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NACBS at 60: The Rise and Decline of British Studies in North America
Jason M. Kelly, Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis
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Permalink for this paragraph 2 In May 2010, diplomacy between the United States and United Kingdom seemed to be at a crossroads. A new President and a new Prime Minister, Barack Obama and David Cameron respectively, were in the process of articulating the latest version of the so-called “special relationship,” a term coined by Winston Churchill in 1946 to describe the historical and ideological links between the United Kingdom, United States, and Canada (although, more often than not, this North Atlantic alliance has been imagined as not one, but multiple special relationships). Diplomacy between the United Kingdom and the United States had been at a low point in the months leading up to Cameron’s victory. In March 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton outraged many in the U.K. by announcing U.S. support for talks between Britain and Argentina over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands. Nile Gardiner, Director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at the Heritage Foundation, wrote that Clinton’s statement was
Permalink for this paragraph 0 an appalling display of appeasement towards a corrupt and authoritarian anti-American regime, which barely has the support of 20 percent of the Argentinian people. It was also an astonishing betrayal of the United Kingdom by her closest ally, and yet another slap in the face for Britain from the Obama administration.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 For their part, the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee pronounced that the use of the term “special relationship” should be curtailed. Their assessment pointed to post-Cold War geopolitical trends. However, the decision was no doubt also an attempt by MPs to distance the government from the Bush-Blair “shoulder-to-shoulder” stance that had led to the Iraq war.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 Hoping to heal the diplomatic rift between the two countries, President Obama congratulated Prime Minister Cameron on 11 May 2010. He publicly announced a “deep and personal commitment” to the “special relationship.” The following day, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Resolution 1303, “Recognizing the Special Relationship and Historic Ties between the United Kingdom and the United States.” Whatever their policy goals, both the executive and legislative branches of the United States government perceived that the “special relationship” not only needed to be renewed, but it needed to be recognized. Not to be outdone, Sarah Palin, the former Governor of Alaska, followed these events by seeking a meeting with former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The move was both an attempt to link her to the legacy of former President Ronald Reagan as well as to invoke the spirit of a shared Anglo-American value system — a conservative version of Anglophilia often linked to James Bennett’s concept of an “Anglosphere.”
Permalink for this paragraph 4 This posturing along the length of the political spectrum is only the most recent embodiment of a political and cultural process of national identity building that has been active for over 100 years. In the U.S. in particular, the notion of a special U.S.-U.K. relationship has had an imaginative force that surpasses simple political calculation. For example, geographically, politically, and economically, the U.S.-Canada relationship is arguably more important. Canada is one of the United States’ largest trading partners. U.S. exports to Canada in 2009 amounted to $130,316,000,000. U.S. exports to Britain in 2009 amounted to only $30,217,000,000. U.S. exports in 2009 to Europe and the Pacific Rim countries were $169,115,000,000 and $156,224,000,000 — not significantly higher than exports to Canada. The U.S. and Canada likewise share the longest international border in the world and an historical relationship that has existed since the formation of the U.S. Furthermore, Canada is the United States’ largest supplier of crude oil and petroleum. By nearly any indicator, the U.S.-Canada relationship is at least as significant as the U.S.-U.K. relationship. Nevertheless, the “special relationship” usually refers to a U.S.-U.K. bond, a powerful force in both countries’ national identities. This bond means much more than diplomacy or political interests. It is a cultural construct that began to gather force at the turn of the twentieth century, and by 1950, the idea of a special relationship was a truism.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 In part, the North American Conference on British Studies (NACBS) is a cultural product of the myth of the special relationship. Formed in 1951 as the Conference on British Studies (CBS), the group was successful because of the large amounts of money and support that the elite and powerful were willing to invest in the study of the history and culture of Britain, especially in the Unites States. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Anglo-Saxonism, Anglophilia, and Cold War rhetoric encouraged them to support British Studies — especially British history. At universities, they created jobs for British historians in numbers disproportionate to most other regions of specialization. Universities and donors were willing to invest in CBS publication schemes. Two journals, a newsletter, a monograph series, bibliographical series, and a primary source series were the result. Capitalizing on the emphasis on U.K.-U.S. cooperation, the CBS benefitted from governmental and non-governmental organizations alike. In all, the early success of CBS stemmed from the belief in a unique Anglo-American heritage, a belief that had blossomed during the first half of the twentieth century.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 However, the success of British history as a field and CBS as an organization meant that if interests shifted, or if money were diverted, they would be affected quite dramatically. This happened in the 1970s and 1980s, leading to what many scholars claimed was a crisis in British Studies, but in fact was more likely a contraction of the British Studies bubble. Many job lines — perhaps over 50% — were lost between 1975 and 2000. The NACBS, as the group was renamed in 1981, consolidated its programs during these decades and officially recognized the growing number of Canadian historians of Britain who were joining the group. Eventually, its many publications were whittled down to a single journal, and its other resources went to sponsoring a series of prizes and fellowships. In the 2000s, the NACBS and its members remained concerned about the contraction of British history. However, a crisis more significant than the number of job lines continues to present a threat — one, in fact, that far surpasses the problems experienced between 1975 and 2000. This new crisis emerges from two intertwined developments: the shift to a business model of education and the intensification of academic wage hierarchies.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 The Origins of the Conference on British Studies (1900-1950)
Permalink for this paragraph 0 To explain the origins of the Conference on British Studies (CBS), it is necessary to understand Anglophilia in the United States during the first half of the twentieth century. For, it is from this context that the CBS, along with a host of other governmental, academic, and popular institutions, emerged. In fact, the CBS was both a product of and a contributor to a larger phenomenon that merged geopolitical, economic, and cultural interests under the banner of the “special relationship.” However, it is also necessary to integrate the story of American-Canadian relations. While Canadian membership was small until the 1970s, from its early years, the CBS nevertheless linked the British Studies communities in both countries. This relationship was, in its own way, also special, if not more ambiguous, as nationalism, Anglophilia, Americanization, and anti-Americanism gave British Studies in Canada a complex character.
Permalink for this paragraph 1 U.S. Anglophiles at the beginning of the century were not simply tchotchka-collecting romanticizers of monarchs and country houses. They represented a relatively cohesive community of political, cultural, and intellectual elites, primarily from the East Coast. Dominating prominent institutions, their idea of a unified Anglophone Atlantic community — a community sharing a language, culture, and tradition with deep historic roots — helped them maintain and reproduce a powerful voice in multiple spheres.
Permalink for this paragraph 2 The concept of a special Anglo-American bond was not necessarily new in 1900. However, two factors contributed to its popularity among the elite at that time: war and immigration. The Spanish-American and Boer Wars suggested to some that an alliance of empires could be profitable both economically and geopolitically. The alliance of WWI cemented this sentiment. So, for example, an American Chamber of Commerce opened in London in 1917. On the other hand, the influx of eastern European immigrants gave international affairs a socio-cultural component. Racism, fed by Social Darwinism and xenophobia, made Anglo-Saxonism popular in the United States. Anglo-Saxonism became a handmaiden to the immigration restriction legislation of the 1910s and 1920s.
Permalink for this paragraph 1 In practice, this meant that a culture of Anglo-American cooperation and support developed. In the diplomatic sphere, several non-governmental organizations with strong links to Britain emerged in the U.S. These included the Council on Foreign Relations (founded 1919), the Foreign Policy Association (founded 1918), and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation (founded 1922). Policy makers, educators, and their elite peers further developed a culture of Anglo-Americanism through diplomatic and educational exchange programs. The most prominent of these was the Rhodes Scholarship, founded in 1902. But, there were many other forums for exchange that had backing from multiple sectors of society. When burdened with financial pressure in 1914, the American Historical Association (AHA) was able to rely on the Morgan Bank to guarantee money for their rented room at the Royal Historical Society. In the spring of 1918, the National Board for Historical Service sent Andrew C. McLaughlin, a former President of the AHA, to give a series of twenty-eight history lectures in Britain in order to foster Anglo-American relations. After the war, funding became available for those encouraging alliance and cooperation between the U.S. and Britain. These included the American Association of University Women’s Rose Sidgwick Memorial Fellowship (founded 1921); the American Newspaper Fellowships (founded 1927); the Clarence Graff Fellowship (founded 1924); the Commonwealth Fund Fellowships (founded 1925); the Henry P. Davison Scholarships (founded 1923); and the Harvard Club of New York’s Choate Memorial Fellowship (founded 1919). In a major contribution in 1927, Dame Julia Lewisohn Henry bequeathed $1,093,520 for Anglo-American university scholarships.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 The elite club culture of the Eastern seaboard, already deeply Anglophilic, also attempted to promote Anglo-American cultural interaction and heritage. And, in the first decades of the twentieth century, there was a burst of activity from newly-founded clubs. These included the Anglo-American Society (founded 1920), the Allied Loyalty League (1919-1922), the Atlantic Union (founded 1901), the Daughters of the British Empire in the U.S.A (founded 1909), the Mayflower Society (founded 1897), the Pilgrim Society (founded 1902), the Society of British and American Friendship (active ca. 1920), and the Sulgrave Institution (founded 1914). Membership in these groups often overlapped, with members of the Sulgrave Institution and the Pilgrim Society playing active roles in one of the most influential organizations, the English Speaking Union (ESU) of the United States (founded 1919). Its first president was former U.S. President William Howard Taft.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 Many associations had their own publications, which gave a voice to their members’ ideologies. For example, the ESU’s The Landmark reflected the popular sentiments of the Anglo-American alliance. To the Irish question, the first volume argued, “Dublin Castle and all it stands for must go.” Nevertheless, the ESU’s imperial sympathies were clear. The same article printed a map of the Pacific with the caption:
Permalink for this paragraph 0 The interests of the English-speaking peoples in the Pacific Ocean are of the utmost importance. The British Empire, represented by Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and a number of the South Sea Islands, and America, represented by the Pacific States, the Islands of Hawaii, Samoa and the Philippine Islands, are both dominating Pacific powers. It is to be hoped that in the future some system of policing the Pacific Ocean in the interests of civilisation will be agreed upon by the English-Speaking Democracies.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 Another publication, The English Speaking World, which was eventually absorbed into The Landmark, reflected an undercurrent of racially laden Anglo-Saxonism. For example, in 1920, Hudson Maxim’s article, “Need of an Anglo-Saxon League: Let Us Keep the Peace with Our Best Friends and Nearest Blood Relations” stated that an “Anglo-Saxon League” “would command the good behavior of the World.” Similar concepts were supported by the intelligentsia. In 1917, for example, George Burton Adams, an historian of Britain at Yale and former President of the AHA, could write:
Permalink for this paragraph 0 The civilization of the United States is essentially Anglo-Saxon, for civilization and ‘race’ are matters of institutions, not of mere blood. With the Anglo-Saxon race, progress in the main has been slow and steady, and its ‘constitution,’ the body of institutions by which it governs itself, has grown out of practical need, and not to serve any theoretical purpose.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 Of course, not all Anglophiles took such a perspective, but such ideas dominated the voice of the U.S. elite.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 It is from this context that British history (in fact, usually English history) emerged as a distinct field in the United States. Colleges and universities had been expanding in number and enrollments since the land grants of the late nineteenth century. By the 1920s, the growth of graduate programs in the U.S. meant that a field in British history could be supported. And, in fact, interest in British history led to an international discussion, both popular and professional, about its pursuit. Writing in The Landmark in 1920, Carl Russell Fish, the Director of the British Branch of the American University Union in Europe stated that professors in the U.S. offered a version of English history that was “on the whole, good, colourless, and scientific.” He continued that scholars in both the United States and Britain would gain by studying each other’s history. And, ultimately, their scholarship would lead to closer ties between the two nations.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 In the American Historical Review the following year, John Franklin Jameson, the Director of the Department of Historical Research at the Carnegie Institution and a former President of the AHA, expounded upon Fish’s ideas. Noting that U.S. institutions of higher learning were better equipped than those in Britain, he worried that fewer students were researching abroad. In the interest of their pupils’ futures, he argued that it was incumbent upon academics in the U.S. and in Britain to “foster close relations.” It was in this context that the first Anglo-American Conference was held in July 1921, an event that coincided with the opening of the Institute for Historical Studies at the University of London. At the meeting, H.A.L. Fisher, the President of the Board of Education and an historian, addressed a crowd of scholars representing thirty North American and nearly all British institutions of higher learning.  Arguing that universities played an important role in world affairs, he stated, “Wars are made in school class rooms before ever they come up for discussion in the council rooms of the state.” Thus, the founding of the Anglo-American Conference, and the push for international cooperation among scholars of British history more specifically, fit a larger geopolitical and cultural agenda.
