Each year, the existing members of the HOTCUS steering committee stand down. The vacant positions are then subject to a new nomination and – if necessary, election – process.
The nomination process has ended, and the election will now run from the 2nd of June to the 16th. HOTCUS members will receive a unique link to their ballot on Friday 2nd of June and they will have until Friday 16th of June at 18:00 (BST) to submit their choices. If you are a HOTCUS member and you do not receive your ballot on Friday 2nd of June to the email account you have listed as a HOTCUS member, please get in contact with the Committee Secretary, Miguel Hernandez ([email protected]).
Below you will find the candidates that have been nominated for the respective roles and their statements of intent.
CHAIR (1x Candidate)
Kaeten Mistry (University of East Anglia)
HOTCUS has played an important role in supporting members amid the difficulties of recent years. Our community came together during the covid pandemic, providing material and emotional support, as well as developing new ways of working and interacting. The response was heart-warming and essential.
This strength will be needed again as we face challenges to our disciplines and working practises in turbulent times for higher education and civil society.
There are three areas that are especially pressing for our community. Firstly, increasing workloads and precarity remains prevalent at every level (postgraduate, early career, permanent, and alt-academic). While HOTCUS cannot solve these single-handedly, it can be a prominent community hub that provides members with backing, mentorship, and forums to confront precarity. Secondly, I would like HOTCUS to adapt in response to the priorities of members. Guided by the membership survey, this includes how the organisation meets, communicates, and gives voice to and represents all members. Finally, while HOTCUS has a strong UK base, I would like to build more bridges to Europe and the U.S., connecting with colleagues who work on similar issues and face common challenges. In this way, we can create a stronger, more inclusive community.
It would be an honour to lead HOTCUS to meet the challenges. I am Associate Professor of History at the University of East Anglia. I joined the committee as Treasurer and currently serve as Vice Chair. I also have experience serving on committees related to internationalisation and diversity for the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and British Association of American Studies.
VICE-CHAIR (1x Candidate)
Katharina Rietzler (University of Sussex)
I’m a Senior Lecturer in History and American Studies at the University of Sussex. My field is twentieth-century US intellectual and international history, mostly the history of the social sciences and the history of women’s international thought. Having been a HOTCUS member for several years, I would now like to serve our organisation as Vice Chair, to support the Chair and the Committee. I would bring a wealth of relevant experience to the role. At Sussex, I have led the American Studies programme, running a degree in the uniquely challenging environment that is UK Humanities, and often supporting colleagues on precarious contracts. I have served on multiple committees of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR, including the membership, programme and Michael H. Hunt Prize committees. I understand the crucial support that a well-run scholarly association can provide to its members. HOTCUS occupies a much-needed space for UK-based historians of the United States, providing intellectual leadership, community and a forum for exchange. I would like to help make HOTCUS an even stronger, welcoming organisation for all of its members, especially those on insecure contracts and at the beginning of their careers. I would also like to expand existing positive relationships with related professional bodies, in the UK and beyond. As somebody who has worked extensively across disciplinary boundaries, specifically with colleagues in IR, I appreciate that a strong disciplinary identity is the precursor to successful interdisciplinary work, and here HOTCUS has a vital role to play.
COMMITTEE SECRETARY (1x Candidate)
Miguel Hernandez (Aberystwyth University)
In my first year in this role, it has been my pleasure to participate in the Committee’s regular activities, and to help develop new initiatives that will serve to aid HOTCUS in its mission to promote historical scholarship. The first of these, a redesign of our logo, will help to expand our reach and recognition so we can continue to develop relationships with other American history associations and expand our membership. The second is an overhaul of the website, which over the past year I have attempted to clear up of outdated information and dead links.
If elected, over the course of the next year, I would like to continue improving the website so it can better serve our members. This will include an update on its design and look to account for the new logo and a clearer advertisement of upcoming event, bursary and award deadlines, with further changes developed in line with the responses from members as to the website’s purpose and functionality.
