Brexit in a Changing Geopolitical Context

Call for Papers, Posters and Panels

29-30 June 2017

Liverpool John Moores University Redmonds Building, Brownlow Hill L35UG Liverpool United Kingdom


The Research Network ‘Geopolitics, Law and International Relations’ at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) is hosting an interdisciplinary symposium on the geopolitical implications of Brexit on 29-30 June 2017 in the Redmonds Building in Liverpool. The symposium is funded by LJMU’s Faculty of Arts, Professional and Social Studies and the University Association for Contemporary European Studies (UACES). 

Since the EU referendum, there has been an intense debate on how the UK should define its role in the international community after leaving the EU. As the UK is a significant player in international relations and the EU is a major global actor, Brexit is likely to have a profound geopolitical impact. This symposium will bring together academics, policy experts and practitioners to map out possible post-Brexit scenarios and to promote a better understanding of Brexit and its geopolitical consequences, particularly in terms of political and security relations among the great powers.

The symposium will examine the geopolitical context and implications of Brexit, and consider potential scenarios for the EU, the UK and the global order. It will pose and seek to explore a number of important questions. These include the new relationship between the UK and the EU, how Europe and the UK will deal with common concerns such as Russia’s resurgence in world affairs and the impact of a Trump presidency on UK-US relations and UK-Europe relations.

We invite papers, posters and panels from both established scholars and early career researchers including in particular PGR students from various academic disciplines on the following themes:

• EU foreign and security policy

• Relationships between the UK, Europe and Russia

• Relationships between the UK, US and Europe

• The fight against international crime and terrorism after Brexit

The keynote speaker of the symposium is Professor Paul James Cardwell, Strathclyde University, the most established UK scholar on the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the EU. He will speak on “More Common, More Foreign, More Security, More Policy? Brexit, the CFSP and the EU ”.

Selected papers from the symposium will be published in a peer-reviewed volume. Routledge has provisionally agreed to publish the edited book.

If you are interested in presenting a paper or a poster, or in organising a panel on the above topics, please submit a proposal along with a 300-word abstract and a short bio to Dr Matthew Alan Hill ( by Friday 21 April. You will be notified by Friday 28 April on whether your proposals have been accepted.

There is no conference fee. We also have funding to subsidise travel and accommodation costs for current PGR students from UK and overseas institutions. In your abstract submission please inform us if you require funding. 

We look forward to hearing from you!

Carlo Panara, Matthew Alan Hill, Rex Li, David Lowe and Alex Miles Chairs of the Geopolitics, Law and International Relations Research Network Liverpool John Moores University, UK






Trump's First 100 Days

2nd May 2017 (last booking date 1st May 2017)

The University of Reading - Whiteknights campus-

Chancellor's Building.


This is a one day conference to mark the launch of

the new reading Interdisciplinary research network for

the study of politics in the Americas.


The Vice-Chancellor, Sir David Bell, will launch the

new research network and introduce the keynote

speaker, Professor Andrew Rudalevige (Bowdoin



The network is designed to encourage

dialogue between scholars in the arts, humanities,

social sciences and sciences working on all aspects

of politics in the American continent. It has been

developed in response to recent expansion of staff

and student recruitment working in the field of US

and Latin American politics at the University of



The Monroe Group will be home to

existing UoR researchers and PhD students working

in this area and will facilitate new collaborative

projects, research grants applications and

teaching development across all disciplines. In


1) US foreign policy

2) Climate Change Diplomacy

3) Gender, Diversity and Inclusion

4) Representations, Rhetoric and Media

5) Policy




For registration please follow the link below:










12th BISA US Foreign Policy Working Group

Annual Conference:

Call for papers

21-22 September 2017

University of Edinburgh, UK

The 12th annual conference of the British International Studies Association (BISA) US Foreign Policy Working Group will take place at the University of Edinburgh on 21 and 22 September 2017. We invite proposals of individual papers or panels on any aspect of US foreign policy, contemporary or historical. We also welcome proposals from a range of scholarly perspectives, including International Relations; Political Science; History; Economics; and other related disciplines.

Possible topics for papers and panels might include broad or specific legacies of the Obama administration, as well as Washington's foreign policy initiatives and the future of US grand strategy in the era of Donald Trump. Topics may also include US foreign policy as it relates to: regional/global power shifts; terrorism and counterterrorism; cyberwarfare/security; race; gender; human rights; energy security; nuclear weapons; trade and finance; multilateral organisations and institutions; and any other relevant arena.

This year delegates will have the chance to attend the University of Edinburgh's prestigious Montague Burton Lecture in the early evening of 21 September 2017, free of charge. The lecture will be delivered at the University's Playfair Library by Professor G. John Ikenberry (Princeton University), entitled 'After Victory, Revisited'. A limited number of places will be available and allocated on a first-come first-served basis upon registration for the conference, which will open after the call for papers has ended. An announcement will be made when conference registration and payment opens.

A complimentary drinks reception will follow the Montague Burton lecture. There will then be a conference dinner which all delegates have the option of attending for a small extra fee, paid at the point of conference registration.

 Guest speakers for the conference include:

  • Mr Steven Erlanger, London Bureau Chief of  the New York Times (keynote speaker)
  • Professor G. John Ikenberry, Albert G. Milbank Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University
  • Ms Xenia Wickett, Head of US and Americas Programme, Chatham House
  • Professor Rosemary Hollis, Professor of International Politics, City University London
  • Professor John Peterson, Professor of International Politics, University of Edinburgh

Paper and panel proposals should be submitted to the Working Group convenor, Dr Oliver Turner ( by the deadline of 24 April 2017.

A limited number of generous bursaries are available for strong proposals, particularly from postgraduate students and early career (post-doctorate) researchers. Please contact Dr Oliver Turner for further details.

A link to this call for papers can be found on the working group's website:

 You can also follow us on Twitter: @USFPgroup; and join our Facebook group:






US and the Americas Programme Intern

The US and the Americas Programme at Chatham House is seeking a well-organised individual with excellent communication and organisational skills to gain valuable experience in international affairs and involvement in a research programme.

Closing date: 12 March 2017

The successful candidate should hold a degree in a subject relevant to our research and ideally a master's degree or equivalent experience. They should have a keen interest in foreign policy developments in the Americas, with a specific interest in US foreign policy. For more information on the US and the Americas Programme please see the Programme's webpages.

Chatham House

Chatham House is consistently ranked as one of the world's leading policy institutes. Based in London, with a full-time staff of over 150 and 125 associate fellows, it provides rigorous and independent analysis on how to build a sustainably secure, prosperous and justice world.

The role

This is an exciting chance to develop skills relating to research and management at one of the world's foremost international policy institutes. Interns in the US and the Americas Programme assist the team with events and project management, administrative support and research. In doing so, they gain a unique insight into the US role in the world through extensive interaction with a small team of foreign policy experts specializing in the US and the Americas.

Application details

The ideal candidate would be able to commit to 5 days a week and will be available for events which may take place outside of regular work hours. We will consider applications on a part-time basis. Applicants should be able to demonstrate strong writing skills and an excellent attention to detail; ability to work as part of a team as well as independently; strong administrative and organizational skills; and strong interpersonal skills. The placement will be for a period of three months, starting in April 2017. Please state your availability in your application.

It is vital that applicants ensure they meet the necessary visa requirements to work in the UK prior to submitting their application. Applications from individuals who do not have the appropriate visa will not be accepted. Please note Chatham House is unable to act as a work sponsor or provide visa support for applicants. For further information, please see the UK government website:

Other information

This position is unpaid. However, travel to and from work within London (zones 1-6 only) will be reimbursed for the days worked. Lunch will also be provided for free in the staff canteen. The successful applicant would have access to almost all relevant meetings and conferences within Chatham House on a variety of international affairs related topics, as well as free use of the library. If shortlisted, applicants should be available for a short interview at Chatham House in late March 2017.

How to apply

To apply, please send a CV, the names of two referees and a 1 page cover letter explaining what you would bring to the role and what you would gain from this opportunity to: Courtney Rice, Programme Coordinator, US and the Americas Programme,

Closing date for applications: Midnight,12 March 2017

Interview dates: 27-29 March 2017

Starting date: Early April 2017

End date: Early July 2017

Chatham House is an equal opportunities employer.,4S2A7,OATYSP,HZ26R,1  




Except the Xenophobic Rhetoric, Trump

Has Betrayed All Campaign Promises


Trump has let down those expecting reduced US interventionism in the world and is rewarding those he campaigned against as 'friends of Hillary Clinton' at the cost of the people who voted for him.

Apart from his xenophobic agenda and announcements, now backed by stark rhetoric and ill-conceived executive orders - which is Donald Trump theatre at its most potent - the new president has betrayed working and middle-class Americans and those expecting a significant reduction in the US's global military footprint. He has let down those expecting a reduced US role in the world, less interventionism, reduction of US commitments to other world regions (NATO, East Asia, the Middle East), the prospect of bringing home US troops and reducing the number of air, naval and military bases.

On the other hand, the people he campaigned against as the friends of Hillary Clinton - Wall Street banks, corporations and special interests corrupting politics - are being rewarded with jobs in the administration and tantalising promises of massive infrastructure contracts, tax cuts and deregulation of banks and energy corporations.

No wonder the Dow Jones index is breaking all records. Trump, the billionaire man of the people, has lined up behind him latter-day robber barons ready to devour the public purse, cutting public services to the bone and leaving the US's most vulnerable to enjoy laissez-faire government.

But all this is hidden in plain sight by the dramatic televisual tragedy of media conferences focused on Russia. Meanwhile, the promise of taking on corporate elite power which catapulted Trump to the presidency and saw Democrat Bernie Sanders win 13 million votes in the primaries has almost disappeared from view.

Foreign policy: 'Isolationist' Trump plans increased military intervention

There is now talk about deploying US ground troops in Syria. It seems that war is central to the presidency, reflecting a military definition of reality that continues to hold sway in the White House and across the military-industrial complex. A macho rite of passage.

This could be another disaster like Libya and Iraq, not to mention Afghanistan.

Yet, there is also a difference here, in my view, given the nature of ISIS: ISIS, initially backed by the US and Gulf allies against the Assad regime, has wreaked havoc across the region. It is now in retreat. Any American intervention on the ground, as opposed to already massive airstrikes, would require agreement of the Syrian administration and acting in coordination with it. But Trump would also need Russian support, and to stop alienating Iran and its allies in the Syrian civil war.

But US motives at this stage of the war on ISIS must be open to question - possibly to limit Iranian influence, not to mention Russian.

Russia, no longer a 'red threat' (was it ever?) remains a red herring in US politics, especially in media and intelligence-military community opposition to Trump's apparent overtures to Vladimir Putin. There is just a hint of 'deep state' politics about this matter which is not a little disturbing in principle, despite the repugnance of the cultural-racial agenda of this unorthodox administration.

This unorthodoxy is nowhere more apparent than in the sleight of hand and smoke and mirrors routines at Trump's media conferences - full-blooded brawls with allegations of fake news and Russian linkage politics.

Corporate money and special interests

But meanwhile, in plain view of all the world, but hardly raised by the media pack, Trump has appointed the richest cabinet in US history, openly plans a bonanza for the banks and corporations, along with a massive attacks on medicare, social security, healthcare and welfare spending, promising greater inequality as a result for all those millions who believed him when he promised to give power back to the people.

Trump's treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin - former partner at Goldman Sachs, member of the elitist semi-secret Yale society 'Skull and Bones' like his father before him - has a record of 36,000 home-loan foreclosures in the wake of the Wall Street-induced subprime mortgage crisis of 2008. His investment firm, Dune Capital Management, of which Mnuchin is CEO and chairman, is anchored offshore in the Cayman Islands, evading scrutiny and taxes.

Mnuchin is hardly alone as a financial magnate in an administration sworn to 'drain the swamp' of big money corruption in the Washington establishment. Wilbur Ross, Steve Bannon, Gary Cohn, Todd Ricketts, among others, are banking alumni, speeding through the revolving door between the financial elite and political power.

Yet, Trump has partly courted but also helpfully fallen into the arms of the best-prepared right-wing think tank in Washington, DC. The Heritage Foundation has helped appoint people to the administration and prepared the document that might yield the ideas and policies that govern the US for the next several years - from taxes to markets to crime to national security. Heritage also represents the conservative-nationalist world-view currently animating the Trump administration, backed by his defence secretary, James Mattis.

This is not what Trump promised to millions of Americans.

This places the Russian and 'Muslim ban' issues in context. This is either incompetence or an extremely sophisticated diversion strategy. Or both. Does it matter? The consequence is intense and heated 'debate' between the 'fake media' and Trump while the big ticket items on the administration's political-economic agenda pass under the radar of significant mass-media scrutiny.

This is, ironically, functional for Trump and the broadly pro-Clinton media and intelligence communities. Trump can pose as the champion of oppressed Republican voters against the liberal establishment, explaining why 84% of GOP voters continue to approve of him. So long as that level of support continues, the GOP in congress is unlikely to challenge Trump on anything but the most extreme cases of incompetence or unconstitutionality. Trump is delivering the psychological wage of white power in the White House to the self-ascribed victims of the 1960s rights revolution and tangible financial rewards to the corporate class.

For the Clinton support community, who have no new political-economic ideas to offer other than the intellectually-bankrupt 'third way' championed by Wall Street, scrutinising Russia's role in their downfall and Trump's alleged pro-Russian/anti-American tendencies, the current political theatre of Trump's shambolic media events shores up their core voters horrified by Trump's xenophobia.

Combined, the Trump-media circus has effects similar to the Colosseum in imperial Rome - distracting people from the major sources of the problems of American society.








Professor Inderjeet Parmar's CNN interview on

the latest issue to beset the Trump Presidency.