Permalink for this paragraph 1 The success of the first Anglo-American Conference spawned a reciprocal, but unofficial, Anglo-American conference at the AHA meeting in 1924. And, while the next three Anglo-American Conferences met only in 1926, 1931, and 1936 — and despite war and austerity suspending the conference until 1956 — a successful precedent to create an international community of scholars was set. And, not surprisingly, it found support from the Anglo-American elite. For example, the 1926 meeting included soirees at Mabel Katherine Louisa Power, Lady Power and Nancy Astor, Viscountess Astor’s London townhouses. The ESU was likewise supportive of these new transatlantic conferences.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 By the 1930s, elite Anglophilia in the U.S. was joined by a more widespread love of all things English, as Nicholas Cull has demonstrated. For example, Hollywood and its audiences were enamored with British actors and British-themed films in the 1930s. However, there were certainly anglophobic elements among the population. Anglophilia’s relationship to Anglo-Saxonism was not likely to appeal to people of color and European immigrants who struggled with racism on a daily basis. Likewise, Irish-Americans were liable to associate with the nascent Irish Free State. And, while there were certainly Anglophiles among labor members and socialists, the class system in Britain meant that Anglophilia in the U.S. had a strong undercurrent of elitism and conservatism. To counter these forces the British government created a U.S.-based propaganda machine in the 1920s and 30s, a move that become much more necessary with the rise of Nazi Germany in the 1930s. By 1937, when a Gallup poll asked what the best European country was, 55% of respondents chose Britain while the second choice, France, received only 11% of their support.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 While relations between the United States and Britain improved during the interwar years, the American-Canadian relationship remained ambiguous, especially when it came to the study of British history. Two things converged to define this relationship. First were the varieties of Canadian national identity that became more prominent after 1918. Second was the rise of the United States as a world economic power.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 The British North America Act of 1867 had established the Canadian Confederation as a federal dominion with home rule. It remained part of the British Empire with its foreign policy controlled through Westminster. WWI was a defining moment for the Canadian Confederation, a fact demonstrated by a surge in Canadian nationalisms. These nationalisms had three primary branches. The first was a pro-British nationalism that sought to retain a close relationship, both politically and culturally, with Britain. Historians George Wrong and Donald Creighton of the University of Toronto were two prominent representatives of this mode of thinking. While pro-British historians might pursue new methodologies, they continued to support the traditional predominance placed on British history and culture in Canadian education. A second nationalism was that of French Canada, exemplified by the work of Lionel-Adolphe Groulx who taught at the Université de Montréal after 1915. He challenged the narrative of British conquest as divine providence and worked against the subordination of French language and customs. The third nationalism is generally characterized by its anti-imperialist sentiments. These scholars, such as Frank Underhill, at the University of Toronto, and John Wesley Dafoe, the editor of the Manitoba Free Press, emphasized Canada’s unique North American history.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 By the 1930s, the emerging generation of younger Canadian historians were primarily focused on the third form of nationalism, writing histories of Canadian nation building. This created a historiography that emphasized Canada’s independence from the metropole, a stance made relevant politically with the Statute of Westminster of 1931, which granted the Dominion of Canada nearly complete autonomy from British Parliament. But, no matter what Canadian historians thought about the British Empire, they also saw the threat from U.S. economic and cultural dominance — a fact that concerned them for good reason. By 1921, the U.S. had 93 trade agents or consuls in Canada. The interwar years were marked by the takeover of key Canadian industries by U.S. firms. By 1930, U.S. companies controlled two-fifths of the Canadian mining, petroleum, and smelting industries. Between 1915 and 1935, the Rockefeller and Carnegie foundations funded 30% of all Canadian university endowments. Relations were certainly not hostile, but there was a whiff of anti-American sentiment in the air. These were not the only reasons that there was little engagement between Canadian and U.S. scholars, but they certainly did not help.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 The extent to which national boundaries divided scholars in Canada from those in the United States is notable. While a few Canadian historians argued for a continentalist approach to historical scholarship, characterized by a reaction against close-minded nationalism and an embrace of interdependence, they generally failed to make much progress before WWII. Most prominent among these was John Bartlett Brebner, a Canadian historian based at Columbia University. His arguments about mutual cooperation influenced his colleague, James T. Shotwell, a progressive Canadian professor of history at Columbia University. Shotwell convinced the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace to fund a 25-volume series entitled The Relations of Canada and the United States. The ultimate purpose was to stress a continentalist approach within the social sciences and to encourage international cooperation. In the end however, few U.S. scholars participated. And, in fact, when the final volume was published in 1945, the series had done little to encourage a long-term dialogue between Canadian and U.S. historians. North American scholars remained divided by national boundaries — even though regionally, there could have been much more interaction.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 World War II had a profound effect on British Studies in the United States and Canada. Cooperation between Canada, Britain, and the U.S. was decisive for Allied success. And, after the war, the three nations were intertwined in a network of trade and finance that had been magnified between 1939 and 1945. Likewise, each country — especially the United States and Britain — were connected by virtue of their geopolitical interests vis-à-vis the Soviet Union. With the ramping up of rhetoric, culminating in Winston Churchill’s Iron Curtain Speech of 1946 and the Truman Doctrine of 1947; British and American support for the Greek government in its war with Communist partisans; and the foundation of NATO in 1949, the countries were bonded through ideology and military pacts. While defined by Brebner as the North Atlantic Triangle, as early as 1945 Winston Churchill was referring to this partnership as the “special relationship.”  However, Canada was increasingly treated as a junior partner. British Studies received a boost from these Cold War ideological struggles. As in the interwar years, the U.S. public would look to historians of Britain to help forge the bonds of international friendship. University historians were expected to serve the interests of the state, providing a Eurocentric, anti-communist historiography.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 The war also brought changes to the academic world. Canadian enrollments lagged behind those in the United States, and it was not until the 1960s that they would begin to increase significantly. On the other hand, the GI Bill (Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944) in the United States brought unprecedented numbers of men into colleges and universities (Table 1). In fact, administrators and politicians had to respond with temporary housing and even so-called “emergency colleges.” The GIs transformed the education system as Glenn C. Altschuler and Stuart M. Blumin have demonstrated. While most expected that the new students would flock to vocational and applied subjects, they actually studied across the curriculum. And, in selective universities, they enrolled in liberal arts in higher percentages than civilians. Some 38% of GIs were enrolled in the liberal arts at the University of Wisconsin in 1949. Likewise, GIs had a lower attrition rate than civilians. Only at elite schools did GIs fail to make significant inroads, as schools such as Harvard admitted them in low numbers. Concurrent with the surge in enrollments was the shortage of university faculty and the drive to add more of them (Table 2). This prompted the expansion of graduate programs in the United States. The ability of undergraduate and graduate students to defer conscription during the Korean War kept enrollments high, and this was itself followed by a new GI Bill for Korean War veterans. British Studies was one of the beneficiaries of these transformations.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 [Table 2: Faculty in the United States and Canada, 1870-1970]
Permalink for this paragraph 0 The Making of the Conference on British Studies (1950-1969)
Permalink for this paragraph 0 In 1951, five professors from Mid-Atlantic universities — J. Jean Hecht (University of Delaware), Jack Hexter (Queens College), Harold Hulme (New York University), Margaret Judson (Rutgers), and Sam McCulloch (Rutgers) — sent out an inquiry to fellow British historians living between Maryland and Massachusetts. They wanted to know if there was any interest in founding an organization on English history. The response was so positive that they held a meeting at New York University on 10 November 1951. 27 scholars of Britain attended. This group formed the first generation of the Conference on British Studies (CBS), a name proposed by Robert Schuyler. In the context of the “special relationship” and the Cold War, the founders could rest assured that those in positions of influence saw the importance of their research and teaching interests. In the 1950s and 1960s, the relevance of British history to U.S. politics and culture was virtually unassailable. Therefore, the early CBS members were able to focus their energies on growing their society, their field, and their profession.
