalities, as well as Britain's imperial cultures. We welcome proposals from scholars and doctoral candidates in a wide range of disciplines across the humanities, social sciences, and the arts, including History, Literature, Political Science, Philosophy, Religion, Gender Studies, Cultural Studies, Theater Studies, and Art History.

Proposals for individual papers, partial panels, or complete panels are all welcome, although complete panel proposals are preferred. We encourage the submission of proposals dealing with interdisciplinary topics, as well as panels on new pedagogies and technologies associated with British Studies.

The deadline for submission of proposals/panels is NOVEMBER 15, 2012. Proposals should include a 200-words abstract for each paper plus a 1-page c.v. for each participant. Those submitting full or partial panel proposals should include a brief description of the panel plus a 1-page c.v. for the panel chair as well as for its commentator. Please place the panel proposal, its constituent paper proposals, and all vitae in one file, making certain that your contact information, especially e-mail addresses, are correct and current. Proposals should be submitted via e-mail attachment by Nov. 15, 2012, to:

Professor Michelle Tusan, PCCBS Program Chair
Department of History, University of Nevada-Las Vegas
[email protected]


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Cambridge University Press has announced that it will publish Journal of British Studies on behalf of the North American Conference on British Studies from January 2013   

Cambridge University Press is delighted to announce that it will begin publishing the Journal of British Studies (JBS) in 2013. The official publication of the North American Conference on British Studies (NACBS), the JBS has positioned itself over fifty years as one of the critical resources for scholars of British culture from the Middle Ages to the present. The JBS now partners with Cambridge, forging a joint commitment to foster the best in scholarship and offer the best in publishing services to an international community of researchers.

Journal of British Studies will continue to combine peer-reviewed original research papers and book reviews by renowned international scholars, using both established and emerging approaches to present their ideas on British society, history, politics, law, literature, art, economics, and sociology. The journal will be available in print and electronic formats.  Volumes 1 through 50 will be included in the Cambridge Journals Digital Archive, as will the complete archive of Albion, a complementary journal formerly published by the NACBS.


"We are delighted to partner with Cambridge University Press to publish the Journal of British Studies. Our mission is to provide scholarship on Britain and its past that is of the highest quality and reaches the widest possible audience, and we know that Cambridge shares that dedication. We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship," said Dane Kennedy, President, North American Conference on British Studies.

"We are privileged to have been entrusted with the future of the Journal of British Studies and we look forward to working with the dedicated editorial team to bring the journal to a broad global audience", said Simon Ross, Managing Director, Cambridge Journals. "We can offerJournal of British Studies a bright future as part of one of the world’s leading academic journals lists, extending the best in platform technology to all NACBS members and subscribers."

Journal of British Studies will be hosted on Cambridge’s cutting-edge electronic platform, Cambridge Journals Online, which will provide increased usability, functionality, and many new features to enhance and optimize article usage.

For more information, please visit the Journal’s website:

Publicity Contact: Daniel Pearce, Commissioning Editor, HSS Journals –[email protected]

If you currently receive Cambridge Journals through a consortium or site-license agreement, please contact your usual sales representative or consortia administrator. Customers in theAmericas contact [email protected], customers in the Rest of the World contact[email protected]

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The NACBS STERN GRANT is intended to provide financial assistance for graduate students who attend the annual NACBS meeting. Recipients will receive up to $500 in reimbursement for travel, lodging, and registration costs incurred as a result of attendance.
Guidelines for applicants:

1. You must be a graduate student in good standing at a PhD-granting degree program in British studies and a member of the NACBS.

2. You must provide a justification for your attendance at the annual meeting and a budget of expenses.

3. Your faculty advisor, who also needs to be a member of the NACBS, must submit a letter of recommendation on your behalf.

Procedures for application:
Please submit your application for funds by email to each of the committee members under the subject line: Stern Fund Application. Your application should include the following information: your name, address, email address, and phone number; the PhD program in which you are enrolled; the name of your faculty advisor; your purpose in attending the NACBS meeting; an estimated budget of expenses. In addition, request that your faculty advisor send a letter of recommendation to the committee by email, again with the subject line: Stern Fund Application.