The results of the Presidential History Network's UK

survey of US Presidents will be released on February

20 (Presidents Day). The results will be placed online




And on March 8, the network will organise a public

event at UCL to deliver the analysis of the results and

take questions (













Liverpool John Moores University have a series

of full and fee paying scholarships that are

available starting in 2017/18. The deadline is

March 17. If you are interested then please

contact Matthew Hill at




                                         Trump's America

Clinton Institute for American Studies

University College Dublin

5-6 May 2017

Call for Papers

This conference will examine the political and cultural significance of Donald Trump's election as president of the United States, and consider the first 100 days of his administration.

Speakers include: Robert Brigham (Vassar College), Scott Lucas (University of Birmingham/EAWorldview), Clodagh Harrington (De Montfort University), Diane Negra (University College Dublin), Inderjeet Parmar (City, University of London), Donald E. Pease (Dartmouth College).

Topics may include but are not confined to:

"Make America Great Again" - American exceptionalism, nostalgia

"America First" - foreign policy and diplomacy

"Protect our borders" - immigration and terrorism

"Drain the swamp" - Washington elites, lobbying and corruption

"A historic movement" - white nationalism, identity politics, protest

"American carnage" - dystopian visions of the US, narratives of decline

"Crime and gangs and guns" - race and the cities, gun violence, civic anxiety

"Fake news" - politics in the new media age, post-truth, alternative facts

"I have great respect for women" - gender and politics, misogyny, civility

"I am very rich" - inequality, wealth, class

"I'll be so presidential" - celebrity, reality tv, satire

"Bing, bing, bong, bong" - Trump's language, rhetoric

"Buy American and hire American" - trade, protectionism

"Brexit's a great thing" - transatlantic relations, populism, ethnonationalism

We welcome individual papers but also proposals for panels, workshops or alternative sessions for presentation and discussion. Please send a brief CV and summary proposal (300 words max.) by 10th March 2017 to Prof. Liam Kennedy at




Putting 'America First': What the Trump

Presidency Will Actually Mean


In his hands, Donald Trump claims, the US will be like him

- a winner. And if anything doesn't go according to plan,

it's someone else's fault.



Although US president-elect Donald Trump has a well-earned reputation for unpredictability and an unconventional political style, some aspects of what makes him tick are becoming clearer as his inauguration on January 20 approaches.

This is not a definitive list - and it'll surely change as his presidency 'progresses' - but there are five inter-related discernible characteristics that may help us get a handle on Trump as president.

Master concept: 'America First'

Trump has said it all along as a badge of pride that, in contrast to all other political leaders, he stands for the US before all else and above all others. American interests are supreme to him but have been compromised by his predecessors, especially Barack Obama, who have permitted the likes of China and Mexico to take advantage of American naïvete, good intentions and openness. China manipulates its currency to cheapen its exports and destroy American jobs, militarises the South China Sea and does little to stop North Korea's nuclear weapons programmes. In response, the US does nothing, Trump claims.

As president, Trump will put a stop to all those compromises and reassert US power - and reconsider the US's international relationships and agreements to see to it that the country gets value for money. 'Make America Great Again!'

The domestic version of that is all those foreigners, immigrants and refugees coming to the US, committing crimes and living off welfare, under-cutting American workers or carrying out acts of terrorism in cahots with ISIS, need to be taught a lesson. Law and order must be restored, whatever it takes, to make Americans safe from the 'enemy within'.

The other four characteristics worthy of note may derive from the master concept. In Trump's hands, he claims, the US will be like him - a winner. His 'winner' self-concept indicates that he has what it takes and will do what it takes to achieve his goals - such as the US presidency and, now, the US's interests at home and abroad. The US is a land of winners, not losers, and he's the personification of success.

This means he finds it difficult to admit error or, when admitting error, to seem to be on the attack and blame someone else. And the Russian hacking of the US election claims are especially pertinent here: first, he needs to claim that he won the election on his own merits and is the people's choice - despite losing the popular vote by almost three million; so denying any Russian involvement was his first line of attack against sore losers in the Democratic party.

But with the unanimity of US intelligence assessments of Russian interference, Trump accepted such interference had taken place, alongside others' doing the same as well as arguing that the intervention had no impact on the final result. That helps explain his response to reporters' questioning at his first news conference since winning in November.

The third characteristic - which ensures the US will always be first and therefore a winner, is because, as a successful businessman, Trump knows how to do a deal. And one aspect of getting the best deal is to open the bidding in dramatic fashion - showing strength from the start in the belief that others need the US more than the US needs them. The US can walk away and still remain the world's policeman, its sole superpower.

Trump's philosophy asserts power up-front and centre: unlike Theodore Roosevelt - who advised a strategy of "speak softly but carry a big stick", Trump seems to favour big talk and big stick. No more soft power.

With such an attitude towards allies and competitors, the ultimate deal-doer will deliver best value, getting more from others in return for the US's friendship, arms, market access or open hostility - sanctions or war.

Herein lies one of the greatest dangers of Trump's presidency - taking negotiations with allies and enemies alike to the very brink, taking risks, unwillingness to admit error or defeat, reluctance to retreat from untenable initial positions. But even if he is forced to retreat, Trump will portray it as merely "advancing in a different direction".

Global politics is in for a shock.

Sand in your eyes

The fourth major characteristic that might help explain Trump's successful political strategy might be called "sand in your eyes" - the ability to divert attention from something he'd rather not talk about to something completely different and send the media scurrying off and analysing some off the wall outrageous public statement or tweet. "Are we living in Nazi Germany?" he tweeted, suggesting that US intelligence services had leaked "fake news" to the media about him. This generated much media scrutiny, at home and abroad, deflecting attention from him onto the motives of the intelligence services.

While the media fact-check and report back, Trump and his people have already moved on.

Which brings us to the fifth principal feature of Trumpism - populism and the race card, or rather, the xenophobia card. When under attack, legitimately or otherwise, go on the offensive in the name of the people against the establishment and the outsider, the un-American. It could be the media, intelligence agencies, the Republican or Democratic establishments, Hollywood, or experts and university academics - but everyone is against Trump, who is all that stands between the people and the enemy within.

But this is just more sand in your eyes, agenda-setting for political pundits, media commentators and newsrooms - while behind the scenes a completely different agenda is followed. In the shadows, but mostly hidden in plain sight - Trump's appointed billionaires to his cabinet, major international corporations now sit at the heart of the US administration, family members have taken over top White House positions. At the same time, right-wing think tanks like Heritage Foundation and Hoover Institution provide policy advice to deregulate Wall Street, abolish the few consumer financial protections implemented since the 2008 financial crash, empower energy corporations through denying climate change science, propose massive military spending, slashing healthcare provision, social security and welfare. Meanwhile, major construction and other corporations rub their hands in anticipation of major infrastructure-building contracts.

Big corporations and big money in politics - which is what Trump railed against to win office as a radical non-establishment outsider - is precisely what his administration stands for and is the source of his definition of American national interests.

There was an oft-used expression in the 1950s - "what's good for General Motors is good for the United States" and vice versa. That was never quite true but the white working and middle classes that voted in their droves for Trump did see major improvements in living standards in that era. They have pinned their hopes for a return to the 'good old days' on a Trump presidency. He's unlikely to deliver, because of the pro-business model at the core of his personality, policy ideas and senior appointments.

And that's when he will be at his most dangerous at home - playing the race card, blaming minorities and enemies within, Chinese, Mexicans and Muslims. More sand in your eyes and tapping into the politics of white male identity - a self-assigned endangered species, besieged on all sides. And loyal to the new emperor.

If Obama could retain, purely on the basis of his African-American-ness, the near-total support of black voters, despite their material positions' deterioration since 2008, Trump may well retain his white identity support base.

But the people who swung the election his way, in the rust belts of Michigan and Pennsylvania, and who voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012, may not be satisfied with the smoke and mirrors of Trumpism unless they see some end to their economic woes and anxieties.

Division and rancour were the dominant effects of the Trump candidacy; as his inauguration draws near, this might be the new normal.

Future governor John Winthrop noted back in 1630 that the Puritan settlers would build "a city upon a hill."

However that works out in Trump's US, there is no doubting the truth of the second part of that quote - "the eyes of all people are upon us".

Inderjeet Parmar is a professor of international politics at City, University of London, and a columnist at The Wire. His twitter handle is @USEmpire.












Congratulations to Eddie Ashbee and

John Dumbrell on the publication of their APG edited

volume entitled The Obama Presidency and the

Politics of Change (Studies of the Americas, Palgrave

Macmillan, 2016).




"This fine volume - the work of both established and

younger scholars from the UK, continental Europe,

and the United States, all of them connected to the

UK's American Politics Group - is a standout

contribution to our growing understanding of Barack

Obama's presidency. Splendidly edited and

organized, it sustains a clear and coherent

framework in covering a broad range of political,

social, economic and international issues that rose to

the fore during Obama's tenure. Wisely eschewing a

grand narrative in favour of assessing the nuances

and complexity of a consequential presidency, it is

nevertheless persuasive in its assessment that

Barack Obama's time in office could well have

transformative significance for the future

development of twenty-first century America. This is

a book that deserves to be read by both scholars and

students of American politics." (Iwan Morgan,

Professor of US Studies, UCL, and author of "Reagan:

American Icon" (2016).





The forty-third annual conference of the American

Politics Group of the Political Studies Association will

beheld at the University of Leicester (UK) from

Thursday 5th to Saturday 7th January 2017.  The

keynote speaker will be Dr Lara Brown, Associate

Professor at George Washington

University (





The APG is the leading scholarly association for the

study of US politics in the UK and also has members

in continental Europe and the USA.

Further details about the APG and it's activities can

be found on the APG website (http://american- Also follow the Twitter

account: @PSA_APG








American Politics Group Colloquium



An extra-special colloquium to hear from key experts,

and to discuss the events (including Presidential and

Congressional elections) and trends of an extraordinary

year in American politics - and to look to the future. 



 10.30 Registration

11.00 Ambassadors Round TableFormer UK Ambassadors to the USA Sir Christopher Meyer (1997-2003) and Sir Antony Acland (1986-91). Chair: Tony MuColloch (University College London). 

11.50 Lecture: The 2016 Election Outcome - Professor Gary Gerstle (Mellon Professor of American History, Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge). 

12.45 Presentation of Richard Neustadt Prize by Professor the Baroness Williams of Crosby to Professor Emeritus Donald Ratcliffe (Durham), author of The One-Party Presidential Contest: Adams, Jackson and 1824's Five-Horse Race

13.00 Lunch [Included in ticket price]

13.45 Lecture: Policing and American Democracy: Past and Present - Professor Dan Kryder, Eccles British Library Fulbright Scholar and Head of Government at Brandeis University. 

14.35 Lecture: US Foreign Policy and the next Administration - Dr Luca Trenta (Swansea University).

15.30 Coffee Break

16.00 Congress to Campus Round Table - The Honorable Martin Frost (D-TX) and the Honorable Phil Gingrey (R-GA). Chair: Dr Alex Waddan (Leicester University). 

17.00 Close/Break



Lecturer in US Politics and International Relations

Politics, Philosophy and Religion

Salary: £33,943 to £46,924

Closing Date: Monday 12 December 2016

Interview Date: Wednesday 01 February 2017

Reference: A1704

The Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion at Lancaster University seeks to appoint a Lecturer 7/8 in US Politics and International Relations.

You are expected to have completed your PhD in an appropriate area, be research active and have excellent teaching abilities at both UG and PG levels and possess the relevant administrative skills. Candidates whose teaching and research is interdisciplinary are particularly encouraged.

In terms of teaching, you would be expected to contribute to departmental teaching in the area of US, Politics and International Relations and to develop new modules and possible joint degree schemes in their specialist area.

You should base your application on the relevant job description and person specification.

This is a fixet term post for 3 years.

Informal enquiries may be made to the Head of Department, Dr Patrick Bishop,




Ultimately, This US Election Is a Referendum on the

American Political Elite

No matter who wins, the verdict is clear - American society is unravelling and the domestic political order is falling apart.


Whoever wins the US presidential election on November 8, the result will reflect a verdict of the American people on their political and economic elites. Make no mistake, the elite, the establishment, ruling class, oligarchy, fat cats, billionaire class, Wall Street - call it what you will - has been on trial for the past 12 months and has been found guilty on all counts. All we are waiting for is the sentence. It could be the harshest one for the US and the world - a Donald Trump victory, however narrow. Or it could be a final health warning - put your house in order or face a total shutdown of America, Inc.

It is telling that when it looked as if the Democrats could take control of the House of Representatives, the Wall Street Journal lamented the possibility of an end to congressional gridlock. Why? Because, for US corporations, political gridlock and government shutdowns are functional. Big energy corporations, major pharmaceuticals and Wall Street finance houses do not want the sort of government that responds to popular demands for reform and corporate regulation.

They want to drill where they want, to sell overpriced drugs without fear of effective monitoring by the federal government, and to continue playing casino capitalist roulette (why blame the Russians) with people's hard-earned pension funds, to hide away money in tax havens, pay little tax, enjoy the trappings of super-wealth without democratic oversight or moral conscience.

Gridlock is only a problem if you want a government that actually responds to people's needs and demands - for better infrastructure, a school system that doesn't fail its children, a healthcare regime run for patients rather than profit, a university sector that gives young graduates a chance for a future unencumbered by massive indebtedness and a globalised economy that provides adequate support to domestic industrial workers and communities. Forget the plight of the US's minorities, the levels of police violence against young African-American men that Harvard medics have suggested be declared a national epidemic in need of statutory investigation and remedial action by the Centers for Disease Control, the near-total lack of gun control that kills around 30,000 Americans annually and the fact that the US has the highest numbers of people in prison in the world.

The oft-used quote from either Thomas Jefferson, or Thomas Paine, or Henry Thoreau - that he "who governs best, governs least" - has passed its usefulness in the US today. Its rejection is written into every line of every sentence, and the 26 million primary election votes, of the major insurgent campaigns this year - against the wishes of the Democratic and Republican party leaderships - of near-victor socialist senator Bernie Sanders and TV show host and self-styled billionaire man of the people, Trump.

