By-Laws of the NACBS
Revised: November 12, 2022
The name of the Society shall be the North American Conference on British Studies. It is incorporated under the laws of the State of New York
II. Object of the Society
A. The Society is concerned with advancing and promoting all aspects of the study of British history and culture, in either its domestic or imperial/post-colonial contexts.
B. The Society is an international association, and for the purposes stipulated above it cooperates with other learned societies as well as with the regional conferences on British Studies affiliated with the North American Conference on British Studies under the provisions of By-law III. B.
III. Membership of the Society
A. Membership is open to all persons of whatever discipline who are interested in advancing and promoting the study of British history and culture. Categories of membership and applicable dues shall be determined by the Council, as established in By-laws V. E (3).
B. The Council has the power to determine the affiliation of other organizations with the Society. Membership in the Society is not required of members of affiliated societies, but officers of such affiliated societies should actively encourage their members to become members of the North American Conference on British Studies.
IV. Officers of the Society
A. The Officers of the Society are the President, Vice-President, Executive Secretary, Associate Executive Secretary, and Treasurer. These Officers, with the addition of the Immediate Past President of the Society, shall constitute the Executive Committee of the Society.
B. The President shall serve one two-year term directly upon completing a term of service as Vice-President/President-Elect. If the Vice-President/President-Elect is unwilling or unable to serve as President, the Nominating Committee shall place in nomination one name only, that person having agreed to serve the Society as President. The President so elected shall preside at all meetings of the Executive Committee and the Council and at all General Business Meetings of the Society and shall have such other powers as are appropriate to the duties of the office, subject to the provisions in By-law V.E.
C. The Vice-President/President-Elect shall be elected by a simple majority in an independently administered electronic ballot for a term of two years coterminous with the term of the President. The Nominating Committee shall nominate one person for the office of Vice-President, that person having agreed to serve the Society as Vice-President. The Vice-President shall succeed to the presidency upon vacancy of the President’s office for any cause; in addition the Vice-President shall succeed the President in office, subject to the provisions of By-law IV. B. The Vice-President in consultation with the Executive Committee shall also appoint non-elective officers and shall appoint members of standing committees of the Society, subject to review by the Council. The other powers of the Vice-President shall be those delegated by the President or voted by the Council consistent with the provisions of By-law V.E. In the event of the death, resignation, or permanent incapacity of the Vice-President, the Executive Committee shall order an immediate special election.
D. The Executive Secretary shall serve a three-year term, subject to renewal, upon appointment by the President, subject to confirmation by the Council. The Executive Secretary shall conduct all business of the Conference not specifically assigned to other officers or reserved to the Council in By-laws V.E. and may, in consultation with the Executive Committee, delegate powers to other officers. The Executive Secretary shall be the custodian of the official seal of the Society and shall be responsible for liaising with the corporate office in the State of New York.
E. The Associate Executive Secretary shall serve a three-year term, subject to renewal, upon appointment by the President, subject to confirmation by the Council. The Associate Executive Secretary shall be responsible for liaising with affiliated regional conferences under the direction of the Executive Secretary; shall serve as Recording Secretary at meetings of the Executive Committee, the Council, and at General Business Meetings of the Society; and shall perform certain tasks associated with maintaining select organizational documents. In the absence of the Executive Secretary, the duties of that office shall be performed by the Associate Executive Secretary. All the functions of the Associate Executive Secretary shall be governed and limited by the authority of the Council specified in By-law V.E.
F. The Treasurer shall serve a three-year term, subject to renewal, upon appointment by the President, subject to confirmation by the Council. The Treasurer shall conduct the fiscal and financial affairs of the Society, subject to the authority of the Council specified in By-law V. E. The Treasurer shall make an annual written Report to the President for the information of the Executive Committee and the Council and, in summary form, for the General Business Meeting and for the information of the membership at large.
V. Council and Executive Committee of the Society
A. The Council shall have as voting members all elected and appointed officers of the Society; the Immediate Past President who shall sit for one two-year term upon completion of a term as President; the five elected Councilors of the Society; the Chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee; an appointed Graduate Representative; and the Presidents of all affiliated regional conferences. The President of such a regional conference, if unable to attend a meeting of the Council, may designate with due notice to the Executive Secretary, an informed officer or member of that conference to serve as a deputy at that meeting and to vote in the President’s stead. The Council may from time to time designate the chairpersons of certain committees as ex officio members, but the invitations shall in no circumstances confer voting power.
