New Deadline for WCBS/NACBS 2017

Message from the NACBS Program Committee and Executive

North American Conference on British Studies [NACBS]
Denver, Nov. 3-5, 2017
CFP Deadline Extended: April 3

The NACBS Program Committee and the Executive are happy to announce our two plenary speakers for this year’s meeting in Denver: Ethan Shagan speaking on the Reformation and Yasmin Khan on Indian Partition. We will also have two special workshop sessions on ‘Early Modern Bodies, Corporeal and Rhetorical’ and ‘Cultures of Imperialism’, in addition to other special sessions currently in development, e.g., a roundtable on doing British Studies in the age of Trump and Brexit.

If you haven’t put in a panel proposal yet, please do consider joining us in Denver this year. We’re extending the deadline for submissions to April 3. For further details and to access the online submission site, visit

We’re especially keen to expand our poster exhibit, which is a good venue for grad students and those with work in progress to get early feedback and exposure. More generally, we hope to have a wide diversity of presenters and subjects, across the full disciplinary and temporal range covered by British Studies.

Please note, too, that the ‘Cultures of Imperialism’ workshop is continuing to accept individual paper proposals. For details, see

We hope to see many of you in Denver next fall.

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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 2016 Registration Open

Please click the ‘Meetings’ tab above to find and download the WCBS 2016 Registration Form and other conference details.

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WCBS 2016, Tempe AZ, 6-8 October

Western Conference of British Studies Annual Conference 2015

Tempe, Arizona, 6-8 October 2016

This year’s conference theme: “Citizens and Subjects”

-> NOTE: Deadline for proposals extended to 30 June 2016

The Western Conference on British Studies announces the forty-third annual conference that will convene in Tempe, Arizona on 6-8 October 2016 at the The Tempe Mission Palms hotel. Concurrent sessions will be held on Friday, Oct. 7 and Saturday, Oct. 8.

The hotel is offering nightly conference rates of $149 (single or double), $159 triple and $169 quad.  There is also an additional nightly hospitality rate of $16.95 which includes airport transportation and wireless high speed internet in guestrooms.  Please call 1-800-547-8705 to reserve your room and be sure to identify yourself as a WCBS conference attendee.

As always, we invite panels of 3-4 presenters with chair and commentator or individual papers on any aspect of British Studies.  Advanced graduate students and early career scholars are particularly encouraged to propose papers or panels.  For the 2016 meeting we would especially like to invite any papers that focus on or situate research within the theme “Citizens and Subjects” broadly conceived (citizenship, contested identities, race and citizenship, royal subjects, barriers to citizenship, gendered citizens, revoked citizenship, immigration or emigration, civil defence, civic duty, Imperial subjects, the politics of identity, etc.)

The conference will feature a plenary address by Dr. Susan R. Grayzel (Professor of History and Director of the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies, University of Mississippi), author of numerous works, including  At Home and Under Fire: Air Raids and Culture in Britain from the Great War to the Blitz (Cambridge University Press, 2012), The First World War: A Brief History with Documents (Bedford St. Martins, 2012) for the Bedford Series in History and Culture, and Women and the First World War (Longman, 2002). She is also the co-editor with Philippa Levine of Gender, Labour, War and Empire: Essays on Modern Britain (Palgrave, 2009).

We will also hear the outgoing presidential address by Dr. Chris Frank (Associate Professor of History, University of Manitoba), author of Master and Servant Law: Chartists, Trade Unions, Radical Lawyers and the Magistracy in England, 1840-1865 (Ashgate, 2010) and a forthcoming book on working class wage regulation by way of ‘truck’.

Please submit proposals, including 250 word abstracts for each paper and a 1-2 page C.V. for each presenter, chair and commentator by 30 April June 2016 to the conference program chair, Dr. Lynn MacKay at:

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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

Congratulations to WCBS President Jamie L. Bronstein and Andrew T. Harris on the publication of their new textbook, Empire, State and Society: Britain Since 1830 (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012)

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