BAMS Election 2020: Executive Committee candidate statements

Please find below the biographical and candidate statements for election to the BAMS Executive Committee.  These candidates have all been elected, as we received only 6 candidates for 8 vacant positions.  These are in order by candidate surname.

  1. Rebecca Bowler (Keele University)

Nominated by Andrew Frayn, Napier University

Rebecca Bowler is Lecturer in Twentieth-Century English Literature at Keele University. She was awarded her PhD from the University of Sheffield in 2013, and then held a Research Assistant post (British Academy funded) and Research Associate PostDoc (AHRC funded) at Keele University, working on the Dorothy Richardson Scholarly Editions Project (OUP). She has held her current lectureship since 2016. She is the author of Literary Impressionism: Vision and Memory in Dorothy Richardson, Ford Madox Ford, H.D., and May Sinclair (2016) and co-edited the edited collection May Sinclair: Re-Thinking Bodies and Minds (2017). She is a co-founder of the May Sinclair Society and General Editor on the forthcoming Edinburgh Critical Editions of the Works of May Sinclair (EUP). Her next monograph project is Modernist Wellness: Transatlantic Literary Dietetics. She is on the organising team of the recently rebooted Northern Modernism Seminar programme, the fisrt of which she recently hosted at Keele.

Proposal:  I have been a member of BAMS from the beginning of my PhD and have attended NMS events from 2009 (Leeds Trinity). I hosted the Spring 2010 NMS at the University of Sheffield while I was studying for my PhD there. My fondness for BAMS was sustained by the Northern Modernism Seminars and I am excited to be part of the team bringing them back: while I was a PhD student and in my precarious years it was vital to me to have research events that didn’t charge conference fees and close enough to my base that I could afford to travel to them. As a member of the steering committee for both BAMS and the NMS I would keep each regional network’s committee in communication.

I would also like to be involved with both NWiMS and the postgraduate training days. I was inspired, at NWiMS this year, by the inclusion of Beryl Pong’s keynote address on her career to date. Her paper was thoughtful and reflective but also practical. With the current crisis of precarity in HE, it strikes me that this kind of discussion is more vital than ever.

My vision for BAMS then is a closer relationship between the larger (inter)national biennial conferences, and the smaller regional networks with their biannual events; and greater integration of the postgraduate events and the larger (inter)national events. The aim here is to integrate both regional networks and junior networks and ensure greater participation across geographical lines and lines of seniority.

 

  1. Daniel Moore (University of Birmingham)

Nominated by: Tim Armstrong, RHUL

 I am standing for re-election to the BAMS steering committee with the desire to take over the position of Chair in this election. Over the course of my last 3 years on the BAMS steering committee, I have taken an active role in the running of the society. I co-organised the BAMS conference at Birmingham in 2017, and since that time I have been external relations secretary and deputy chair of the association. Over that time, I have seen just how important BAMS is in fostering the study of modernism in Britain, especially among PhD and post-PhD scholars.

Proposal:  If re-elected, I hope to continue to extend the reach of the organisation, in particular by developing connections outside of academia – with galleries, museums, other organisations and with the wider public. Modernism’s upcoming centenaries give us a unique window to engage with the public in exciting ways, and public engagement will give BAMS a range of exciting new opportunities to develop its brief.

In addition to my role on the BAMS steering committee, I have also taken over (sin summer 2019) as lead editor of the journal Modernist Cultures. A closer rapprochement of BAMS and the journal will also be something I’d like to explore should I be re-elected, in particular through opportunities for the PG community of BAMS to get involved in the administration of the journal.

 

  1. Beryl Pong (University of Sheffield)
    Nominated by: Sophie Oliver, University of Liverpool

 

Beryl Pong is a Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow in English at the University of Sheffield. Previously, she was a Research Fellow at Jesus College, University of Cambridge, and a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto. Her monograph, British Literature and Culture in Second World Wartime: For the Duration, is forthcoming in 2020 from Oxford University Press’s Mid-Century Studies Series. Her essays have appeared in journals such as Modernism/modernity, Journal of Modern Literature, and Literature & History. She is the current holder of a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award, as well as a commissioning editor of Literature Compass.

Proposal:  Over the past few years, BAMS has done amazing work in cultivating a vibrant community. I’d like to continue this work by promoting the association’s international links. Building on my experiences working on both sides of the Atlantic, I’ll add some transatlantic nuances to the community resource pack in terms of job applications and teaching documents. I will also explore extant links and opportunities for collaboration with the Australasian Modernist Studies Network, the Modernist Studies Association, the Modernist Studies in Asia Network, and others.

My deeper vision is for BAMS to focalise some of the most important legacies of modernism itself—which includes probing questions not only surrounding internationalism, but liberalism and labour—for addressing the state of modernist studies as a discipline today.

To this end, I want to tackle two areas which are currently unignorable, though not exclusive, to modernist studies: precarity and diversity. I’ll seek to establish more financial support for post-doctoral researchers on precarious contracts, or researchers employed in non-academic roles. I’ll also promote diversity within modernist studies and advocate for underrepresented critical voices. Both of these areas would benefit from a 1:1 mentoring component coincident with annual the New Work in Modernist Studies Symposium (at which I was privileged to deliver this year’s plenary), and which I would propose to facilitate as an executive member. I’ll also continue to actively commission and mentor authors for submitting works to the ‘Modernist Geographies’ section of Literature Compass, which I co-edit, to complement the work of Modernist Cultures.