Hillary Clinton stands as the last line of defence of the American political and economic oligarchy today. Millions stand behind her to be sure - not principally millions of people but Wall Street's dollars that bankroll her campaign, rebuffed Trump and did not give a cent to Sanders. As usual, Wikileaks tells the story - of a Clinton warning Wall Street banks that some popular reforms are needed to placate the dangerous classes, the 47% that Mitt Romney dismissed in 2012 as yearning for government handouts, all the while soliciting donations to the Clinton Foundation and millions in speaking fees for the family's bank account.

And Trump has been right to call out the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for its sabotage of the Sanders campaign. Clinton may not have been involved but, as a leader of the party, her campaign had a privileged position with the DNC, hence the removal of it chair last summer.

The email saga, which should never have been an issue in this election, has remained one not because of its own uniqueness or its implications for national security. Plenty of public officials have destroyed, lost or kept hidden government papers and emails - former President George W. Bush is reputed to have 'lost' 22 million emails, some from the critical run-up to the illegal aggression against Iraq in 2003. But in the context of the longevity of the Clinton dynasty, its immersion in Wall Street dollars and the use of the family foundation in a complex system of charitable donations in return for political favours, lucrative government contracts and personal income, operating a personal email server smacks of prior right of ownership of the state and the privatisation of a public office - the US department of state.

It is frequently asked how the US has arrived at this point - a country with vast resources, wealth, opportunity, some of the best universities and minds in the world. The answer is quite simple - its two main parties are machines with the sole aim of winning power for its leaders, financed by corporate donations in return for laissez faire from state regulation, a beneficent tax regime and generous government subsidies won by armies of paid lobbyists in Washington, DC.

Pollsters tell us that around 13% of the electorate is either undecided or is leaning towards voting for third party candidates - that is almost three times the usual percentage in the week running up to the election. It was around 19-20% just a few weeks ago. What are they waiting for in order to decide? The answer is quite simple - they can't decide which candidate is worse so they swing on the basis of the latest scandal or leak. They are not so different to those who've decided on their candidate, or rather, who they dislike more and casting a negative vote rather than expressing their support.

Clinton and Trump are considered the two most disliked candidates for the White House in living memory. One poll indicated that over half of Trump voters do not believe he will make a good president - but they could not stomach a Clinton presidency. Most Clinton supporters are trying to prevent a Trump victory.

The American jury - actually about 70 million of a total of 220 million eligible voters - will send its verdict in a matter of hours in this most exhausting, exhilarating, fascinating and shocking of elections. Whoever wins, there is no question that American society is unravelling, the domestic political order is falling apart.

Let's leave the last word to political thinker and leader Antonio Gramsci who, in a Mussolini prison, could see beyond its walls and produce timeless insights:

"At a certain point in their historical lives, social classes become detached from their traditional parties. In other words, the traditional parties in that particular organisational form, with the particular men who constitute, represent and lead them, are no longer recognised by their class (or fraction of a class) as its expression. When such crises occur, the immediate situation becomes delicate and dangerous, because the field is open for violent solutions, for the activities of unknown forces, represented by charismatic "men of destiny."

Win or lose on November 8, Trump will cast a long shadow over the US and directly or indirectly, the world, for a long time to come.

 Inderjeet Parmar is professor of international politics at City, University of London and a columnist at The Wire. Follow him on Twitter @USEmpire




Trump Campaign Reflects GOP's Older Politics of

White Identity, Class and Gender

Donald Trump has fused economic worries, and racial and gender resentment into a politics of fear and revenge, a tactic that is not new to the Republican Party.


 Why are so many white women supporting Donald Trump's bid for the US presidency instead of that of Hillary Clinton, the first female major party candidate for the White House? On top of everything that Trump has said about some women in particular and others in general, he also repudiated Roe vs Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that enabled women's right to abortion - a right that the GOP has chipped at for decades.

Why are so many white workers supporting a billionaire elitist who exploits his own workers? Trump uses illegal immigrants in his various companies, undercuts wages and uses Chinese steel to build his hotels in spite of his complaints about China dumping goods in the US.

Why are so many relatively affluent Americans backing Trump?

The answer, according to new research by Gallup economist Jonathan Rothwell, is a lethal mixture of financial anxiety, fear and hopelessness for the future - of immigrants, globalisation, job security, health - and the politics of the white identity.

They yearn for a mythical golden age of 50 years ago. White Americans, especially men, are intending to vote for Trump not because they believe he is going to solve their problems but because they believe he will reverse the privileged treatment bestowed upon those who have destroyed white supremacy - the outsider, the foreigner, the immigrant, the asylum seeker, the terrorist, the African-American enemy within and even the highly successful white women who challenge white male supremacy.

In 2008 and 2012, the outsider - Barack Obama - was black. Now the outsider is in a woman's body and on the verge of electoral victory.

Women who are supporting Trump tend to be those who occupy the weakest position in the labour market, which often then leads them into seeing themselves in traditional gender roles of nurturers and carers. The corollary to this is that they see their men as being responsible for protecting them and professionally successful women as competitors for the jobs of those men.

According to women's historian Stephanie Coontz, the highest proportion of women in the US who are stay-at-home mothers reside in the bottom 25% income bracket. Their households need two incomes but when these women go out to work, they find only low-paying jobs that do not cover child care costs. They are locked into a position of being subordinates in male-dominated households, resentful of two-income families and strong, successful women.

Combining all this with anxieties about the looming spectre of a US dominated by non-whites - by 2050, the US will be a majority-minority nation - leads many into fearing that their country is facing an existential crisis.

Fears about globalisation, free trade and immigration are real enough as sources of economic insecurity. But combined with white hyper-ethno-nationalist identity politics, those fears become a major threat to US society as a whole. It also then becomes a threat to the US's global authority - its identity as a land of immigrants, of opportunity based on merit and not race or colour, its democratic and egalitarian ethos and image, its attractiveness to the world as an advanced society, its soft power.

Trump has fused economic worries, and racial and gender resentment into a politics of fear and revenge, and into a politics fuelled by a desire to "take our country back" from enemies - domestic and foreign - and from the elites who gave the US away to Mexicans, Muslims and minorities.

But Trump was not the one to invent the politics of white identity, the GOP has framed the issues of gender and race in such terms for decades. In the 1960s and 1970s - during the rights revolution - the Republicans, along with their Dixiecrat allies, contended that unpatriotic blacks, students, pacifists and uppity women were destroying the fabric of the US that was based on family, religion, nation and hope.

When right-wing Republican Barry Goldwater won five southern states in the 1964 presidential election by opposing civil rights and de-segregation, he blazed a trail that was followed by successive GOP presidents. It is said that Goldwater lost the election but won the future. The lesson of 1964 led to the racist 'southern strategy' of Richard Nixon and to Ronald Reagan's coded racism that was apparent in his call for the restoration of 'state's rights' - the slogan of southern slavery and segregation - in Philadelphia, Mississippi in 1980.

This call attracted non-conservative working class white voters to the party of low taxes and small government, but it only gave them a psychological wage. Economically, they lost ground due to de-industrialisation, globalisation and cuts to welfare programmes, as did, to an even greater extent, African-American workers.

The GOP's coded racism divided black and white workers, and offered only hyper-anxiety about others taking what whites were supposed to have by prior right. From that politics of fear and resentment, the Republican Party developed a discourse that has damaged the basic tenets of democratic Americanism. It has been racist, xenophobic and misogynistic. Now it has sprouted a movement with the hallmarks of a "last stand" against a changing US - one that would declare an election stolen before a vote's been cast and demand their opponent be jailed like a common criminal.

Trump's rhetoric, however, is not new. He is just more open with it. Trump's language, his coarse vulgarity and his lack of recognition of the legitimacy of the opposition is not his invention. It was pioneered during the 1990s by Newt Gingrich's Contract with America - a declaration of war against the Democratic Party, bipartisanship and the Clintons.

Trump's talk of 'crooked Hillary' and 'Lying Ted' is part of a rhetoric that began in the 1990s. The GOP employed Orwellian PR men like Frank Luntz who changed the language and imagery of politics and attached epithets to everything they opposed - corrupt, greedy, lazy. Luntz's claim to fame is that he invented "climate change" as the neutral-sounding term to replace "global warming."

No matter who wins this election, the country is in for a very tough time. The US will survive Trump, but at what price? And how will a changing world react - a China that still champs at the thought of its 'century of humiliation' at the hands of colonial exploitation, a Middle East seething with the lethal and illegal exercise of US military violence, an India trying to shed its colonial past and enter the top table of world politics - still dominated by the US-led West?

Inderjeet Parmar is professor of international politics at City University of London and a columnist at The Wire. Follow him on twitter @USEmpire.

 This years APG Colloquium will be held at the British Library Conference Centre on 2nd December 10.30am to 17.30 - with a buffet lunch included in the price.

As well as incorporating a Congress to Campus Event with former Congressmen Martin Frost (D - Texas) and Phil Gingery (R - Georgia) - there will be a roundtable involving some former UK Ambassadors to Washington; and sessions on Domestic (Professor Gary Gerstle - Cambridge University & Dan Kryder - Brandeis University) and Foreign US Policy (Speaker tbc); and the presentation of the Richard E Neustadt award by Baroness (Shirley) Williams.

Tickets are now available at




The forty-third annual conference of the American Politics Group of the Political Studies Association will be held at the University of Leicester (UK) from Thursday 5th to Saturday 7th January 2017. The Keynote speaker will be Dr Lara Brown, Associate Professor at George Washington University (



The APG is the leading scholarly association for the study of US politics in the UK and also has members in continental Europe and the USA.
Further details about the APG and it's activities can be found on the APG website ( Also follow the Twitter account: @PSA_APG



How Low Can You Go? : a critical assessment of the state of American politics

With BBC US election presenter Philippa Thomas

Philippa was in Washington during the recent elections to co-present the live results programme on Radio Four, Five Live and the BBC World Service. This was her fifth presidential election as a BBC commentator. Day to day, Philippa presents on BBC World News TV. She was a BBC Washington correspondent during the Clinton and Obama administrations, and a former Nieman Fellow for Journalism at Harvard University. The presentation starts at 7pm, and will be followed by a reception.



 Clinton vs Trump: What Does America Stand For?

5.30pm - 7.30pm, Wednesday 2nd November 2016, Room A130, College Building, City University London.

What an extraordinary US presidential election: Two forces squaring up - the status quo, represented by Democratic Hillary Clinton, who symbolises the political establishment, against the Republican Donald Trump, who argues that he is a change candidate.

Where is America going? What does it stand for?

On 8th November, America decides while the world holds its breath. Join this debate from the Centre for International Policy Studies (CIPS)..

Panellists include:

Xenia Wickett, Head of the US and Americas Programme, Chatham House

Dr Daniel Kato, Politics Department, Queen Mary's, University of London

Professor Patricia Moran, Centre for English, City, University of London

Ketan Patel, Head of Greater Pacific Capital

Professor Inderjeet Parmar, Department of International Politics, City, University of London



 Eccles Centre Training Session: Researching in the North American Collections at the British Library

When: Friday 11 November, 11.30-15.00

Where: The British Library, Boston Spa (West Yorkshire)

Price: £12 (lunch and a coach pick up from York train station will be provided)

The British Library's North American collections are the largest outside of the US, and hold huge research potential. For the same reasons, researchers new to the Library may find the experience daunting and not know how to best approach working with the collections. With such vast holdings, even more experienced users are liable to overlook key resources.

This interdisciplinary day will start with an illustrated overview of the Library's North American collections, including tips on how best to navigate the Library's catalogues and electronic databases and a digital 'show & tell'. Participants can then select from a choice of talks on North American newspapers, working with US Federal Government documents, and researching North American literature.

The session is designed for postgraduate students, and third year undergraduates working on a dissertation topic. This is the first time the session will be delivered from the Boston Spa reading rooms, which we hope will make it more accessible to researchers at a geographical remove from St Pancras. Prior reservation of space is necessary, via the Eventbrite link.



DMU's Clodagh Harrington on BBC News discussing Donald Trump and this week's presidential debate!


 A radio interview following the Trump-Clinton debate arguing that Trump stands for reversing all the gains of the 1960s rights revolution.


 Bertha DocHouse Presents

Ava DuVernay's 13th

From Fri 7th October | Bertha DocHouse | £9 (£7 conc) / £5 Off Peak

An exploration of how mass incarceration in American evolved to such epic proportions; with a potent mixture of archival footage and testimony from a dazzling array of activists, politicians, historians, and formerly incarcerated women and men, DuVernay creates a work of grand historical synthesis.

Find out more and book tickets here:


The 75th Annual MPSA conference will take place from April 6-9, 2017

at the Chicago Palmer House Hilton. There are 80+ sections, covering all subfields. More research papers are presented than at any other political science conference.

See for submission guidelines, sections, and deadlines. Before you submit a proposal, you must create a user profile

The MPSA offers complementary digital memberships to scholars from the developing world; the application process is simple and quick. 

The MPSA was founded in 1939, has 7,000 members in 100+ countries, and publishes the top ranked American Journal of Political Science (

Email with any conference questions. Address: MPSA 101 West Kirkwood Ave, Suite 207, Bloomington, IN, USA. 


Black Power at 50! A Film Festival on the Anniversary of Black Power 

October 15, 11am-6pm

Nottingham Contemporary, Weekday Cross, Nottingham

On a hot Mississippi night in June 1966, Stokely Carmichael, chairman of the Student Non-Violent Co-ordinating Committee, stood in front of a large crowd in Greenwood and shouted to his energised listeners, "We want Black Power!" Four months later, the slogan and demands reached the west coast of the U.S. when the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense formed in Oakland, California, making similar calls for Black Power. Throughout the 1960s, the Black Power Movement continued to captivate America through its militant dress code, the promise of revolution and demands for equality. Bot today, 50 years later, the Black Power Movement is often ignored in favour of the well-known Civil Rights Movement.

