Chair of HOTCUS

  Name Kendrick Oliver
Institution University of Southampton
Seconder’s name Jonathan Bell
Seconder’s institution UCL Institute of the Americas
Statement of intent (no more than 250 words) I am Professor of American History at the University of Southampton. My research interests have ranged quite widely over the course of my career. I have written three research monographs – on nuclear diplomacy, the Vietnam War, and religion and the US space programme; my current project explores the relationship between evolving scientific ideas about the early universe and American society and culture since 1900. If elected HOTCUS chair, I would be keen to support the growing diversity of subject expertise within the community of US historians in the UK, whilst also nurturing existing clusters of strength.

My association with HOTCUS is as old as the organization itself. I was one of its founder members, and can even claim credit (if that is the term) for coming up with the organization’s name and acronym; I served for four years as committee secretary, as HOTCUS developed its profile and regular calendar of activities. I would be delighted to return to the committee to carry on the excellent work of Jon Bell and his team.

HOTCUS is now well-established. As chair, I would aim to develop further its valuable service function – in terms of networking, intellectual exchange and funding – for UK graduate researchers; ensure that Brexit does not disrupt the expansion of the organization’s connections with Americanist colleagues in continental Europe and the US; and build the reputation of the organization and its membership as a treasury of expertise available to all who wish to understand the modern United States.

Vice Chair of HOTCUS

  Name Zoe Colley
Institution University of Dundee
Seconder’s name Nick Witham
Seconder’s institution University College, London
Statement of intent (no more than 250 words) I completed my doctorate at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 2002 and joined the History Department at St. Andrews University in 2003. The following year, I moved to Dundee University. My research explores the post-1945 civil rights movement, with a focus upon the criminal justice system. In 2012, I published my monograph, Ain’t Scared of Your Jail: Arrest, Imprisonment, and the Civil Rights Movement. I am currently writing a monograph on the relationship between black nationalism and the criminal justice system, which has been supported by an AHRC grant.

In seeking re-election for the position of Vice-Chair, I am expressing my deep commitment to further strengthening the group’s standing as the primary organisation for twentieth century US historians. Its emphasis upon cultivating links with academics in Europe and beyond is crucial to HOTCUS; if elected, I will strive to assist in the development of this work. I believe that the yearly conferences and research symposia are an invaluable aspect of the HOTCUS agenda, and we should continue to build upon these as venues for sharing research developments and establishing collaborations. Finally, I believe that the group has a duty to support the development of new generations of British Americanists, and we should seek to extend that support wherever possible.

Committee Secretary

  Name Nick Witham
Institution University College London
Seconder’s name Megan Hunt
Seconder’s institution Northumbria University
Statement of intent (no more than 250 words) I have greatly enjoyed serving as Committee Secretary during the past two years. It has been a pleasure to work closely with colleagues on the committee and to be in regular contact with members. We have overseen an expansion of the HOTCUS awards scheme, and have established a new annual article prize. We have developed policies that cement HOTCUS’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. I also continue to maintain the the HOTCUS website that I thoroughly redesigned in 2016, and which continues to showcase all of the work being undertaken by the organization and by our members.

If I am elected to the position of Committee Secretary, I will continue to bring all of my motivation and energy to the role, and it would be a privilege to serve the HOTCUS community for another year.


  Name Dr Laura MacDonald
Institution University of Portsmouth
Position sought Treasurer
Seconder’s name Karen Heath
Seconder’s institution University of Oxford
Statement of intent (no more than 250 words) With three years of experience as Treasurer on the HOTCUS committee, I would welcome the opportunity to continue streamlining banking processes, and further develop the already broad range of HOTCUS strategies to support 20th century US history research. As a historian of American theatre, I am passionate about American history of the 1960s, 70s and 80s, and I highly value the opportunities HOTCUS offers to deepen my engagement with 20th century American history. Given my interests in the history of New York City, and in transnational history, I am especially enthusiastic about engaging in these areas through HOTCUS projects and research events.

Events Secretary

  Name Malcolm Craig
Institution Liverpool John Moores University
Seconder’s name Nick Witham
Seconder’s institution University College London
Statement of intent (no more than 250 words) Having enjoyed – and benefitted from – attendance at HOTCUS conferences and symposia, I’m delighted to stand for the position of Events Secretary. Thanks to the sterling work of past committees, the HOTCUS conference has grown in scale and stature since its inception, and I aim to build upon this fantastic foundation. I will seek further sources of funding to enable HOTCUS to offer increased levels of financial assistance to graduate students and ECRs, particularly those ECRs on short-term contracts. In these trying times for the higher education sector, this is becoming ever more important. In due course, I would like to bring the conference to Liverpool John Moores University, as the event has not yet taken place in the northwest. Liverpool is a great city with deep historical connections – most notably through the slave trade and the trade in slave-produced commodities – to the United States. Indeed, Liverpool was home to the young US’s first overseas consulate (now a French steakhouse, which in some ways seems historically appropriate). This makes Liverpool an entirely appropriate host city for the conference. I have organised or co-organised several national and international conferences and symposia, which gives me the administrative and organisational experience necessary to make a success of the position.

Membership Secretary

  Name Joe Merton
Institution University of Nottingham
Seconder’s name Nick Witham
Seconder’s institution University College London
Statement of intent (no more than 250 words) I am a historian of the 1970s United States, based in the Department of History at the University of Nottingham. I am particularly interested in issues of race and ethnicity and, more recently, crime and urban development, as well as history pedagogy.


