What can we do to promote the presence of women and ethnic minorities in the field and to meet the problem of casualization?

A one-day strategizing event, University of Manchester, 8 December 2018

The recent survey of US historians in the UK sponsored by BGEAH, BrANCH and HOTCUS suggested that the field is in a rude state of health, with evidence of significant growth in recent years in terms of faculty positions and postgraduate research students undertaking dissertations on American history topics. But it also revealed that the opportunities for study and employment provided by such growth are spread unevenly:

  • The field is disproportionately populated by men, compared not only to the UK population but also to the broader historical profession and undergraduate cohorts in the UK. A gender imbalance of around 70/30 is evident both in the population of graduate students and amongst those employed on permanent, full-time balanced contracts in the field.
  • Ethnic minority groups are under-represented in the field, compared to the UK population. The problem of racial and ethnic inclusion, prevalent across the historical discipline, is nevertheless particularly striking for a field historically responsive to themes of race and identity.
  • A quarter of those in the field are in the position of having finished their PhD without having yet secured a permanent, full-time academic appointment. As a field popular with undergraduates, American history may be particularly prone to short-term, fractional positions which do not support research.

This event is intended to bring together members of the principal organizations in the field to identify solutions to these three issues, focusing in particular on solutions that the field itself has the power to carry out. It will be structured around three 90-minute workshops, with the aim of formulating concrete initiatives, scaled to the resources of time, energy and money available.

We would like to invite the submission of proposals for concrete initiatives, ideas for break-out activities to workshop such proposals, offers to serve as discussion facilitators, etc. If you have personal or professional experiences that might help clarify possible paths forwards, please do offer to share them. Submissions can be sent to Dr Thomas Tunstall Allcock, HOTCUS Committee Secretary, at thomas.tunstallallcock@manchester.ac.uk

We invite all those working in the field – postgraduate students, early career researchers, permanent faculty – to participate in the event. Attendance is free; a small number of £20 travel bursaries, funded by HOTCUS and BrANCH) are available for PGRs and ECRs who do not have access to institutional funds; attendees will be responsible for provisioning their own lunch.

There are 30 spaces available. Please sign up at HERE

If you wish to apply for a travel bursary, please send an e-mail to Dr Karen Heath, HOTCUS treasurer, (karen.heath@rai.ox.ac.uk) outlining travel costs and your ability to draw upon institutional funds.