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The NACBS is pleased to announce a new article prize in honor of Judith R. Walkowitz, made possible by her colleagues and former students.  A leading scholar of British social and cultural history, particularly in relation to issues of gender and sexuality, Professor Walkowitz has played a significant role in shaping the field of British Studies and the community of scholars who participate in the endeavor. The Judith R. Walkowitz Article Prize will be awarded annually for the best published article on issues relating to gender and sexuality in British culture. Prize submissions (deadline: May 1are now open to scholars resident in North America working in any time period and in any discipline in British Studies, and carries a cash award of $150. The inaugural 2018 prize will be awarded to an article published during the calendar year 2017, and announced at the 2018 annual meeting. Please see the following link for further instructions and details: http://www.nacbs.org/prizes/judith-walkowitz-article-prize

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March
9
2018

Call for Book Review Editors: Journal of British Studies

Posted by StephenJackson | Tags: book review editor, JBS | 0 Comments

The North American Conference on British Studies seeks a new book review editor or co-editors for the Journal of British Studies. The JBS, published four times a year by Cambridge University Press, is the premier journal of its kind in North America, as indicated by its very high ISI citation impact rating. It aims to be the journal of record in British studies. Each year it publishes approximately 200 book reviews from the medieval period through the twentieth century. While primarily based in history, the NACBS would like to review more works in art history, literature, historical geography, and other disciplines. Potential editors in these disciplines are encouraged to apply. We define British studies broadly to encompass England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales; our readers are interested in transatlantic, transnational, and postcolonial approaches, and in the British Empire and Commonwealth.
The current editors' term ends with the October 2019 issue of the journal; new editors will begin working with the current editors by May 2019 to learn production processes and to begin soliciting reviews for a five-year term that will commence with the first issue of 2020. The Association hopes to select new editors by September 2018 to facilitate a smooth transition between current and incoming editors. Those interested should contact Paul Halliday of the University of Virginia Department of History (ph4p@virginia.edu). The application deadline is May 31, 2018.
Editorial subventions provide funding for an editorial assistant, but applicants will require a letter of support from their home institution(s). Current review editors Amy Harris (amy.harris@byu.edu) and Paul Westover (paw@byu.edu) will be happy to answer questions about their duties. Questions can also be directed to the NACBS president, Anna Clark (clark106@umn.edu), or vice president, Paul Halliday (ph4p@virginia.edu).
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February
23
2018

Writing and teaching the history of modern Britain

Posted by rdaily under Blog | Tags: teaching, textbook | 0 Comments

James_Vernon_Textbook.png These are interesting times to be teaching and writing the history of modern Britain.  Britons remain often unable to acknowledge, and yet haunted by, their imperial and European histories.  The debates around Brexit and the legacies of slavery and colonialism frequently occasion an effort to restage a national past where Britons were always great, white and well-intentioned (most recently with Historians for Britain and the Ethics and Empire Project at Oxford).  That national past is endlessly recuperated in the nasty nativism on display in British television and film from Downton Abbey, The Crown, Dunkirk to whatever the latest movie is about Queen Victoria or Winston Churchill.  Not surprisingly, it is this screen history of Britain that is most familiar to students in the United States, but more worryingly it largely remains the one taught in British schools even at A-levels.  The conceit of this nationalist history is always that Britons - usually privileged, white, male ones - went out in to the world and made it in their image (and the world really should be pretty grateful).   

Now, of course, most of us who teach and write British history know how absurd this nativist history is. Wherever we work we have all had to grapple with postcolonial theory, women’s and gender history, new imperial history, indigenous history, transnational and global history.  We understand that British history, the histories of its four nations, and this very staging of white, male supremacy were products of slavery and imperialism. As universities in Australia, the United States and England increasingly advertise posts for historians of the ‘Britain and the World’, we are beginning to acknowledge that the world may have made Britain, that its history was partly shaped by transnational or global processes over which it had no control (see the forthcoming forum of ‘Britain and the World’ in Journal of British Studies, 57, 4 (2018)). Some even suggest that national histories themselves are in crisis

We should be deeply troubled by this disconnect between the work of professional historians and the resurgence of nativist histories (and not just those in post-Brexit Britain). Whatever else we may need to do to reconnect with the public the work we do as teachers seems critical to me.  Our classrooms are our first public: they are the ground zero of ‘impact’, ‘outreach’ and ‘public history’.  And while fewer students are majoring in History within the United States, Peter Mandler has suggested that the number of History degrees in Britain have been holding more or less firm.   