Permalink for this paragraph 1 A potent example of the importance of the role of British studies in the “special relationship” comes from a 1946 article by Harold Hulme, the first president of the CBS. Published in the American Bar Association Journal, “Our American Heritage: Freedoms Derived from the English Constitution” emphasized the historical links between Britain and the United States. The article started by quoting a section from Winston Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech of 6 March 1946: ” We must never cease to proclaim in fearless tones the great principles of freedom and the rights of man, which are the joint inheritance of the English-speaking world.” Of English constitutional history, Hulme wrote, “This history is as important for us as that of our country . . . . A sound knowledge of this great heritage of ours should be possessed by every educated citizen of this country.” The journal’s editors, reflective of the opinions of the U.S. power-elite, went further. After quoting Rudyard Kipling — “All we have of freedom, all we use or know — / This our fathers bought for us long and long ago” — they wrote,
Permalink for this paragraph 0 This common conception of basic rights largely accounts for the fundamental affinity of the English-speaking peoples. Thorough knowledge of their origin is essential to a complete understanding of our institutions. This is particularly desirable today because of the currency of alien ideologies.
Permalink for this paragraph 2 In other words, British Studies helped combat the “spectre of communism” that haunted the globe. Professors of British Studies were expected to serve the interests of the Cold Warriors.
Permalink for this paragraph 1 By 1950, some historians of Britain, among others, began to chafe at the blind ideology and unsubstantiated accusations and inquiries of the Cold Warriors. One of Bartlett Brebner’s Canadian Ph.D. students, Harry Crowe, later persecuted in Canada in a case over academic freedom, found himself the object of U.S. paranoia. Taken off a train while on his way to his comprehensive exams at Columbia, he was interrogated for his political beliefs. Two years later, active members of the CBS found themselves attacked for their politics. Brebner, Robert Schuyler, Garrett Mattingly, and 19 other colleagues from Columbia accused their university president Dwight Eisenhower’s running mate, Richard Nixon, of misappropriation of funds. The group distributed their findings around New York City. Brebner and eight other colleagues soon found themselves labelled “Pinkos” on the front page of the New York Daily News. Thus, despite the fact that British Studies played a role in bolstering simplistic anti-Communist ideology, the sympathies of scholars were more complex. Nevertheless, there were advantages to being recognized as a bastion of democracy, freedom, and capitalism during the first decades of the Cold War, and the CBS and its members benefitted accordingly.
Permalink for this paragraph 1 Ruth Emery, the first Secretary and Treasurer of the CBS recorded most of the meetings from the first years of the society. Her minutes reveal the make-up of the organization, the ritual calendar of British Studies events, as well as the priorities of the group. 5 April 1952 designated the “first regular meeting” of the CBS. 63 members attended from 40 institutions, and that month, the group already had a total of 103 members. The membership was primarily from New England and the Mid-Atlantic states. Only one member was Canadian, which is not surprising considering the small scale of graduate-level teaching in British History in Canada before the 1970s. The printed membership list from 1952 reveals a significant gap between male and female scholars — a ratio that was a bit higher than one female scholar for every male scholar, statistically slightly more equal than overall university gender distributions (table 2).
Permalink for this paragraph 0 The CBS calendar guaranteed several meetings per year. There were, of course, the biannual meetings of the society at New York University, usually in late March or early April and early November. The group agreed early on that these meetings should be simple. In fact, a proposal by Hulme for a constitution was voted down by the group. In self-conscious, Anglophilic fashion, and following the lead of Jean Hecht and Jean Wilson, members preferred to see the constitution “evolve.” Meetings usually consisted of a business meeting followed by a guest speaker, preferably “distinguished scholars from abroad whenever speakers could be secured.” In the 1950s, the CBS could expect that if speakers came from the United States, speakers’ home universities would cover the expenses — an assumption that kept the society’s expenses minimal. One or two commentators would give their opinions on a speaker’s talk, which was followed by a general discussion. Then, the society would retire to a sherry party. In addition to these gatherings was an annual panel at the December meetings of the AHA. This was accompanied by a tea and sherry party organized by one of the members and sponsored by a local organization. So, in 1952, the Folger Library, an early supporter of the CBS, hosted the AHA tea. In succeeding years, other regular hosts included the Newberry Library and the English Speaking Union. Members were also engaged in the Anglo-American Conference each July and, by the 1960s, were holding annual teas at the Hotel Russell in Bloomsbury. In addition to these meetings, in the 1960s, the CBS met at irregular special gatherings. For example, in 1964, the CBS hosted a tea and sherry at the Conference of the American Philosophical Society. And in 1966, the society held a joint three-day symposium on the eighteenth century with the Winterthur Foundation.
Permalink for this paragraph 1 In addition to establishing a regular meeting schedule for its members, the group considered its broader professional and academic mission during these early years. The first concern of the early membership has become part of the mentalité of British historians — worry over the state of the field and the job market. In April 1952, Jack Hexter summarized that faculty were having trouble placing their graduate students and that there was little understanding about the state of the field. He proposed three solutions. First, the CBS should make a survey of the state of the field. Secondly, the CBS should keep a list of current graduate students who might be placed as vacancies occur. Thirdly, the CBS should put pressure on colleges and universities “teaching little or no English History.” Nothing came of the last proposal, but the first two propositions were pursued by a committee that included Emery, Hecht, and Herman Ausubel. Brebner served as chair. “The Committee on Academic Placement” soon saw results. The data suggested that there were few graduate students studying Commonwealth history, and Brebner encouraged faculty to persuade them to do so. More importantly, the committee led an effort to create a centralized job listing. Brebner’s discussions with representatives from the AHA eventually led to the creation of the job register in 1954, now one of the AHA’s primary functions.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 From the first regular meeting, the possibility of establishing a journal of British Studies concerned the members. Sam McCulloch first broached the issue, and Brebner and Schuyler joined him on an exploratory committee. They placed advertisements in major journals, including the American Historical Review, The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, The Journal of Modern History, The Journal of the History of Ideas, and The William and Mary Quarterly:
Permalink for this paragraph 0 The Conference feels that there is an urgent need for a journal devoted exclusively to the publication of articles in medieval and modern English history and British Empire history. But because of the difficulties involved in starting such a journal, they wish to gain some idea of the probable number of subscribers before proceeding with their plans. They would, therefore, appreciate postal cards from all interested in such a journal.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 While the responses were overwhelmingly positive, the society tabled the journal in the November 1952 meeting. They would need $5000.00 to begin a journal, and a few months later, the balance sheet was -$9.83. Doubling the dues from $1.00 to $2.00 in 1953 helped, but beginning a journal would need significant external support.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 This is not to say that the CBS was not creating printed materials. In fact, there were a range of projects that required their own committees. Ruth Emery compiled the annual printed lists of members. Judith Williams, Madeline Robinson, and a host of other scholars edited the annual “Current Research in British Studies by American and Canadian Scholars.” With support from Columbia University’s Dunning Fund, CBS published Robert Schuyler’s presidential address of 1955. The first significant scholarly production of the CBS was the bibliographic series, first proposed by Ausubel in 1955 and edited by Williams. The scheme was to sponsor historiographical articles that would be published in the leading journals of the historical profession. The first set of fourteen articles were eventually compiled and published as a volume in 1966.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 1959 became a pivotal year in the CBS’s history. Membership had expanded to 300 members. Most of them still came from the East Coast, and very few came from Canada. Finances were good. The account balance was $792.36, and NYU granted $200.00 annually to defray conference expenses. With ample funds, the CBS announced a triennial prize for the first book on British or Commonwealth Studies for U.S. or Canadian scholars. In cooperation with the University of Missouri, the CBS began publishing the British Studies Intelligencer (BSI). Under the editorship of Charles Mullett, the BSI served as the newletter of the CBS, reporting on conferences, the travels of members, and other material of relevance. However, the 1950s had also seen the creation of two British Studies organizations in other regions of the country: the Midwest Conference on British Historical Studies (1954) and the Pacific Coast Conference on British Studies (1958). While not necessarily rivals, neither of them were official affiliates of the CBS until the late 1960s. To expand the reach of the CBS, the members decided, in principle, to consider meetings outside of New York City. In other words, the CBS began to see itself as more than simply an organization for scholars who were based in New England and the mid-Atlantic.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 Expanding the scope of the organization was aided in 1959 by Trinity College’s offer to support a journal of British Studies. Trinity’s vice president would raise funds for the journal for three to four years. The school also provided secretarial help and release time for its faculty editors. At two issues per year with a print run of 300 copies, the cost was approximately $5000.00 per annum, a cost relieved by a Trinity alumnus and businessman, Frederick E. Hasler. The first editor of the Journal of British Studies (JBS) was Willson Coates, a Canadian Rhodes Scholar in 1920 and a Professor of History at the University of Rochester. The editorial board and advisory board was made up solely of men.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 Having a journal was a massive undertaking, requiring CBS to consider its mission — even to define what constituted British Studies. The CBS decided that its scope would be interpreted broadly, but its
Permalink for this paragraph 0 principal aim is historical, a vehicle for analytic and interpretive articles rather than factual and descriptive ones, and not a place for the specialized essay in literary, economic, or sociological analysis any more than for the antiquarian or pedantic article on historical minutiae.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 In other words, it was primarily an historical journal, reflecting both the interests and the make-up of the CBS. With a discounted subscription of $3.00 for members and $4.00 for full subscription by individuals and libraries, the CBS membership grew quickly. 351 members in 1960 became 405 members the following year. Central to members’ notion of the CBS was an ever-present Anglophilia. In 1962, Coates represented this in a speech he gave at Trinity College’s Festival of British Arts as thanks for the school’s support for the JBS. Reflecting on the foundation of CBS, he stated,
Permalink for this paragraph 0 We may shed no tears over the eclipse of the British Empire but we hope, even the least Anglo-Saxon of us, that there will always be an England. What, then was more natural than to found, ten years ago last autumn, the Conference on British Studies? . . . This Festival of British Arts is an altogether delightful and stimulating way of affirming our friendly disposition toward Britain and of rejoicing in the rich heritage we have from her.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 By 1964, the CBS extended its interests still further. Seven faculty members from the United States, Malaysia, and Australia composed the Committee on Faculty Exchange with the Commonwealth. Their mission was to bring scholars from Commonwealth nations to the United States. The CBS was also influencing decisions in the UK. For instance, Thomas Barnes, a faculty member at Berkeley, chaired a committee of three U.S. and Canadian scholars to help the Public Records Office decide what materials it would microfilm. The following year, the British Records Association asked CBS for a delegate to attend its annual meeting, and Warren Hollister attended as the CBS representative. The Executive Committee also began to consider how to deal with the Midwest and Pacific Coast British Studies societies, recognizing the need for a national association. This became a more pressing matter when several more regional societies began to organize: Charles Ritcheson’s Southern conference (1966), Roger Howell’s New England conference (1967), and Mortimer Levine’s Upper Ohio conference (1967). When the bylaws were rewritten in 1966-68, the committee’s first proposal was that the CBS recognize itself as a national organization.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 While the JBS was the most lasting product of CBS’s early years, the organization continued to build its presence, relying on dues, university support, and the generosity of private donors. It retained its Anglophilic sentiments. For example, a report from 1961 celebrated the birth of David Armstrong-Jones, later Viscount Linley, to Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon. Even its minutes reflected a sometimes humorous Anglophilia. R.K. Webb related the character of Harold Hume’s Treasurer’s Report from November 1961:
Permalink for this paragraph 0 The treasurer’s tone in making this announcement left no doubt that he did not intend to take a leisurely eighteenth-century attitude towards accounting and that imitators of Henry Fox [i.e. delinquent members] might do well to reconsider any vague plans to leave such matters to be straightened out in some twenty or thirty years by their heirs.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 The CBS incorporated itself in the state of New York in 1965. Unsurprisingly, the costs of this legal procedure were covered by donors. The same year, the University of Bridgeport began publishing CBS’s Studies in British History and Culture, a short monograph series. It was to be edited by Walter Love, but his untimely death in 1967 meant that Christopher Collier became the editor pro tem. An annual book award was founded in Love’s honor the same year. 1965 marked the year when Cambridge University Press began publishing a biographical series under the imprimatur of CBS. And, in 1966, West Virginia University began sponsoring the series Archives in British History and Culture, which reproduced historical documents.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 As scholars have so often termed it, the mid 1960s was a “golden age” for the CBS and, more generally, for British Studies — at least, a particular form of British Studies that remained dominated by male scholars and English-centered subjects. Laurence Lafore could feel confident in 1966 giving a talk entitled “English History is Easy to Sell.” Of English history, he stated that it “is a big business in the United States.” With the growth of universities, the “market” for English historians was “practically unlimited.” While he recognized the attraction of other areas of historical study — Africa, Asia, and Latin America — he had no doubt that “The constitution, the law, and the literature as well as the language, of the American people are all British in origin, and in the universities English history is an essential background for all of them.”