B. The Executive Committee, as constituted in By-law IV. A. shall be fully empowered to act for the Society, under the convening powers and rules set forth in By-law V. D. and V. F.
C. The Elected Councilors shall be five in number. They shall be elected by a simple majority in an electronic ballot of the membership, after nomination by the Nominating Committee in the manner set forth in By-law VI. A. (1). The terms of the Councilors shall be four years and staggered, without the privilege of immediate re-election. Ordinarily, at least one Councilor shall be elected every year.
D. One Graduate Representative shall be appointed to Council for a two-year term by the affiliated regional conference responsible for hosting the following year’s national conference. A new graduate representative shall be appointed every two years in accordance with the above procedure.
E. For the meetings of the Council, a quorum shall consist of six voting members in addition to those members of the Executive Committee who are present. For meetings of the Executive Committee, other than as a part of the Council, a quorum shall consist of three members. A simple majority of those voting shall decide all questions placed before the Council or the Executive Committee. The Council will meet once in every calendar year, ordinarily at the annual meeting of the Society. In an emergency, an additional meeting of the Council can be summoned in writing by the President or by a written request signed by the Executive Secretary and four voting members of the Council. The Executive Committee will meet at the call of the President or by request of the Executive Secretary and two other members of the Executive Committee. These meetings and consultations may, when necessary, be conducted through electronic media. For the discharge of appropriate business, the Executive Secretary, in consultation with the President, is empowered to invite chairpersons of ad hoc or standing committees to attend meetings of the Council and Executive Committee, but such invitations confer no vote. The editor(s) of the Journal of British Studies and representatives of organizations that the Executive Committee and Council official recognize as affiliates of the Society, shall be granted non-voting membership to the Council.
F. The Council of the Society has these powers:
1. to appoint the editor or editors of The Journal of British Studies for a term of years as may be agreed upon, such a term to be renewable by agreement of the editor or editors and the Council;
2. to review periodically the policy and the editorial and business practices of the journal;
3. to establish dues and classes of membership and to provide for remission of dues to the regional conference, should a member so elect;
4. to establish and discontinue standing and ad hoc committees, subject to the provision of By-law VI. A. with respect to standing committees;
5. to establish prizes and the rules of competition governing their award;
6. to conclude agreements with governmental and corporate bodies and individuals in furtherance of the objectives of the Society;
7. to provide for annual reports to the membership of the Society;
8. to authorize expenditure from the Society’s funds to defray reasonable costs connected with its purposes, including defraying a portion of the traveling and maintenance expenses of elected and appointed officers, including the immediate Past President, in connection with General Meetings of the Society or other meetings as the Council may determine;
9. to exercise such powers not enumerated or restricted elsewhere in these By-laws as are necessary for the proper carrying out of the objectives of the Society.
G. In the interval between regularly scheduled meetings of the Council, its functions shall devolve upon the Executive Committee, which may be convened in accordance with By-law V. D. for consultation or when emergency action is deemed necessary. These meetings and consultations may, when necessary, be conducted through electronic media. All such actions of the Executive Committee shall be subject to review and amendment by the Council. Any expenditure under this provision that exceeds a total of $2,000 for a single purpose, without regard to the time of the expenditure, will be void without specific Council authorization.
VI. Committees of the Society
A. Standing Committees of the Society investigate, consider, and recommend action to be taken on behalf of the Society, reporting to the Council annually and, where either required or appropriate, to the membership of the Society. The Standing Committees are: Nominating, Program, Prize and Fellowship committees; the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee; and the Advisory Board. Members of these committees, unless otherwise stipulated in these By-laws, will be appointed by the Vice-President, in consultation with the Executive Committee. The Vice-President shall also designate the chairperson of each committee. The Executive Secretary shall notify the members of each committee of their duties and of the dates by which reports are due. Unless otherwise specified in these By-laws, members of the committees shall not be eligible for immediate reappointment.
