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September
20
2021

NACBS Statement on Covid and our 2021 Conference in Atlanta

Posted by rdaily under conference, NACBS 2021 | Tags: conference, covid-19 | 0 Comments

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The NACBS will gather for its annual conference in Atlanta. Many of you have told us you are excited to meet in person. We encourage you to register soon. Others have expressed reasonable concerns about the persistent pandemic. Some of our members live in places where policies of the United States or other governments may make travel difficult, though we are heartened by news that the United States will allow entry, without restriction, to fully vaccinated UK and European nationals from the start of November.

We have been following these and other factors closely and will continue to do so. What follows is a brief description of the policies we will have in place during our meeting and answers to some frequently asked questions about why and how we are gathering in person this year.

The city of Atlanta currently has an indoor mask mandate in place (https://www.atlantaga.gov/home/showpublisheddocument/52010). We will require everyone to wear a mask at all times indoors, except while eating or drinking. In accordance with AHA policy, we will also require all attendees to affirm they are vaccinated against Covid-19 and we will ask everyone to produce photo or paper verification of vaccination status upon request. We anticipate no change to this policy unless the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the City of Atlanta issue new guidance. Staff of the Sheraton Atlanta hotel will wear masks at all times. We have asked that only vaccinated staff work in spaces that we use.

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

 

Why not just have a remote conference, like we did in 2020?

Hotel and other venue contracts for a conference are typically signed over two years in advance. These contracts include force majeur clauses that impose serious financial penalties if we cancel an event absent serious external circumstances. In 2020, then current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control enabled us to postpone our contracts in Chicago until 2022 without penalty. Absent the kind of clear guidance from the federal government that effectively barred large meetings in 2020, we will not be able to withdraw from our 2021 conference without doing serious damage to the financial health of the NACBS and its programs.

 

Can I present at or attend the Atlanta conference remotely?

Unfortunately, costs for equipment and tech support prevent us from running a full in-person conference that is simultaneously fully accessible from afar. Many of our members, especially younger ones, depend on the opportunities that in-person events provide to meet other members of the profession.

 

Will there be any events for NACBS members who can’t come to Atlanta?

Yes. We plan to live-stream our two plenary sessions, at which we will hear from Krista Kesselring and Priya Satia. We will also host four remotely accessible sessions for all members on the two Saturdays before the meeting in Atlanta (October 30 and November 6). More information about these events will be coming soon.

 

What about meals and receptions?

We are cancelling the buffet luncheons before our plenary events so as to minimize the risk of Covid transmission from dining together in a large group. Our plenary events will be held after lunches rather than during them. Our reception for graduate students on Thursday and our Friday reception will be held at an outdoor venue. Our Saturday reception will be in a large museum space, suitable for spreading out.

 

Will I receive a refund of my registration fee if unforeseen events require a late cancellation of the in-person event or I am unable to attend because I contracted Covid-19?

In such an event, all registrations for the in-person conference will be transferred to the online event. Refunds will be given for payments made for luncheons. If you registered and are then unable to attend because you contracted Covid-19, please contact our Executive Director, Laura Beers, to arrange for a refund of your registration.

 

Will I receive a refund if I cancel my hotel reservation?

Hotel registration may be cancelled for a full refund up to three days before arrival. A fee equal to one night's room and tax will be assessed if you cancel after this deadline.

 

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Call for Papers, Annual Meeting, Online, 22-23 October 2021.

The Northeast Conference on British Studies (NECBS) will hold its 2021 annual meeting on Friday and Saturday, October 22 and 23. The meeting will take place virtually, using Zoom as the online platform.

This year's conference will feature plenary lectures from Margaret Hunt (Uppsala University, Sweden) and James Vernon (University of California, Berkeley). The conference will also hold a roundtable with publishers, focusing on moving from dissertation to first book. 

We solicit the participation of scholars in all areas of British Studies, broadly defined. In particular, we welcome proposals for interdisciplinary panels that draw on the work of historians, literary critics, and scholars in other disciplines, whose focus is on Britain and its empire, from the Middle Ages to the present. Proposals for entire panels on a common theme will be given priority, although individual paper proposals will also be considered if several of them can be assembled to create a viable panel. Proposals for roundtable discussions of a topical work, on current issues in the field, or pedagogical practices with respect to the teaching of particular aspects of British Studies are also encouraged. The typical ninety-minute panel will include three papers (each lasting for roughly twenty minutes) and a chair. (In the interest of allowing greater audience participation in Q&A, the position of “moderator/comment” is optional.) Roundtables may have a looser format.

Proposals should include a general description of the panel or roundtable (including an overall title), a 200-300 word abstract for each paper to be read, and a one-page curriculum vitae for each participant. Please include the address, phone number, and e-mail address of all participants (including the chair and, if applicable, moderator) in the proposal. For panel or roundtable proposals, please note the name of the main contact person. Electronic submissions (as e-mail attachments in Word) are preferred, with all the various materials presented in a single document.

Graduate students, please note: Each year the NECBS Executive Committee awards the David Underdown Memorial Prize to the best graduate student paper presented at the conference. (See details here.)