Permalink for this paragraph 0 Still, all was not perfect within the organization. As early as April 1966, the Executive Committee was discussing the autonomy of the JBS – even debating the importance of “new blood.” In November, William Willcox and the Executive Committee requested new bylaws. Bitter disagreement emerged from substantive concerns. And, as is so often the case in voluntary organizations, these disagreements became personal. G.B.H. Cooper no doubt summed up a large number of members’ sentiments about the affair:
Permalink for this paragraph 0 I am not interested in the pedantic little points about who-said-this-to-whom-and-when which is all sort of Dutch provo and doesn’t seem to add much to the solution. Actually, a lot of people are behaving like modern undergraduates: taking a lot of pent-up impertinent resentments to the fore in a showdown atmosphere. God, how I despise this kind of thing.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 The arguments hinged on the role of Willson Coates in editing JBS. In President Donald Barnes’s explanation to CBS in 1967, there had been numerous complaints about his policies. The Executive Committee split with the officers over how to handle the situation. The rift was between the Executive Secretary, Recording Secretary, and Treasurer, Ruth Emery, Robert Voitle, and Harold Hulme respectively, and a faction of the Executive Committee led by Holden Furber and Helen Taft Manning. Furber and Manning’s group desired that the Executive Committee control all appointments of both journal and CBS officers. Emery and Hulme proposed a compromise that the Executive Committee be able to appoint new associate editors. Furthermore, they emphasized that past practice was for the Executive Committee to organize by consensus rather than by majority vote, a habit that they saw dissolving in the midst of controversy. For his part, Coates preferred the existing situation. In a secondary debate, the group disagreed over the direction that the society was taking. Would it continue to expand, or should the group limit the size of the conference and its activities? In other words, as Barnes explained, would the CBS return to being simply a “paper reading society”?
Permalink for this paragraph 0 Despite attempts at compromise — including two intermediary groups appointed as negotiators — the 11 November 1967 meeting held the future of the CBS in the balance. Emery, Hulme, and Hecht, who had worked so hard to build the CBS, threatened to leave the society if the new bylaws did not reflect their proposed compromise. Turnout to the November meeting was small, not reaching a quorum, but those present voted for the new bylaws. In addition to extending the control of the Executive Committee, the bylaws favored what Barnes characterized as the “small and informal nature of the organization.” To achieve this, graduate students were no longer eligible for membership, a decision that was overturned in 1969. The three early members left the conference. The division soon caused the collapse of the Cambridge University Press bibliographical series that Hecht was editing for the CBS.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 Emery was doubtful about the CBS’s continued survival: “I think that it will disintegrate or at best stagger along in chaos, very unlike anything it has been.” Severing their ties with CBS, Emery, Hulme, and Hecht pored their energies into the Anglo-American Associates, a group that had first met in 1964. Their stated purpose was to focus on the exchange of people and ideas throughout the U.S., the U.K., and the Commonwealth. While its mission was complementary to that of the CBS, there was certainly an element of antagonism. The Anglo-American Associates founded its own journal, The British Studies Monitor, which combined the newsletter features of the British Studies Intelligencer with the scholarship of JBS. Published at Bowdoin, and edited by Richard Howell, the triannual journal already had 150 subscribers by its first issue in 1970.
Permalink for this paragraph 2 The pronouncements of CBS’s demise were premature. Soon, the group settled into its old routines. And, in 1971, the Executive Committee added Albion to its publications list. Supported by Appalachian State University, Albion was a journal begun as the proceedings of the Northwest branch of the Pacific Conference on British Studies. After 1971, it became the proceedings of the CBS and its affiliates. Nevertheless, change was in the air. Cooper’s “market” for students of English history was not as robust as he had assumed. And, the “Dutch Provos” — a.k.a. students — of American universities had changed in more ways than one. The university had to change with them.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 The Crisis of British Studies (1970-1999)
Permalink for this paragraph 0 By the 1970s and 1980s, the field of British Studies began to transform because of external pressures and internal critiques. Gone were the days when a job candidate could write to the CBS’s Executive Secretary asking for help with job placement. The anglophilia that had once been so pervasive on university campuses dissipated. Added to this, budget cuts meant less funding and fewer new British Studies faculty. To what extent the scale of transformation was real or perceived is difficult to establish with precision. There was, after all, a longstanding sense of “decline” in much of the historiography about Britain. Coupled with the realities of the contracting British Empire, a sense of collapse was ever present as a metanarrative to frame any professional concerns. Nevertheless, there were real changes taking place within the British Studies community, and these were both directly and indirectly influenced by new economic, social, and political contexts.
Permalink for this paragraph 1 The economic crises of the 1970s caused the first and most palpable change to British Studies, but even then, the effects were delayed. Peter Stansky claimed in 1976 that “Except the job market, everything is flourishing.” And, as late as the early 1980s, the CBS, then the NACBS, was extending its programming by working with the British and Australian governments to bring scholars to the U.S. It also founded three new prizes: the John Ben Snow Prize, British Council Prize in the Humanities, and an article prize (later renamed the Walter Love Prize). It even published a second volume of historiographical essays. But things changed rapidly in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Looking at the rate of Ph.D. production in history to job openings during the 1970s in the U.S., it is clear that Stansky’s observation applied not only to British History, but to the discipline more generally. It was not until the late 1980s that academic job openings in the U.S. would again outpace Ph.D. production — temporarily at least. Even then, the job market had altered dramatically. In 1969, 80% of history Ph.D.s could expect employment. Throughout the mid 1970s through 2000s, that number never reached 60% and was quite often under 50%. And, the tenure track began shrinking. Nearly 90% of full time history faculty were tenure track in 1980, a figure that was below 70% in 2000. A similar situation was occurring in Canada. After an expansion of Canadian Ph.D. programs in the late 1960s and early 1970s, there were more Ph.D.s being produced than were jobs available. In 1974, of 534 graduate theses in history in Canada, 296 were in Canadian history, and 105 were in British history. While the job market was not quite as bad as the United States, only about one-third of Ph.D.s were finding full time academic employment.