Preference will be given to applicants who are panelists on the NACBS program and/or are award recipients. Awardees must submit to the committee chair all receipts for reimbursement within one month of the end of the annual meeting.

Application deadline: September 4, 2012. Applications and letters of recommendation must be emailed to:

Professor Shannon McSheffrey, Chair
Concordia University
Email: [email protected]

Professor David Campion
Lewis & Clark College
Email: [email protected]

Professor Nancy Ellenberger 
U.S. Naval Academy
Email: [email protected]


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Robert K. Webb, 1922-2012

Posted by jaskelly under Obituaries | Tags: bob webb, r.k. webb | 0 Comments

Born in Toledo, Ohio, on Nov. 22, 1922, Bob Webb was a piano prodigy who, to the good fortune of British studies, chose instead to be a historian. Among the last of his generation of young men who left college to serve in the military during the Second World War and then became a seminal figure in his field, Bob entered Oberlin College in 1940 and was in the U.S. Army Artillery from 1943 to 1946. Eventually a Master Sergeant, Bob was posted to the U.S., Guam, and the Philippines.  He graduated from Oberlin in 1947 and went on to a Ph. D. at Columbia University in 1951. After a brief stint at Wesleyan University from 1951-1953, he returned to Columbia.  There, he advanced to senior positions, including Chair of the Contemporary Civilization Program.  From 1968 through 1975, he was the editor of the American Historical Review and from 1975-81 of Academe, the AAUP Bulletin.  In 1975, he joined the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where he remained until his retirement in 1992. Throughout his career, he collected almost every academic honor and prize available, including a Fulbright Scholarship; a Guggenheim Fellowship, twice; and, an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship.  He also enjoyed three Research Grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and was a Visiting Fellow in the School of Social Sciences and subsequently at the Humanities Research Centre, The Australian National University. Additionally, he was a Senior Visiting Fellow in the Victorian Studies Centre, the University of Leicester; a Member, the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton; a Visiting Fellow, the Center for the History of Freedom, Washington University, St. Louis; the Christiansen Visiting Fellow, St. Catherine's College, and an Associate Fellow, Manchester College, Oxford. Modestly and with great effect, Bob Webb had lasting influence upon the understanding and practice of British history.  His distinguished legacy in British studies and upon the greater academic community is apparent in scholarship and style; editorial authority; academic leadership; and teaching and mentoring.

Bob's analytic powers were legendary -- he was incapable of an incoherent thought -- and his mastery of the English language was meticulous and elegant.  Peter Gay got it exactly right when he dedicated his Style in History (1974) to "Bob Webb. Friend, Collaborator, Stylist."  In The British Working-Class Reader:  Literacy and Social Tension, 1790-1848 (1955), Bob emerged as a defining social and intellectual historian, demonstrating the explanatory power of a perspective then just beginning to challenge the long primacy of political history.  Bob set out to understand the challenge that a newly literate working class presented, especially to a newly ascendant middle class who attempted to impose their values and mores on those below them.  Bob found that attempt doomed, not least because of the allegiance of the middle classes to the iron doctrines of political economy.  This astute revisionary work preceded by eight years E.P. Thompson's iconic The Making of the English Working Classes (1963), which argued that the 18th and 19th century "working classes" needed to be rescued from the "enormous condescension of posterity."  Bob's discovery of the conflict between increasingly self-conscious working-class and paternalistic middle-class radicals led him to Harriet Martineau.  A Radical Victorian (1960).  Instead of a conventional biography, Bob deciphered those forces in the early 19th century that formed and were reflected "in this singular woman" and asked what "a study of her amazingly consistent attitudes" revealed about early Victorian society.  The book provided an intellectual and cultural portrait of the time set within a broad and then neglected religious, political and economic context. In this study, Bob became fascinated by the role of religion in general and Unitarianism in particular. Just as historical studies of women were hardly competing for bookshelf space in the 1960's, religion was rarely studied by scholars of the Victorian age.  Had Bob lived a little longer, his eagerly anticipated study of Unitarianism would have become the definitive work.  Instead, he left scores of graceful, revelatory essays, which beg for collection and publication.  Bob taught us that an understanding of religion was essential for an explanation of thought, conduct, policy, and class relations in Victorian life.  Aside from many other essays and book chapters on topics that included analyses of the 1950's and '60's, Bob wrote Modern England (1968) and together with Peter Gay, Modern Europe (1972).