Finally, I hope to continue in this role so that I can continue supporting the Committee in its expanding remit and goals, and so that I can implement new changes based on the expectations of our members.
TREASURER (1x Candidate)
Zoe Hyman (University College London)
In continuing as treasurer at a time of ongoing industrial action, job insecurity, and widespread inequality, it is vital that HOCTUS’s bank balance can be healthy in the short-term, as inflation puts the real value of HOTCUS monies at risk, and in the coming years as we seek to grow the organisation’s impact in the US History community. With this in mind, my priorities remain as follows:
• Expand the organisation’s support for postgraduate researchers, ECRs, and those on precarious contracts to carry out their teaching and research, disseminate that work, and attend HOCTUS events.
• Expand the organisation’s membership and fundraising strategy to include sustaining and life membership options, and fundraising drives as appropriate that help provide additional research/teaching support for colleagues on precarious contracts, on the job market, or breaking new pedagogical ground.
• Support local conference/symposium organisers to ensure that process is as streamlined as possible.
MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY (2x Candidates)
Emma Day (University of Oxford)
I am a postdoctoral Research Fellow specialising in the histories of sexuality, gender, race, and activism. Having benefitted from the support of the HOTCUS community over the years, it would be a pleasure to re-join the committee and help shape its future direction.
I have strong experience of committee work, having served as the Postgraduate Secretary of HOTCUS during my PhD and as the Early Career Representative of the Society for the History of Women in the Americas (SHAW) as a postdoctoral researcher. In these roles, I have organised several academic and professional development events aimed at the postgraduate and early career community—including the annual HOTCUS postgraduate conference and work-in-progress meeting—promoted the needs of postgraduate and early career scholars, and contributed to the expansion of HOTCUS’s social media presence. I am excited about the prospect of building on my experience in taking on new responsibilities as membership secretary.
In this role, I would work to maintain and expand HOTCUS’s membership list through the promotion of the organisation online and through other channels, continue to provide relevant news to members, and fulfil the other duties with enthusiasm. I am particularly keen to build on HOTCUS’s important efforts to promote equality, diversity, and inclusion in the field, drawing on my long-standing commitment to promoting the widening participation agenda to effectively run the recently launched BAME undergraduate and postgraduate essay prizes. Moreover, I would bring my expertise in the history of sexuality to the development of HOTCUS’s rich programme of events.
Benjamin Quail (University of Glasgow)
Dear HOTCUS members,
Thank you for your consideration for the membership secretary role! I am an early career researcher and lecturer at the University of Glasgow and have been involved in HOTCUS for several years, presenting at both the winter symposium and annual conference. I’m hoping to continue David Ballantyne’s great work as membership secretary for the organisation. I plan to be a very active member of the committee and feel that I can bring a lot of positive attributes to the role!
Organising and maintaining large lists of staff and students is key in my current role. I convene open days, which requires me to administer history staff and students, keep records of attendances and help operate internal mailing lists to keep everyone up to date with upcoming events.
In terms of committee experience, I am the treasurer of the Scottish Association for the Study of America, which works to further the study of America in Scotland. This has included registering and recording payments of conference fees and dues, providing financial information, conference arrangement, administering funding and prizes and overall taking an active role in steering the future direction of the Association. These are all skills I hope to bring to a committee role with HOTCUS, alongside the potential for a closer working relationship between the two organisations.
HOTCUS has always been a brilliant, welcoming and inclusive group, and I look forward to being able to give something back for the opportunities I’ve been afforded in the past!
EVENTS SECRETARY (1x Candidate)
Megan Hunt (University of Edinburgh)
In the two years that I have been Events Secretary, I have overseen the the organisation and development of two fully hybrid annual conferences. It is clear that the vast majority of our members are excited to meet in person again, and Northumbria 2023 looks set to be even bigger than Edinburgh 2022. However, online and hybrid events make access possible for a diverse range of members, and I am particularly proud that we have been able to make online attendance at the 2022 and 2023 Annual Conference free for PG and ECRs without permanent employment.