Permalink for this paragraph 2 When the CBS met in Tempe, AZ in 1978, the realities of the shifting economy were clear. Membership was down 200 from 550, and expenses exceeded income. Things were no better the following year, and the tradition of the annual sherry party at the Anglo-American Conference was cancelled. Between 1978 and 1980, the British Studies Intelligencer was on hiatus. Even with the creation of a membership committee and a fundraising campaign, income was insufficient for operations, and the CBS increased dues in 1980. The Anglo-American Associates were having similar problems. Between 1979 and 1981, negotiations between the CBS and the Anglo-American Associates merged their newsletters, the British Studies Intelligencer and the British Studies Monitor. Part of the CBS’s troubles was due to the success of related societies, including the Association for Canadian Studies in the United States (founded 1970), the American Conference for Irish Studies (founded 1960), and the Victorian Studies Association (founded 1968), among others — not to mention the fact that members of the CBS regionals did not always have memberships with the national. The Executive Committee pursued several solutions. In addition to appeals for donations from members, the group sought to bring in members from disciplines beyond history. In 1980, they proposed to change the name of the CBS to the North American Conference on British Studies (NACBS) “in order to incorporate our friends north of the border” according to CBS President Martin Havran.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 Even as the economics of the profession were changing, the political and social contexts altered as well. British history and its narratives had played an important role in the life of the British and U.S. empires, and it was implicated in the construction of imperialist and racist structures of power. Some of the strengths of the anti-colonial, anti-racist, and civil rights movements of the mid century were their abilities to uncover these underlying discourses and expose them to a mass of educated and engaged citizens. Both critical theory and political action combined to provide a necessary reassessment of historical studies and practice in general, and British history more specifically. They charted a new path forward for an historiography that had the potential to be traditionalist, or even reactionary. This being the case, British Studies became one of the fields in which the civil rights struggles of the 1960s and 1970s and the culture wars of the 1980s and 1990s played out, both externally and internally.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 On university and college campuses, the 1960s engaged ever-active students and faculty. And, the approach to British history transformed with it. The period spawned the “new” social history, a method that looked at British history “from below” or anthropologically. Early social historians’ inattention to the lives of women, was critiqued by another strand of historical writing that burgeoned in this period, women’s history. In the 1970s and 1980s, scholars developed multiple themes within women’s history, focusing on work, home, ideology, and class. With others, they forged the path towards studies of gender and sexuality, which began to flower in the 1980s and 1990s. Feminists who emphasized the role of women as historical actors were themselves challenging the gendered traditions of academia. In a notable instance in 1979, Reba Soffer — the only woman present at a CBS Executive Committee meeting — was forced to stay at a different hotel than the other members. The organizers had chosen the men-only Cosmos Club in Washington DC as their meeting location. While her protest registered with the other members present, it pointed to the struggles that women continued to face in academia.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 Even as the new social historians and historians of women, gender, and sexuality challenged the dominant narratives within British Studies, they were themselves critiqued by scholars of race and empire. Too often historians of class and gender spoke from a single position, ignoring the multiple experiences and intersections of class, gender, and race in Britain, the Commonwealth, and the Empire. Scholars of the “New Imperial History” and Subaltern Studies had much to add to the field by approaching issues of power, negotiation, and cultural hybridity. They viewed the empire as an integrated, if unequal, relationship between the metropole and the colony. Closely related were critiques of the notion of a homogeneous metropole, in part inspired by the devolution movements and nationalisms within Britain and Ireland. Additionally, the critical theory approaches of the Frankfurt School, cultural Marxism, and various postmodernisms shaped a generation of historians who were trained in the 1970s and 1980s. In all, the narratives that had bolstered British Studies in North America, and particularly in the United States, since 1900 were being undermined by both the socio-political context of global events and theoretical and methodological criticism from within the discipline.
Permalink for this paragraph 1 The increasing diversity on campuses in the U.S. during these years meant that professors could not assume that British history retained the special cultural relevance to their students’ lives that it supposedly did in earlier decades. While culture in the 1970s and 80s had its Masterpiece Theaters, Jane Austen revivals, and Merchant Ivory spectacles, their nostalgia quite often worked to enforce Anglophilia as a symbol of whiteness and privilege. Therefore, despite the fact that many scholars of Britain were at the forefront of critical inquiry and activism, the history of British Studies as a field of study worked against its popularity on university campuses. For three quarters of a century, historians of Britain had benefitted from the concepts of a special relationship, a shared liberal tradition, and an Anglo-Saxon heritage. In the context of anti-imperial and anti-racist activism and the critique of classical liberalism, for many, British History embodied the establishment.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 The rise of neo-conservatism in the 1970s and 1980s further enforced the perception that British Studies was a field of study for right wing ideologues and conservatives nostalgic for their lost hegemony. This perspective was no doubt helped by the strong relationship between the Reagan and Thatcher governments — a fact that would have benefited British Studies had both leaders not wished to slash public funding for education. On a trip to the British Embassy in Washington, D.C. in 1981, Ronald Reagan summed up conservative perceptions about the special relationship:
Permalink for this paragraph 0 This evening marks the first steps I’ve taken as a President on foreign soil. (Laughter.) What an honor to visit Great Britain first and how symbolic of the close relationship between our two nations that I only had to go fifteen city blocks to do it. (Laughter.) I wonder if this is what is meant by the saying that the sun never sets on the British Empire. (Laughter.) I do hope you agree, Prime Minister, that this city is an excellent vantage point from which to see the brilliant sunlight that still falls upon the Empire. I don’t mean the empire of territorial possessions. I mean the empire of civilized ideas, the rights of man under God, the rule of law, constitutional government, parliamentary democracy, all the great notions of human liberty still so ardently sought by so many and so much of mankind.
Permalink for this paragraph 1 But, what for some was a special relationship was for others an imperial axis. The draconian British policies in Northern Ireland, the Falklands War in 1982, and the Miners’ Strike of 1984-85 were paralleled in the firing of air traffic controllers in 1981, the invasion of Grenada in 1983, and a policy of supporting right wing dictatorships in Latin America. A mutual fear of Marxism in the African National Congress as well as economic interests in South Africa led both Reagan and Thatcher to support a policy of “constructive engagement” with the apartheid government. In all, by the 1980s, not only did many students and faculty see British Studies as a bastion of traditionalism, but they saw it as a politically conservative force.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 Likewise, external politics and internal debates about the proper subjects of historical inquiry created long-lived and charged debates among British Studies scholars. Vocal traditionalists, and others, less outspoken, remained hostile to ideas of multiculturalism and the de-centering of hegemonic narratives. An example was Geoffrey Elton, supported by a school of American followers. In 1986 he reported to the House of Lords: “Schools need more English history, more kings and bishops . . . The non-existent history of ethnic entities and women leads to incoherent syllabuses.” Using the metaphor of the war on drugs, Elton had this to say of postmodernism:
Permalink for this paragraph 0 Certainly, we are fighting for the lives of innocent young people beset by devilish tempters [Foucault and Derrida] who claim to offer higher forms of thought and deeper truths and insights — the intellectual equivalent of crack, in fact. Any acceptance of these theories — even the most gentle or modest bow in their direction — can prove fatal.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 In the United States, Gertrude Himmelfarb turned her pen against social history and the “deviants” whose behavior it analyzed:
Permalink for this paragraph 0 Historians now view with one another in plumbing the lower depths of this ‘history from below’, and in rescuing from oblivion one submerged group after another: women, children, racial and ethnic minorities, sexual deviants, criminals, the insane. When Macaulay prepared his readers for his chapter on ‘the history of the people’, he said that he would ‘cheerfully bear the reproach of having descended below the dignity of history.’ But it never occurred to him to descend so far below the dignity of history as to make these subjects the whole or even the major part of his work.
Permalink for this paragraph 1 While the jeremiads of the traditionalists constituted the most public aspect of what became generally termed the crisis in British Studies, others moved the discussion beyond the culture wars. A transatlantic literature on the crisis began after David Cannadine explored the state of British Studies in an article for Past and Present in 1987. And, many historians of Britain since the late 1980s have sublimated their anxieties over the state of the field by attending the annual NACBS conferences. In some senses, their mutual concerns about finding jobs, acquiring funding, and getting a publisher have served a sociological function, creating a more cohesive British Studies community. But, it has, at times, also encouraged a tribalism that has attacked those people who seem to represent the forces fragmenting the field, i.e. the imperial turn, the abandonment of grand narrative, etc.
Permalink for this paragraph 1 Even though the NACBS itself was recovering some of the ground it had lost in the 1970s — by 1990, membership neared 1000 people — many members were still uneasy. And, numerous conference panels, talks, and articles focused on the future of British Studies. In 1998, Robert Tittler reported that British history lines in the United States were down by 50% since 1978. After prompts by J.C.D. Clark at the NACBS meeting of 1998, President Fred Leventhal decided to form an ad hoc committee to investigate the state of the field. He asked Peter Stansky to lead the committee because he felt that Stansky was someone who could command respect from disparate segments in the profession. The “NACBS Report on the State and Future of British Studies in North America,” usually known as the “Stansky Report,” summarized realities and perceptions. While the number of jobs were down in both the United States and Canada, the committee felt that graduate programs had “reacted realistically” with downsizing. The field had shifted, and “It would seem that the graduate student whose work is restricted to England domestically, no matter how excellently and how ‘cutting edge’ the work might be, is probably at a disadvantage.” The committee argued that shrinking budgets in universities meant that hiring was a zero sum game. A new line in African history was a potential loss for British history. It claimed that given the end of the Cold War, the abandonment of historiographies that centered on “proving or disproving Marxist paradigms,” and globalization, the foci of British historians were less relevant and consequently at a disadvantage:
Permalink for this paragraph 0 New work in post-colonial theory, gender and empire, imperial legislation and indigenous resistance movements has helped formulate an attack on British studies from within and has been adopted — albeit in a caricatured form — by those wishing to argue against British replacement hires on political grounds. These demoralizing trends, along with the recent deaths of luminaries such as Edward Thompson, Raphael Samuel and Lawrence Stone, have cast a pall over British historians who have been more inclined to accept these criticism and lament the end of an era than to mount a spirited defense of British Studies.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 The report argued that to “remain viable,” British historians should reject its insular tendencies and present British history as “a world story.” In sum, while a general assumptions that historians of Britain and courses on British history were essential to a university education had long since disappeared, there was great potential not only to remain viable, but also to flourish, if practitioners were savvy about responding to the changing times.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 The Stansky Report, in part based on surveys, took the pulse of the British Studies community in the United States and Canada. It suggested that the crisis of British Studies was not as dire as some had suggested, and, to some extent, it took an optimistic tone. This may have reflected a determination by some to see change as opportunity, as was the case with Peter Mandler when he wrote to Peter Stansky in 1999:
Permalink for this paragraph 0 I don’t feel British studies is in any kind of crisis on either side of the Atlantic. No-one comparing NACBS today to NACBS, say, 20 years ago, could say it was anything but better, younger, broader. People have been very ingenious in getting jobs labelled European, or world, or Empire, and doing British studies in them. The kind of British studies they are doing is healthier for being done in a wider context, and for not counting on some Anglo-Saxon Gemeinschaft for attracting students or public attention.
Permalink for this paragraph 1 Nevertheless, as Antoinette Burton cautioned in her analysis of the Stansky report, historians of Britain should be careful in repackaging their subject. It would be easy to reinvent a “politically corrected” national history as a global or imperial history. Likewise, new approaches should be conscious of perpetuating imperial attitudes, rewriting nostalgic romanticisms, and maintaining the centrality of British “knowledge, power, resources, history.”
