UCL Institute of the Americas


BGEAH postgraduate and early career conference

29 March 2019, 9:00 am–5:30 pm

Image of a sheet of parchment and a quill; written on the parchment in Gothic font is the beginning of Article 1 of the constitution of the United States, starting with the phrase 'We the People'

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Gareth Davis


Institute of the Americas
51 Gordon Square
United Kingdom

In 2019, the British Group in Early American History Postgraduate and Early Career Conference enters its 4th year. This will take place at the London-based UCL Institute of the Americas. Established in 2012, the Institute is a leading multidisciplinary specialist institution for the study of Canada, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the United States. It offers the UK’s largest programme of undergraduate, masters, and doctoral degrees on the Americas, and is the ideal setting for a conference that has established itself as a key forum for the discussion of individual research as well as themes and issues emerging in the field of North American history in the UK.

This day-long conference is aimed at postgraduate researchers and early career academics working on any facet of North American or Atlantic history from the seventeenth through to and including the nineteenth centuries. In addition to a senior guest speaker, a workshop will explore pre-circulated works in progress, followed by practical panels serving the specific needs of the postgraduate and early career Americanist community. Tea, coffee, and lunch is provided to all attendees, as well as an opportunity to meet some of the UK’s leading Americanists in their respective fields.

There are a number of bursaries available up to a total of £150 to facilitate travel for students who would like to attend the workshop from outside London and the South East (including Oxbridge). Students should apply to Gareth Hallett Davis at gareth.davis.14@ucl.ac.uk specifying their name, institution, and reason for application.



REGISTRATION, TEA & COFFEE (Room 105, 0900 - 0930)

WELCOME (Room103, 0930 - 0940) Dr. Gareth Hallett Davis (UCL)

GUEST SPEAKER (Room 103, 0945 - 1100): Sarah Knott (Associate Professor of History, and Research Fellow, Kinsey Institute, Indiana University)
Sarah discusses her latest book, MOTHER: AN UNCONVENTIONAL HISTORY, a history of motherhood in Britain and North America from the 17th through to the 20th centuries, published on March 7th.

TEA & COFFEE (Room 105, 1100-1115)

WORKSHOP (Room 103, 1115-1215)
CHAIR: HUGH ROBERTS (University of Kent)
A discussion of the following pre-circulated papers:

  • Modelling the Pennsylvania Constitutional Ratification (1787-1788) (Ben Pelling – KCL)
  • Charity, Sociability, and the Status Quo: Hereditary Societies in Colonial Philadelphia and Charleston (Rebecca Lott – University of St Andrews)

LUNCH (Room 105, 1215-1300)

PANEL 1 (Room 103, 1300 - 1420): WRITING HISTORY
CHAIR: DR. ANDREW HEATH (Sheffield University)
Writing is a constant requirement for academic historians, yet as a practice, it's something we rarely reflect on. This panel draws on perspectives from American historians at different career stages. In a round-table format, they will consider the following questions before opening things up to the audience: What makes for good academic writing? Which historians have influenced them? How have their writing practices developed? How have they learnt to respond to feedback? How have they juggled writing with different audiences in mind when balancing research, teaching, and wider engagement? The panel will hopefully spur a mix of broader reflection and practical advice by creating space for a conversation about how we turn our research and thinking into prose.
CONFIRMED SPEAKERS: DR. DAVID SIM (UCL), MEG ROBERTS (University of Cambridge),  NATALIE ZACEK (University of Manchester)

PANEL 2 (Room 103, 1430 – 1545): NAVIGATING THE ARCHIVES
CHAIR: DR. PHILIP ABRAHAM (The Eccles Centre for American Studies)
This panel provides a guide to the UK’s archive and the current opportunities available to postgraduate and early career researchers.
CONFIRMED SPEAKERS: DR. BEN MARSH (University of Kent), PROFESSOR TIM LOCKLEY (University of Warwick) plus one to be announced.

TEA & COFFEE (Room 105, 1545-1600)

PANEL 3 (Room 103, 1600 - 1730): THE MORNING AFTER…
Academic opportunities that flourished in the Noughties now are shrinking in response to falling undergraduate applicants. A post-Brexit world looms that remains uncertain. This panel explores future career paths for Americanists within the UK in its broadest terms, including navigating ads and applications, and the shifts taking place in employment in higher education.
CONFIRMED SPEAKERS: DR. RACHEL HERRMANN (Cardiff University), DR. TOM CUTTERHAM (University of Birmingham)

All attendees are invited to join us for drinks at Birkbeck College afterwards to be followed by dinner TBD. To ensure a dinner reservation, please contact gareth.davis.14@ucl.ac.uk