Chair of HOTCUS


Name: Kendrick Oliver (University of Southampton)

Seconder: Uta Balbier (King’s College, London)

Statement: I was honoured to be elected HOTCUS chair in 2017. The organization has continued to flourish over the last two years, as evidenced by the size of our 2018 annual conference in Cambridge and the quality of both our 2018 postgraduate conference at Nottingham and our 2019 winter symposium in Lincoln. We are looking forward to extending the geographical horizon of our activities further with annual conferences in Liverpool this year and Edinburgh in 2020. I have been especially pleased to work with the HOTCUS committee this year to develop responses to the challenges revealed by the 2018 survey on American History in the UK: in particular, the prevalence of precarious and casualized academic employment and the under-representation of women and ethnic minorities in our field. In collaboration with our sister organizations BrANCH and BGEAH, we convened a meeting in Manchester in December 2018 with the aim of producing some concrete initiatives. Our Jobs Excellence Framework was published this spring, and we are developing the concept of an Inclusive Curriculum Competition for next academic year. We are also exploring means of using the HOTCUS network to share materials and best practice in the sphere of schools outreach, with the aim of encouraging students from all backgrounds to think of American history as meaningful and relevant to their own experience. I would be delighted to have the opportunity to continue this work during 2019-20.

Vice-Chair of HOTCUS


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

Seconder: Tom Tunstall Allcock (University of Manchester)

Statement: I am a historian of the 20th Century US, teaching American religious and cultural history at King’s College London. I served as HOTCUS’ Vice Chair last year, building on my experience as member of the BAAS exec. which I served on for several years. I enjoyed my first year on the HOTCUS committee, in particular the opportunity to take part in the organization’s tremendous efforts in the field of diversity and inclusion. Building on the expertise we created in that field during the last year, I do look forward to running future sessions at our annual conferences on curriculum reform and inclusive pedagogy. It was great to get to know the HOTCUS mentorship programme better and over the last year, I began to set up an additional mentorship programme aiming at PhD students who decide to leave academia after having finished their PhDs.

I am standing again for the position of Vice Chair to keep supporting the Chair in all his administrative duties, to further contribute to HOTCUS diversity and inclusion strategy, to maintain and grow our mentorship programme, and to enhance HOTCUS’ international ties. 

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, over the past year I have enjoyed contributing to the development of what I believe is an increasingly prominent and important organisation for historians of the United States. Much of my work this past year has been to maintain the smooth administrative running of the organisation, building on the excellent work of my predecessors in the role in maintaining and developing the website and organising meetings. I have learned a lot (not least in terms of how websites function, or don’t function, as is often the case) and over the next year I would look to play a more active role in a wider variety of HOTCUS activities.

   In particular I will look to build on the work we have begun this year on addressing issues of inequality within our field – this includes our JEF, our work with schools and exam boards, and our position as a support network for postgraduates and ECRs. As committee secretary I can play an important role supporting and coordinating our various different efforts and responding to the needs of our growing membership. Finally, I believe it is also part of my role to oversee the workload of other committee members, checking responsibilities are fairly distributed, and ensuring engagement with HOTCUS remains a rewarding and enjoyable experience.



Name: Karen Heath (University of Oxford)

Seconder: Cara Rodway (Eccles Centre for American Studies, British Library)

Statement: I am a Supernumerary Research and Teaching Fellow at the Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford. My research focuses on the history of the right, the Culture Wars, and arts policy, with a particular emphasis on the post-WWII period. Other major interests include film, theatre, and object-based teaching.

I have enjoyed serving as Treasurer for a year now. During this time, I have worked to build on the excellent work of the previous incumbent, Laura MacDonald, and to continue streamlining current banking practices. It has also been a pleasure to work closely with the committee in judging the HOTCUS awards, planning for future events, and otherwise contributing administratively to the wide range of activities that the organisation offers to its members.

I have always viewed the post as a way to serve the field and as an opportunity to engage the broadest possible community of scholars in the organisation. I am committed to building on the continuing efforts of the committee to foster equality, diversity, and inclusivity, and to further grow funding sources for postgraduates, Early Career Researchers, and those on short-term and fractional contracts. If elected, I plan to continue to offer members what I hope is a timely and flexible service in answering enquiries about membership payments and the processing of awards.

It would be a privilege to continue serving the HOTCUS community in this capacity for another year.

Membership Secretary


Name: David Ballantyne (Keele University)

Seconder: Kendrick Oliver (University of Southampton)

Statement: I’m really excited about the opportunity to serve on the HOTCUS committee.  I’m a lecturer in modern American History at Keele University and director of the David Bruce Centre for American Studies.  Before working at Keele, I was a postdoctoral researcher at Leiden University in the Netherlands. 

I have been closely involved with HOTCUS events since 2011, and am organising the upcoming 2020 Winter Symposium.  I’m also a member of the British Association for American Studies, the Southern Historical Association, and British American Nineteenth Century Historians.

The administrative responsibilities of running the Bruce Centre leave me well placed to fill the HOTCUS membership secretary role.  As a fairly recent PhD graduate (Cambridge, 2014) and spouse of an early-career researcher in precarious employment, I am sensitive to the obstacles facing ECRs.

