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Photos Now Online--NACBS Annual Conference 2016

Posted by rdaily under 2016, conference, photographs | Tags: annual conference, photos | 0 Comments

A trove of images from the Washington meeting, taken by photographer Sancha McBurnie, is available for perusal on Flickr:[email protected]/4B5j5F. Enjoy!

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Prize Pages Updated for 2017 Competitions

Posted by rdaily | Tags: deadlines, prize, update | 0 Comments

Committee members, deadlines and requirements for NACBS 2017 prize competitions are now current.

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MACBS Annual Conference

Posted by rdaily under MACBS | Tags: conference | 0 Comments

The 2017 MACBS conference will be held at the University of Maryland in College Park on the weekend of April 1-2.  George Robb, a past president of MACBS, will deliver the plenary address, on "The British Assault on American Neutrality during World War I."   We will also feature a plenary panel on "British History After Brexit," featuring Dane Kennedy, Alison Games, Dinyar Patel, and Zara Anishanslin.
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CFP: Rewriting British Political History

Posted by rdaily under CFP | Tags: Brexit, IHR | 0 Comments

‘Brexit’ and associated events in 2016 in Britain, including the construction of a new government under a second woman prime minister, strains within the Labour Party, and renewed calls for Scottish independence, have reminded us of the centrality of political institutions in history. Events have been dominated by elections and referenda, foreign diplomacy and negotiation, constitutional procedure and judicial review. In recent years, meanwhile, the definition of politics used by historians has expanded, influenced by new work in social history on culture, personal identity, language, ethnicity, race and gender among many other categories. The opportunity of revisiting the history of politics and writing it more broadly, linking insights from other historical genres and approaches to a more conventional focus on political institutions now presents itself. What might a new British political history look like? What should it include? And are there any limits to the definition of ‘politics’ used by historians of Britain?

This conference, organised by the Institute of Historical Research with the support of the North American Conference on British Studies, and to be held at the IHR in Senate House, London, on Thursday and Friday June 29-30 2017, will consider how we should write the political history of Britain under the influence of new approaches and in light of recent events.

Prospective speakers are invited to submit panel proposals on any period of British history – medieval, early modern, and modern – which examine a common political theme, subject or period.

The 300 word proposals must include:

- Three papers with a nominated chair
- The title of the panel session
- Synopses of the individual papers
- Speakers’ names and affiliations
Please submit your proposals to [email protected] by 1 April 2017 
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Guy Ortolano, winner of the NACBS’ 2016 Walter D. Love Prize, on his project “The Typicalities of the English? Walt Rostow, the Stages of Economic Growth, and Modern British History,” Modern Intellectual History, 12, 3 (November 2015).

How did you become interested in this topic?

I’m interested in why anybody outside of Britain should study British history.  For a generation now, imperial history has offered a compelling answer to that question, but how else might we persuade deans and departments of the value of our field?  When I read my colleague Barbara Weinstein’s AHA Presidential Address, “Developing Inequality,” I became interested in the role that British history played in modernization theory during the 1950s and 1960s.  This outdated theory can’t say why anybody should Britain today, but it does point to why some people studied Britain in the not-too-distant past: because it purportedly blazed the trail to modernity that other nations must follow.  Walt Rostow’s blockbuster polemic, The Stages of Economic Growth (1960), is often cited as the classic statement of this position, but when I read it I found that, not only did Rostow not make that claim, he repeatedly disavowed it.  Britain, for Rostow, was not exemplary but peculiar.  So I set out to understand, first, what role Britain actually played in Stages; second, how we had come to associate the book with something else entirely; and third, what is the significance, for historians wanting to make a case for studying – and staffing – British history, of the fact that this canonical text disavowed the applicability of the British case.  I conclude that Rostow’s use of Britain offers a model after all: not because he (or we) could assert that all nations follow Britain’s path, but because he (and we) could use the British case to think about world historical development without recourse to that Anglocentric claim.

Did you encounter any unexpected problems or difficulties with your sources? 

