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The official publication of the North American Conference on British Studies (NACBS), the Journal of British Studies, has positioned itself as the critical resource for scholars of British culture from the Middle Ages through the present. Drawing on both established and emerging approaches, JBS presents scholarly articles and books reviews from renowned international authors who share their ideas on British society, politics, law, economics, and the arts. In 2005 (Vol. 44), the journal merged with the NACBS publication Albion, creating one journal for NACBS membership.


The NACBS Dissertation Fellowship is awarded to support dissertation research in the British Isles on any topic of British (including Scottish, Irish and Imperial) history or British Studies. The Fellowship consists of a $10,000 stipend. Two runners-up will receive a $5,000 travel grant. Each advisor may nominate one candidate enrolled in a Ph.D. program in a U.S. or Canadian institution. At the time of application, the nominee must have completed all degree requirements save the dissertation.   

  • The nomination must be made by the student's dissertation advisor, supported by one additional letter of recommendation. The nominating advisor and the nominee must both be members of the NACBS. It is not necessary for the additional referee to be an NACBS member.
  • The candidate must need to travel to the British Isles for the purpose of dissertation research. The fellowship awardee must conduct full-time research in the British Isles for an extended stay of at least a three-month duration. Travel grant awardees may conduct shorter research trips.
  • These fellowships may be held concurrently with other awards.
  • Winners must utilize these fellowships by August 31, 2023 and must also submit, by this date, a financial report on the use of the funds.

 Procedures for Application: 

  1. The application consists of the two letters of nomination and recommendation described above; a one-page curriculum vitae of the candidate; and a 1000-word research proposal written by the candidate, which should explain the importance of the topic to the field of British history and include a description of the relevant primary materials that are to be consulted in the British Isles. (Citations count toward the 1000-word limit.) Appended to the CV should be a list of the financial support (source, type and amount) received by the applicant since the beginning of graduate study, and an indication of any current pending applications for financial aid to support dissertation research.
  2. Letters of reference should address themselves not only to the student's past record, but also to the importance of the topic and the need to pursue research in the British Isles. The major advisor, in endorsing the candidate, is also confirming the ABD status of the candidate and the financial information requested above.
  3. Send an electronic copy (via e-mail) of the application package (as a single document—either WORD or PDF) to each member of the Dissertation Awards Committee listed below. Letters of reference should be sent to the committee members separately by the referees. Electronic copies should be sent by 11:59 p.m. on June 1, 2022. The application file should be named (APPLICANT’S LAST NAME_Application) and letters of recommendation files should be named (APPLICANT’S LAST NAME_Letter). The details for each committee member, including a current email address, are included below:
Chair: Chris Bischof
Department of History
University of Richmond
[email protected]

Mar Hicks
Department of Humanities
Illinois Institute of Technology
[email protected]

Daniel Livesay
History Department
Claremont McKenna College
[email protected]


NACBS Dissertation Fellowship 2021

Claire Arnold (Northwestern University), “The Demands of Distance: British Families around the World, 1815- 1914.”

Arnold's dissertation investigates middle-class migration to Argentina, China, and Australia, three regions that also attracted significant professional migration and investment over the nineteenth century. Bringing these destinations into the same frame, she argues that middle-class migrants and the family networks that backed them were a significant force not just in empire, but in the wider British world. Arnold's project raises intriguing questions about power, class, and ultimately the creation of the nuclear family.

Alison Hight (Rutgers University), "State Making and the Construction of Four Nations and Imperial Consciousness in Victorian Britain."

Hight's dissertation explores the emergence of tensions within the "four nations" of the United Kingdom during the nineteenth century. As reformers and nationalists made the case for self-government and demanded distinctive national institutions (especially educational ones), both the four nations and colonies across the empire created began to borrow from one another's ideas and tactics. Hight also attends to the ways that celebrations of institutions that seemed to bind Britons together - including the monarchy - became ways to articulate a sense of national distinctiveness. All this ultimately laid the foundations for successful independence movements in the empire and for tensions that continue to exist at the heart of the United Kingdom today.

Claire Wrigley (University of California, Berkeley), "Family, Nation, Empire: An Imperial History of Public Housing in Britain, 1890-2017."

Through a study of public housing that reveals it to be a crucial site in the renegotiation of citizenship, this dissertation builds on our understanding of how the making of the welfare state in Britain was entangled with the imperial project of making better British subjects. Nurturing and rewarding the "fitness" of White and non-White subjects in Britain was a key part of that project in ways that Wrigley explores in a wide-ranging set of case studies. These case studies attend to the ways that a sense of the "fitness" of subjects was bound up with evolving conceptions of not only gender, class, and race, but also the imperial politics of the family and the private sphere.

NACBS Dissertation Travel Grants 2021

Alexandra MacDonald (The College of William and Mary), “The Social Life of Time in the Anglo-Atlantic World, 1660-1830.”

Macdonald's dissertation recovers the diverse ways in which people experienced, measured, and engaged with time in the Anglo-Atlantic. She argues that conceptions of time were shaped and mediated by a variety of material objects, and as much through conceptions and representations of gender, age, family ties, race, and ethnicity as they were by the ticking of the second hand. Looking beyond mechanical timepieces, she examines temporal signifiers in samplers, earthenware, and small portable objects such as handkerchiefs and snuff boxes as well as a diverse set of textual sources including almanacs, diaries, letters, wills, and inventories.

Chenguang Zhu (Boston University), “The Silent Delegates in a Foreign Capital: Chinese Objects, Civilizational Hierarchy, and Cultural Diplomacy in the International Exhibitions and Museums in London, 1851-1912.”

Through an examination of the collection and display of Chinese objects in international exhibitions in London as well as the exhibits staged at the British Museum and the South Kensington Museum from 1851 to 1912, Zhu explores how these displays shaped British opinions about the culture and society of China and Britain. Zhu's dissertation shows how these exhibits produced knowledge about China and reveal Britons' assumptions about China and Britain's relative places in the world, unpacking important historical concepts that remain relevant in the present day.