I have served as HOTCUS Membership Secretary for the past year. In this time I have launched successful recruitment drive amongst lapsed members, designed a new e-newsletter template for HOTCUS member mailings, and continued my predecessor Emma Long’s record of prompt and clear mailings and correspondence with new, lapsed and existing members. In the next year I will be organising the 2018 HOTCUS winter symposium at the University of Nottingham, and continuing in my committee role will enable me to coordinate the event efficiently and make it a success for HOTCUS members.


I am organised, meticulous individual who is a clear and prompt communicator and who has delivered a high quality of service during my year as Membership Secretary. I have extensive experience of committee work having served on the steering committee for the East Midlands Centre for History Teaching & Learning (EMC), an advocacy group designed to develop excellence in history teaching in HE, the teaching committee and sub-committee on curriculum reform within my department, and University of Nottingham’s faculty forum on widening participation.

Postgraduate Secretary

  Name Dominic Barker
Institution University of Oxford
Seconder’s name Patrick Andelic
Seconder’s institution Queen Mary University of London
Statement of intent (no more than 250 words) Hello everyone, my name is Dominic Barker, a first-year doctoral student based at the Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford. My work examines the life and ideology of Ronald Reagan as a case study to explain how the conservative ideology of individual freedom led the post-1960s GOP away from group civil rights and collective economic need. I was previously a student at UCL’s ‘Institute of the Americas’ and Keele University.

Having been a member of HOTCUS for several years, I believe that the organisation has developed into an excellent forum for research into American history. As a postgraduate secretary, I would like to see HOTCUS continue to expand its network of students. I believe that increased communication to postgraduate students about HOTCUS, and engagement in promoting the postgraduate conference, particularly outside of the UK, could strengthen this network of early scholars. I also believe that increased use of social media could be a useful forum for increasing engagement with postgraduates. Furthermore, I would seek to focus on developing links between postgraduates and senior HOTCUS members, to provide a better support network for students which would include increasing skills sessions at the postgraduate conference, and supporting postgraduates as they make the transition into ECRs. Finally, I would l like to continue to strengthen ties with other bodies such as BAAS and APG, through postgraduate panel submissions to conferences, which would provide excellent networking opportunities and experience for those seeking to enter the academic job market.


  Name Mark Eastwood
Institution University of Nottingham
Seconder’s name Tom Bishop
Seconder’s institution University of Sheffield
Statement of intent (no more than 250 words) Having been an active member of HOTCUS PG for the past two years, I welcome the opportunity to continue the excellent work of previous postgraduate reps in building and maintaining a thriving PG community.

Firstly, I will continue to develop and expand the excellent interaction between PGs, ECRs and established academics which HOTCUS offers. I will establish a reading group, meeting twice a year at different universities, to discuss contemporary and important interventions in the field, as well as offering work-in-progress discussion around a pre-circulated piece by a postgraduate member. This shared forum will permit continued interaction amongst the HOTCUS community whilst offering a productive space for postgraduates to develop their ideas with established academics beyond their supervisory teams.

Secondly, I will develop the excellent career focused sessions which have been introduced as part of the HOTCUS PG conference. As postgraduate career choices diversify, I will expand the focus of these sessions to include contributions from non-traditional academic careers and post-doctoral programmes, as well as insights from those experienced in sitting on university interview panels.

As a former recipient of HOTCUS funding, I benefited greatly from the advice I received on the application from a past recipient. Understanding how valuable shared knowledge of applications can be, I will establish a network for those applying for different schemes to connect and discuss ideas with members who have been successful in the past. This knowledge exchange will be strengthened by inviting other associations, such as BAAS, to participate also.


  Name Joshua Hollands
Institution University College London
Seconder’s name Jonathan Bell
Seconder’s institution University College London
Statement of intent (no more than 250 words) I am a PhD candidate at UCL, researching workplace discrimination towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the South. Following my participation in last year’s HOTCUS conference, I have organised the “Gay Activism, Work, and Travel” panel for this year’s event. Last year showed me the crucial role played by HOTCUS in facilitating postgraduate development, especially in terms of providing a space for networking, a platform to showcase work, and an opportunity to receive valuable feedback from peers.

I feel I am well suited to the role of Postgraduate Secretary. This academic year, I chaired the UCL Americas Research Network, a hub that promotes postgraduate scholarship on the Americas. In this capacity, I have organised a number of events including a postgraduate conference, funded by grants from UCL, at which over fifty presenters from around the world participated. The experience of running a large event of this kind has left me well placed both to promote a HOTCUS Postgraduate conference at UCL and to apply for funding from UCL and elsewhere to assist postgraduate attendance.

More broadly, I will build on the work of previous Postgraduate Secretaries, especially through regular engagement with members, and by organising roundtable teaching discussions at HOTCUS events. I will also provide space at HOTCUS events to discuss how postgraduates can transition into academia and am keen to increase the visibility of HOTCUS to postgraduates outside the UK by collaborating with other US-based networks and institutions.


  Name Dafydd Townley
Institution University of Reading
Seconder’s name Darius Wainwright
Seconder’s institution University of Reading
Statement of intent (no more than 250 words) If elected as postgraduate secretary I confidently believe that I am able and vocal enough to express the views of postgraduate members, and to represent those opinions at executive level. Just as importantly, I would aim to promote and enhance the benefits of HOTCUS to its postgraduate members.

In addition to the above, I am secure in the knowledge that my current position as treasurer of the American Politics Group (an affiliate of the Political Studies Association) offers potential inter-disciplinary opportunities. These prospects would be beneficial not just to postgraduates within both organisations, but also to both scholarly bodies.

Finally, my experience as vice chair of a primary school governing body illustrates my ability to effectively work at executive and committee level. As part of the postgraduate secretary’s responsibility is to organise the annual PG conference during the final year, my familiarity with being involved in the organisation of three conferences would stand me in good stead.