I have not done the math(s) but I imagine fewer people have read my work than those I have taught over the last thirty years.  And in the classroom and lecture hall we are forced outside of our academic bubble where we sometimes too comfortably assume that everyone possesses similar terms of reference and modes of thought.  Nothing was more exciting to me to move to California from Britain and discover that my students had never heard of Coventry let alone Gladstone.  They compelled me to reframe the way I taught British history by returning to classic questions about change over time – of the state, economies, environment, understandings of gender and race - that they could connect to other national and imperial histories.  I often find the critical feedback I receive from students no less helpful in making me think harder and more clearly than processes of peer review.  

It is a shame then that so much of our professional life systematically devalues teaching (except, of course, when we go on strike).  At many institutions, it is research and publishing, not teaching, that propels careers.   Even at the public university where I work writing a textbook is not considered as a publication when it comes to promotions.   And yet I have no doubt that Modern Britain 1750 to the Present, the fourth and last volume in the new Cambridge History of Britain textbook series, will be the most important book I ever publish.  It was an amazing opportunity to help inform how the next generation of undergraduates are taught the history of modern Britain.  And given that those undergraduates - in Britain as across much of the former British world – occupy a world shaped by the nativist histories endlessly repeated by politicians and dramatized on screens, it seemed a particularly timely task. 

The experience of writing this textbook was certainly humbling for it quickly exposed how little I knew about so much!  The challenge was to write a global history of Britain that reflected how the world made Britain rather more than Britain made the modern world.  I wanted to show how global processes shaped what I call the rise, fall and reinvention of liberal ideas of how markets and governments should work in the British world, as well how central violence and dispossession, at home and abroad, was to that story.  Above all it was my aim not just to castigate the past but to remake the present by reminding students that the world does change and it has been changed by those who have had the courage to challenge inequity and subjugation.

I am not sure how successful I was in worlding the history of Britain but I am a little more confident that the book should be good to teach with.   Each chapter is set up to answer a particular question about change over time and whatever you think of the explanations and arguments that follow they are designed to be accessible to students – with timelines, lots of maps and images, textboxes that zoom in on particular people, places or types of sources, guides to further secondary reading, and a glossary of key-terms.    There is also a supporting website that provides links to primary source readings, chapter summaries and study questions to help guide reading and thinking.  If any of you have used the book in a classroom I would l love to hear what works and what does not, there is lots to improve for the next edition! Please do get in touch.

I am not naïve enough to believe that we can only teach our way out of our neoliberal, nativist, present but I do think in these despairing times it is not a bad place to start.  Right, now back to the lesson plan for tomorrow.  Unless you are on strike. 

James Vernon
University of California, Berkeley
@James11Vernon

 

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February
21
2018

Deadline Extension: Workshop Calls for Proposals: Populations and Altruism

Posted by StephenJackson | 0 Comments

Workshop Calls for Proposals: Populations and Altruism

NACBS Annual Meeting

Providence, RI, October 25-28, 2018

 Early Modern Workshop Theme:

“Populations: counting, classifying, moving and managing groups of people in the early modern period”

 DEADLINE EXTENDED: MARCH 5, 2018

Materials: CV and 1-page abstract

This workshop will explore the topic of “populations” in the early modern period. How, by whom, and to what ends were groups of people defined or treated as populations? What were the intellectual and practical consequences of such classifications? What historical or historiographical legacies have they had? How do historians’ definitions of “population” replicate or resist early modern categories and practices? How do current social-scientific, political, or legal understandings of population help or hinder historical analysis? Papers may address these questions from perspectives including but not limited to migration and colonization; slavery, race and ethnicity; reproduction; medicine and health; religious and national difference; political economy and governance; political arithmetic and information.

The session will include 6-8 pre-circulated papers of 15-25 pages each. Participants will be chosen with a view to the complementarity of their research topics and strong preference will be given to graduate students and early career scholars. Participants must be prepared to submit their papers by September 30, 2018. Each participant will be required to read all papers for the session, and to share written comments on two of the papers, prior to the conference. The session itself will include brief presentations and discussions of each paper, followed by a more extensive conversation between participants and the audience around common questions and themes.

Those interested must submit a CV and a one-page abstract to Rachel Weil (rjw5@cornell.edu) and Ted McCormick (ted.mccormick@concordia.ca) by MARCH 5.