Please join the Centre for Research in Race and Rights as we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Carmichael's infamous slogan with a Black Power Film Festival. We will screen Black Panther Party: The Vanguard of the Revolution (an award-winning 2015 documentary that charts the rise and fall of the Black Panther Party); The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 (an award-winning 2011 film that examines the evolution of the Black Power Movement in American society); andRevolution '67 (an award-winning documentary detailing the six-day revolt against poverty and police brutality in Newark, New Jersey in 1967). We also will have brief introductions to the films and a public conversation at the end of the last screening.

In collaboration with the Centre for Research in Race and Rights.

Free, all welcome, but please register



US Elections Unspun: The Truth Behind the Headlines

5 October 2016 18.30 - 20.30
Auditorium, British Library Conference Centre

As Americans prepare to head to the polls, award-winning documentary filmmaker, and one of the leading lights of US broadcast journalism, Michael Kirk shares insights gleaned while crafting his intricate portraits of both nominees exclusively for PBS's landmark television series, FRONTLINE[]. Michael Kirk will present video excerpts from his programme 'The Choice 2016', and will be joined in discussion by Dr Clodagh Harrington (De Montfort University & Chair, American Politics Group of the UK) and Griff Witte (London Bureau Chief, Washington Post)

This event sponsored by the Eccles Centre for American Studies in co-operation with PBS America[].



 How Will the Sanders Revolution Work if Hillary Clinton Becomes President?


Though much of the promises of the Sanders insurgency have become embedded in the Democratic party, it remains to be seen if the movement can lead to any significant political change in the US.


 "Our campaign has been about building a movement, which brings working people and young people into the political process to create a government which represents all of us and not just a handful of wealthy campaign contributors,"Bernie Sanders declared.

"We will continue to do everything we can to oppose the drift," he continued, "which currently exists toward an oligarchic form of society, where a handful of billionaires exercise enormous power over our political, economic and media life."

One of the biggest questions for the viewers of the US presidential election, which is being ignored due to the mass media's obsession with Donald Trump, is whether the basic instincts of Hillary Clinton, if she becomes president, will see a major reversal of the gains and promises of the Sanders insurgency - currently embedded in the Democratic Party's official election platform and espoused in Clinton's public speeches since the party's July convention.

Sanders and his manifesto is backed by primary election victories in 22 states, securing 46% of all Democratic non-pledged delegates and 13 million votes to Clinton's 16 million and Trump's 13 million. How might the impulse, insurgency or revolution of Sanders become politically embedded and simultaneously in touch with its popular roots and energy, and actually make a difference?

How might its momentum deliver at least a part of the political revolution that Sanders demanded? Also, should Clinton even continue to espouse the Sanders programme? Will the Congress go along with it and permit the anti-Wall Street legislation, vote for a much increased federal minimum wage, reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and abolish tuition fee at public universities for most students, among other things? Will the Sanders movement affect the politics of the Congress?

The right to revolution may be enshrined in the history of the US, but will its political system of divided government restrain radical political change, adding to the likely inertia and foot-dragging of a Clinton presidency won with massive Wall Street funding, now with even more traditional conservative and GOP donors?

The official national GOP might be dying due to Trump's unabashed white ethno-nationalist identity politics, but its ghost may haunt the next Democratic presidency through its continuing grip on the levers of power in the US House of Representatives.

The diverse range of Democratic Party policy planks installed after Sanders's pressure may be significant for their direct beneficiaries. But critics complain that they continue to be at the margins and can be withdrawn or much more likely eroded over time. They are in the nature of concessions that might split the Sanders movement.

Given this situation, what would drive real and lasting change and how might it come about? Where is the locomotive of political change and what is the mechanism by which that change might be effected?

There is great pessimism about the political situation in the US, especially on the Left. Yet, the political system of the country is flexible and capable of accommodating programmes as statist as the New Deal of 1930s and as reactionary as the Contract with America of the 1990s Newt Gingrich-led GOP.

Politics is a struggle, a constant system of flux, of forces locked in conflict vying for power to establish their agenda over that of others. What we are witnessing today in the US elections is nothing short of revolutionary.

When has a female candidate from a major party incorporated into her platform an overtly socialist agenda and then been pitted against an extreme right-wing xenophobic and misogynistic 'Republican' television celebrity with no prior political experience who is rejecting the few tenets both main parties agree on - US globalism and free trade? This is hardly politics as usual and the result of the November presidential election, whichever way it goes, is unlikely to return the US to normalcy.

There is a new normal and we should get used to it.

Let us take a look at the several continuing initiatives of Sanders, and his supporters, to build on his momentous challenge to the Clinton machine. The movement has sprouted a Sanders Institute to mobilise progressive congressional candidates across the US.

According to Sanders, candidates may get support in fund raising and in hustings, even if they happen to be progressives from the Tea Party. Former Labour secretary Robert Reich has spoken of a new progressive party - the kind of organisations that are now in motion may well lead to such an outcome.

The Sanders Institute's aim is to conduct political-ideological work on the key issues of power, wealth and inequality that struck a chord during his bid for the Democratic nomination. Although he has not endorsed it, some of his supporters are also actively aligning their work with the Green Party, which previously asked Sanders to run for the White House on their ticket. Its candidate Jill Stein hovers around 5% in presidential election polls.

Brand New Congress is another key grouping on the Sanders wing of the Democratic Party. It is a political action committee that aims to identify and support hundreds of non-politician candidates for over 400 congressional seats with the aim of replacing the entire House by the mid-term elections in 2018.

Formed in April 2016, it has raised nearly $100,000 in small donations and is looking to the future - without Wall Street big money politics. It complements the Sanders Institute's plan to back 100 progressive candidates in congressional, state and local elections in November 2016.

Sanders's Our Revolution organisation aims to build on his campaign and revitalise democracy, empower progressives to run for school board elections, mayoral offices and take on big money politics. It also seeks to "elevate political consciousness," take on the corporate media, educate the public and improve public discourse and understanding.

It is instructive that more people in the corporate media seem to pay attention to what Trump's post-defeat strategy might be than to what Sanders's post-convention strategy actually is. The corporate media may not tell us what to think, but it remains spectacularly successful in telling us what to think about.

It is not all about Sanders either: Senator Elizabeth Warren continues to hold major financial institutions to account with Republican support from the likes of John McCain for a law to bring back the Glass-Steagall Act, which was passed in the 1930s to protect the banking system and ordinary savers, but was abolished by president Bill Clinton in the late 1990s.

The Democracy for America organisation, which backed Sanders for the White House, is also endorsing progressives up and down the country and the ballot.

If Trump's non-conservative statist message and Clinton's shift to the Left have shown us anything, it is that there are big changes afoot in US's political fabric. Even Wall Street now agrees that wages must rise, infrastructure needs investment and inequality has reached extreme levels.

These are early days and no political outcome is certain. There is much going on, but returning to normalcy is unlikely to cut it now or after November.

Inderjeet Parmar is the head of the international politics department at the School of Social Sciences, City University, London. 



A link to Professor Inderjeet Parmar's Al Jazeera interview following Trump's attempt to woo African-American voters.



Manchester Metropolitan University History/Politics Research Seminars 2016-17:

Would anyone interested in giving a paper at MMU's History/Politics Research Seminar in the next academic year please get in touch with Steve Hurst ( Any topic related to American politics or political history will be considered (upcoming elections would be good!). The seminars run on Wednesday afternoons and speakers' travel expenses will be reimbursed.














The generosity of Professor Philip Davies (Eccles Centre, British

Library) in funding the Ros Davies Memorial Award, and the generosity

of APG members in collectively comtributing to the Alan Grant Memorial

Award is greatly appreciated.









American Politics Group of the Political Studies Association Annual Conference 2017

'Change and Continuity in U.S. Politics'

Call for Papers

The forty-third annual conference of the American Politics Group of the Political Studies Association will be held at the University of Leicester (UK) from Thursday 5 to Saturday 7 January 2017. The keynote speaker will be Dr Lara Brown, Associate Professor at George Washington University (

There is a broad conference theme: 'Change and Continuity in U.S. Politics'. This theme can be approached in various ways; papers might, for example, take a long term historical perspective when thinking about political development or might reflect on the more immediate consequences of the 2016 election results. We will also be happy to receive proposals considering subjects and material beyond this particular theme. For example, papers or panel proposals examining contemporary US political institutions or processes, foreign policy issues or political history are invited. The conference organizers would also welcome papers addressing comparative themes or relevant theoretical or methodological issues. Proposals (no more than 150 words for single papers, 300 words for panels) should be sent to Dr Alex Waddan ( and Dr Clodagh Harrington ( by no later than 31 October 2016.

The APG is the leading scholarly association for the study of US politics in the UK and also has members in continental Europe and the USA. Any enquiries should be directed to Alex Waddan and Clodagh Harrington.

Dr Clodagh Harrington

Chair of the American Politics Group


Dr Alex Waddan

APG 2017 conference organiser


 The conference organisers would like to acknowledge the generous support of the Mellon Fund, Cambridge University.


The Eccles Centre for American Studies, The British Library, London 

Monday 16 January 2017

Cold War Geographies

Keynote Speaker: Professor Klaus Dodds, Professor of Geopolitics, Royal Holloway

The British Library's next major exhibition will focus on 'Maps and the Twentieth Century.' The Cold War had a seismic impact on global geographies during the second half of the twentieth century. Not only did it physically impact lands from the barren Nevada desert to the jungles of South East Asia, but the ideological conflict of the Cold War also had a significant impact on national borders, global cities and imagined geographies. The legacy of the Cold war on global geographies has had a profound effect upon the way in which nations now think about their place in the world and their relationships with each other. From an American point of view, this has had a particular influence on how the U.S. is viewed and engaged with on an international level.

This one-day symposium seeks to explore and assess how the Cold War changed boundaries, restructured terrain and redefined concepts of space and place. In doing so it seeks to prompt discussion and assessment of the geopolitical impact this had, particularly on the United States.

This is an interdisciplinary symposium, both panel and paper proposals are welcomed from across the disciplines, including, but not limited to, geography, politics, history, visual culture and American Studies. Papers which make use of the Library's collections are particularly encouraged.

Possible topics could include:

? The politics of space and place

? Geographical imaginaries

? Legacies of Cold War conflict

? Dark geographies and covert spaces

? The evolution of Cold War cities

? Cold War cartographies

? Borders and borderlands

? Changing global narratives

? Aesthetic and cultural responses to contested geographies

? The impact and legacy of nuclear testing

? Issues of decolonisation and western-centrism

? Technologies of mapping and surveillance

Proposals of no more than 250 words should be sent to Mark Eastwood ( by the deadline of midnight on Sunday 27th November 2016. All submissions should include the name of the presenter, their institution, email address, a short profile, and the title of the proposed presentation. Proposals from PGs and ECRs are warmly welcomed.

Symposium registration will open in October 2016.



 Call for Papers: HOTCUS Winter Symposium 

Eccles Centre for American Studies, British Library, London

Saturday 18 February 2017

War and Conflict in Twentieth Century US Society and Culture

Keynote Speaker: Professor Joanna Bourke (Birkbeck, University of London)

2017 marks the hundredth anniversary of US entry into the First World War. That conflict saw the emergence of the US as a global military power, but also had a profound impact on American society and culture. In subsequent years, war and conflict of various sorts have shaped the way that Americans think about their place in the world and their relationships with each other, and has molded the way that the US is viewed in international and transnational contexts.

This one-day symposium seeks to explore and re-assess the impact of war and conflict on US society and culture during the twentieth century. Panel and paper proposals are encouraged on all topics, especially the following:

? Race, class, gender and sexuality in war and conflict.

? Pro- and anti-war movements.

? Representations of war and conflict in film and TV.

? War, conflict and the medical humanities.

? War journalism and photography.

? Memories of war and conflict.

? The military-industrial complex and American business history.

? The history of the US Armed Forces.

? War in American intellectual history.

? War, conflict and American religion.

Proposals of no more than 250 words should be sent to the HOTCUS Committee Secretary, Nick Witham ( and the Assistant Head of the Eccles Centre, Fran Fuentes (, by the deadline of Monday 31 October 2016. All submissions should include the name of the presenter, their institution, email address, a short profile, and the title of the proposed presentation.



 Fulbright Lecture: Jaw Jaw is Better than War War

When Thursday 8 September, 18.30-20.00
Where The British Library Conference Centre
Price £10/£8/£7

Former Chief of Staff to Tony Blair, Jonathan Powell will be in conversation with Gabrielle Rifkind.

Jonathan Powell, founder and director of Inter/Mediate an organisation dedicated to conflict resolution around the world, discusses whether an army of mediators would be better than an airforce of bombers.

Powell was the British Government's chief negotiator on Northern Ireland from 1997 to 2007 and played a key part in leading the peace negotiations to a successful conclusion over that decade, from the triumph of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 though the nine year battle to get its implementation agreed and a lasting settlement in place. Before working for Tony Blair, Jonathan was a British diplomat from 1979 to 1994, specialising in negotiations. His new bookTalking to Terrorists: How to End Armed Conflict was published in October 2014.

Gabrielle Rifkind is the Director of the Middle East programme at Oxford Research Group (ORG). She is a group analyst and specialist in conflict resolution. Gabrielle combines in-depth political and psychological expertise with many years' experience in promoting serious analysis and dialogue. As a political entrepreneur she has created conflict resolution programmes on the Iranian nuclear programme , Palestine-Israel and a Syria track on the proxy regional war. She is the author, with Gianni Picco, of The Fog of Peace: How to Prevent War which is out in paperback in September.

This event will be preceded by a reception.

Behind the Headlines

When Wednesday 5 October, 18.30-20.00
Where The British Library Conference Centre
Price£10/£8/£ 7

Ahead of the US presidential election we take a closer look at those in the running for the White House

As Americans prepare to head to the polls, award-winning documentary filmmaker, and one of the leading lights of US broadcast journalism, Michael Kirk shares insights gleaned while crafting his intricate portraits of the nominees exclusively for PBS's landmark television series, FRONTLINE.