 

  1. Rod Rosenquist (University of Northampton)
    Nominator: Alice Wood, De Montfort University

Rod Rosenquist is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Northampton. He is author of Modernism, the Market and the Institution of the New (CUP 2009) and articles on modernist celebrity, advertising and autobiography in journals including Genre, Critical Survey and Modernist Cultures. With John Attridge, he co-edited Incredible Modernism: Literature, Trust and Deception (Ashgate 2013), and with Alice Wood, he co-edited ‘Modernism in Public’, a special issue of Modernist Cultures (November 2016). He has held fellowships at the Beinecke Library at Yale and the Harry Ransom Center at University of Texas, and peer reviewed for OUP, EUP, Bloomsbury and Modernism/modernity. He is currently working on modernist life writing and celebrity culture, including editing a critical volume of Wyndham Lewis’s Blasting and Bombardiering for Oxford University Press.

Proposal:   While I am proud of my publications and my scholarly accomplishments, it is not these that lead me to seek a position on the BAMS Steering Committee. Over the course of twenty years in modernist studies, I’ve come to recognise the value of people, of networks, along with debating and sharing values – and it is in these areas that BAMS can and does contribute most readily. In the last decade, the energy and commitment of BAMS members has been infectious, and I believe I have something to offer in these areas.

In reading the dialogue between the postgraduate reps published in the recent issue of the Modernist Review, I was startled to find Gareth Mills offering me full citation for being ‘immensely helpful in getting my shit together.’ I would be immensely proud to have that on my academic tombstone and would like the chance to help others like Gareth.

Modernist scholarship has, it strikes me, got its shit together some time ago, but there’s still a significant job left to do in broader academic circles. The casualisation of lecturing contracts, the political contexts for HE and the lack of recognition of the value of literary scholarship make these dark times for those seeking or holding an academic job and provide reasons for organisations like BAMS to continue to challenge the status quo. Having personally battled through nearly two decades of teaching-only or temporary contracts and now representing those lecturing at the newer and less-research-oriented universities, I would push for a BAMS that does not shy away from addressing these realities while promoting further opportunities for those struggling to find a place in the modernist studies landscape.

 

  1. Matthew Taunton (UEA)
    Nominator: Dr. Suzanne Hobson, QMUL

 

Dr. Matthew Taunton is a Senior Lecturer in Literature at the University of East Anglia, with broad interests in modernist, 1930s and mid-century literature and culture—with a particular focus on literature’s political entanglements. He completed his PhD at the London Consortium (Birkbeck) in 2008. He is the author of Fictions of the City: Class, Culture and Mass Housing in London and Paris (Palgrave, 2009) and Red Britain: The Russian Revolution in Mid-Century Culture (OUP, 2019), and the co-editor (with Benjamin Kohlmann) of A History of 1930s British Literature (CUP, 2019), as well as a special issue of Literature & History called Literatures of Anti-Communism (2015). His work is published or forthcoming in journals including Textual Practice, ELH, and Women: A Cultural Review, and he has also published a number of book chapters. He is deputy editor of Critical Quarterly.

Proposal:   BAMS has been an essential source of intellectual community for me ever since I attended inaugural conference in Glasgow in 2010. My research interests have skirted the boundaries of modernism—the long 1930s, the mid-century, realism, science fiction—and BAMS has been an indispensable forum in which to discuss these areas. It is important to me that BAMS remains inclusive in its definition of modernism, and open to explicitly non-modernist culture.

Since being appointed at UEA in 2012 my administrative roles have focussed on PGR matters, including as PGR director for my school, and as UEA academic lead for the CHASE DTP. I would like to use my experience and expertise in this area to continue to build on the excellent support offered to graduate students and ECRs by BAMS. I would be interested in developing further links between BAMS and DTPs for the benefit of our modernist PGR community.

Specialist associations have an important role to play in defending the professional structures that make intellectual enquiry possible. Modernist studies faces a number of challenges: the rise of ‘presentism’ as a cultural-historical orientation, the increasing dominance of creative practice as a paradigm for the study of literature and culture, and the erosion of working conditions in universities. I believe that we start from a strong position, but that there is a need for strong advocacy on behalf of the field, to defend the historical study of modern culture. I see BAMS as a crucial site for co-ordinating such a defence.

 

  1. Juliette Taylor-Batty (Leeds Trinity University)
    Nominated by Suzanne Hobson, QMUL

 

I am a Senior Lecturer in English at Leeds Trinity University and have worked in the HE sector since 2003. I am currently programme coordinator for English Literature, and have held a range of administrative posts, including student employability, admissions, and internationalisation. I am on the organising committee of the newly-relaunched BAMS Northern Modernism Seminar. My first monograph, Multilingualism in Modernist Fiction (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), focused on the use of different languages by Anglophone modernists. I have articles and chapters published and forthcoming on Rhys, Jolas, Joyce, Beckett, Baudelaire, Nabokov and Rushdie, and am the co-author of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot (Bloomsbury, 2009). I have a particular interest in comparative and global approaches to modernism, and work across languages and literary traditions.

Proposal:  BAMS is a vibrant and inclusive association, but it could be more international, and this is an aspect that I would be keen to develop if elected to the committee. I would seek to extend the range and scope of BAMS membership, targeting potential members working in modern languages, translation studies, and other under-represented areas. This would be supported by more sessions within BAMS conferences and events that specifically address global and transnational modernisms.

I work part-time and have a young family, and I understand the need to accommodate the diverse commitments of BAMS members: I would promote family-friendly policies at BAMS events, as well as spaces for supportive discussion around the challenges of balancing academia with other responsibilities. I would like, too, to share ideas about how to diversify the forms of intellectual exchange that we engage in at BAMS events, creating opportunities for more informal discussion of work in progress, and promoting formats such as seminars to be held alongside the more traditional panel presentations. I am committed to continuing the important work that BAMS does in supporting postgraduate and early career academics, and I would be keen to help develop a mentoring scheme