Chair of HOTCUS


Name: Uta 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 have served as Vice Chair of HOTCUS for the last two years, being involved in initiatives addressing the diversity and inclusion of our field and targeting the precarity of the academic job market by e.g. expanding our mentorship programme and initiating an inclusive curriculum competition.

As chair, I would commit to continue promoting inclusive curricula at university level, sustain our work with schools, and address the composition and increasing precarity of our field. I would seek close cooperation with our partner institutions BAAS, Branch, and BGEAH.

But first and foremost, I will focus on supporting our community through the changing academic landscape post-Covid-19. We will have to quickly create a network to support our colleagues in the shift to online teaching by providing webinars and collecting and sharing teaching resources. Especially our colleagues on precarious contracts will now need our support and we will give them a voice as HOTCUS did when launching the JEF. We will also as an organisation provide a forum for discussion about how future travel bans and reduced research funding will affect our field and together develop ideas about how to meet these challenges. We should also be open to embrace opportunities which arise from the need to do things differently, e.g. our first virtual PhD conference in September 2020. HOTCUS has an impressively committed membership and we will face these challenges ahead together.  

Vice-Chair of HOTCUS


Name: Malcolm Craig (Liverpool John Moores University)

Seconder: Chris Parkes (Kings College London)

Statement Having acted as Events Secretary for the last three years, I’m very keen to carry on supporting the work of HOTCUS in an official capacity. I would seek to support the incoming Chair – and the committee more broadly – as the organisation endeavours to meet the many and varied challenges 2020 and beyond. I will continue to champion diversity, inclusivity, and accessability in all aspects of the organisation’s work, building on the excellent initiatives that have already been put in place by departing and continuing committee members. Challenging prevailing trends in higher education is also key. HOTCUS has been forceful in challenging precarity in acadmic employment, for example through initiaives such as ECR Representative Dr Megan Hunt’s Job Excellence Framework (JEF). It is vital that the challenges posed by precarity and discrimination continue to be a focus, and I see the Vice Chair as having a crucial role to play in that. Finally I also see it as my role to support the incoming Events Secretary as they build towards the 2021 conference at Northumbria University, offering help and assistance based on my experience of organising three HOTCUS conferences.

Name: Kaeten Mistry (University of East Anglia)

Seconder: Tom Tunstall Allcock (University of Manchester)

Among HOTCUS’s greatest assets are the friendliness and solidarity of the membership. It is an inclusive, diverse, and committed organisation. And these strengths will be crucial in confronting challenges we face in both the immediate and longer term.

One of the most pressing issues will be providing support to help our community work through the COVID-19 crisis. As we grapple with remote teaching and altered research agendas, I would like HOTCUS to ensure that members are not alone by sharing best practise, resources, and ideas. The necessary changes will be acute for historians of the United States, affecting those at every career stage, so tapping the broad interests and expertise of members will be vital.

HOTCUS has built a fine mentoring programme for postgraduate and early career members in recent years. I appreciate the importance of such support networks (I benefitted tremendously from informal mentorship early in my career) and am keen to develop the initiative. Finally, I would like HOTCUS to continue contributing to debates around the inclusion of traditionally unrepresented groups and unheard voices. This relates both to what we study and who we are. There are opportunities to enhance diversity in the teaching curriculum for U.S. history at university and school level, as well as the makeup of the organisation.

I have contributed to membership committees, diversity initiatives, and event organisation, including for the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. My research projects have had a strong emphasis on public engagement and sharing best practise. For further biographic information, please see my department page (

Committee Secretary


Name: Tom Tunstall Allcock (University of Manchester)

Seconder: Kendrick Oliver (University of Southampton)

Statement: I have been a part of the HOTCUS Committee for two years now, and have found it to be a consistently rewarding and enjoyable experience. It is particularly rewarding because I believe that HOTCUS is an increasingly important organisation, both as a resource and community for historians, and for the work we can do beyond our immediate academic community. This coming year will be a challenging one for many of us, and I am committed to helping HOTCUS do all it can to support our colleagues and continue the work that we have begun in reaching beyond academia.

My position as committee secretary allows me to support the other members of the committee, helping develop practical elements of our initiatives and ensuring workload is fairly distributed. Maintaining and developing our web presence will also be particularly important this year as we look to deliver events and resources online, and I’ll continue to develop my meagre understanding of running a website. Despite the difficulties that we’ll face, I’ll seek to maintain and build on our ongoing work with exam boards on curriculum development in schools, our development and hosting of resources for teachers and academics, and important initiatives like the mentoring scheme. I believe HOTCUS is at its best when we are seeking to support our most vulnerable members, pushing to reshape our field and academia more broadly into a fairer and more inclusive one, and actively engaging with conversations beyond the academy. If reelected, I will continue to support these efforts in a year when they are more important than ever.