Michael Kirk presents video excerpts from his programme The Choice 2016, and is joined in discussion by Dr Clodagh Harrington (De Montfort University & Chair, American Politics Group of the UK) and Griff Witte (London Bureau Chief, Washington Post).

13 Presidents

When Monday 10 October, 18.30-20.00
Where Terrace Restaurant
Price £8/£6/£5

Artist Marisa J Futernick and Radio 4's Justin Webb discuss the role of personal narrative and place in the American Presidency

An evening talk to coincide with the publication of Futernick's new book of short stories and photographs, 13 Presidents, which features each president from Herbert Hoover to George W Bush as a protagonist.

Webb is a presenter of Radio 4's Today programme and the BBC's former North American correspondent. Futernick is a London-based American artist who recently drove across the US to visit all thirteen of the nation's Presidential libraries as research for the book.

A screening of photographs from the publication will accompany the talk, which takes place just weeks before the US Presidential election.

Democrats v Republicans: US Elections Debate

When Friday 28 October, 18.30-20.00
Where The British Library Conference Centre
Price £10/£8/£7

We discuss how the US presidential race stands just days before the election result. This year's election campaigns for the US Presidency and Congress have surprised all the experts.

Insurgent campaigns by Donald Trump on the Republican side and Bernie Sanders among the Democrats attracted unexpected support, and shifted the centre point of the ongoing political debate. For the first time in US history a major party chose a woman, Hillary Clinton, as its presidential nominee.

The Presidency, the US Senate and the US House are all being vigorously contested, and all results matter.

As these events approach their climax this debate, moderated by pioneering pollster and Founder of MORI (Market and Opinion Research International) Sir Robert Worcester, and featuring speakers from Republicans Overseas and Democrats Abroad will shed light on the situation just a few days before the US election.

This event is presented in collaboration with Benjamin Franklin House.



 America's New Normal is Threatening the 'Naturalness' of Elite Rule


The anti-elite sentiments of both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders' supporters may upend the Pareto principle, but can they succeed?


"Looks like the Pareto principle has been proven to be correct once again … Don't mean to sound cynical but whether people are becoming poorer and desperate or expressing deep discontent, nothing is going to change. The [top] 20% are still going to dictate terms with their immense control over media and money."

The quote above is one thoughtful reader's response to the US presidential election campaign. Donald Trump appears to be losing ground - largely through his own off-the-cuff bigotry and xenophobia - and Bernie Sanders' leftist challenge seems to have fizzled out as the Democratic Party unifies behind Hillary Clinton, all to defeat their common enemy: Trump.

The Pareto principle - named after the work of Italian political sociologist, Vilfredo Pareto, is part of a larger theory that may be summed up as the inevitability and 'naturalness' of elite power. The history of power in all societies everywhere is one of elites - some fox-like and cunning (elite democracy), others leonine and masculine (rule by force) - circulating in an endless series of births, deaths and re-births. And quite right too, as 'elitists' assert.

So whatever the political label or rhetoric, elites always rule. The Pareto principle contends that about 20% of any population basically produces 80% of the desired results - whether we refer to police officers fighting crime or teachers educating students, or the ownership of wealth and the earning of income. Adding to this tradition, other major elite theorists, such as Robert Michels, have argued for an iron law of oligarchy: whichever political party - revolutionary or reactionary, fascist, communist or democratic, conservative or liberal - gains power, it is bound to be ruled by an elite minority that is better organised, more gifted, and effective, justly easing out the masses from real power.

Elitism certainly confirms the cynical belief that nothing ever truly can or ever will change. But its take on reality suggests that the future looks just like the past, effectively defying radical historical shifts in power be it between classes or races or nations.

Elitists like Pareto seemed to revere hereditary aristocracies where the 'talents' reigned supreme and democracy posed a threat, and Marxism threatened complete annihilation. Pareto's birth in 1848 - a year of democratic revolutions in Europe as well as the publication of the Communist manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels - and his death in 1923 in an era of rising fascism, tells its own story of the fear of change and the desire to return Italy to the past glories of the Roman empire.

The end point of Pareto's predictions is also open to question and worth exploring in the US context. The change that Sanders and Trump represent is explicable only in the context of recent political history - increasing dissatisfaction with elites on the right and left exemplified by insurgencies from the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street movement, respectively. The Occupy movement spread across the nation, involved millions of people and expressed deep public discontent and anger - much of it shared among tea partiers on the right - especially in the areas of military spending, corporate welfare and opposition to special interests, especially the big banks that were bailed out by taxpayers after the2008 financial meltdown.

Those movements were the tinder-wood for the Trump and Sanders insurgencies against their respective party elites in the 2016 primaries. According to American sociologist Alvin Gouldner, that means where there is an iron law of oligarchy, there is an equal and opposite law of struggle for democracy, an axiom especially true in the modern era. It is just a matter of time before the democratic eruption comes.

It might be worth considering another Italian thinker - Antonio Gramsci - who wrote about intellectual hegemony, political power, and political transformation: hegemony is almost always contested more or less openly and maintaining hegemony is no easy process. Gramsci offers hope through struggle and exposes the superficiality and inherent instability of elite domination, its openness to challenges from below.

Gramsci died in one of Benito Mussolini's prisons but practised what he preached - "pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will" - and his work inspired millions to keep pushing for change, because change itself is inevitable, given time and the balance of power between the status quo and change makers, those who make real history.

Apply that principle to history and we see that things do change even if the change is partial, incomplete and unsatisfactory to many - the end of apartheid in South Africa, political independence for the colonial world, relative peace in Northern Ireland, major advances in racial power relations in the US, the transformation in women's rights across (most of) the world. And if we apply Gramsci to American politics today, perhaps we might see a more complex picture - movements for change albeit tempered by a reassertion by status quo forces, the tentative, uncertain steps towards the domestication of a radical agenda with the original impulse hardly extinguished.

Hence, we see that Clinton and her running mate Tim Kaine have been forced to reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement due to the power of the Sanders movement and because of its appeal to rust-belt white workers, a portion of which are die-hard Trump supporters.

Clinton may not be a fully convinced opponent of Wall Street and big money politics - after all, she and former President Bill Clinton make millions annually in speaking fees paid by the likes of UBS and Goldman Sachs - but she does feel the direction of the political wind changing. We may see some movement on instituting a financial transaction tax on speculative behaviour, the strengthening of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau - that senator Elizabeth Warren fought to establish - and action against corporate concentration.

Warren's reputation has been enhanced by her stream of effective attacks on Trump and her campaign to rein in the power of the big banks seems to have been renewed by the Sanders movement. Sanders is acting as a major sponsor of the Warren-John McCain bill to restore key provisions of the Glass-Steagall Act - passed in the wake of the Wall Street crash of 1929 but repealed 70 years later during Bill's presidency. The Act prevented banks from speculating with ordinary peoples' hard-earned savings. Clinton is committed to pushing a modernised version of Glass-Steagall.

The necessity of higher wages - backed by a new federal minimum wage of $15 per hour - was forced on Clinton by Sanders' representatives on the Democratic platform committee at the national convention.

Clinton was also forced to flip-flop on the abolition of college tuition fees - she is now committed to making state universities and colleges free for students from families earning less than $125,000 annually - over 80% of all students.

From significant plans for an infrastructure bank to lead the renewal of the US' roads, railways, ports and bridges, to higher taxes on the 0.1% of top income earners, to a public option for healthcare cost reduction, to greater intra-party democracy, including reforming the super-delegates system, Sanders' legacy may yet live on should Clinton win the White House.

As professor Bastiaan van Apeldoorn of the Free University of Amsterdam argues, "The old order may no longer be sustainable; but we may be witnessing an interregnum, with the old order dying and a new one struggling to be born. The choice may increasingly [have to] be one between a real radical (left) reformism or fascism or Trumpism" or whatever form white ethno-nationalist bigotry may take.

"These are critical, transformative, times," Apeldoorn comments. "With the (still likely) election of Clinton the neoliberal, Open Door, elite will get another lease of life but I cannot imagine it will be a sustained return to normalcy. Both the Trump and Sanders campaigns have made that clear."

It may not be quite the political revolution Sanders demanded, but it is a major step away from the Trump counter-revolution, and an important nod towards the demands of the Sanders movement and parts of Trump's working class political base and possibly a slightly fairer society. Things could be a lot worse.

But the cost to the American people will have to be paid in energetic vigilance - to ensure a level of political mobilisation to guard against a smooth return to 'normalcy' and the Pareto principle.

Inderjeet Parmar is the head of the International Politics department at the School of Social Sciences, City University, London.


 At the core of Hillary Clinton's image problem is the family's foundation


 If Donald Trump has stunningly high disapproval ratings, Hillary Clintonisn't far behind. For all that this year's presidential election was once supposed to be a coronation, it's become clear that the electorate mistrusts the woman Donald Trump calls "Crooked Hillary" - and that mistrust could yet derail an otherwise ideal opportunity to continue the Clinton dynasty.

Given her negative image, Clinton may struggle to capitalise on the even greater distrust and disapproval of Trump. An issue that has raised questions about Hillary's credibility is the Clintons' deep and enduring corporate financial connections.

According to a Washington Post investigation, the Clintons' political campaigns and charitable foundations, most notably the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, have received in the region of US$3 billion in donations over the past 40 years. A network of organisations and charities aiming to empower women and girls, assist economic development, and save lives, the foundation is estimated to have raised somewhere in the realm of US$2 billion dollars, about two-thirds of the Clintons' four-decade fundraising haul.

This funding for "good causes" has been coming in since 1997, when Bill Clinton began fundraising to build the Clinton Presidential Center in Arkansas. Since then the foundation's remit has widened to a host of initiatives, including the Clinton Global Initiative, among others. And the list of the Clintons' philanthropic associations runs long.

The Clinton Foundation's "strategic partners" include various banks and financial institutions - Barclays, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Goldman Sachs among them.

Pitching in

The foundation's actual practices in its work have come in for a lot of scrutiny. In particular, its apparent generosity in earthquake-hit Haitisince 2010 was undermined by the saga of the temporary shelters it donated for use as school rooms and temporary housing. An investigation by The Nation found that temperatures in some of the shelters had reached over 100ºF (35ºC) and that some of the children who spent hours inside them suffered severe headaches and other illnesses.

The investigation also indicated high levels of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen (and, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also a cause of asthma and other lung diseases) in one of 12 trailers tested. They were manufactured by Clayton Homes, which is being sued by the Federal Emergency Management Administration for having allegedly provided formaldehyde-laced trailers to victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Clayton Homes is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, a holding company owned and controlled by billionaire Warren Buffett - an early and high-profile member of the Clinton Global Initiative and longtime Clinton campaign donor.


 Bad feeling

So what political consequences might all this have for Clinton's presidential bid?

It's likely that allegations regarding the foundation may deter a proportion of Bernie Sanders's supporters from voting for Clinton in November. Sanders himself has now endorsed Clinton, much to the chagrin of his more loyal voters, and he hasn't focused too much on the Clinton Foundation. But when pressed in a CNN interview, he did open up somewhat: "If you ask me about the Clinton Foundation, do I have a problem when a sitting secretary of state and a foundation run by her husband collects many millions of dollars from foreign governments, governments which are dictatorships … do I have a problem with that? Yeah I do."

On the Clinton Foundation's receipt of tens of millions of dollars from assorted foreign governments, including Saudi Arabia, he said: "You don't have a lot of respect there for opposition points of view for gay rights, for women's rights."

An air of distrust has hung over the Clintons and their foundation from the very beginning. And heading into the general election, Hillary Clinton and her campaign may find it hard indeed to shake off.



Interview with Clodagh Harrington on America election 2016 



American Politics Group of the Political Studies Association Annual Conference 2017

'Change and Continuity in U.S. Politics'

Call for Papers

The forty-third annual conference of the American Politics Group of the Political Studies Association will be held at the University of Leicester (UK) from Thursday 5 to Saturday 7 January 2017. The keynote speaker will be Dr Lara Brown, Associate Professor at George Washington University (

There is a broad conference theme: 'Change and Continuity in U.S. Politics'. This theme can be approached in various ways; papers might, for example, take a long term historical perspective when thinking about political development or might reflect on the more immediate consequences of the 2016 election results. We will also be happy to receive proposals considering subjects and material beyond this particular theme. For example, papers or panel proposals examining contemporary US political institutions or processes, foreign policy issues or political history are invited. The conference organisers would also welcome papers addressing comparative themes or relevant theoretical or methodological issues. Proposals (no more than 150 words for single papers, 300 words for panels) should be sent to Dr Alex Waddan ( and Dr Clodagh Harrington ( by no later than 31 October 2016.

The APG is the leading scholarly association for the study of US politics in the UK and also has members in continental Europe and the USA. Further details about the group and its activities can be found on the APG website (

Full details of the conference will also be posted on the website. In the meantime any enquiries should be directed to Alex Waddan and Clodagh Harrington.

Dr Clodagh Harrington

Chair of the American Politics Group


Dr Alex Waddan

APG 2017 conference organiser




 British Foreign Policy Since 1940 is As Much to Blame For Iraq As Tony Blair


What the Chilcot report got wrong was to declare the Iraq war as exceptional and place blame only on one man. Both Iraq and Blair are part of a historical pattern within an imperial world view.


The Chilcot report on the Iraq war has rightly criticised former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair for misrepresentations on a consistent basis. Blair exaggerated threat levels of non-existent Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, backed the US's war plans regardless of diplomatic initiatives seeking peaceful outcomes and improperly equipped British troops once the occupation of Iraq began. This has led to the denunciation of the war as neo-colonial by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and renewed calls for Blair to be charged with war crimes or crimes against peace by others.