The main difficulty was the refusal of Stages to yield the answers I wanted.  I was trying to write about how British history structured this influential scheme of world historical development, only to find repeated disavowals of that position instead – until, walking home one day having failed yet again to produce an NACBS paper, I realized, oh, right: that’s the article.

Does your project engage other disciplines? If so, which ones, and how? 

The article aims to engage US historians, by drawing a distinction between American exceptionalism and American egocentrism: Rostow indulged the former but not the latter, since he could not conceive of world historical development without seriously engaging Britain.  And it addresses intellectual historians, especially historians of Marxism, by analyzing modernization theory as a historically specific (namely, Cold War) effort to replace “class” with “nation” as history’s primary actor.  I am grateful to Nils Gilman for helping me to see that.

Do you have any advice for graduate students and early career professionals as they begin research projects or embark upon the writing process? 

Begin conference papers not with a date, but an idea; organize articles not around facts we don’t know, but problems we can’t explain; remember that topics don’t make arguments, authors do.  I co-edit the journal Twentieth Century British History, along with Helen McCarthy and Adrian Bingham, and we often ask authors a version of this question: How do your specific findings change the way we think about some more general concern?  Even though we all know it’s coming, most of us still need pushing to answer that one.

What did you find to be the most challenging part of the project?

Responding to the readers’ reports.  For months I moaned about the impossibility and irrelevance of their demands.  Little by little, though, I worked to address their criticisms, until finally realizing how much their generosity had improved an embarrassingly thin submission.  Much credit goes to the editors of Modern Intellectual History, especially Charlie Capper, for seeing something worth encouraging in something pretty raw.

What are you working on next? Will you be pursuing related research questions or turning to something completely different? 

I’m finishing a book on urban planning and the welfare state, Thatcher’s Progress.  It asks why Margaret Thatcher’s government, before privatizing a single nationalized industry, set out to dismantle Britain’s pioneering new towns program; it argues that Thatcher recognized what historians have not, that the new towns constituted the spatial dimension of the welfare state.  Structurally, the book follows Thatcher on a driving tour around Milton Keynes on the morning of September 25, 1979.  Her hosts wanted to persuade her to continue the new towns program, and the book pauses at each stop to examine what happened – in successive chapters – to transport, planning, architecture, community, consulting, and housing in late-twentieth century Britain.

Guy Ortolano is an Associate Professor of History at NYU.

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Posted by rdaily | Tags: social justice | 0 Comments

The North American Conference on British Studies, North America’s largest organization of scholars pursuing the study of Britain and the former British Empire, denounces President Trump’s executive order restricting travel of those from seven majority-Muslim countries and temporarily halting the admission of refugees.

With this statement, we join the large list of organizational members of the American Council of Learned Societies who have issued statements in recent days. We condemn this executive order for restricting freedom of movement, imperiling refugees, and furthering racism and religious bigotry. 

We in British studies are keenly aware of the historical record of global infractions of rights that have often accompanied the aggrandizement of national and imperial interests. We also hold precious the historical precedents of safe freedom of passage, the sanctity of the rule of law and the conventions and protocols of a whole range of international agreements negotiated over the course of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. The present limitations of rights and freedoms imposed upon students, faculty and researchers are impediments to all scholarly communities and to the free exchange of ideas upon which our work as scholars and educators depends. Attacks on persons or groups, based upon their religious affiliation, sexual orientation or racial, gender or ethnic identities, are abhorrent to all who advocate debate, dialogue and lives of ethical purpose. 

As British studies scholars, we stand fast with our colleagues and students in this hemisphere and in the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. We also pledge to uphold and sustain the pursuit and protection of the rights threatened by this executive order, both in our organizational life and in the institutions and communities in which we work.

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CFP: 2017 Southern Conference on British Studies Annual Meeting-Dallas, TX, November 10-11.

Deadline for submission: April 1, 2017

The Southern Conference on British Studies solicits proposals for its 2017 meeting in Dallas, Texas, November 10-11. The SCBS will meet in conjunction with the Southern Historical Association.

