CFP for WCBS 2018: September 28-29, San Antonio, TX

In fall of 2018, the WCBS will return to San Antonio TX for our annual meeting. We will convene at the Sheraton Gunter, just steps from the historic Alamo, the River Walk and other sites.  Panels will run all day on Friday Sep. 28 and Saturday Sep. 29.

The Sheraton Gunter will be offering rooms at $US 139/nt.

We are very pleased to inform you that our keynote speaker will be Carla Pestana, Professor and Joyce Appleby Endowed Chair of America in the World at UCLA. We will also hear our traditional address by outgoing WCBS President, Andrew Muldoon (Metropolitan State University of Denver).

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

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

Please submit proposals to by the end of the day on Friday, March 2, 2018.



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MACBS Annual Meeting CFP: April 7-9, 2018

Deadline Extended: 3 January 2018


The MACBS — the mid-Atlantic affiliate of the NACBS, the main organization for British Studies in Canada and the United States – is soliciting proposals for papers and panels on all areas of British Studies for our annual conference. We welcome participation from scholars of Britain, the British Atlantic World, and the British Empire broadly defined, and we are open to proposals ranging from the ancient to the contemporary and from scholars of history, anthropology, literature, art, politics, economics and related fields. Senior faculty, junior faculty, and graduate students are all encouraged to participate.

Proposals for both individual papers and full panels are welcome. Paper proposals should include a brief (no more than 250 words) abstract of the paper and a curriculum vita. Full panel proposals should also include a one-paragraph description of the panel’s overall aim and indicate which panel member will serve as the organizer and primary contact.

All submissions must be received by 3 January 2018.

Send proposals via email to:
Prof. Nicholas Popper, Program Co-Chair

Dept. of History

College of William & Mary


Prof. Katie Hindmarch-Watson, Program Co-Chair

Dept. of History

Johns Hopkins University
For additional information, please see the MACBS website:



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Thomas (Tom) C. Kennedy (1937-2017)

Tom Kennedy (University of Arkansas), historian, sports fan, singer, poet, husband, father and grandfather, and a long time member of the Western Conference on British Studies and great friend to many in the organization (and father to one), passed away in late January.  Tom taught in the History Department of the University of Arkansas for nearly forty years.  His research focused on Quakers and Quakerism in Britain and the United States and included publications such as British Quakerism 1860-1920: The Transformation of a Religious Community (Oxford University Press, 2001) and A History of Southland College: The Society of Friends and Black Education in Arkansas (University of Arkansas Press, 2009).  WCBS members will know of Tom’s long service to the organization, including stints as Program Chair and President (1985-86).  A fitting tribute appears in the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette

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Bob McJimsey Prize Winner 2015

The WCBS is pleased to announce that the 2015 Bob McJimsey Graduate Student Prize was awarded to Ryan Butler (Baylor University) for his paper “Reformation Women and ‘She-Bishop’ Hannah More: Care for the Poor in Comparative Perspective,” presented at our October 2015 meeting in Austin, Texas.

Graduate student presenters at the 2106 Tempe meeting are encouraged to submit their papers for consideration for the Bob McJimsey Graduate Student Prize.

The WCBS offers a cash prize to the best paper presented at the annual meeting and submitted to the competition. Graduate students are encouraged to submit their papers immediately following the WCBS meeting. The deadline for submitting papers presented at the October 2016 meeting is 30 November, 2016.  Please see the Awards page for details.

Past winners include:

2014 (Calgary) Ashley Sims (University of Alberta) “Settling the Score: Petty Crime and Private Property in Early Modern Scotland.”

2013 (Kansas City) Mandi Barnard (University of Kansas) “Criminality and Ethnic Identity in Victorian London.”

2012 (Las Vegas) Ronnie Morris (York University) “‘On Liking’: Parish Children and the Transition to Apprenticeship in Eighteenth Century London.”

2011 (Denver)  Tobias Harper, (Columbia University) “`Bringing Together’, Falling Apart: The Post-War British Honours System, 1945-1980″

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WCBS Calgary Review

Over 70 scholars came together on a  sunny weekend in Calgary Alberta to participate in the 41st annual meeting of the WCBS.  Panelists came from across the Western CBS ‘region’ and we were also joined by presenters from Arkansas, California, British Columbia, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, New Jersey, Ontario, Pennsylvania, parts of the UK, as well as a number of local students from Alberta post-secondary institutions. Many of the 19 panels were tied in to this year’s theme, “Crisis, Conflict, Conciliation” and included papers from literary scholars, medievalists as well as historians of Britain and its Empire.

Highlights of the meeting included a thought provoking plenary address from Professor Stephen Heathorn (McMaster University) on Douglas Haig and historical memory, and the customary presidential address by outgoing WCBS president, Greg Smith (University of Manitoba) on potentially criminal children in eighteenth-century London.  We were also joined by NACBS Vice President, Susan Pennybacker (UNC Chapel Hill) who is making the rounds to regional CBS meetings to engage members in discussions about national business.

All graduate student presenters are encouraged to submit their paper (as read at the conference) to the Bob McJimsey prize committee by 1 November, 2014.


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Recent Publications by WCBS Members

Brundage, Anthony and Richard A. Cosgrove, British Historians and National Identity: From Hume to Churchill. London: Pickering & Chatto, 2014.