While Blair was pivotal in British decision-making that led to aggression against Iraq in 2003, he was hardly alone in promoting a close alliance with the US and the case for outright military intervention for regime change. Not only did the Tory opposition at that time support the war, Conservative leader David Cameron endorsed violent regime change. Indeed, apart from Robin Cook, who resigned as leader of the House of Commons in opposition to the 'false prospectus' on which the Labour government pinned its strategy, support for the war was strong throughout the political and state elite - military, intelligence and other. Besides, Iraq was hardly the first time Britain had hitched its war machine to the US.

The Anglo-American bond

Indeed, if we place Iraq in the sweep of post-1945 history, and in the context of a powerful British foreign policy establishment that sprang from the imperial era and became allied with US power elites after 1940, Blair appears as another example of the Conservative and Labour leaders' attempts to hang on to global influence through a one-sided 'special relationship' with the US. Far from being exceptional, as Chilcot claims, the Iraq War stands in a long line of Anglo-American imperial violence in the global south in increasingly desperate bids to maintain Western supremacy. We need only to think of the Korean War, the Vietnam War (in which Labour leader Harold Wilson provided diplomatic and other support to the US), the first Gulf War and support for repressive regimes the world over, including the overthrow of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and ensuing chaos in Libya since 2011, to see that the Iraq war and Blair are part of a broader pattern of Anglo-American military violence. Focusing on Blair alone obscures the bigger picture and makes impossible, by venting against one man alone, a truly illuminating understanding of British foreign policy.

"The UK's commitment of resources - financial, military, diplomatic - in support of US global priorities remains unparalleled," said a (Wiki)leaked US state department cable. Britain, it went on, is able and willing to fight wars in faraway lands alongside the US and mobilising allies. This makes Britain almost indispensable to the US. To former Conservative foreign secretary William Hague, the US was the "essential" nation to which Britain turned. The Anglo-Saxon powers had broadly shared interests in the global order, which, after all, they had constructed during and after the second world war - Bretton Woods, the UN, IMF, World Bank, Marshall Plan, NATO, among others. While these arrangements suited the West, global poverty in the third world continued apace.

The foundations of the post-1945 order were laid during the second world war. According to cabinet papers, the key decisions were made in 1944 over whether to pursue a pro-empire or pro-American foreign policy. Choosing the empire "will be regarded by the Americans as a Declaration of War…" at a time when the empire itself was disintegrating and its parts leaning towards the US. And the US would "certainly make economic war upon us. So much has been made clear to us. And the armoury of the United States is a very powerful one". Britain signed up to the US-dominated Bretton Woods system because it seemed the best means to preserve its global influence as its imperial power waned.

This is why 'socialist' Labour leader Clement Attlee sent to Korea thousands of British servicemen despite the military chiefs of staff indicating that Korea was of little economic or strategic value to British interests. The war - waged under the banner of the fledgling UN - lasted three years and led to over 3 million Korean and Chinese deaths, tens of thousands of American and British fatalities. It ended in stalemate - a ceasefire remains in place today dividing the north from south. Attlee announced that Britain would stand "shoulder to shoulder" with the US - words Blair echoed in 2003; wherever the Stars and Stripes flew, the Union Jack would be alongside it. Thus we saw two imperial powers - one in denial about its decline, the other hubristic and inexperienced imperial masters of the universe - trying to force the world to maintain a 'liberal order' through unrestrained violence (featuring napalm and relentless aerial bombing of a rural country with rudimentary weapons) teaching the communists a lesson and repeating the same thing in Vietnam a few short years later.

Decades later, not much had changed. Concluding his unofficial enquiry into the first Gulf War, former US attorney general Ramsay Clark declared the Anglo-American bombing campaign as "the most sophisticated and violent air assault in history against a virtually defenceless people".

Chilcot's narrowness of vision is probably understandable - one could hardly expect it to look at a broader pattern of history or the place of Iraq in the world order after the collapse of the Soviet Union. But on that basis to declare the Iraq war exceptional and therefore no source of lessons for the future, and to focus so intently on the person of Blair, pivotal though he was, is a major flaw both practically and for our understanding of the dynamics of Anglo-American power. It renders Iraq unique and places blame on one man, when it is plain to see that Blair's behaviour fits a long historical pattern within an imperial world view that continues to saturate the British foreign policy establishment.

Inderjeet Parmar is professor of international politics at City University London.





 The Annual Colloquium will be held at the Eccles Centre at the British Library on Friday 2nd December. 

It will be less than a month after the Presidential; Congressional & State elections in the USA! - and we will be welcoming two former members of Congress plus other experts to share their views on what has happened!

The US Embassy produces FREE email newsletters one on Foreign policy issues called FYI and the other one on Politics and Society called - Both use US material be it; the USG, Think Tanks or journal articles. All you have to do to be added is to email: supplying your name and institution plus preferred email address. (and do share this information with anyone you might think would be interested).

The US Embassy has just had a documentary commissioned on the move from Grosvenor Square to Nine Elms, highlighting the special relationship over the years. It is a fascinating 60 minutes film which can be viewed at The Embassy is keen for institutions to put on an event to show the film and an embassy employee can come over for the event. I'm happy to put anyone in touch with the Embassy Cultural Office about this.

 Each year the APG presents two travel awards

* Ros Davies Memorial Research Travel Award

* Alan Grant Memorial Research Travel Award

to postgraduates undertaking research in an area involving US politics (current or historic).

Each prize is for £750 to be used with travel costs for research. Winners will receive their award at the Annual Colloquium on December 2nd at the Eccles Centre - and are encouraged to present a paper at the APG Annual Conference in January. They are asked to prepare a report after any trip briefly outlining the research that was undertaken and asked to acknowledge the Group's input in any future publication that occurs as a result of the research undertaken.

The generosity of Professor Philip Davies (Eccles Centre, British Library) in funding the Ros Davies Memorial Award, and the generosity of APG members in collectively comtributing to the Alan Grant Memorial Award is greatly appreciated.

If you wish to apply - please send a short (2 sides of A4 maximum) application setting out the research proposed, and how the award would be used to further that report - with details of your supervisor (or other academic referee) to

David Morgan ( by 20th September. A panel will then select the two people for the award.


 One Kingdom, Divisible and Decayed


London: It's been two weeks now but the shock waves from Britain's narrow vote to 'Brexit' - leave the European Union - continue to reverberate through the country, Europe and the wider world.

Whichever camp one may have been in, it is clear that the Brexit vote reflects not just continuing fragmentation and disunity at home but also the general unravelling of the European project inaugurated by the Marshall Plan in 1948, a key building block of the US-led international order after the bloodbath of two world wars within a generation.

If this is a geopolitical reality that not just the 'West' but the rest of the world has to contend with, it is also clear that there is a political legitimacy crisis deep in the heart of liberal democracies - such as the United States and Britain - manifest as a revolt against established political elites and big business.

However, it is the political right in Britain that has managed to mobilise, harness - and pander to - the anger, disappointment and alienation of people far better than any other force. In doing so, it has encouraged some of the most xenophobic elements of British society who reject "immigrants" and "refugees" as taking jobs, homes, and school places. The killing by a right-wing extremist of the pro-Remain (in the EU) Labour MP, Jo Cox, just before the June 23 referendum was the most extreme symptom of a rise of the right that now constitutes a threat to the national body politic.

The EU referendum was Prime Minister Cameron's way of resolving the split in the Conservative Party, and heading off the challenge of the UK Independence Party, by making it a national and European question, and has had disastrous consequences. Brexit has consumed Cameron's leadership because he spearheaded the defeated Remain campaign - he will leave office by the autumn.

But the vote has also severely dented the leadership of Labour's Jeremy Corbyn, as almost a third of Labour voters supported Brexit, and given another excuse for the Blairite majority in parliament to challenge his leadership.

There are other casualties too: it has laid low the leadership hopes of the chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne; tarnished the reputations of pro-Leave leaders Michael Gove and Boris Johnson, bringing to a grinding halt Johnson's prime ministerial ambitions. Johnson famously attacked President Obama's intervention in the EU referendum campaign by suggesting that the American leader was 'half Kenyan' with a grudge against British colonialism, echoing Donald Trump.

The only party leader who's come out more credible, but has now resigned due to his mission being accomplished, is UK Independence Party head Nigel Farage, who promoted a poster falsely depicting a line of Syrian refugees clamouring to get into Britain. UKIP, as much as the Johnson-Gove Leave campaign, conflated and crystallised the threat posed by the outsider, the immigrant, the refugee, with the suspected suicide bomber dispatched by Islamic State to destroy British freedom and security. But there will be no end to the migration or refugee crisis with a Brexit.

It is now more than apparent that as Brexit cuts off Britain from the European Union it also divides the 'United' Kingdom - pro-Remain London, Scotland, and Northern Ireland from pro-Leave England and Wales. It threatens to inaugurate another referendum on Scottish independence and undermines improved economic and political relations with the lowering of the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

English nationalism is rising even as the country fragments and cosmopolitan London becomes isolated from its national hinterland and looks to Europe and the wider world. And it has encouraged the right in Europe to demand referenda on EU membership across the continent. The forces of European right wing nationalism and chauvinism are on the march again while European elites try to manage Britain's shock exit. Britain needs a fresh constitutional convention and a written constitution for a federal UK to go forward into the 21st century. But given the debased character of its political elite - fully displayed for the world to see - anything of this sort is unlikely.

For all the identity politics that marred the referendum campaign, there is a hidden politics of growing class inequality and a race to the bottom. The immigrant, as ever, is accused of taking working class jobs and homes, working for less pay, undercutting British workers. Poorly paid British workers with falling living standards and declining public services - largely the result of the corporate colonisation of the British state since the Thatcherite 1980s and the Blairite 'third way' - were set against relatively low paid EU migrants taking scarce hospital beds and welfare benefits while corporate elites amass ever greater shares of national income and wealth, bleeding into corridors of political power.

Owen Jones's The Establishment - and How They Get Away With It - sums it up best: "Behind our democracy lurks a powerful but unaccountable network of people who wield massive power and reap huge profits in the process…" Exposing the revolving doors that link these worlds, and the vested interests that bind them together, Jones shows how elites represent the biggest threat to democracy while wrapping themselves up in the emblems of freedom and people power.

Under the guise of identity politics, the prevention of a change in the fabric of British culture and values, and the promise of more funds for public services once the Brussels drain is removed, there is in preparation an even more draconian offensive against workers' rights protected by the EU. There has already been an unseemly retreat from the promise - plastered all over the Leave campaign bus - to channel to the National Health Service the weekly £350 million pounds allegedly flowing from London to Brussels.

Divide and rule did not only (try to) hold together an empire on which the sun never set - it remains the basis of national politics in Britain's class divided society. And in such societies, election promises are like pie crusts - made to be broken. The EU referendum, rather than making Britain great again or taking our country back to some mythical golden age, has exposed a shallow and decaying elite political culture at the heart of what once was a mighty empire - where post-truth politics rules, and sowing division and promoting and exploiting fear represent normal politics.



Making America Irate Again

By Steven Pressman

Like Donald Trump, I grew up in Queens, New York during the 1950s and 1960s. Some perspective on how things have changed since then can shed light on both Trump's appeal and the good he has done.

The New York Republican Party in the mid-20th century was still the progressive party that Teddy Roosevelt helped build as Governor, before he became US President. Politicians seeking election in New York would typically run on the Republican Party line and the Liberal Party line, or on the Democratic Party line and the Conservative Party line. Progressive Republican ideas influenced Trump; they are apparent today in many of his positions. However, they are foreign to the contemporary Republican Party.

One key event in this great transformation was making Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater the Republican nominee for President in 1964 rather than liberal New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller. While this led to an election disaster, liberal Republicans recognized that they had to move right to survive in their party. The sharp shift right was also fueled by the importance of TV advertising, and the high cost of advertising. This made money considerably more important in politics. And with money comes influence. The Republican Party of Teddy Roosevelt became the party of big business, low taxes, small government and libertarian values.

Democrats followed the Republican march right, hoping to stake out a centrist position that could help them win elections; and, like Republicans, Democrats needed money from the rich and conservative.

Ronald Reagan assembled a strange Republican coalition, comprised of (formerly Democratic) blue-collar workers, affluent suburbanites, religious conservatives, and business interests. Working-class Americans really had nothing in common with Republican business interests. In fact, they had conflicting interests. Optimism that free enterprise and free trade would create a rising tide that would lift all boats kept these two groups together. Large tax cuts helped as well; they did increase living standards for average workers, despite the fact that the large majority of gains from these tax cuts went to the very rich and the benefit reductions needed to pay for these tax cuts hurt average workers.

Also helping the Reagan coalition survive was some ostrich-like behavior. Thomas Frank's 2004 best-seller, What's the Matter with Kansas?, describes the uneasy alliance between business interests and cultural warriors in the Republican Party. Champions of business stressed tax cuts, free trade, and reduced government regulation; religious conservatives focused on cultural issues, such as gay marriage and abortion.

Donald Trump, in contrast, still displays his old "New York values" to quote Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). He has endorsed progressive positions on economic issues, putting him far outside the current Republican mainstream.

Trump appeals to working-class Republicans by supporting Social Security, promising to keep "good" jobs in America and keeping immigrants from taking them. After becoming the presumptive Republican Party nominee for President, he even suggested raising the minimum wage. On social issues Trump also stands outside mainstream Republican beliefs, opposing the North Carolina transgender bathroom legislation. Only on issues of deregulation and cutting taxes has Trump espoused the standard Republican line.

Still, Trump's positions were far better than any Republican alternative during the US primary season. He is actually reasonably good when it comes to economics. He is correct that the large US trade deficit (especially with Mexico and China) has cost the US jobs and incomes by forcing US workers to compete with foreign workers willing to work for much less. Trade barriers would help his main supporters; so too would the building of his infamous wall between the US and Mexico. This would all stimulate the US economy, creating jobs and incomes in the US.