 Note: Those not accepted for the early modern workshop may still submit proposals for NACBS poster sessions, or paper or panel proposals for regular NACBS sessions, by the general deadline of March 30, 2018. Some financial assistance will be available for graduate students (up to US$500) and for a limited number of under/unemployed members within ten years of their terminal degree (US$300). Details of these travel grants will be posted to www.nacbs.org and emailed to members once the 2018 meeting program is prepared.

 

Modern Workshop Theme:

 “Altruism and Its Discontents: Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development”

DEADLINE EXTENDED: MARCH 5, 2018

Materials: CV and 1-page abstract

This workshop will explore human rights, humanitarianism, and development in the modern period, c. 1800-2000, through the prism of “altruism.” While usually treated separately, each of these areas of endeavor grapples with often competing interests in projects aimed at improving the lives of others, some altruistic, others less so. We seek papers that engage critically in human rights, humanitarianism, or development, with special consideration for those positioned at their intersections. What has been the relationship between humanitarianism and discourses on human rights and how has it changed over time? How do we explain the dynamics of imperialism, internationalism, and foreign intervention? Humanitarian intervention and development? Or, empire, decolonization, and “development” projects? Where were projects made and unmade and how? What were their costs and who bore them? Where did these discourses or projects fit within anti-colonial resistance or in the civic life of post-colonial societies? While our emphasis is on British engagement in the world, we welcome equally papers that examine the reception of these projects among local populations and/or that put British actors in comparative or international context.

The session will include 6-8 pre-circulated papers of 15-25 pages each. Participants will be chosen with a view to the complementarity of their research topics and strong preference will be given to graduate students and early career scholars. Participants must be prepared to submit their papers by September 30, 2018. Each participant will be required to read all papers for the session, and to share written comments on two of the papers, prior to the conference. The session itself will include brief presentations and discussions of each paper, followed by a more extensive conversation between participants and the audience around common questions and themes.

Those interested must submit a CV and a one-page abstract to Caroline Shaw (cshaw@bates.edu) and Matthew Hilton (m.hilton@qmul.ac.uk) by MARCH 5, 2018.

Note: Those not accepted for the workshop may still submit proposals for the NACBS poster session, or paper or panel proposals for regular NACBS sessions, by the general deadline of March 30, 2018. Some financial assistance will be available for graduate students (up to US$500) and for a limited number of under/unemployed NACBS members within ten years of their terminal degree (US$300). Details of these travel grants will be posted to www.nacbs.org and emailed to members once the 2018 meeting program is prepared.

 

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NACBS endorses the following statement issued by the AHA.

AHA Condemns Polish Law Criminalizing Public Discussion of Polish Complicity in Nazi War Crimes

The American Historical Association strongly condemns the bill drafted by the Polish legislature and signed into law by Polish President Andrzej Duda on February 6, 2018, that states, in part: "Whoever claims, publicly and contrary to the facts, that the Polish Nation or the Republic of Poland is responsible or co-responsible for Nazi crimes committed by the Third Reich or for other felonies that constitute crimes against peace, crimes against humanity or war crimes, or whoever otherwise grossly diminishes the responsibility of the true perpetrators of said crimes — shall be liable to a fine or imprisonment for up to three years."

In practice, this legislation pertains specifically to histories that document and explore Polish participation in violence against Jews during World War II. It therefore threatens free pursuit of historical inquiry.

The AHA's stance is consistent with its efforts by the Polish government or by any party to stifle speech and to restrict the content of scholarship concerned with Poland's role in the Holocaust and related war crimes. On November 14, 2016, the AHA sent a letter to President Duda expressing concern over the Polish government's treatment and potential prosecution of Jan T. Gross, professor of history at Princeton University, who was facing a libel investigation from Polish authorities for publishing historical accounts of Poles killing Jews during World War II. That letter already made clear the very real dangers, beyond the specific case of Professor Gross, of criminalizing scholars and scholarship that explored Polish involvement in the Holocaust. As we stated then: "More generally, we are concerned with the law currently being discussed in the Polish parliament that would subject to strong penalties anyone convicted of ascribing to the Polish nation or the Polish state the responsibility for crimes against humanity that prosecutors themselves attribute to other perpetrators—in the first instance, the German Third Reich. We feel strongly that this law will allow police and judicial authorities to overrule the judgments of trained historians, and that it will threaten the ability of historians to conduct impartial research that might reveal facts that these authorities find uncomfortable. No nation's past is free of blemishes, and Poland will do itself no favors in the eye of world opinion by passing such a restrictive and prejudicial piece of legislation."