My experiences would inform my work on the HOTCUS committee.  In particular, I want to:

  • Encourage scholars outside the UK and those with late 19th and early 20th century interests to join HOTCUS and participate in its events
  • Continue HOTCUS’s push for greater gender diversity and BAME involvement
  • Further HOTCUS’s support for PG and ECR-specific concerns
  • Pursue opportunities to continue strengthening HOTCUS’s financial position (building upon the 10 for 10 campaign) to allow further funding support for PGs and ECRs

Name: Christian O’Connell (University of Gloucestershire)

Seconder: Karen P. Heath (University of Oxford)

Statement: As a member of several years, I have benefited greatly from the conferences and networks that HOTCUS organises and supports. Working in a teaching-focused post-92 institution has meant that HOTCUS membership and participation at conferences have been essential in my work and development as a researcher in US history. I am therefore passionate about the benefits that membership can bring to early career scholars as well as established academics working in a variety of different contexts.

As Membership Secretary for HOTCUS, I intend to be a reliable and efficient resource for existing members of the organisation, but will also work on building the membership in a variety of areas. Drawing on my experience of being Course Leader for History in my home institution, I will work to ensure that membership records and accounts are maintained professionally and efficiently, and that members are kept informed of important news, opportunities and events. In addition, in my experience as a member of several years and as a Fulbrighter, I will work towards growing the membership base and build on the excellent work of the outgoing Membership Secretary, Joe Merton.

Importantly, in my work with the steering committee, I will support the organisation in increasing inclusion and diversity by promoting equality, supporting early career scholars, academics on fractional or casual contracts, as well as more established scholars, to ensure that people from across the HE sector working in 20th century American history see HOTCUS as their organisation. 

Events Secretary


Name: Malcolm Craig (Liverpool John Moores University)

Seconder: Tom Tunstall Allcock (University of Manchester)

Statement: Having been events secretary for the past two years, I intend to stand for one final year before stepping down after the 2020 conference (if, of course, I have the continued support of the membership and the committee). Over the past two years I have successfully organised the annual conference. During this time – with the committee’s support – larger steps towards equality and inclusiveness have been taken. We now have a robust harassment policy, as well as comprehensive guidelines to ensure fair and equitable treatment of all attendees, regardless of gender identity, sexuality, ethnicity, or religion. I have also been successful in attracting major funding for the annual conference, which has allowed us to significantly reduce costs for PGRs and ECRs. In addition, I have also been able to secure funding for childcare bursaries. Clearly, though, there is still work to be done in eliminating such things as all male panels (although we have taken significant steps towards that goal over the past two years). My hope is that in my final year as events secretary, we will be able to continue our drive towards the annual conference being a wholly inclusive and diverse event.

Early Career Secretary


Name: Megan Hunt (University of Edinburgh)

Seconder: Tom Tunstall Allcock (University of Manchester)

Statement: As a long-term 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 was therefore imperative to me that HOTCUS became a strong voice for ECRs and against exploitation in our sector. Since my election as ECR secretary last year, HOTCUS has begun to meaningfully shape dialogue and activity in combatting exploitative contracts, and is leading the way on this issue. Through consultation with members, I have developed the Jobs Excellence Framework (JEF) that is designed to assess whether advertised roles in twentieth-century American history meet the standards that we believe encourage positive and equal participation in our field. All jobs advertised through HOTCUS channels now include a link to the JEF, assisting those applying for work, as well providing a benchmark of best practice to senior colleagues in the field with influence over recruitment, pay and conditions. As such, HOTCUS has taken a strong organisational stance against casualisation. As ECR secretary, I will continue to raise consciousness of precarity amongst members, through discussions and events, and further 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, and have been involved in facilitating events for the Network, including at the HOTCUS 2017 and 2019 annual conferences. I will continue 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. Many issues facing ECRs are particularly grave for women and racial minorities, and I will ensure that issues of visibility and equality remain at the heart of the committee.

Postgraduate Secretary


Name: Tim Galsworthy (University of Sussex)

Seconder: Tom Adam Davies (University of Sussex)

Statement: The 2016 HOTCUS postgraduate conference was the first academic conference I ever attended. The welcoming atmosphere I felt then – and at HOTCUS events subsequently – have been among the highpoints of my doctoral experience. As Postgraduate Secretary I will help to foster this environment, offering up-and-coming scholars a supportive space to share their work, particularly during the postgraduate conference I would organize.

I recently served as co-organizer of the BAAS 2019 conference, where I was primarily concerned with the event’s social media output and technological aspects. This role confirmed my profound belief in the importance of digital technologies in academia. As Postgraduate Secretary I will champion the greater use of digital technologies to support inclusivity and openness within HOTCUS, especially at events. Furthermore, I will promote a strong HOTCUS postgraduate presence and community on social media during my term, through the creation of a dedicated HOTCUS postgraduate twitter account.

I have significant experience of serving on various committees. I am currently the Topical Editor of Pubs and Publications and a postgraduate editor of my department’s biweekly newsletter. In these roles I have great proficiency in working with and reporting the views of fellow PhD students, as well as liaising with academic staff, non-academic staff, and fellow committee members. I have also recently been selected as co-organizer of the 2019 BAAS postgraduate conference. This appointment will hone my ability to co-ordinate with individuals from a range of academic intuitions and bodies, along with notably developing my time-management, organizational, and task delivery skills.