Permalink for this paragraph 1 Between 1970 and 1999, the field of British Studies went through a transformation, but it weathered the storm. The loss in lines, while quite large, was in fact the inevitable collapse of a British Studies bubble that had been created by the Anglophilia, Anglo-Saxonism, and geopolitical concerns of the previous 75 years. While it is not surprising that scholars of Britian should bemoan their lost status in the discipline, they were nonetheless experiencing a leveling of status within the discipline.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 NACBS and British Studies in the 21st Century
Permalink for this paragraph 4 In the early 2000s, NACBS was consolidating its resources. An experiment to save money and replace the hard copy of the British Studies Intelligencer with a digital version came to an end in 2005. Most announcements now went out on the British and Irish Studies listserv H-Albion, which by 2010 had over 3000 members. However, the cohesiveness and editorials of the BSI were gone along with the conference reports and obituaries that were a central feature to the BSI. With the retirement of Michael Moore, the longtime editor of Albion, the journal also ended its run. It concluded with the Winter 2004 issue. Since 1984, Albion had become the primary location for reviews in British history, a task that was rolled in to a newly formatted Journal of British Studies. With these changes, NACBS has been effective at running a balanced budget, but only through the dedication of its unpaid volunteers, which include not only the Executive Committee, but also the editors of the JBS.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 For NACBS’s members however, the world is changing rapidly, a fact that will soon have consequences for the organization itself. Two decades of U.S. economic policies, characterized by a fixation on tax cuts, deregulation, and privatization, have collided with the realities of the marketplace. Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have increased expenditures, even as trade deficits grow. Foreign energy dependence increased commodity prices until 2007 when the financial speculation of a deregulated market brought on an economic crisis unparalleled since the Great Depression. U.S. employers have responded with massive layoffs, causing unemployment and underemployment to soar. The fallout has been widespread, and the academic world has been as exposed as every other industry.
Permalink for this paragraph 1 The impact on British Studies is notable. The AHA job register has had fewer British history lines, and even after searches, they sometimes disappear. Temporary freezes on hiring are rapidly turning into disappearing positions. In response, British historians have tended to focus on preserving lines and funding by convincing their colleagues and the public at large about the importance of their subject. To do so, they have tended to fall back on the adages embodied in the notion of the special relationship — notions of a shared heritage, legal system, and political ideals — and fused them with a more savvy pitch, i.e. the legacy of Britain shapes the modern world; therefore, British history is relevant. But, focusing on how to market British Studies is to miss the point of the larger crisis. While British Studies may have experienced what may have seemed to be a disproportionate loss of jobs between 1975 and 2000, the current financial situation poses a threat that cuts across specialties and affects disciplines throughout the humanities, social sciences, and arts. British Studies is under threat, not from a general lack of interest or shifting intellectual foci, but from the structure of 21st-century higher education itself. It is in the same position as many other disciplines. This new crisis is a result of two intertwined developments: the shift to a business model of education and the intensification of academic wage hierarchies.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 Since the 1980s, public higher education in the U.S. — and more recently in Canada — has seen increasingly shrinking state appropriations. In response, universities have turned to big business models to bolster their revenue. There are several consequences to this. Competition for tuition dollars has meant that universities compete for both reputations and numbers of students. Appealing to the best and brightest means having the best facilities, expansive services, famous names on the faculty, and graduate programs. Expansion costs money, requiring a combination of higher numbers of incoming students and fee increases. Even as a larger percentage of the overall population now attends college — partly through easier access to low interest student loans — since the 1990s, tuition increases have outpaced inflation. The loss of government support has been the primary reason for this.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 As David A. Paul has summarized, the increase in tuition has coincided with an alteration in how the public imagines higher education in the United States. Increasingly, it is “seen in the eyes of the American public as more of a private good than a public good.” In other words, it has become a commodity for individuals rather than a benefit to communities:
Permalink for this paragraph 0 This characterization of higher education as a private good marked its evolution into a commodity in the marketplace, and the evolution of higher educational institutions––whether they were aware of it or not as it was happening––into producers and competitors in consumer markets that have increasingly become defined by consumer expectations for value and service.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 As an education has become a product like any other, universities have become businesses like any other, answering to “metrics,” “efficiencies,” “value added services.” Administrators at public institutions in particular are prone to present education as a product. They answer to politicians steeped in the mindset of liberal economics. Despite the fact that only a small and shrinking percentage of overall operating expenses comes from governments, universities must show good faith that they operate according to acceptable business models.
Permalink for this paragraph 1 As universities look for money, they must also answer to their donors. This means that grant making has the potential to set the agenda for research and teaching. This is not a new situation, but one that is amplified as public funding disappears. As administrators search for revenue, they must match agendas set by external agencies, a situation that can undermine intellectual autonomy. And, as this money is removed money from the tax base — and quite often away from universities’ general funds — private interests wield greater control. Since grants are higher for the sciences, universities have an incentive to focus on those disciplines at the expense of less lucrative programs Likewise, money can push ideological or political agendas. An example is the BB&T Foundation. As Gary Jones has reported, BB&T has donated $30 million to over two dozen colleges. The money has gone to support the teaching of Ayn Rand’s work and laissez-faire ideology in university classrooms. An agreement with Western Carolina University, for example, created “new courses involving required reading of Rand, [and] the original 2008 agreement included a condition that faculty members who teach the new course on capitalism ‘shall work closely with the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) and have a reasonable understanding and positive attitude towards Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism.’” Some agreements stipulated a matching dollar amount from the state, which meant that public monies were going to support an openly ideological project.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 While the business mindset means that university administrators compete for money — and that this has the potential to conflict with university missions — the social sciences, humanities, and arts are less important to the bottom line. At the same time, they are losing ground to professional programs. High tuition costs and a cultural shift towards hyper-consumerism, have encouraged students and parents to look for majors that they think will guarantee high incomes. The outcome is what two scholars have recently termed the competition of “liberal arts vs. vocational arts.” Business, accounting, and pharmacy seem more relevant to the job market than do literature, history, and anthropology.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 Closely related to the business model of university education is intensification of academic wage hierarchies, a factor as central to the new crisis in British Studies as the business model for education. The business model seeks to cut expenses and maximize profit. And, since salaries and benefits are a large percentage of university expenditure, this is one of the areas on which administrators have focused — regardless of the fact that salaries, especially those at public institutions, have remained much closer to the rates of inflation than have other university costs. As a result, tenure track positions have been cut. In 1975, 56.8% of faculty were tenured or tenure track. By 1995, those numbers dipped to 42.6%. In 2007, the percentage was only 31.2%. Furthermore, the percentage of full time faculty has decreased from 77.9% in 1970 to 64.8% in 1991 to 51.3% in 2007. Not only is tenure disappearing, but so is the opportunity of full time employment. As a number of scholars have noticed, the rise in the numbers of contingent faculty has taken place at the same moment universities have focused on more equitable hiring practices. Thus, as historically underrepresented populations increasingly enter the university workforce, they do so in a disadvantaged situation.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 The consequences of this shift in hiring are multiple. Contingent faculty are more likely to have lower pay and fewer benefits. In history, for example, full time contingent faculty earn approximately 36% less than the average tenure line professor, not including benefits.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 Part time employees are more likely to work for more than one employer for less pay without full benefits. To make ends meet, these members of the academic workforce often need to take on unreasonable course loads. As “at will” employees, contingent faculty also lack the job security — and as importantly, the salary protections — of their tenure line colleagues. In effect, the academic system is cutting well paid jobs and offering them to a labor force willing to take less pay and fewer benefits — the academic equivalent of outsourcing. And, in an irony of the academic system, it is the tenure line faculty who continue to produce the highly skilled laborers necessary to work these jobs — the “reserve army of the unemployed.”
Permalink for this paragraph 1 As governments and non-governmental organizations alike encourage more students to get postsecondary training, the existence of a mobile, low wage labor force is a boon to universities. Unlike the post WWII era in which money flowed to universities to hire full time faculty, 21st-century universities are expected to do more with less. They hire in ways akin to large chain stores, and the corresponding academic wage hierarchy becomes more acute. Part time workers often have less say in university governance, unless they are able to unionize. Likewise, the nature of their positions means that they are typically not responsible for committee work, a task dependent on the shrinking numbers of tenure line faculty. With less time to research and write, contingent faculty quickly lose the ability to become upwardly mobile in a system that privileges research output. In turn, tenure lines become the preserve of an academic and economic elite, who focus on their own upward mobility and have the option to ignore the plight of their colleagues. While the tenure track is often defended as the protector of free speech, the more palpable affect of tenure has been to protect the wages and benefits of faculty members.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 Academia in the 21st century is a very different world than that of the 20th century. Ideology threatens to undermine disciplines that do not immediately answer to vocational necessity. While business models transform the mission of the university, they alter the workforce as well. As a result of wage hierarchies, a privileged few are protected from the new market climate, and, as a result, they are cut off from the majority of their colleagues. Yet these are the faculty that tend to have the most influence, both through faculty governance or by virtue of position. Unless the faculty as a whole become conscious of these conditions, articulate their common interests, and put pressure on political and educational institutions, both tenure line and contingent faculty will continue to lose ground.
Permalink for this paragraph 1 The consequences for NACBS and British Studies in the 21st-century are clear. While British Studies could once assume a privileged place within academia in the U.S. and Canada, those days have disappeared. While the field found an equilibrium with others in the 1990s, the economic climate of the 2000s has presented it with a crisis that warrants immediate response. The survival of the humanities, social sciences, and arts — their status as valuable pursuits worthy of community support — depend on how well the various disciplines and subfields can work together. While it is not the purpose of this essay to propose ways of addressing this situation, a first step will no doubt be a unified response to the academic labor crisis as an economic, political, and educational problem. Otherwise, organizations such as NACBS will never retain enough members to support themselves. Contingent faculty with low pay and little time for research will be unlikely to pay for subscriptions to JBS or attend NACBS conferences. University budget cuts will hit libraries, and humanities journals will be cut before science journals. British history positions will continue to be cut. A diminishing rump of tenure line researchers will not be enough to support the organization. The new crisis of British Studies is unprecedented, and the success of the field is no longer tied to any notion of a “special relationship.” While the Stansky Report noted that in the 1990s British Studies suffered because its historiography was too focused on “Marxist paradigms,” it seems that issues of political economy and labor have become central to the current crisis.