My intention in this role has been to ensure that our annual conference structure best serves the needs of our members, rather than outdated traditions, and I have introduced and/or formalised a range of approaches to conference organisation that better suit the needs of our members, including more attention to pedagogy, career development, and the PG workshop with our keynote speaker. I am grateful to this year’s keynote Prof. Bruce Schulman for embracing this arrangement, and for our latest addition to the conference programme: the HOTCUS New Books panels.
I am committed to an ongoing, evolving conference plan, which invites essential conversations on teaching, diversity, and our responsibilities to the wider community, alongside exciting research panels.
In recent years, HOTCUS has considerably expanded the remit of our conference, but its format remains open to change and innovation. I hope that HOTCUS members will continue to feed into that process with their input and ideas, and with offers to host future events!
EARLY CAREER SECRETARY (1x Candidate)
Ellie Armon Azoulay (Newcastle University)
I am a cultural historian focusing primarily on the US with a multi and interdisciplinary background and experience that includes researching and teaching about and through music and visual culture. My work’s interdisciplinary nature was formed by my diverse career(s) and experiences, ranging from research, curatorial work, art criticism, and DJing. This diverse background shaped my pedagogy and my abilities to incorporate multiple approaches to knowledge production, research, education, and collaborative work. I am very keen to bring this experience to the HOTCUS community and explore together how to expand the use of various sources and approaches in historical research.
I have served as a PG representative in my doctoral department of American Studies at Kent; I was elected as PG rep and a member of the British Association of American Studies (BAAS) executive committee, a role that ends this June after two years. In both roles, I have been actively initiating institutional, non-institutional and cross-institutional initiatives: organising workshops and webinars that centred on the needs of PG and ECR communities, such as work in annual PG symposium, work in progress sessions, reading groups and workshops on the process of transforming the dissertation into a book manuscript. These opportunities strengthened the sense of community that my peers and I needed and enhanced the importance of solidarity. As a foreigner, a woman, a non-English (native) speaker and an ECR with caring responsibilities, I’ve experienced (and continue to) different challenges that affect my material conditions, well-being, and opportunities. Securing a fixed-term position after my PhD is a great privilege, and I found it inspiring and fulfilling. Still, the insecurity and the constant job search can be stressful and isolating at times. I know that this position resonates with many, and I’d like to work with HOTCUS to facilitate opportunities for solidarity and sharing knowledge and experience around these processes.
POSTGRADUATE SECRETARY (1x Candidate)
Lewis Johnson (University of Edinburgh)
Hello! I am Lewis Johnson, a Year 1 History PhD student at the University of Edinburgh. My research focuses on the history of the Republican Party and its efforts to cultivate new support in the white South in the immediate post-World War II period. I will bring a fresh and enthusiastic voice to this role as a strong and committed representative of HOTCUS’ diverse postgraduate community. I promise to regularly engage with those I represent – through surveys, for example – and listen to postgraduate views, concerns, and suggestions before relaying them with clarity to the committee. I will faithfully promote our community and, in conjunction with my fellow PG Secretary, encourage HOTCUS to build on its legacy as a champion of postgraduate research.
As PG Secretary, I will work diligently to maintain a positive and expansive social media presence. This will promote HOTCUS’ work and help it better connect and engage with the postgraduate community. Through a number of co-hosted events, I will also forge closer partnerships with the BAAS and also the Scottish Association for the Study of America (SASA), particularly as it continues to grow as a fellow Americanist organisation here in the UK. In the second year of my term, I will work to organise an inclusive and intellectually fulfilling Postgraduate Workshop, tailored to the needs and wants of participants, and one that utilises the breadth and depth of skills, expertise, and experience in the study of US history at the University of Edinburgh and HOTCUS more widely.
Details of the various roles can be found below. If you have any questions about the election process, please contact Miguel Hernandez at the address above.