All submissions must be received by June 1, 2021 (final decisions will be announced in early July 2021).

Please send your proposals to:


Brian Lewis, NECBS Vice President and Program Chair

[email protected]  

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Although the global pandemic compelled the cancellation of our Chicago conference last fall, we have remained committed to holding an in-person annual conference if at all possible. Over the past year, the rate of vaccinations, the gradual but consistent decline in COVID fatalities in the United States, and the roll-out of vaccines in other countries give us optimism that the situation will continue to improve in the coming months and we will be able to create a successful, if possibly smaller, conference this year. 
 
We also remain optimistic with regard to our decision, made in 2018, to hold our event in Atlanta. We strongly condemn the recent passage of voter suppression legislation in Georgia, but we do not think that the best response is to boycott the state. Former gubernatorial candidate and voting rights activist Stacey Abrams has asked organizations not to use this tactic, noting that she doesn't "want to see Georgia families hurt by lost events and jobs. Georgians targeted by voter suppression will be hurt as opportunities go to other states. We should not abandon the victims of malice and lies – we must stand together.” Senator Doug Ossoff has similarly asked corporations not to boycott Georgia.  Leaders have called for organizations to engage instead in constructive protest against the bill, which is our intention: we hope to explore the ongoing impact of racist policies in and beyond the British empire through our conference programming. We also plan to hold our annual reception at Atlanta’s National Center for Civil and Human Rights, symbolizing the NACBS’s commitment to engaging with the history of racism within Britain, the empire and the wider British world. 
 
While we look forward to the prospect of an in-person 2021 NACBS Conference, we recognize and deeply regret that we all continue to face challenges regarding conference travel: international travel bans, institutional travel funding restrictions, and other barriers remain in place.  The NACBS Executive, Program Committee and Local Arrangements Committee have discussed these challenges and our limited options for mitigating them. In order to engage those who cannot attend in person in the ongoing work of the NACBS, we will offer various forms of on-line content before and after the weekend of the conference. We will be sending out information to membership about virtual programming in the months to come.
 
We fully believe in the benefits of in-person academic interaction, which we have all sorely missed in the last year. And we also need to be clear and transparent with our membership about the practicalities of the situation. Cancelling our in-person conference or running a fully hybrid conference are not feasible options owing to our contractual obligations and the costs we would incur.  This year’s regional hosts, the Southern Conference on British Studies, began planning our 2021 meeting three years ago. Our hotel contract with the Atlanta Sheraton was signed prior to the 2019 NACBS national meeting in Vancouver, well before anyone had heard of COVID-19.  Restrictions in our contract—even after we successfully negotiated with the Sheraton to revise some of its terms—prevent cancelling or rescheduling the conference without the NACBS incurring significant financial liabilities.  The expense of running a fully hybrid conference—a possibility our executive director, Laura Beers, exhaustively explored—would be prohibitive. The only way to offset this would be to charge extremely high conference registration fees for both virtual and live attendance. 
 
We remain hopeful that many of us will be able to come together in Atlanta to share scholarship, to reunite with those whose company we have sorely missed over the past year, and to address the issues of race and inclusivity raised by the recent Georgia voting legislation. For those who will not be able to join us in Atlanta, we are committed to creating new virtual spaces so that all of us can connect and share scholarship. Whether in person or online, we look forward to an active and productive 2021.

Best wishes,

The NACBS executive

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November
27
2020

NACBS Emergency Funding Grants

Posted by rdaily under emergency grant | Tags: covid-19, covid19, graduate students, pandemic | 0 Comments

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The North American Conference on British Studies announces a new funding program intended to assist scholars in British Studies who have been financially affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The NACBS has established $500 emergency grants that can be used to cover unexpected loss of income related to this crisis.  

Eligibility: Un/underemployed British Studies scholars located in North America, including advanced graduate students and recent PhDs, who have demonstrated financial need and who do not currently have full-time/salaried employment. Those who are fully supported by a graduate program, postdoc, or full-time temporary or tenure-track position are not eligible. Applicants must have been a member of the NACBS within the last three years. 

Application process: 

  1. Applicants should submit a cover letter and CV to [email protected]. They need not include a detailed budget, but they should explain their financial need in broad terms and indicate how the funding would help stabilize their circumstances or help them achieve their professional goals. Applicants should also request that their advisor, department chair, or other supervisor send to the same email address a brief letter verifying their current standing, as soon as possible after the application is submitted. Please include your PayPal email address (for payment via PayPal) or your mailing address (for payment via check).
  2. Awards will be made on a rolling basis, until the allocated funds are expended.

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Dear NACBS community,

Access to research materials has become more difficult than ever in these unusual times. Given this, NACBS has worked with Adam Matthew to make their research databases available to all of our members who are PhD candidates. They will also provide access to thirty more of our members who do not have access through their employers; this group will be helped on a first come, first served basis. We are extremely grateful to Adam Matthew for allowing us to make use of these materials.


For access information, please contact Executive Director Laura Beers at [email protected]

With best wishes for your research,

The NACBS Executive Committee
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