 I would like to thank a number of people who have read the text of this essay and offered their comments. I have integrated some of their ideas already. Others, I will include in the final draft. These people include Walter Arnstein, Helen Berry, Lynn Bothelo, Dane Kennedy, Fred Leventhal, Brian Lewis, Philippa Levine, Reba Soffer, Keith Wrightson as well as the three anonymous external readers for the Journal of British Studies. I would also like to thank Brian Cowan and Elizabeth Elbourne for allowing me to circulate a draft version of this text before resubmitting it to the Journal of British Studies. Finally, I would like to thank Lyndsay Moore for letting me read her “Short History of NACBS,” which is in the NACBS archives at George Washington University.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Hillary Rodham Clinton and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Press Conference (La Casa Rosada, Buenos Aires, Argentina, March 1, 2010), http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2010/03/137539.htm.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Nile Gardiner, “Hillary Clinton Slaps Britain in the Face over the Falklands,” Telegraph, March 2, 2010, http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/nilegardiner/100028048/hillary-clinton-slaps-britain-in-the-face-over-the-falklands/.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Sarah Palin, “Concerning a Possible Trip to the United Kingdom,” Facebook, June 14, 2010, http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=398865538434; Simon Walters, “Sarah Palin lines up UK trip – and a visit to Lady Thatcher,” Daily MailOnline, June 13, 2010, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1286223/Sarah-Palin-lines-UK-trip–visit-Lady-Thatcher–looking-buoyant-recently.html.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  James C. Bennett, The Anglosphere Challenge: Why the English-Speaking Nations Will Lead the Way in the Twenty-First Century (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2004).
Permalink for this paragraph 0  U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services: Exports, Imports and Trade Balance by Country and Area, Not Seasonally Adjusted: 2009, U.S. Census Bureau News, September 9, 2010, http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/Press-Release/current_press_release/ft900.pdf.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  In this article, I use British Studies and British History interchangeably. There are two reasons for this. First, there are very few British Studies programs in the United States and Canada. Scholars tend to be housed in departments of History or English. Secondly, the NACBS, despite its increased emphasis on interdisciplinarity, remains dominated by historians of Britain. Thus, any history of NACBS is primarily a story about a field within the discipline of history.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Thomas Sobottke, “The Imperial Enterprise: Anglo-American Reaction to the Spanish-American and Boer Wars, 1898-1902” (Ph.D. Thesis, Marquette University, 2008), http://epublications.marquette.edu/dissertations/AAI3357937; S. Anderson, “Racial Anglo-Saxonism and the American Response to the Boer War,” Diplomatic History 2, no. 3 (1978): 219–236; Stuart Anderson, Race and Rapprochement: Anglo-Saxonism and Anglo-American Relations, 1895-1904 (Rutherford, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University, 1981); Stuart E. Knee, “Anglo-American Understanding and the Boer War,” Australian Journal of Politics & History 30, no. 2 (1984): 196-208; Richard B. Mulanax, The Boer War in American Politics and Diplomacy (University Press of America, 1994); Thomas J. Noer, Briton, Boer, and Yankee: the United States and South Africa, 1870-1914 (Kent State University Press, 1978).
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Priscilla Roberts, “Paul D. Cravath, The First World War, and the Anglophile Internationalist Tradition,” Australian Journal of Politics & History 51, no. 2 (2005): 194–215; Priscilla Roberts, “The First World War and the Emergence of American Atlanticism 1914–20,” Diplomacy & Statecraft 5, no. 3 (1994): 569.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Richard Hofstadter, Social Darwinism in American Thought (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1992); Anderson, Race and rapprochement; Reginald Horsman, Race and Manifest Destiny: The Origins of American Racial Anglo-Saxonism (Harvard University Press, 1981); Anderson, “Racial Anglo-Saxonism and the American Response to the Boer War.”
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Anthony Brundage and Richard A. Cosgrove, The Great Tradition: Constitutional History and National Identity in Britain and the United States, 1870-1960 (Stanford University Press, 2007), 160.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  American Historical Association, “National Board for Historical Service,” History Teacher’s Magazine 8, no. 9 (1917): 289; Leo Francis Stock, “Some Bryce-Jameson Correspondence,” The American Historical Review 50, no. 2 (January 1945): 277, n. 18.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Hudson Maxim, “Need of an Anglo-Saxon League: Let Us Keep the Peace with Our Best Friends and Nearest Blood Relations” stated that an “Anglo-Saxon League,” English Speaking World 3, no 2 (February 1920): 17.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  H.A.L. Fisher, “The Anglo-American Conference, 1923,” Historical Research 1, no. 2 (1923): 59-61; Jameson, “Notes and Suggestions,” 59-60; John McGinnety, “The Anglo-American Conference: A History,” Times Higher Education (5 July 1996). <http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=100094>. Accessed 20 August 2010.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Nicholas John Cull, Selling War: The British Propaganda Campaign Against American “Neutrality” in World War II (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), 59; Brundage and Cosgrove, The Great Tradition, 171.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  On interwar Canadian historiographies of British history, see Carl Berger, The Writing of Canadian History: Aspects of English-Canadian Historical Writing since 1900, 2nd ed. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1986); Doug R. Owram, “Canada and the Empire,” in The Oxford History of the British Empire: Historiography, ed. Robin W. Winks (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 146-162; Paul T. Phillips, Britain’s Past in Canada: The Teaching and Writing of British History (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1989).
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Susan Mann Trofimenkoff, Action Francaise: French Canadian Nationalism in the Twenties (Toronto: Toronto University Press, 1975); Susan Mann Trofimenkoff, ed., Abbé Groulx: Variations on a Nationalist Theme (Toronto: Copp Clarke Pub., 1973).
Permalink for this paragraph 0  John Castell Hopkins, “1921 Incidents in American-Canadian Relations,” in The Canadian Annual Review of Public Affairs (Toronto: R. Duncan & Co. for The Canadian Review Company, 1922), 133.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  David Mackenzie, “Canada, the North Atlantic Triangle, and the Empire,” in The Oxford History of the British Empire: The Twentieth Century, ed. William Roger Louis and Judith M. Brown (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 580-81.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Alexander John Watson, Marginal Man: The Dark Vision of Harold Innis (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006), 201; Rohit Aggarwala, ““Non-Resident Me”: John Bartlet and the Canadian Historical Profession,” Journal of the Canadian Historical Association 10, no. 1 (1999): 244-45.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Winston Churchill, Speech in Commons, 7 November 1945, Winston Churchill, Winston S. Churchill: His Complete Speeches, 1897-1963, ed. Robert Rhodes James, vol. 7 (Chelsea House Publishers, 1974), 7248.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Data from these tables extracted from U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, “Table 3. Enrollment in Educational Institutions, by Level and by Control of Institution: 1869-70 to Fall 2006″ and “Table 166. Historical Summary of Faculty, Students, Degrees, and Finances in Institutions of Higher Education: 1869-70 to 1992-93,” in Digest of Education Statistics (1996), http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d96/d96t003.asp and http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d95/dtab166.asp; M. Wisenthal, “Series W340-438. Full-time University Enrollment, by Sex, Canada and Provinces, Selected Years, 1920 to 1975″ and Series W486-503. Full-time University Teachers, by Highest University Degree Held and by Sex, Canada, 1958 to 1974,” in Statistics Canada, Section W: Education, http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/11-516-x/sectionw/4147445-eng.htm; Vincent Carpentier, “Table 5. Full Time Students by Type of Study. Great Britain 1920-1948. United Kingdom 1949-2002,” UK Data Archive Study Number 4971, Historical Statistics on the Funding and Development of the UK University System, 1920-2002 (2004), online at Economic and Social Data Service, http://www.esds.ac.uk/findingData/snDescription.asp?sn=4971.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  CBS Minutes, 10 November 1951, Special Collections Research Center, Gelman Library, George Washington University, NACBS MSS 12/29. All subsequent references to this collection will be designated as “NACBS MSS.”
Permalink for this paragraph 0  “A Report on the CBS Symposium: ‘Man Versus Society in Eightenth-Century Britain’,” The Burke Newsletter 8, no. 28 (1966): 652-62. The papers were published as James Lowry Clifford, ed., Man Versus Society in Eighteenth-century Britain: Six Points of View (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1968).
Permalink for this paragraph 0  CBS Minutes, 18 April 1953, NACBS MSS 12/29; CBS Minutes, 14 November 1953, NACBS MSS 12/29; CBS Minutes, 3 April 1954, NACBS MSS 12/29; “Historical News,” American Historical Review 59, no. 3 (1954): 807.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  “Historical News and Comments,” The Mississippi Valley Historical Review 39, no. 2 (September 1952): 372-402; “Announcement,” The Journal of Modern History 24, no. 3 (September 1952): 330; “Announcements,” The William and Mary Quarterly 9, no. 4, Third Series (October 1952): 581-585; “Historical News,” The American Historical Review 58, no. 1 (October 1952): 228-247; “Announcements,” Journal of the History of Ideas 13, no. 4 (October 1952): 610.