Name: Karen Heath (University of Oxford)

Seconder: Ben Offiler (Sheffield Hallam University)

Statement: I have always considered HOTCUS one of my main intellectual homes and I warmly remember the first annual conference back in 2008. I was subsequently the second Postgraduate Secretary and as of 2018 I have served as Treasurer. I am a policy historian based at the University of Oxford where I research, teach, and undertake public engagement and outreach activities. Academia is a third career for me as I worked previously in the arts world and then in the public sector.

The role of Treasurer involves maintaining accounts plus financial planning, in addition to supporting three major events per year (the annual conference, the winter symposium, and the postgraduate and early career conference). I also work closely with the rest of the committee to judge the HOTCUS awards and I have sought to ensure that the criteria for doing so are clear, transparent, and fairly applied.

Quite what the future holds for academia, American History, and the job market in the wake of the coronavirus crisis is a subject for a long discussion. Suffice to say that if re-elected, I will work to emphasise what I see as the core of the HOTCUS mission: to support and develop our diverse and inclusive academic community. To my mind, this includes continuing to work with our sister organisations to influence national-level policy, enhancing our digital communications strategy, and building up our financial reserves in order that we might offer additional grants and prizes in the future.

Membership Secretary


Name: David Ballantyne (Keele University)

Seconder: Karen Heath (University of Oxford)

Statement: I have really enjoyed serving as the HOTCUS Membership Secretary and organising the 2020 HOTCUS Winter Symposium over the past year.

I’m a lecturer in modern American History at Keele University and director of the David Bruce Centre for American Studies.  Being a fairly recent PhD graduate and spouse of an early-career academic, I try to bring sensitivity to ECR-specific concerns to my committee work.  As an occasional historian of the nineteenth-century U.S. who has previously worked in the Netherlands, I am also keen to expand involvement in HOTCUS membership and events to cover scholars interested in the full stretch of the 20th century (and 21st), and those living beyond the English Channel.

Going forward, I want to pursue the following:

– 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 to allow for further funding support for PGs and ECRs

In a bid for structure since the lockdown began, I have taken to running, yoga and bread making.  With your help, I’d like to keep HOTCUS tasks part of my weekly schedule as well!

Events Secretary


Name: Miguel Hernández (University of Exeter)

Seconder: Kendrick Oliver (University of Southampton)

Statement: My name is Dr Miguel Hernández, and I am a Lecturer in 20th Century American History at the University of Exeter running for the position of Events Secretary. I joined HOTCUS in 2017 before attending my first annual conference in Dublin, and was so impressed by the quality of academic papers and the organization of this event that it has become one of the main highlights of my academic calendar. Since then, the annual conference has developed to become more inclusive by not accepting all-male panel submissions and instituting clear guidelines and procedures for dealing with issues of harassment, and if elected I hope to continue these efforts. In particular, I would like the 2020 conference at Newcastle to expand its bursaries to assist PG and ECR scholars from BAME backgrounds to help address some of the diversity issues that the organization identified in the American History in the UK Survey. In addition, I would like to prioritize panels that focus on pedagogy at the next conference, an issue discussed and welcomed by members at the previous gathering in Liverpool, and which would help publicize and develop work by colleagues whose professional and academic duties focus more heavily teaching.

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 that HOTCUS became a strong voice for ECRs and against exploitation in our sector. In the current situation that we find ourselves in, that support may become more critical than ever.

Since my election as ECR secretary in 2018, HOTCUS has shaped dialogue and activity in combatting exploitative contracts, and is leading the way on this issue. Through consultation with members, I developed the Jobs Excellence Framework (JEF), and am working with colleagues at BAAS to develop a network for precariously employed and other marginalised scholars.

HOTCUS has taken a strong organisational stance against casualisation, but there is much more to be done. 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: Stephen Colbrook (University College London)

Seconder: Jonathan Bell (University College London)

Statement: I am a PhD candidate at UCL, researching a thesis on the state-level response to the AIDS crisis in the 1980s and 1990s. Since joining HOTCUS two years ago, I have thoroughly enjoyed engaging with this important community, which provides excellent opportunities for presenting work-in-progress and connecting with colleagues.

