Chair of HOTCUS


Name: Kendrick Oliver (University of Southampton)

Seconder: Zoe Colley (University of Dundee)

Statement: I was honoured to be elected HOTCUS chair in 2017. Jonathan Bell had left the organization in excellent shape, as evidenced by the success of our postgraduate conference at Cambridge and winter symposium at Nottingham, whilst the 2018 conference at Madingley may well be our biggest yet. Indeed, the main challenges that HOTCUS faces are basically products of its achievements: 1) carefully scaling up its activities to reflect the diverse interests and needs of its constituency without imposing an unreasonable burden on its officers or markedly increasing membership fees; 2) ensuring that increases in membership and our support for high-quality scholarship are matched by growing inclusion in terms of gender, ethnicity, socio-economic background and geography. We have begun some initiatives to address these challenges over the course of the year. The imminent tenth anniversary membership and donation drive should help strengthen the organization’s strategic reserves whilst placing our award and grant-giving programmes on a clearly sustainable footing, also allowing for some expansion to meet the evident needs of our PGR and ECR members. HOTCUS’s collaboration with BrANCH and BGEAH on the recent survey of the field has highlighted some urgent priorities for action with respect to inclusion. We have also initiated a pilot mentoring programme to test whether regular consultations with more senior scholars can be of value in negotiating movement through the various stages of a career in the US history field. I would be pleased to continue leading this work into 2018-19.

Vice-Chair of HOTCUS


Name: Uta A. Balbier (King’s College London)

Seconder: Kendrick Oliver (University of Southampton)

Statement: I am a historian of the 20th Century US, teaching American religious and cultural history at King’s College London. I worked closely with HOTCUS during the last years, for example when organizing and hosting the Winter Symposium on “US Religious History” at King’s College London in spring 2013. I served on the BAAS Exec for three years, including as Vice Chair during my last year, bringing to HOTCUS strong administrative experience.

I am standing for the position of Vice Chair to support the Chair in all his administrative duties; to enhance HOTCUS’ international ties; to maintain and foster links with BAAS; and to promote diversity and equality within the organization. My aim would be to establish close ties between HOTCUS and European partner institutions and programmes, for example by organizing a joint Winter Symposium with the German historians of the US. I would also organize a HOTCUS panel at the regular BAAS conferences to foster interdisciplinary dialogue. I would also like to encourage debates within HOTCUS about diversity and equality to accompany the current growth of the organization.

Committee Secretary


Name: Tom Tunstall Allcock (University of Manchester)

Seconder: Nick Witham (University College London)

Statement: Having benefitted from being a member of HOTCUS for several years, I am now looking to play a more active role in contributing to the development of what I believe is an increasingly prominent and important organisation for historians of the United States. If appointed Committee Secretary I would seek to build on the excellent work of predecessors in the role, maintaining and developing the website in response to the needs of members, and ensuring the smooth running of meetings and elections. My role as an undergraduate programme director (and a previous life working for BT) has given me plenty of administrative experience – preparing materials for various committees, scheduling meetings, working to deadlines, chasing up colleagues – for taking on the more functional responsibilities of the role.

Beyond those duties, I would seek to use a position on the executive committee to support issues that I believe should be priorities in the coming years. In particular, the focus on postgraduates and ECRs that has been a key feature of HOTCUS should continue to expand. I would look to work closely with the Early Career and Postgraduate Secretaries to build on the existing initiatives and events in order to provide more resources and support in an increasingly precarious and challenging job market. I would also encourage furthering our links with other organisations, both in the UK and abroad, exploring opportunities for additional events and avenues to support and promote the work of our members at all stages of their careers.



Name: David Ballantyne (Keele University)

Seconder: Nick Witham (University College London)

Statement: I have been a regular attendee at HOTCUS events since 2011, and would be delighted to serve as the organisation’s treasurer.  HOTCUS has been a vital venue for me to improve academically and to develop friendships and support networks.

I am a lecturer in modern U.S. History at Keele University, where I have worked since January 2016.  Before then, I was a postdoctoral researcher at Leiden University in The Netherlands.  I am particularly interested in American politics, race relations, and social policy in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  I am also a member of BAAS and BrANCH.

At Keele, my involvement as deputy director for the David Bruce Centre for American Studies (alongside other admin roles) puts me in good stead for the committee work I would undertake with HOTCUS.  For a historian, I am numerate (I hold an A-level equivalent in Mathematics).  Having a banker and a financial adviser in my immediate family could help with banking queries as well!  Finally, as a recent PhD graduate, I would bring another committee voice sensitive to the concerns facing postgraduates and early careerists.

Name: Karen Heath (University of Oxford)

Seconder: Laura MacDonald (University of Portsmouth)

Statement: I am a Supernumerary Research and Teaching Fellow at the Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford. My research interests focus on twentieth-century political ideologies and cultural policymaking, and I have published journal articles on the early funding priorities of the National Endowment for the Arts and the origins of federal architectural policy. I am currently working on three discrete projects: the cultural life of President Donald Trump, public-private arts partnerships in the 1960s, and my postdoctoral project on transnational conservative artists’ networks in the early twentieth-century.