It is not hard to understand the appeal of these policies. Most Americans have not recovered from the Great Recession. Median household income (adjusted for inflation) is down since 2007 and has stagnated over the past several decades. At the same time, household debt levels are rising, and bankruptcy has been made more difficult. Working-class and middle-class Americans have been hurting badly. They have also been cut out of the political discussion because the two major political parties cater mainly to the rich. They are mad as hell.

Government debt is the main area where Trump gets his economics wrong. While debt is not always bad, the large increase in debt from the tax cuts and spending increases that Trump proposes are a big concern. Even more disconcerting are his statements that, if US debt becomes a problem, he will renegotiate that debt. Statements like this can only dissuade lending to the US government, with severe negative consequences.

Besides Trump being the least objectionable on economic issues of all the Republicans who ran for President this year, he is also the least dangerous when it comes to the actual Presidential election. The reason here is very different-Trump is highly unlikely to become the next US President.

First, Trump is far too inexperienced in the world of politics; he doesn't seem to understand what it takes to win a US Presidential election. Soon after Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee, Hillary Clinton began a series of blistering TV ads attacking Trump in swing states. These ads showed clips of Trump talking extemporaneously about women and portrayed him as a misogynist. Rather than immediately responding to these attacks, Trump was busy trying to assemble a campaign team to devise a strategy for winning the November election. He has also spent too much time traveling abroad (as in today's visit to the UK) and raising money for the November election, things he should have done long ago. At this point in the election cycle, he really needs to be out campaigning in key battleground states.

Second, too many Republicans are not supporting him, including the Bush former Presidents, former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman, Ohio Governor John Kasich, Mitt Romney, and New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez. Ohio Senator Rob Portman and Kasich have even said that they may not attend the Republican nominating convention in Cleveland, Ohio next month. On the other hand, Democrats will likely unite against Trump. In such situations, the united party usually win. This was true in 1968 when anti-war Democrats failed to support Hubert Humphrey and in 2008 when many Republicans abandoned their party, fearful of Sarah Palin.

Third, Democrats start out with a big advantage-- 240-250 of the 270 electoral votes necessary to win the Presidency. Republicans start out with only 180-190 solid electoral votes; they need to win virtually every swing state (including Ohio, where two prominent Republican officials have serious concerns about Trump) to reach 270.

Finally, there is the problem of being Donald Trump-constantly alienating people with his bullying, as well as his hostile and offensive comments about women, minorities and foreigners. America's anger is turning toward him.

Steven Pressman is Professor of Economics at Colorado State University, Professor Emeritus of Economics and Finance, Monmouth University, North American Editor of the Review of Political Economy and author of Understanding Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century (Routledge, 2015) andFifty Major Economists, 3rd ed. (Routledge, 2013)


Birkbeck College London is looking for an Associate Lecturer A to teach the first (Autumn) half of the undergraduate module "The United States in International Politics" and the first (Autumn) half of the postgraduate module "American Foreign Policy." These are full-year modules that run from 6-8pm on Tuesday and Friday, respectively, and the candidate is expected to teach the Autumn half only (8 weeks). The post holder will deliver lectures and run seminars/workshops and mark the students' coursework.

The successful candidate will have the ability to teach core themes in US foreign policy at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, with a strong background in international relations and/or US foreign policy. Topics include theories of IR, the American foreign policy tradition, the Cold War, post-Cold War US foreign policy, war powers and the US Constitution, the presidency, Congress, and the policy process.

Candidate Requirements

The requirements for selection are listed below:

  • Experience teaching international relations/US foreign policy.
  • Experience giving lectures and running seminars.  

Please note: candidates need to demonstrate competence or significant potential in all areas.

In addition it is desirable that candidates have:

  • PhD in politics/political science or related field.
  • Published in quality politics/IR journals. 
  • Experience teaching postgraduate students. 

About the Department

For further information about the department, please visit the following website:

Further Information

Remuneration: Grade 7 of the College's London Pay Scale which is starting rate £56.93 per hour (inclusive of holiday pay) for contact hours worked.

The salary quoted above is based on an hourly rate dependent upon length of serve with the College. This hourly rate is based on the starting point of Grade 7 and is inclusive of a 'Duties Related to Teaching Multiplier' which covers preparation; teaching, administration, assessment marking and other examining duties in connection with the course. The College's London Pay Scale includes a consolidated Weighting/Allowance which applies only to staff whose normal contractual place of work is in the Greater London area. This appointment is subject to a probationary period of 18 months.

The closing date for completed applications is midnight on Sunday 26 June 2016.

Interviews are likely to be held on Tuesday 5 July 2016.

Informal enquires on the role can be made to Prof Rob Singh (Email: However, please note that only completed formal applications through the online system will be considered. A link to the PDF document containing the job description and person specification can be found here.


Oxford University is seeking a Departmental Lecturer in American History (1776 - 1914), tenable from 1 October 2016 for a fixed-term of 1 year.

Applications are invited from scholars with active research and teaching interests in any area of American History of that period. The successful candidate will demonstrate an ability and willingness to give tutorials, lectures, classes and supervision at both undergraduate and graduate level across a range of papers in American History. The Lecturer will also be required to undertake examining and administrative work, and will engage in advanced study and original research in American History.

The successful candidate will hold a doctorate in a relevant field or show evidence that a doctorate is imminently expected. S/he will have a strong research record and a record of successful teaching within the field, the ability to teach and lecture at an appropriate level in an interesting and engaging manner for both undergraduate and graduate students, and a willingness to undertake examining and administrative duties.

Applications are particularly welcome from women and black and minority ethnic candidates who are under-represented in academic posts in Oxford.

Applications for this vacancy are to be made online. To apply for this role and for further details, including the job description and selection criteria, please click here.

The deadline for applications is 12.00 noon on Friday 22 July 2016.


Edited Collection on Joe Brainard

deadline for submissions:

August 15, 2016

full name / name of organization:

Yasmine Shamma, Honors College of Florida Atlantic University

contact email:

Edited Collection on Joe Brainard

First and Second Generation New York School poetry is so frequently lined with or bound by Joe Brainard's artwork that its material seems inextricable from the cherries, jacks, and starts so commonly occupying the real and influential side-lines of their poems. In this way, Brainard's work occupies the literal margins of New York School Poetry, while also figuratively influencing the aesthetic ones. Brainard was not only an illustrator and friend to many New York School poets, he was also an avid letter writer, collage artist, miniature artist, cartoonist, and serious poet. His art, friendship and poetry provide a point from which to reconsider The New York School's often chronicled relationship to The New York School of Painting While others have attended to general role of art in New York School poetry, this book looks to provoke a more focused line of enquiry regarding the relationship of Brainard's art and poetry to that of his New York School peers.

This edited collection seeks papers that will examine the ways in which Brainard's work informingly lined, bound, and shaped the poetics of the American avant-garde movements which he illustrated. While papers focusing on Brainard's collages, cartoons, postcards and miniature art will be considered, this collection seeks to shift critical attention to Brainard's influence on poetry. To that end, papers examining Brainard's own writing, collaborations, verbal art, and book illustrations are especially welcome.

Marjorie Perloff has generously agreed to provide an afterword which will respond to papers within book.

If interested in having your article considered for publication within this collection, please submit brief 300-500 word proposals along with bio to by August 15.



Registration now open: Mildred Taylor symposium at Cambridge

Please join us for a special two-day event celebrating the 40th anniversary of Mildred Taylor's classic children's novel, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.

Telling the story of an African American family living in Depression-era Mississippi, this award-winning text has inspired readers, teachers and researchers alike since its first publication.

Confirmed keynote speakers:

Professor Michelle Martin, University of South Caroline

Dr Gabrielle Cliff-Hodges, University of Cambridge

Talks cover a range of disciplines, including literary criticism, teacher training and translation studies.

See or contact Sarah Hardstaff at to find out more.

Supported by BAAS and the Cambridge-Homerton Research and Teaching Centre for Children's Literature.


Hey! Ho! Let's Go!: The Day the Ramones Ignited Punk

When Monday 4 July, 18.30-22.15

Where British Library Conference Centre

Price £15/£12/£ 10

Join Ramones Manager Danny Fields looking at the moment the US collided with the UK and Punk was born.

Forty years ago, on 4th July 1976, the Ramones played their debut UK concert at London's Roundhouse, followed the next day by another at Dingwalls. The shows that long hot summer have achieved legendary status. For many - including members of the Pistols, the Stranglers, the Clash and the Damned watching on - the band's thrilling, fast, rebellious, New York sound blew open the possibilities of music and gave sudden acceleration to the styles that would become Punk.

The Ramones manager on those nights was Danny Fields, a man with a pivotal role behind some of the great American music of the 20th century. He makes an exclusive appearance, in conversation with Barney Hoskyns, to tell the story of the moment the US collided with the UK, and is joined by other special guests who were there.

The event will also feature a book signing of My Ramones (published this summer by First Third Books), followed by a screening of Danny Says. This acclaimed documentary, directed by Brendan Toller, tells the story of Danny Fields remarkable musical and cultural journey since 1966 working for the Doors, Cream, Lou Reed, Nico, Judy Collins and managing ground-breaking artists like the Stooges, the MC5 and the Ramones. Danny Says is a story of marginal turning mainstream, avant garde turning prophetic, and looks to the next generation.

The Sex Pistols and America

When Tuesday 5 July, 18.30-20.00

Where British Library Conference Centre

Price £10/£8/£7

Hear the story of the Sex Pistols tour of America

The Sex Pistols notorious 1978 tour of the southern US was one of the more surreal moments in music history. Banned from the radio and venues at home, the rapidly disintegrating band played places like Memphis, Baton Rouge, San Antonio and Dallas, in a move calculated by manager Malcolm McLaren to generate maximum culture clash. Bob Gruen was one of the acclaimed photographers on the tour and he is joined by Southern historian and US music expert Brian Ward.


Robert Singh's book on the future of American foreign policy after Obama is out now. More details below:


 Associate Lecturer in Politics: US Foreign Policy, Birkbeck, University of London

Birkbeck, University of London, are looking for an Associate Lecturer A to teach the first (Autumn) half of the undergraduate module "The United States in International Politics" and the first (Autumn) half of the postgraduate module "American Foreign Policy." These are full-year modules that run from 6-8pm on Tuesday and Friday, respectively, and the candidate is expected to teach the Autumn half only (8 weeks). The post holder will deliver lectures and run seminars/workshops and mark the students' coursework.

The succsessful candidate will have the ability to teach core themes in US foreign policy at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, with a strong background in international relations and/or US foreign policy. Topics include theories of IR, the American foreign policy tradition, the Cold War, post-Cold War US foreign policy, war powers and the US Constitution, the presidency, Congress, and the policy process. 


 An EU Referendum discussion at City University, London last night. Speakers from The Economist, Electoral Reform Society, School of Law at Queens University Belfast, and tax havens IPE scholar, Ronen Palan.


Hillary Clinton wins Democratic nomination: the experts react


 After a dogged campaign lasting more than a year and taking in all 50 states, former first lady, senator and secretary of state Hillary Clinton has secured the pledged delegates she needs to be the Democratic presidential nominee. Our experts take the measure of her victory, and plot her path to the White House.

Jay Kleinberg, Brunel University London

"We all owe so much to those who came before."

With those words, Hillary Rodham Clinton acknowledged the debt the women of today owe to all those women and men who have fought for equal rights since the Declaration of Sentiments at Seneca Falls, NY in 1848. She now has the delegate numbers to secure her nomination as the Democratic Party's presidential candidate, the first time that a woman has become a major political party's standard-bearer in the US.

Now that Clinton has clinched the Democratic nomination, the attention turns to the general election. Pollsters and commentators are divided on how will she fare against Donald Trump in the battle for the presidency - and then there's the matter of her rival on the left, Bernie Sanders.

He's said he will compete for every remaining vote and delegate, even though the outcomes in California and New Jersey mean he cannot win enough pledged delegates to defeat Clinton at the convention, especially given the overwhelming opposition of the party's elite super-delegates to his nomination.

Will Sanders continue his battle, even with the party's elite super-delegates overwhelmingly opposed to his nomination? He has stated categorically that he won't, since he doesn't want to be responsible for a Trump presidency. Sanders appealed strongly to millions of younger voters whom Clinton struggled to reach, but very few of them have said they would vote for Trump.

Clinton will soon benefit from President Obama's full-throated endorsement and support, and will have a chance to expand her appeal when she chooses her running mate. All the while, Trump's continued attacks on women, minorities, the disabled, and more will make him an unappealing candidate to many Democrats, young and old alike.

But Trump is unlike any opponent the Democrats have faced in living memory - and the next few months will be a wild ride indeed.

Clodagh Harrington, DeMontfort University

In the course of her victorious primary campaign, Clinton has put her gender front and centre. This is a big change from her 2008 run, where she skirted delicately around the fact that she was, in fact, female. But this time around, her gender is an asset to be flaunted.

It's true that Bernie Sanders polls higher among Democrat women aged 18-29, but looking at overall polling numbers among women, Clinton has the advantage, and older female voters are far more likely to show up at the polls in November.

She also has the advantage of running against a Republican candidate with no qualms about openly attacking her (and other women for that matter) on the basis of her gender. This may not significantly damage Trump's standing among his core constituency of conservative white men, but it's a devastating liability among female voters.

Great strides have been made on the gender equality front since 2008, but there is no room for complacency. Progressive legislation during the Obama years includes the Lilly Ledbetter Pay Restoration Act and the reproductive rights elements of the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"). The Violence Against Women Act has been reauthorised, and women in every state can now marry each other. Along with the appointment of two female Supreme Court justices, Obama can take much credit for these forward leaps.

Clinton's candidacy is another chapter in this story. Her primary victory is far from the end of the election story - but the "woman card" has now been well and truly dealt.

Gillian Peele, Oxford University

Clinton's victory in the nomination battle is a historic first, but it's overshadowed by the gruelling fight with Sanders, which has thrown up deep generational divisions, and a unleashed new leftist populism that sees Clinton as an ally of a corrupt financial and political establishment.