At this time of crisis, it is imperative that HOTCUS does all it can to support postgraduates. The pandemic has stripped us all of face-to-face contact with colleagues, opportunities for research trips abroad, and space to present our academic work. If elected postgraduate secretary, I will strive to keep our community connected, through digital seminars, online skills sessions, and reading groups. Over the last two months, I have established similar groups for UCL’s postgraduate community, including a fortnightly reading seminar.

Building on the work of other organizations – such as SHAFR – I will also establish an online group for Americanists to share archival material with each other. I will connect with members of other organizations, including BAAS, to expand the group’s reach and make it as extensive as possible. In addition to managing HOTCUS’ social media accounts, I will also maintain a webpage listing the various digital resources available to Americanists.

Finally, the crisis has had a devastating impact on our community’s financial security, and it is vital that the cost of postgraduate events remains small. To this end, I will work hard to secure grants from a wide range of organizations, including BAAS, the U.S. Embassy, and the Royal Historical Society.

Name: Kari Edwards (University of Mississippi)

Seconder: Karen P Heath (University of Oxford)

Statement: As a Postgraduate Secretary, my primary goals would be twofold: first, to encourage greater participation of postgraduates in HOTCUS events, conferences, and the overall organisation; and second, to increase awareness of HOTCUS amongst postgraduates in US institutions. It is often easy for postgraduates to feel overwhelmed or to “fall through the cracks” in larger organisations, which can be disheartening for those of us who are still in the earliest stages of our scholarly careers. I wish to see HOTCUS continue to be as welcoming to postgraduates as I have personally experienced it to be, while additionally expanding outreach to include more postgraduate voices at HOTCUS events. Being a US-based member, I can offer a different perspective, which will be beneficial as we seek to grow our membership base abroad. In support of this goal, I would organise a virtual Postgraduate Conference in order to better accommodate presenters who might not otherwise be capable of attending. I would also consider organising the Postgraduate Conference at my home institution in the US, or working with an outside organiser to host the event at an institution in the UK, depending on the level of interest in these options.

Name: Lizzie Evens (University College London)

Seconder: Uta Balbier (King’s College London)

Statement: HOTCUS has been an important part of my postgraduate life. The annual conference and generous travel awards have greatly benefited my own research, and the PGR/ECR conference is a staple of my academic calendar! In our current moment, I value this community even more, which is why I am standing for Postgraduate Secretary.

If elected, I would prioritise extending our community to incoming and current first year PhDs, who are missing out on social and professional opportunities due to social distancing. As we know, some of the best conference discussions happen between the papers and I would like to recreate this online by hosting virtual PGR “coffee breaks.” To engage people, build community, and go online, I would mobilise my experience as an IHR History Labs seminar convenor, organiser of departmental digital research seminars, and extensive university outreach work.

I hope to be an effective voice for postgraduates’ concerns. First, I will bring my perspective as a Graduate Teaching Assistant to the committee’s work challenging casualisation, supporting the ECR Secretary and Job Excellence Framework. Second, to address the travel disruption affecting PhD research, I will investigate establishing connections with British history postgraduates in the US—for instance, with The North American Conference on British Studies—to foster archival exchange partnerships between those in each location. Finally, having successfully received grants for my own research on gender, sexuality, and surveillance, I am confident I would secure funding for the 2021 PGR/ECR conference to ensure it remains accessible.

Name: Grant Golub (The London School of Economics and Political Science)

Seconder: Liam O’Brien (University College Cork)

Statement: Hello, my fellow HOTCUS members! My name is Grant Golub and I’m a PhD candidate at The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), where I focus on the history of US foreign relations and grand strategy.

I’m running to be one of your new Postgraduate Secretaries because now, more than ever, we need HOTCUS Committee members who will support us during these unprecedented and trying times and ensure we continue to possess the ability to share our work within our growing and tight-knit community. The current HOTCUS Committee has done amazing work to broaden the diversity, equity, and inclusion of our organisation, promote PhD candidates and ECRs, and facilitate new and exciting scholarship. As your new Postgraduate Secretary, I will build on these extraordinary efforts and seek to push them further.

Postgraduate students are particularly precarious and vulnerable right now due to COVID-19 and its resulting uncertainty. As your Postgraduate Secretary, I will address that by establishing new opportunities for us to build our networks, share our work, and foster our community. I will work tirelessly to secure your interests on the HOTCUS Committee and make sure our voices are heard. I will be accessible, available, and always open to your valuable suggestions to ensure our needs are being met. During this unparalleled moment, we need a Postgraduate Secretary who will go above and beyond to meet our requirements. I would be honoured to be that individual and be your representative. Thank you for your consideration!