The American Historical Association stands by that statement now, seeing in the new law signed on February 6 a threat both to historians' freedom of speech and to the future of historical scholarship, which depends upon open inquiry and the pursuit of impartial truth. We urge the Constitutional Tribunal of Poland to reconsider this law. longstanding objection to any and all previous

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February
9
2018

NACBS 2018 Annual Book and Article Prize Competitions

Posted by rdaily under Prize | Tags: john ben snow, stansky, walter d. love | 0 Comments

The 2018 NACBS book and article prize competitions are now open. Submissions are due April 1st, 2018. For more details, please see the links below.

John Ben Snow Prize details here.

Walter D. Love Prize details here.

Stansky Prize details here.

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January
15
2018

Crime Scene Photography in England: 1895-1960

Posted by rdaily under Blog | Tags: Bell, crime, cross-post, photography | 0 Comments

This article traces how crime scene photographs in England evolved over time, like other forensic technologies, in response to the needs of police forces and the courts. 

 Please see Dr. Bell's blog post here.

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Call for Proposals: History of Emotions Workshop

NACBS Annual Meeting

Providence, RI, October 25-28, 2018

Theme: History of Emotions

Proposal deadline: February 15, 2018

Materials: CV and 1-page abstract

This workshop will explore the history of emotions in Britain and its empire.  We seek papers from the medieval to the modern period that engage fundamental methodological questions in how we approach emotions in the past.  What is the connection between emotion, bodily sensation and cognition; or between reason, emotion and morality?  How do we analyze the relationship between emotional practices and experiences and emotional standards?  How do we examine emotions as inward sensations and as social and cultural practices?  What were the political meanings of emotions, and how have specific emotions or emotional registers been used to silence and/or give voice to political groups or movements; as well as aiding and legitimating specific forms of rule?  What role did emotions play in navigating moments of colonial or postcolonial contact?  How have the meanings and expressions of specific emotions—empathy, grief, anger, love, etc.—changed according to time, place, and population?  How might historians continue to draw upon work in other disciplines, for example, literary studies, queer studies, psychology, philosophy and anthropology?  By calling for papers from medieval to modern periods, we hope to interrogate the assumptions and perspectives that pertain to the study of different eras and by bringing these into a conversation with one another, examine the value and limitation of applying shared methodologies and framing questions to different chronological fields and contexts. 

The session will include 6-8 pre-circulated papers of 15-25 pages each. Participants will be chosen with a view to the complementarity of their research topics and strong preference will be given to graduate students and early career scholars. Participants must be prepared to submit their papers by September 30, 2018. Each participant will be required to read all papers for the session, and to share written comments on two of the papers, prior to the conference. The session itself will include brief presentations and discussions of each paper, followed by a more extensive conversation between participants and the audience around common questions and themes. 

Those interested must submit a CV and a one-page abstract to Lydia Murdoch (lymurdoch@vassar.edu) and Linda Pollock (Pollock@tulane.edu) by February 15, 2018. Results will be announced by March 1.

Note: Those not accepted for the workshop may still submit proposals for the NACBS poster session, or paper or panel proposals for regular NACBS sessions, by the general deadline of March 30, 2018. Some financial assistance will be available for graduate students (up to US$500) and for a limited number of under/unemployed NACBS members within ten years of their terminal degree (US$300). Details of these travel grants will be posted to www.nacbs.org and emailed to members once the 2018 meeting program is prepared.

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December
29
2017

CFP: Western Conference on British Studies

Posted by rdaily under CFP | Tags: annual meeting, wcbs | 0 Comments

The next WCBS annual conference will be held in San Antonio, Texas, on September 28-29, 2018.

The WCBS Program Committee, co-chaired by Susan Grayzel and Joseph Ward of Utah State University, seeks to design a meeting that is both interdisciplinary and wide-ranging in its temporal span. Scholars of Britain, the British Atlantic World, and the British Empire broadly defined are invited to participate. The committee welcomes proposals for both individual papers and full panels, and it encourages graduate student submissions.  

Proposals should include a 250-word abstract of each paper and a short curriculum vitae for each participant. Full panel proposals should also include a brief description of the panel's overall aim and indicate clearly the panel’s organizer and primary contact.

Please submit proposals to joe.ward@usu.edu by the end of the day on Friday, March 2, 2018. 

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The NACBS cordially invites you to its reception at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association in Washington, DC, on Saturday, January 6, 2018. It will be held from 6:00 to 7:30 pm in the Coolidge Room of the Marriott Wardman Park. Hope to see you for drinks and conversation!
 
Wishing you all the best for 2018,
The Executive Committee
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