The SCBS construes British Studies widely and invites participation by scholars in all areas of British history and culture, including the Empire or Commonwealth and the British Isles. We welcome both individual and panel submissions on any topic in British Studies, but especially on the theme of Utopias: Sacred and Secular. We invite papers that address this theme from a wide variety of perspectives, exploring religious, intellectual, imperial, political, social, and other dream worlds, as well as dystopias and other challenges to sacred and secular and visions of perfection.

Individual proposals should be no more than 250 words in length and include a short biographical statement. Panel proposals should be limited to 750 words and include a rationale for the panel as well as a brief description of each paper and participant. Proposals should be sent to Dr. Michael de Nie at: [email protected]

The SCBS Charles Perry Graduate Student Prize ($250) will be awarded to the best paper presented at the conference by a graduate student. Entries must be received by October 27, 2017.

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CFP: MWCBS Annual Conference, October 2017

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The Midwest Conference on British Studies is proud to announce that its 64th Annual Meeting will be hosted by Webster University in St. Louis, MO, September 29-Oct 1, 2017. The keynote speaker will be Tammy Proctor of Utah State University, and the plenary address will be given by Jonathan Sawday from Saint Louis University.

The MWCBS seeks papers from scholars in all fields of British Studies, broadly defined to include those who study England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and Britain's Empire and the Commonwealth from Roman Britain to the modern age. We welcome scholars from a broad spectrum of disciplines, including but not limited to history, literature, political science, gender studies, and art history.

We welcome proposals for panels (of three participants plus chair/commentator), roundtables (of four participants plus chair), poster sessions, and panels featuring the pre-circulation of papers among participants and audience members. We welcome proposals that:

* offer comparative analyses of different periods of British Studies, such as comparing medieval and early modern issues in context

* situate the arts, letters, and sciences in a British cultural context

* present new research on the political, social, cultural, and economic history of the British Isles

* examine representations of British and imperial/Commonwealth national identities, including the construction of identities shaped by race, class, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, and dis/ability  

* consider Anglo-American relations, past and present

* examine new trends in British Studies

* assess a major work or body of work by a scholar  

* explore new developments in digital humanities and/or research methodologies  

* present professional development sessions on collaborative or innovative learning techniques in the British Studies classroom or on topics of research, publication, or employment relevant to British Studies scholars

The MWCBS welcomes presentations by advanced graduate students and will award the Walter L. Arnstein Prize for the best graduate student paper(s) given at the conference. A limited number of graduate travel scholarships will also be available, and all graduate students are encouraged to apply. Further details will be available on the MWCBS website:

Proposals must:

* Include a 200-word abstract for each paper and a brief, 1-page c.v. for each participant, including chairs and commentators.

* For full panels, also include a brief 200-word abstract for the panel as a whole.

* Please place the panel abstract, accompanying paper proposals, and vitas in one file and submit it as a single attachment. Also identify the panel’s contact person within the email.

All proposals should be submitted electronically by March 26, 2017, to the Program Committee Chair, Christine Haskill at [email protected]

Program Committee: Carrie Euler, Central Michigan University; Christine Haskill, Chair, Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University; John Krenzke, Tidewater Community College; Chad Martin, University of Indianapolis; Linda E. Mitchell, University of Missouri-Kansas City; J. Sunita Peacock, Slippery Rock University; Lacey Sparks, University of Kentucky. Visit the MWCBS website at 

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The NACBS 2017 annual conference in Denver will include two special workshop sessions intended primarily for graduate students and early career scholars, with one on early modern bodies corporeal and rhetorical and one on cultures of imperialism. Please see CFP below.