Smith, Greg T. “Long-Term Trends in Female and Male Involvement in Crime.” In The Oxford Handbook of Gender, Sex, and Crime, edited by R. Gartner and B. McCarthy . New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

MacMillan, Ken. “To Punish and Correct: the rise of criminal courts in Bermuda, 1615-1622.” Atlantic Studies 10:3 (2013).

S.L. Chester and David R.C. Hudson, “The Transportation of Irish Swordsmen to Sweden and Russia and plantation in Ulster (1609-1613).” Archivium Hibernicum, 66 (2013)

Knafla, Louis A. Kent at Law, 1602. 4 Volumes. Kew, Surrey: List and Index Society, 2002-13.

Bronstein, Jamie. “Sowing Discontent: The 1921 Alien Land Act in New Mexico,” Pacific Historical Review vol. 82 no. 3 (August 2013): 362-95.

Smith, Greg T. Summary Justice in the City: A Selection of Cases Heard at the Guildhall Justice Room, 1752-1781 Boydell & Brewer for the London Record Society, 2013

MacKay, Lynn. Respectability and the London Poor, 1780–1870: The Value of Virtue. London: Pickering and Chatto, 2013.

Button, Marilyn D. and Jessica A. Sheetz-Nguyen, eds. The Victorian Case for Charity: Essays on Responses to English Poverty by the State, the Church and the Literati. Jefferson, NC: McFarland Press, 2013.

Prasch, Thomas, ‘“A Strange Incongruity”: The Imaginary India of the International Exhibitions’ Nineteenth-Century Contexts: An Interdisciplinary Journal 34:5 (2012): 477-91.

Tusan, Michelle. Smyrna’s Ashes: Humanitarianism, Genocide, and the Birth of the Middle East.Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.

Sheetz-Nguyen, Jessica A. Victorian Women: Unwed Mothers and the London Foundling Hospital. London: Continuum Books, 2012.

Sheetz-Nguyen, Jessica A. “Go ye therefore and teach all nations: Evangelical and Mission Sermons, the Imperial Stage.” In The Oxford Handbook of the Modern British Sermon 1689-1901, edited by Keith A. Francis and William Gibson Robert Ellison, John Morgan-Guy, and Bob Tennant. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

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WCBS 2013: Kansas City Report

Thank you to all of our participants at the 2013 WCBS meeting in Kansas City, Missouri.  Attendees were able to attend seventeen panels, ranging in topics from political, cultural and social history, to gender and literature, to Irish Home Rule to aspects of Empire, to single out but a few topics.  Chronological breadth extended from the early modern to the twentieth century.

Many panels took on the conference theme “Borders, Boundaries and Frontiers” including the keynote speaker, Professor Peter Stansky (Stanford) who delivered a fascinating and stimulating talk on British writers and travel literature in the 1930s.

The conference will reconvene for its 41st annual meeting in 2014 in Calgary, Alberta.  As 2014 will mark the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War, the program committee is encouraging papers that will speak to the theme:  “Crisis, Conflict, Conciliation”.  As usual, we welcome any papers that take up the theme in both obvious and unique ways, including class or gender conflict, economic crisis, artistic disputes, reluctant conciliation, imagined crises, and so on.

Please encourage any graduate student presenters to submit their papers to the Bob McJimsey Prize committee.  Click on the awards tab.

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Recent Publications

Congratulations to Michelle Tusan (UNLV) on the publication of her book:

Smyrna’s Ashes: Humanitarianism, Genocide, and the Birth of the Middle East (University of California Press, 2012) 

Today the West tends to understand the Middle East primarily in terms of geopolitics: Islam, oil, and nuclear weapons. But in the nineteenth century it was imagined differently. The interplay of geography and politics found definition in a broader set of concerns that understood the region in terms of the moral, humanitarian, and religious commitments of the British empire. Smyrna’s Ashes reevaluates how this story of the “Eastern Question” shaped the cultural politics of geography, war, and genocide in the mapping of a larger Middle East after World War I.

The book is also available in a free electronic edition:


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Recent Publications by WCBS Members

Marjorie Levine-Clark’s Presidential Address to the WCBS, “The Politics of Preference: Masculinity, Marital Status and Unemployment Relief in Post-First World War Britain” was published in Cultural and Social History: the journal of the Social History Society 7:2 (2010): 233-252.

Louis A. Knafla, Professor Emeritus in the Department of History and Director of Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Calgary recently edited a collection of essays with Haijo Westra, entitled Aboriginal Title and Indigenous Peoples: Canada, Australia, and New Zealand (UBC Press, 2010).

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Report: WCBS 2010 Austin, TX

The meeting in Austin, Texas in September drew a healthy crowd of scholars from the UK, the USA and Canada, with 20 panels, two plenary sessions and 80+ participants.  As is our customary practice, one of our plenary speakers was outgoing president David Hudson of Texas A&M University.  Dr. Hudson’s talk, entitled “Poles apart? John Redmond, Roman Dmowski, and the road less traveled”, offered some clever exploratory remarks on a subject of comparative history between the Irish National League and the National Democracy movement in Poland.

The other plenary address was by Brian Levack of the University of Texas, Austin. Dr. Levack’s entertaining talk, “Demonic Possession in England and Scotland” was delivered before a full audience.

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