Modern England, revised in 1980, served as the principal text book for at least two generations of students and it was the first volume to deal with both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries of English history.  Bob explained his bias as "political and social" in which the theme of progressive change was more important than the theme of traditional continuity.  Undergraduates reading this book were introduced to a rare mind capable of extraordinarily compelling and memorable scholarly synthesis.   In 1980, in the second edition, Bob extended the time period, rewrote many sections and gave up the notion that some kind of greatness might still lie ahead for England.  But he retained his admiration for the country and its unique achievements in politics, culture, the arts, education, religious tolerance, and the practice of civility.  Had he written a new edition, as he acknowledged, that optimism, qualified as it was, would no longer be possible for expectations about the present and future. Modern England is still on reserve at UCLA's College Library and it was checked out of the Research Library as recently as April 2012.

At the AHR, Bob demanded and received the highest standards for articles and reviews. His careful reading of manuscripts and erudite commentary encouraged contributors to be better, more introspective historians.  Bob believed and acted upon the principal that historical writing should never be stodgy. His trademark was enthusiastic explanation, delivered with economic clarity and panache. Those skills led him to various tenures as a valued editorial advisor for libraries, foundations and publishers.

As an active member and leader in many academic organizations, he delighted his colleagues with his qualities of mind and of character--especially his wit, discernment, and uncanny ability to resolve apparently irreconciliable difficulties. Those organizations included NACBS, where he served as Vice-President and President from 1987-1989; the AAUP, where he held a number of offices from 1966-1981 (see the remembrance in Academe, May-June, 2012); and interdisciplinary roles in accreditation and adjudication bodies.  In 1975 he joined the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where he enlisted and led a history department that now includes three eminent scholars of British History—Daniel Ritschel, Webb's successor; Sandra Herbert; and Amy Froide.  While at UMBC, he also served as Acting Chancellor for Academic Affairs from 1978-79. Ten years later, Bob became UMBC's first presidential research professor. After he retired in 1992, a university lecture series in history was created to honor him and distinguished students of Britain came annually to deliver those lectures.  In October, 2010, Bob closed the series with a typically urbane and intriguing exploration of "The Very Long Eighteenth Century: An Experiment in the History of Religion?"   (This can be seen and heard on

Bob Webb was passionate about English history as a complex story, never entirely successful, about an evolving constitutional democracy and civilization in which more was to be admired than despised.  He was also passionate about good food, architecture, and the arts and especially about music.  But most of all, he was passionate about and deeply admired his wife of 54 years, Patty Shull Webb, and his two accomplished daughters, Emily Martin of Los Angeles and Margaret Webb Pressler, of Washington.  His family, including his six grandchildren, was a constant and renewing source of pleasure to him. He also cared deeply about the historical profession. When President of NACBS, Bob took the Executive Committee, of which I was a member, to a Michelin starred restaurant in Chicago.  As we started out, I noted with unease that the sidewalks were covered with ice.  In Los Angeles, ice is what we put into our drinks.  "Hold my arm," said Bob.  "I won't let you fall."  He never let anyone fall whom he could support, as so many will readily testify. A charismatic teacher and mentor to more than two generations of grateful students and colleagues, he will be remembered and missed for his kindness, generosity, authoritative scholarship, prodigious memory, and peerless range of knowledge.  Authentically good, Bob Webb lived wisely and well.


Reba Soffer, California State University, Northridge, Emerita

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