Workshop: Cultures of Imperialism 

NACBS Denver, Nov. 2017

Abstracts (1 pg.) and short (1-2 pg.) CV due March 30, 2017

Participants in this workshop will explore the many and multifaceted cultures of imperialism in Britain and its empire, from the early modern period to the postcolonial period. From the “discovery” of the new world at the start of the sixteenth century to the present, colonial and imperial engagements and entanglements have structured the movement of English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish and other British subjects, goods, and ideas as they traveled across the world.  These moments of colonial contact have been transformative for those who were colonized as well as those who did the colonizing. In this workshop we welcome papers on the cultures of colonialism and empire.  We seek research that addresses engagements and entanglements between those who moved between the British Isles and its trading posts and ports, settlements, mission stations and other sites of colonial contact. We encourage papers that work beyond the metropole-colony binary and examine forms of engagement that are transcolonial and transimperial, with the goal of thinking globally about the emergence of cultures of imperialism.  We think of cultures in a broad way to consider political, legal, economic, environmental, and scientific cultures of imperialism and its analogue in the modern period, colonialism. We hope to open definitions of imperialism and colonialism to scrutiny as we consider the ways that Britain and its imperial territories were transformed by the history of intercultural contact.  In choosing to organize this workshop from the early modern to the postcolonial, we aim to juxtapose the prenational formations of the early modern period against the national, international and globalized world of the early twenty-first century.  How important or central are cultures of imperialism and colonialism in different time periods? How might we historicize the idea of coloniality and postcoloniality? How are ideas about cultural, racial, and ethnic differences generated? If we assume that colonial activity produced exploitation and political asymmetries, how were these asymmetries challenged, particularly by subject populations? As scholars of imperialism and colonialism, how important is it for historians to acts as judges (following Ginzburg)?

Papers on these issues – or on related topics that fit broadly within our aims – are welcomed, particularly from graduate students and early career scholars.

The session will feature 7-10 pre-circulated papers of 15-25 pages. All participants will be required to submit their papers by the last day of September, and to have read the entire session's papers in advance of the conference. Please send a one-page abstract and one-to-two page CV to Elizabeth Elbourne ([email protected])  and Durba Ghosh ([email protected]) by March 30, 2017.

Early Modern History Workshop: Bodies Corporeal and Rhetorical

NACBS Denver, Nov. 2017

Abstracts (1 pg.) and short (1-2 pg.) CV due March 3, 2017

Participants in this workshop will explore early modern bodies, both material and imagined. In early modern Britain, the human body served as an important cultural vehicle, the site or object upon which politics, medicine, literature, economics, religion, science, philosophy, and art could (and did) work.  In this workshop we will explore early modern conceptions of the body, broadly defined: constructions of bodies politic, and bodies corporate; bodies of water and land; bodies of belief and faith; bodies of thought or knowledge. How do “bodies”, both material and rhetorical, enable us as historians to access early modern beliefs and practices, including ideas about violence, difference, colonial exploitation, ecological use, political and religious change, or racial and sexual norms? How did ideas about physical or corporeal bodies contribute to thinking about bodies of other things? As scholars of the period, are “bodies” useful to us and how can we problematize them in new ways? Papers on these issues – or on related topics that fit broadly within our aims – are welcomed, particularly from graduate students and early career scholars, and from scholars working and living in the UK.

The session will feature 7-10 pre-circulated papers of 15-25 pages. All participants will be required to submit their papers by the last day of September, and to have read the entire session's papers in advance of the conference. Please send a one-page abstract and one-to-two page CV to Amanda Herbert ([email protected]) and Olivia Weisser ([email protected]) by March 3, 2017.

 Amanda Herbert and Olivia Weisser


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New PBS miniseries on Queen Victoria

Posted by rdaily | Tags: miniseries, pbs, Queen Victoria | 0 Comments

Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who) stars as the young Queen Victoria at the outset of her epic reign, which set the stage for an entire era that would be named in her honor. Scripted by bestselling novelist Daisy Goodwin (The Fortune Hunter), this series follows Victoria from her accession to the throne at age 18, through her education in politics, courtship and marriage. Victoria features Rufus Sewell (The Man in the High Castle) as Lord Melbourne; Tom Hughes (Dancing on the Edge) as the handsome Prince Albert; Alex Jennings (Churchill’s Secret) as Leopold I, King of Belgium; Paul Rhys (Borgia) plays Sir John Conroy, the rumored lover of Victoria’s mother the Duchess of Kent, a German princess played by German actress Catherine H. Flemming. 

In Victoria, writer Daisy Goodwin imaginatively depicts what it was like for an ill-educated, emotionally deprived teenager to wake up one morning and nd that she is the most powerful woman in the world. Victoria will air in seven parts, on MASTERPIECE, beginning January 15, 2017 on PBS. 

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