To the post of Treasurer, I would bring my organisational and administrative expertise, plus an aptitude for figures. Having served as the second HOTCUS Postgraduate Secretary I am familiar with the organisation’s committee structure, whilst my experiences organising conferences and other academic events (particularly budgeting, managing bank accounts, and keeping accurate financial records), will assist me in fulfilling the responsibilities of the role.

That said, I view the post as a way to serve the field too, and as an opportunity to engage the broadest possible community of scholars in the organisation. Since its inception, HOTCUS has consistently supported and inspired my work. If elected, I would seek to build on the continuing efforts of the current committee to foster inclusivity and to grow funding sources for postgraduates, Early Career Researchers, and those on short-term and fractional contracts.

Membership Secretary


Name: Joe Merton (University of Nottingham)

Seconder: Nick Witham (University College London)

Statement: 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 two years. In this time, I have launched two successful recruitment drives amongst lapsed members, designed a new e-newsletter template for HOTCUS member mailings, and organised the 2018 HOTCUS winter symposium at the University of Nottingham, which attracted over 50 delegates from the UK, Europe and US. Continuing in my committee role will enable me to lead a new fundraising campaign amongst present and past HOTCUS members to coincide with the organisation’s tenth anniversary.

I am an organised, meticulous individual who is a clear and prompt communicator and who has delivered a high quality of service during my two years as Membership Secretary. I have extensive experience of committee work, serving not just on the HOTCUS committee but also 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.

Events Secretary


Name: Malcolm Craig (Liverpool John Moores University)

Seconder: Nick Witham (University College London)

Statement: Thanks to the sterling work of past committees, the HOTCUS conference has grown in scale and stature since its inception, and I will continue to develop this fantastic foundation in my second year as Conference Secretary. This year I have raised funds from the US Embassy and BAAS that will help HOTCUS to offer increased levels of financial assistance to graduate students and ECRs at our Cambridge conference, particularly those ECRs on short-term contracts. In these trying times for the higher education sector, this is becoming ever more important.

Next year, I will 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.

Early Career Secretary


Name: Miguel Hernandez (University of Exeter)

Seconder: Ben Offiler (Sheffield Hallam University)

Statement: As an ECR, HOTCUS has proven to be an invaluable asset for my development as a researcher and teacher, and I would relish the opportunity to join the group’s Steering Committee as the Early Career Secretary. HOTCUS already does plenty to assist their ECR members; the group’s newsletter keeps ECRs updated with helpful information on job advertisements, while the annual conferences are an excellent opportunity for members to network and receive feedback for their ideas. However, if elected I would like to improve on the current provisions by furthering HOTCUS’ engagement with their ECR membership. First, I plan to carry out a survey of ECR members, where participants could outline their needs to help the committee develop an informed understanding of the state of affairs and potential new avenues for support. Secondly, as well as liaise with my counterpart at BAAS, I hope to develop better links with other broader historical associations in the UK. In particular, I would like to advertise career development workshops put on by groups like History UK and History Lab Plus at the IHR more prominently on social media and the newsletter. Finally, I would also like to put together a roundtable for ECRs at the HOTCUS annual conference for members to meet and discuss issues such as publishing or precarious employment. Having faced many of the challenges of being an ECR, I believe I would be a benefit to the committee by acting as a voice for this portion of the membership.

Name: Megan Hunt (Univertsity of Edinburgh)

Seconder: Laura MacDonald (University of Portsmouth)

Statement: As a Teaching Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, I am deeply concerned about the issues facing ECRs. HOTCUS is a young organisation, and a considerable proportion of our membership is at the PG or ECR level.  It is therefore imperative that HOTCUS becomes a strong voice for ECRs, organising events, mentoring schemes, and where possible, providing financial support. If elected, I hope to explore how HOTCUS can meaningfully shape dialogue and activity in combatting exploitative contracts and properly support those of us starting our academic careers, often precariously. HOTCUS could, for example, do more to raise consciousness amongst members, and even look to publicly push back against exploitative contracts in the field. ECRs currently shoulder research ambitions, heavy teaching loads, and overwhelming pastoral responsibilities. We are also bearing the weight of current debates around the state of modern academia, despite often being marginalised institutionally. As such, I intend utilise the contacts and expertise of our more senior HOTCUS colleagues to effect meaningful action.

I am also a core founding member of Women in American Studies, launched at BAAS 2017. Since then I have been involved in facilitating events for the Network, including at the HOTCUS 2017 annual conference in Dublin. Moving forward, I hope to ensure a visible HOTCUS presence in discussions regarding gender and racial diversity. Both are problems endemic to academia, but especially acute in US history. Current WASN plans include an accessible open network to publicise women working in American studies, and to enable members to find each other easily. There are also plans to develop specifically focused events and schemes, aside from carving important networking and discussion spaces within existing conferences. If elected to the HOTCUS committee, I would be in a great position to ensure HOTCUS’s meaningful engagement with these developments. Many issues facing ECRs are particularly acute for women and racial minorities. If elected to the HOTCUS committee, I hope to ensure that issues of visibility and equality are at the heart of the committee.