1. The Nominating Committee shall have five members, two or three of whom shall be elected each year by the membership for a two-year term which shall not be immediately renewable; the Vice-President shall appoint the chairperson from among those members in their second year of service on the Committee. The Executive Secretary shall notify the chairperson of the Nominating Committee of the timetable, which must be scrupulously observed in order to assure full consideration and timely reporting of decisions. It is the duty of this committee to report to the Executive Secretary a list of names of persons it has nominated for the annual elections of Councilors and members of the Nominating Committee and the bi-annual election of the Vice-President/President-Elect. The Nominating Committee shall nominate one person for the office of Vice-President/President-Elect as provided in By-laws IV. B. and C. For all other elective offices, it shall nominate at least two persons for each vacancy. The Executive Secretary shall arrange for electronic balloting to be conducted by an independent organization and the ballot shall be distributed to members via e-mail. The release of the ballot also serves as notification to the membership about the names and affiliations of the nominees. To be valid, the ballots must be returned by the date specified by the organization conducting the election. The Executive Secretary shall report the results of the election to the membership at the annual meeting and through the Society’s website.
2. The Program Committee shall be appointed for a term of three years, with one person designated as chairperson for the entire period. That person may, by agreement, be succeeded as chair for the ensuing three-year term by a member of the outgoing committee. The Program Chair is given the task, by the Vice-President and the Executive Committee, of selecting the Program Committee. When necessary, the Chair may consult with the Vice-President and the Executive Committee about Program Committee selections. The various prize and fellowship committees shall consist of three persons appointed, with due regard for broad representation of historical periods and fields, for terms of three years, staggered so as to assure regular rotation; ordinarily, the committee member with the longest service on that committee will serve as chairperson. The Executive Secretary will instruct each of the chairpersons of prize and fellowship committees as to the timetables that must be strictly adhered to in order to allow appropriate consideration and to report the results of their deliberations in a timely fashion.
3. The Advisory Board is comprised of representatives from academic centers of British Studies (broadly defined) in North America and around the world. The Advisory Board will meet at the annual meeting of NACBS to assess the state of British Studies. The President will issue periodic invitations to relevant centers, who will each appoint one representative to the Advisory Board. The President will also designate one of these members to serve as Observer, who will report findings of the Advisory Board to the NACBS Council.
4. The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee is responsible for advocating for and helping to foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization. The DEI Committee shall provide guidance to the Executive Committee, Council, Standing and Ad Hoc Committees, and regional affiliates to ensure that the administration of the NACBS and its intellectual activities continually strive to incorporate DEI best practices. The committee may also propose DEI-related initiatives to the NACBS Council.
The chair of the committee shall be a voting member of the NACBS Council. The DEI Committee shall have a minimum of four members. Members shall serve staggered terms of 1-3 years with the possibility of renewal. Committee members shall be appointed by the Nominating Committee in consultation with the Executive Committee. To ensure the broadest possible participation on the committee (including graduate students, non-tenure-track and tenure-track faculty, as well as professionals outside of academia), the Nominating Committee shall solicit self-nominations via an annual email request to the NACBS membership. The DEI Committee shall select its own chair on an annual basis and review its mission statement annually and revise it as necessary.
5. Ad hoc committees of the Society may be appointed by the Council from time to time for the discharge of business stated at the time of appointment. Ad hoc committees will, at the time of their creation, be instructed to make their report to the Executive Committee or the Council.
VII. Meetings of the Society
A. The Society shall have at least one General Meeting in every calendar year. At this General Meeting there shall be provided an appropriate Program and a General Business Meeting for the discharge of pending business. At the General Business Meeting, all pending business shall be determined by simple majority vote of those members present and voting, except in matters where these By-laws may provide a different rule.
B. The Council or Executive Committee may authorize programs and social functions of the Society in conjunction with the General Meeting or in other appropriate contexts.
C. Newly elected Officers, appointed Officers and Nominating Committee members shall take office at the end of the Business meeting following the report of their election or on November 15 following that report, whichever date is earlier.
VIII. Parliamentary Authority of the Society
A. Except where these By-laws provide explicit Rules of Order, Nomination, and Election, the business of the Society shall be conducted under the current edition of Roberts’ Rules of Order.
IX. Amendment of the By-laws of the Society
A. These By-laws may, on the motion of the Council, be amended by simple majority of those present and voting at a duly called General Business Meeting, but only when notice of the intention to amend and the form of the proposed amendments shall have been sent to members of the Society by the Executive Secretary not less than thirty days before such Meeting. Amendments approved by the Council may also be approved by a simple majority of members voting in a ballot sent to the entire membership or through such other means as the Council may direct. Amendments proposed from the floor at the General Business Meeting and endorsed by a simple majority of those voting there shall be submitted to the full membership of the Society in a ballot or such other means as the Council may approve and shall be deemed adopted if supported by a simple majority of members voting on that ballot or in a vote at the next regularly called General Business Meeting.
Revised: November 12, 2022