HOTCUS STEERING COMMITTEE: Descriptions of Responsibilities
The responsibilities of the chair are to:
- chair the meetings of the executive committee;
- represent HOTCUS in the broader academic community and act as a link with other organizations, especially BAAS;
- help to raise the profile of HOTCUS in the community of US historians both in the UK, US and continental Europe;
- play a part in enhancing HOTCUS membership;
- arrange the HOTCUS plenary lecture, gain funding for the lecturer’s travel and other expenses, and chair the plenary lecture at the annual conference;
- generally undertake activities that the steering committee deems important to benefit HOTCUS.
The responsibilities of the vice-chair are to:
- act as Chair pro tempore of committee meetings as required;
- take responsibility for organising the Winter Symposium or appointing an organiser outside the committee and then acting a liaison between the organiser and the committee;
- take on organisational responsibilities not specifically assigned to a specific committee member as required;
- act as secondary signatory for HOTCUS financial accounts.
The responsibilities of the committee secretary are to:
- arrange dates, times and venues for committee meetings;
- draft meeting agendas and take minutes (including AGM);
- monitor the planning calendar to ensure key decisions are made in a timely fashion;
- manage annual committee elections;
- serve as HOTCUS webmaster.
The responsibilities of the treasurer are to:
- manage the HOTCUS bank and building society accounts;
- process membership payments and registration forms, keeping a record of monies received;
- liaise with the membership secretary to ensure records are kept up-to-date;
- administer the PayPal account (in liaison with HOTCUS webmaster), acknowledging receipt of PayPal payments and transferring funds from the PayPal account to the HOTCUS bank account on a regular basis;
- receive, record and keep track of conference payments in years when such payments are made direct to HOTCUS rather than to the conference hosts, transferring funds to the host as appropriate (in liaison with events secretary);
- advise the HOTCUS steering committee on the financial implications of the organization’s activities and strategic planning
- present an annual financial report at the HOTCUS AGM.
The responsibilities of the membership secretary are to:
- maintain membership list
- record and acknowledge payments of membership dues;
- maintain electronic mailing list;
- coordination of HOTCUS awards programme;
- mail out relevant messages on electronic mailing list;
- reply to member requests for information and related correspondence;
- report to the Steering Committee and to the AGM on membership issues.
The responsibilities of the events secretary are to:
- organize the annual conference;
- arrange conference venue in consultation with HOTCUS steering committee;
- liaise with conference personnel at chosen University/Institute regarding venue, accommodation, meals, costs etc.;
- compose and disseminate call for papers among national and international organisations;
- review paper proposals and organises conference programme;
- communicate with presenters and all delegates;
- publicise conference among international American Studies networks;
- solicit suitable publishing companies for paid use of publicity materials at HOTCUS conference.
EARLY CAREER SECRETARY
The responsibilities of the early career secretary are to:
- engage with the early career researcher population (especially those in non-permanent employment) and report their views to the HOTCUS committee;
- provide support for the Events Secretary in organising the HOTCUS annual conference;
- ensure that HOTCUS activities meet the needs of early career researchers;
- maintain links with their counterpart on the BAAS committee, and other relevant academic bodies as appropriate;
- take responsibility for the organisation of events and initiatives aimed at supporting early career researchers (such as conference panels and work in progress sessions).
POSTGRADUATE SECRETARIES (2x on staggered two year terms)
The responsibilities of the Postgraduate Secretary are to:
- engage with the postgraduate population and report their views to the HOTCUS committee;
- ensure that HOTCUS activities meet the needs of postgraduates;
- apply for funding from external bodies in order to help subsidise postgraduate attendance at HOTCUS events;
- maintain links with their counterpart on the BAAS committee, and other relevant academic bodies as appropriate;
- organise a HOTCUS postgraduate conference at their home institution in the second year of their term, or to appoint an organiser outside the committee and then acting a liaison between the organiser and the committee;
- maintain the HOTCUS social media accounts.