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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.


**Committee members for the 2020 competition will be posted by the end of February. Please check back then.**

The NACBS Pre-Dissertation Grants are awarded to Ph.D. candidates, not beyond their second year of study, to pursue preliminary research on potential dissertation-length studies related to any topic in British (including Scottish, Irish, and Imperial) history or British Studies. Two grants in the amount of $4000, which must be used to offset costs associated with research travel outside of North America, will be awarded on an annual basis to students enrolled in a U.S. or Canadian institution.

Grants will have the following conditions:

  • The nomination must be made by the student’s dissertation advisor, supported by one additional letter of recommendation. Both the nominee and the nominating advisor must be members of the NACBS.
  • Applicants must be graduate students in good standing at a Ph.D. program at a university in the US or Canada, who will not have had a qualifying dissertation prospectus approved by the time of application or travel.  The two awards may not be held, in any given year, by students from the same institution.
  • The grant must be used within one year of its awarding (winners of these grants will generally be notified in May or June) and the research trip funded by the grant must not be less than one month in duration.
  • The NACBS pre-dissertation fellowship cannot be held during the same year as a similar pre-dissertation grant (such as those offered by the Council for European Studies or the SSRC). Other agency/organizational or university grants up to $3000 may be held in conjunction with the NACBS grant. In the case of grants over $3000, the NACBS will work with other organizations/institutions to top up the value of the grant to the amount of the largest award for those applicants chosen for both the NACBS grant and another award.
  • Recipients of the NACBS pre-dissertation fellowship are expected to propose a paper based on their research to either the national or a regional conference of the NACBS within three years of holding the fellowship.

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 potential importance of the topic to the field of British Studies and include a description of the relevant primary materials that are to be explored outside of North America.  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 pre-dissertation research.
  2. Letters of reference should address themselves not only to the student's past record, but also to the importance of the potential dissertation topic and the need to pursue research outside North America. The major advisor, in endorsing the candidate, is also confirming that the candidate's proposed travel precedes formal approval of the dissertation prospectus and vouching for the financial information requested above.

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 April 1, 2020. Application files should be named (APPLICANT’S LAST NAME_Application). Letters of reference files should be named (APPLICANT’S LAST NAME_Letter). The details for each committee member, including a current email address, appear below:

Chair: Guy Ortolano
Department of History
New York University
53 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012
[email protected]
Julia Laite
Department of History, Classics, and Archaeology
Birkbeck, University of London
26 Russell Square
London  WC1B 5DQ  UK
[email protected]
Dana Rabin
Department of History
University of Illinois
309 Gregory Hall
810 S. Wright Str.
Urbana, IL 61801
[email protected]


Alexa McCall (University of Notre Dame), “Reforming Ireland: Church Lands and Colonization, 1641-1660.”

Morgan Wilson (University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill), “Tigers on the Thames: Korean Objects and London’s Public Museums, 1885-1945.”