Permalink for this paragraph 0
 Elizabeth Chapin Furber, ed., Changing Views on British History: Essays on Historical Writing since 1939 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1966). Articles published for the first bibliographic series were William A. Bultmann, “Early Hanoverian England (1714-60): Some Recent Writings,” The Journal of Modern History 35, no. 1 (1963): 46-61; John Clive, “British History, 1870-1914, Reconsidered: Recent Trends in the Historiography of the Period,” The American Historical Review 68, no. 4 (1963): 987-1009; Philip D. Curtin, “The British Empire and Commonwealth in Recent Historiography,” The American Historical Review 65, no. 1 (1959): 72-91; Paul H. Hardacre, “Writings on Oliver Cromwell since 1929,” Journal of Modern History 33, no. 1 (1961): 1-14; M. Hastings, “High History or Hack History: England in the Later Middle Ages,” Speculum: A Journal of Mediaeval Studies 36, no. 2 (1961): 225–53; J. Jean Hecht, “The Reign of George III in Recent Historiography: A Bibliographical Essay,” Bulletin of the New York Public Library 70 (1966): 279-304; Maurice Lee, Jr., “Scottish History Since 1940,” Canadian Historical Review 40 (1959): 319–32; Bryce Lyon, “From Hengist and Horsa to Edward of Caernarvon: Recent Writings in English
History,” Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis 76, no. 4 (1963): 377-422; Helen F. Mulvey, “Modern Irish History Since 1940: A Bibliography Survey (1600–1922),” Historian 27, no. 4 (1965): 516–59; Roger W. Prouty, “England and Wales, 1820-1870, in Recent Historiography: A Selective Bibliography,” Historian 24, no. 3 (1962): 270–307; Lacey Baldwin Smith, “The ‘Taste for Tudors’ since 1940,” Studies in the Renaissance 7 (1960): 167–83; Robert Walcott, “The Later Stuarts (1660-1714): Significant Work of the Last Twenty Years (1939-1959),” The American Historical Review 67, no. 2 (1962): 352-370; Henry R. Winkler, “Some Recent Writings on Twentieth-Century Britain,” The Journal of Modern History 32, no. 1 (1960): 32-47; P. Zagorin, “English History, 1558-1640: A Bibliographical Survey,” The American Historical Review 68, no. 2 (1963): 364–84. A second volume of papers was published in 1984 as Richard Schlatter, Recent Views on British History: Essays on Historical Writing Since 1966 (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1984).
Permalink for this paragraph 0  “Report of the Secretary-Treasurer of the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association, 1958,” The Pacific Historical Review 28, no. 2 (May 1959): 173-175; “Historical News,” The American Historical Review 60, no. 3 (1955): 770.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  The Managing Editor was George Cooper. The Associate Editors were James Godfrey, Jean Hecht, and Sam McCulloch. The Advisory Board was made up of Donald Barnes, William Dunham, Holden Furber, Lawrence Gipson, Jack Hexter, Albert Imlah, Wilbur Jordan, A.R.M. Lower, Garrett Mattingly, Robert Schuyler, and Louis B. Wright.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Willson Coates, “An Address Delivered at the Festival of British Arts, Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, on April 30, 1962, by Willson Coates,” NACBS MSS 12/30.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  For summaries of the complexities of the debate, see Donald Barnes to Ruth Emery, 17 October 1967, NACBS MSS 8/14; CBS Officers Statement, ca. late 1966 to early 1967, NACBS MSS 12/34; Holden Furber, Lawrence H. Gipson, William Haller, Wilbur K. Jordan, Helen Taft Manning, William B. Willcox, and Jean S. Wilson, Letter to Members of CBS, 1 December 1966, NACBS MSS 12/34; Ruth Emery(?), Summary of Objections to Furber-Manning Group, ca. late 1967 to early 1968, NACBS MSS 12/30.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Donald Barnes to Ruth Emery, 17 October 1967, NACBS MSS 8/14; Holden Furber, Lawrence H. Gipson, William Haller, Wilbur K. Jordan, Helen Taft Manning, William B. Willcox, and Jean S. Wilson, Letter to Members of CBS, 1 December 1966, NACBS MSS 12/34.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Harold Hulme to Sam McCulloch, 7 December 1966, NACBS MSS 6/31; Holden Furber, Lawrence H. Gipson, William Haller, Wilbur K. Jordan, Helen Taft Manning, William B. Willcox, and Jean S. Wilson, Letter to Members of CBS, 1 December 1966, NACBS MSS 12/34.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  “[Proposed] Bylaws of the Conference on British Studies,” 13 March 1967, NACBS MSS 12/34. Compare to “Present Rules and Procedures of the Conference on British Studies (Filed in Albany, New York),” NACBS MSS 12/34.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Jim Tomlinson, “Thrice Denied: ‘Declinism’ as a Recurrent Theme in British History in the Long Twentieth Century,” Twentieth Century British History 20, no. 2 (2009): 227-251.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Thomas Bender et al., “Education of Historians for the Twenty-first Century,” 2003, 1.8, http://www.historians.org/projects/cge/2004/Report/ch1.html; Robert Townsend, “Precedents: The Job Crisis of the 1970s,” n.d., http://www.historians.org/info/JOBS70RT.htm.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Martin Havran, “A Report to the Membership, NACBS,” The British Studies Intelligencer, 3rd series 2, no. 1 (1981): 6; Martin Havran to Diane Willen, 1 September 1983, NACBS MSS 6/8.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Martin Havran,”A Letter from the President, CBS,” British Studies Intelligencer, 3rd series 1, no. 1 (1980): 7. With the name change also came a re-writing of the bylaws. See “By-Laws of the North American Conference on British Studies, Revised . . . Approved as Amended by the Council 29 October 1982,” NACBS MSS 6/31.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Douglas M. Haynes, “White Lies: The British Past in Post-War America,” The History Teacher 31, no. 1 (1997): 96-100; Douglas Haynes, “The Whitness of Civilization: The Transatlantic Crisis of White Supremacy and British Television Programming in the United States in the 1970s,” in After the Imperial Turn: Thinking with and through the Nation, ed. Antoinette M. Burton (Durham: Duke University Press, 2003); Antoinette Burton, “When Was Britain? Nostalgia for the Nation at the End of the ‘American Century’,” The Journal of Modern History 75, no. 2 (2003): 359–374.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Ronald Reagan, “Speech at British Embassy [Washington, D.C.] dinner for President Reagan” (White House speech transcript, British Embassy, Washington D.C., February 27, 1981), http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/104581.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Tony Kushner and Kenneth Lunn, eds., The Politics of Marginality: Race, the Radical Right, and Minorities in Twentieth-Century Britain (London: Frank Cass, 1990), preface.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  However, at times, competition has been known to trump cooperation. In a notable case, Randolph Trumbach argued in the AHA’s Perspectives, “The recent steady influx of British historians into American departments of history has become a serious threat to the integrity of the historical profession in the United States. The problem is especially grave in the field of English history.” Randolph Trumbach, “A Case of Anglophilia? – Perspectives (September 1989) – American Historical Association,” Perspectives (American Historical Association), September 1989, http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/1989/8909/8909LET1.cfm. More recently, Richard Evans claimed that Americans who wrote British history were “respectable at best,” a statement which led to a near unanimous repudiation on H-Albion. Brian Cowan, “Absolute dominance of their field?” (H-Albion, August 16, 2009); Richard J. Evans, Cosmopolitan Islanders: British Historians and the European Continent (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009).
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Robert Tittler, “Early Modern British History, Here and There, Now and Again,” Albion: A Quarterly Journal Concerned with British Studies 31, no. 2 (Summer 1999): 193.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Fred Leventhal to Peter Stansky, 13 October 1998, email correspondence, NACBS MSS 20/1; Fred Leventhal to Dane Kennedy, 17 March 1999, email correspondence, NACBS MSS, 20/1.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Peter Stansky et al., “NACBS Report on the State and Future of British Studies in North America (1999),” 1999, http://www.nacbs.org/documents/reportonfield1999.html.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  The cause for these increases is disputed, but the so-called “Bennett hypothesis,” which equates higher costs to increased loan availability, seems to be oversimplified and not supported by the data. See Larry D. Singell and Joe A. Stone, For Whom the Pell Tolls: Market Power, Tuition Discrimination, and the Bennett Hypothesis, University of Oregon Economics Working Paper (University of Oregon Economics Department, April 2003), http://ideas.repec.org/p/ore/uoecwp/2003-12.html. On the Higher Education Price Index and its relation to the Consumer Price Index, see CommonFund Institute, Higher Education Price Index, Update 2009, 2009, http://www.commonfund.org/CommonfundInstitute/HEPI/HEPI%20Documents/2009/2009_HEPI_Report.pdf. See also College Board, Trends in Rate of Increase in Four-Year College Tuition & Fees, 1982-83 to 2007-08, Higher Education Landscape, 2010, http://professionals.collegeboard.com/data-reports-research/trends/higher-ed-landscape.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Alisa F. Cunningham et al., Study of College Costs and Prices, 1988-89 to 1997-98 (National Center for Education Statistics, February 2002), http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2002157.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  David A. Paul, “Higher Education in Competitive Markets: Literature on Organizational Decline and Turnaround,” The Journal of General Education 54, no. 2 (2005): 106-138. See also Sheila Slaughter and Gary Rhoades, Academic Capitalism and the New Economy: Markets, State, and Higher Education (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004).
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Gary H. Jones, “Universities, the Major Battleground in the Fight for Reason and Capitalism,” Academe Online, August 2010, http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/pubsres/academe/2010/JA/feat/jone.htm.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Peter M. Carlson and Mark S. Fleisher, “Shifting Realities in Higher Education: Today’s Business Model Threatens Our Academic Excellence,” International Journal of Public Administration 25, no. 9 (2002): 1108.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  CommonFund Institute, Higher Education Price Index Update, Update 2009: Table B: Higher Education Price Index 2002-2009, Regression Analysis of Components–FY1961 to FY2001, Higher Education Price Index Update, 2009, http://www.commonfund.org/CommonfundInstitute/HEPI/HEPI%20Documents/2009/2009_HEPI_Report.pdf.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Table 249. Number of Instructional Faculty in Degree-granting Institutions, by Employment Status, Sex, Control, and Type of Institution: Selected Years, Fall 1970 through Fall 2007, Digest of Education Statistics, 2009, http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d09/tables/dt09_249.asp. See also the data in Coalition on the Academic Workforce, One Faculty Serving All Students, February 2010, http://www.academicworkforce.org/CAW_Issue_Brief_Feb_2010.pdf.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  On the use of the word “contingent” to describe these faculty, see Bruno Gulli, “Knowledge Production and the Superexploitation of Contingent Academic Labor,” Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor 16 (n.d.): 5.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  For recent data, see U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Table 254. Full-time and Part-time Faculty and Instructional Staff in Degree-granting Institutions, by Race/Ethnicity, Sex, and Selected Characteristics: Fall 2003, Digest of Education Statistics, 2009, http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d09/tables/dt09_254.asp?referrer=list.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Data from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) National Faculty Salary Survey for Four-Year Institutions, annual reports 2002-2007.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Douglas Mann and Heidi Nelson Hochenedel, “A Manifesto of the Twenty-First-Century Academic Proletariat in North America,” Journal of Social Philosophy 34, no. 1 (2003): 111-124.