Name: Timo Schrader (University of Nottingham)

Seconder: Jonathan Bell (University College London)

Statement: I’m Timo and I currently work as a postdoctoral researcher in casual employment at the University of Nottingham. Throughout my postgraduate studies I have represented my American Studies cohort at the School level to raise issues and create a better postgraduate environment. As part of this, I created the annual American Studies Retreat from 2015 to 2017. For a full week each Spring, students and members of staff would gather in a British country house (Lake District or Peak District) to engage in daily reading groups and career-development workshops. We cooked together, shared a secluded house together, and developed our academic portfolios together. We might have also climbed hills and organized friendly sports tournaments.

As the Early Career Secretary, I would love to develop something similar for HOTCUS in the form of an annual HOTCUS Retreat. Each year, we would organize reading groups and career-development workshops that help ECRs round out their CV, while engaging in in-depth discussions on current debates and topics in 20th century US history. Working with other organizations such as APG, BAAS, and SHAW, we could shift the focus each year and build on our existing partnerships.

I would also ensure that the annual conference and other HOTCUS projects are inclusive of the needs of early-stage scholars. I have organized several conferences in the past as well and would love to help organize the annual conference. Especially, I hope to push for more conferences to be hosted in other European countries such as Germany and Denmark.

Names: John Tiplady (University of Nottingham)

Seconder: Mark Eastwood (University of Nottingham)

Statement: As an active ECR and member of HOTCUS, I would welcome the opportunity to expand the support network for casually employed and unemployed postdocs, helping to build a thriving ECR community.

Firstly, as secretary I would work to expand the connections HOTCUS has established between ECRs and the wider academic community. This will be facilitated through forming a work-in-progress session, providing a forum for ECRs to share their research. The group will promote interaction, and offer a space to develop ideas and gain important feedback. In addition, I will work to expand the mentoring scheme, allowing academics and ECRs to share knowledge of successful funding and job applications, and discuss the submission of journal articles and book proposals.

An important part of achieving this goal is to maintain and strengthen the links with the BAAS ECR Representative; exploring ways of expanding support networks and find new sources of funding to sustain our activities. I will also work to improve the diversity of the HOTCUS membership, implementing strategies to promote the inclusion of underrepresented demographics. A key part of this is building closer links with schools and colleges to promote the study of history at degree level. I believe my experience of teaching in underprivileged secondary schools, and tutoring A-level students, will be of some value in helping ECR’s form stronger connections with schools, encouraging wider participation at university and beyond.

I would therefore be very grateful of the opportunity to help build a vibrant ECR community within HOTCUS and broader academia.

Postgraduate Secretary


Name: Emma Day (University of Oxford)

Seconder: Nick Witham (University College London)

Statement: I have enjoyed and benefited from engaging in the HOTCUS community since I became a member of the organisation two years ago. I am committed to continuing the excellent work of the previous postgraduate secretaries by developing a supportive and collaborative community for postgraduates working on twentieth century US history in the UK.

I will establish a work-in-progress seminar for postgraduates to showcase and receive feedback on their pre-circulated papers. The workshop will take place once or twice a year at different universities, and members of other associations, such as BAAS, will also be invited. In my current role as co-chair of the American History Graduate Seminar in Oxford, I have witnessed the positive impact such participatory workshops have for students both in terms of providing extensive feedback on their work and also strengthening postgraduate relationships.

I will also expand the excellent career development opportunities HOTCUS already offers by continuing to include skills sessions led by ECRs and senior academics at the annual postgraduate conference. I am participating in HOTCUS’ new mentoring programme as a mentee, and as postgraduate secretary I will work closely with the committee to promote the programme at the postgraduate level.

I am a committed member of the postgraduate community in Oxford and have a strong record of successfully applying to grants, including from HOTCUS. I therefore believe that I will be able to expand HOTCUS’ active postgraduate community and secure funding in order to make HOTCUS events as accessible to postgraduates as possible.

Name: Sophie Joscelyne (University of Sussex)

Seconder: Katharina Rietzler (University of Sussex)

Statement: I am applying for the HOTCUS postgraduate secretary position as I would like to play my part in fostering a stimulating and supportive network of U.S. historians. As my home institution, Sussex, has a relatively small postgraduate American history cohort, I place a high value on cross-institutional connections and I am excited by the opportunity to maintain and expand my engagement with the postgraduate population through official HOTCUS duties.

I also believe I have the right qualities and some strong ideas to bring to this role. I would like to initiate a network for women and minorities in the postgrad community, along the lines of the EAAS Women’s Network, to specifically address the needs of underrepresented groups. Through this I would aim to increase the visibility of women and minority groups in HOTCUS and the discipline of American history.

I recently participated in the Heidelberg Center for American Studies Spring Academy, which has a thriving international network of former participants. These connections would help me to raise the profile of HOTCUS in Europe and the U.S.

I am also excited by the prospect of organising a HOTCUS conference at Sussex. These conferences have played an important role in my development as a researcher thus far. I have already had the opportunity to be involved in a secondary role in conference organising at Sussex – this has given me the experience and drive to take on a leadership role.