Clinton must not only parry those threats, but must also wrestle with the implications of gender-related issues. The general electorate looks very different from that of the nomination campaign, and Clinton will have to perform the delicate task of balancing the exciting prospect of a woman president with reassurances that America - and indeed, the world - is safe in her hands.



It may all come down to the electoral gender gap. While the Democrats have a longstanding advantage among women voters, Clinton cannot afford to alienate male voters, especially white ones. If she picks a female running mate, she might gravely endanger her appeal both to men and to moderate voters, who have no appetite for what they perceive as pure identity politics.

She must also unify not just the Democratic Party, but the country. Clinton should be wary of trying to respond to Sanders voters' more radical demands, and must certainly avoid being cast as either a cynical populist or a feminist crusader. Her strongest suit is her unrivalled competence on economic and foreign policy issues.

But however deftly she does it, the campaign against Trump will be unpleasant and unpredictable - especially if a third party candidate enters the fray to siphon off even a little of her support.and

 Matthew Ashton, Nottingham Trent University

In politics, it's often hard to separate perception from reality - and so it goes with Clinton's triumph.

Many in the media and elsewhere have argued that Clinton has struggled to win the nomination, even though plenty of Democratic contests in the past have followed a similar pattern. In this case though, because it was taken as a given that she was the automatic choice as the party nominee, anything other than an early win was always going to be seen as a sign of irretrievable weakness - a classic case of early expectations shaping the later narrative.

True enough, her victory is nowhere near as comprehensive as husband Bill's was in 1992, when he won 6m votes more than Jerry Brown, and 32 states to his six. But if you compare this year's race to the titanic Obama-versus-Clinton battle of 2008, it looks rather different. That year, Clintonwon the popular vote by some measures but lost on delegates; she won 23 contests to Obama's 33.

Her 2016 result is far more secure than Obama's was in 2008. Let Sanders's more vocal supporters rail against the system (on some points quite justifiably); by every important measure, Clinton's victory has been absolute. She's won the popular vote by about 3m. Sanders has argued repeatedly that the way caucus results are reported means that the number of his voters isn't being properly reflected, but this ignores the fact that caucuses almost always have much lower voter participation than standard ballot-box primaries.

Clinton has also proved her appeal to a much more diverse range of people, something Sanders himself has grudgingly acknowledged. She may have struggled with younger voters, but she's done significantly better with African-Americans and Latinos in almost every state. These groups have been at the core of the Democratic base for decades now: had the party establishment handed the nomination to Sanders, as some of his campaign staff have been saying it should, they'd risk alienating a huge group of supporters they've spent years cultivating.

Had the race been much closer in the popular vote, that might have been a risk worth taking. But in the end, Clinton won simply because she got significantly more votes, won more states, and won more pledged delegates. Whatever some Sanders supporters may say, this is a decisive and comprehensive victory.

Neil Visalvanich, Durham University

Hillary Clinton finds herself in a wholly different position from where she was eight years ago, when she conceded defeat to Barack Obama on exactly the same day. While the outcome was effectively assured weeks ago, Bernie Sanders's strong challenge has shown just how divisive a figure Clinton remains within and outside the party, and a far cry from the "inevitable" candidate she was once thought to be.

Clinton has proven to be a rather conventional candidate in a year where large portions of the electorate want something altogether different. She ends the primary campaign with historically high negative ratings, which would the highest since pollsters started tracking voter perception of presidential candidates if not for Donald Trump, the most unpopular major party nominee in modern history.

Her image problems extend across the political spectrum. Whether fair or not, many voters think her untrustworthy. Among left-leaning voters and Democrats, she continues to be associated with the centrist policies of her husband, and the lingering resentment that has come with that. For Republicans, she is inextricably associated with two of the American right's most hated figures: Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.


 But these problems always bedevil candidates who run for office as "successors" to outgoing presidents. The public has traditionally been sceptical of candidates who take credit for a prior president's accomplishments, and after an eight-year administration a hunger for change tends to set in, especially if the prospective successor is a familiar face.

Successor candidates Richard Nixon (1960), George H. W. Bush (1988), and Al Gore (2000) all struggled with negative perceptions, and struggled to find consistent and coherent messages that distinguished them from both their predecessors and their challengers.

Despite this, successor candidates can still win. Al Gore won the popular vote (but lost the electoral college vote), and Bush senior defeated his Democratic opponent in an electoral college landslide. Bush in particular won by emphasising consistency and competence over an opponent, Michael Dukakis, whom he successfully labelled as extreme. As she ramps up what could be a rather conventional campaign against a bombastic and unpredictable foe, Clinton can take heart that others have walked this road before.

Adam Quinn, University of Birmingham

If Trump was not her opponent, Clinton's high negative ratings might be a fatal liability. But Trump has taken unpopularity and political vulnerability to strange new frontiers - and there are so many angles from which she might attack him that the real challenge will be to prioritise only one.

Over the course of his primary campaign (not to mention his life), Trump has said so many crass and offensive things about women, racial minorities, immigrants, and Muslims that it is possible to compose brutal attack ads consisting of nothing but his own words. He has almost no chance of winning among those groups, meaning he must run up a huge victory among white male voters to stand a chance. This in turn leaves a tiny margin for error, and a non-trivial chance that his campaign could end in electoral disaster.

Another option is to undermine Trump's claims to wealth and business success. Much of his appeal depends on his image as a self-made, deal-making billionaire, but that image is now fraying badly thanks to stories of Trump's poor investments, bankruptcies and ethically dubious ventures (exhibit A: Trump University, now the subject of legal action).

His refusal to release his tax returns has led many informed commentators to speculate that Trump's wealth may be far less than he has claimed, something that could drastically erode his appeal even to his fans.

No doubt these attacks will feature as the campaign proceeds - but in recent days, Clinton seems to have settled on a core strategy.

In a widely lauded foreign policy speech in San Diego, she derided Trump as "temperamentally unfit to hold an office that requires knowledge, stability and immense responsibility". His ideas, she said, "aren't just different - they are dangerously incoherent. They're not even really ideas - just a series of bizarre rants, personal feuds, and outright lies". And then the biggest punch: "This is not someone who should ever have the nuclear codes."

 Adam Quinn, University of Birmingham

If Trump was not her opponent, Clinton's high negative ratings might be a fatal liability. But Trump has taken unpopularity and political vulnerability to strange new frontiers - and there are so many angles from which she might attack him that the real challenge will be to prioritise only one.

Over the course of his primary campaign (not to mention his life), Trump has said so many crass and offensive things about women, racial minorities, immigrants, and Muslims that it is possible to compose brutal attack ads consisting of nothing but his own words. He has almost no chance of winning among those groups, meaning he must run up a huge victory among white male voters to stand a chance. This in turn leaves a tiny margin for error, and a non-trivial chance that his campaign could end in electoral disaster.

Another option is to undermine Trump's claims to wealth and business success. Much of his appeal depends on his image as a self-made, deal-making billionaire, but that image is now fraying badly thanks to stories of Trump's poor investments, bankruptcies and ethically dubious ventures (exhibit A: Trump University, now the subject of legal action).

His refusal to release his tax returns has led many informed commentators to speculate that Trump's wealth may be far less than he has claimed, something that could drastically erode his appeal even to his fans.

No doubt these attacks will feature as the campaign proceeds - but in recent days, Clinton seems to have settled on a core strategy.

In a widely lauded foreign policy speech in San Diego, she derided Trump as "temperamentally unfit to hold an office that requires knowledge, stability and immense responsibility". His ideas, she said, "aren't just different - they are dangerously incoherent. They're not even really ideas - just a series of bizarre rants, personal feuds, and outright lies". And then the biggest punch: "This is not someone who should ever have the nuclear codes."

There's plenty of ammunition here. Deeply ignorant about foreign policy and apparently disinclined to study further, Trump has made wild, inarticulate statements on a number of issues, including how he would handle crucial security challenges in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

And while it may amuse some voters to see Trump trampling the norms of "political correctness" at home, even they might pause for thought before giving someone so volatile the power to put their families' lives at risk. This is the most powerful argument against him; expect to hear it a lot.



The American Studies Programme at Canterbury Christ Church University is seeking a sessional lecturer to deliver two modules in 2016/17: 

  • The Modern Black Freedom Movement (Term 1, Level 6)
  • Race and Racism in the United States, 1607 to the Present (Term 2, Level 5)

Both are term-long 20 credit modules that run on Monday afternoons. Pay will be at an hourly rate in line with student numbers.

To express interest or for more information, please contact Lydia Plath, American Studies Programme Director, at


2016 Ros Davies Memorial Research Travel Award

Fieldwork report by Ilaria Di Gioia (Birmingham City University)

Thanks to the generosity of Prof. Philip Davies -who funded the Ros Davies Memorial Travel Award- I had the opportunity to travel to a snowy Denver, CO between 5-11 February 2016 and visit the headquarters of the National Conference of State Legislature (NCSL). The main purpose of my trip was to complete the data collection for my PhD dissertation in American Constitutional Law.

My PhD research investigates the aversion of some American state legislatures to the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In particular, my dissertation consists of an analysis of the constitutional arguments used by the state legislators upon the introduction of bills that oppose the implementation of specific provisions of the ACA within the territory of the state. This type of legislative research requires the use of legal databases such as West Law and Nexis Lexis. However, these databases are limited to statute search and do not allow the user to track the history of a certain bill, the introduced version and the debate before the enactment. A more appropriate database for this purpose is State Net, an American legal database unavailable in any UK institution.

I had the opportunity to use State Net during my research trip to Denver, thanks to the kindness of Richard Cauchi, Health Program Director at NCSL, who dedicated two full working days to my project. With the help of Director Cauchi, I identified the most appropriate search strategies and conducted a targeted search that allowed me to examine a good amount of new data and refine my old database. It was particularly useful to collect state sovereignty bills filed in January 2016 that will need to be tracked over the rest of the legislative year.

The visit to NCSL allowed me to make exceptional progress with my research and I have been lucky to meet talented researchers that provided valuable insights into legislative search strategies. I am still in contact with the researchers at NCSL and we constantly share information and updates on the status of states' legislation in healthcare.

Overall, the research trip to Denver, CO has contributed enormously to the depth of my legislative research and to the credibility of my PhD dissertation. I shall update this report once my PhD dissertation has been examined. 

From the top left: 16th Street Mall, Colorado State Capitol Building, Snow in Lowry, Denver.


Forthcoming events at the Rothmere American Institute (RAI), Oxford:


Clinton's Grand Strategy: US Foreign Policy in a Post-Cold War World

James D Boys Bloomsbury, 2015

 In this excellent book, James D Boys takes issue with the view that President Bill Clinton's foreign policy was largely improvised, always secondary to his domestic concerns and conceptually incoherent. Boys quotes former presidential adviser David Gergen, who claims that (as Mark Twain said of Richard Wagner) Clinton's 'music is better than it sounds' (p. 289). Drawing on extensive interviews with former members of the Clinton administration, the author identifies a coherent internationalist vision - built on commitments to US leadership of collective security and free-trade regimes, and to democracy promotion. These policies featured throughout his presidency: from the 1992 campaign right through to the later years, when the threat of global terror was consuming the attention of the White House. 

Boys acknowledges that Clinton had some shortcomings, such as his failure to achieve legislative backing for the Comprehensive Nuclear-TestBan Treaty in 1999. The author accepts that Clinton's grand strategy 'presented admirable concepts' but 'lacked a methodology' (p. 278). He also concedes that his commitment to economic deregulation created an environment which led, at least to some degree, to later financial crashes. Despite all this, Boys offers generally positive verdicts on Clinton's foreign-policy performance and legacy. Bill Clinton, as Boys persuasively argues, kept the US on a broadly responsible internationalist path against a background of radically transformed, post-Cold War, global conditions.


 An assessment of Clinton's record inevitably stimulates discussion on his presidential successors and on foreignpolicy debates in the context of the 2016 presidential election. Boys juxtaposes Clinton's distaste for 'unnecessary foreign intervention' (p. 253) with the less circumspect record of the first term of President George W Bush. For Boys, Clinton attempted to act directly against Al-Qa'ida, battling 'stubborn resistance' to effective and selective action from the US military and Congress (p. 284). Such resistance evaporated under Bush, but was simply followed by over-extension and excessive militarisation. In respect of Iraq, President Bush inherited a commitment to regime change, but rapidly and unwisely converted it into full-scale military intervention. In a sense, President Barack Obama's strategy of combining forceful counter-terrorism with a winding down of the extreme prioritisation of the militarised War on Terror can be seen as a return to the worldview of the Clinton years.

Boys sees Clinton's policy of engagement and democratic enlargement as successful in integrating both China and Russia into the postCold War security and free-trade order. Such successes 'were compounded by the successful expansion of NATO, done without drawing the Russians into either a conflict or alienation' (p. 280). Here Boys's assessment is less persuasive. Despite the achievements of the 1990s, NATO's expansion up to the borders of Russia eventually proved extremely problematic for the future of peace in Europe.

That said there are a few indications that Clinton's approach to foreign policy continues to resonate in contemporary practice. Two of Obama's main foreignpolicy successes - moves towards normalising the relationship with Cuba and the Iran nuclear deal - may have their roots in Clinton-era strategies. Boys sees Clinton as embracing a policy of 'peaceful change' in Cuba and of moving 'from containment to engagement' with Iran (pp. 230, 272). Obama's notion of a 'pivot' (subsequently described as 'rebalancing') towards East Asia also drew on aspects of the Clinton legacy (and, of course, was promoted by Obama's first secretary of state, Hillary Clinton). However, Boys notes that Obama's policies in this area go much further. The book highlights the Clinton administration's deep engagement in European security and economic co-operation (p. 183). In this respect, Obama's foreign policy may be seen as an effort to adjust Clinton's legacy to a world of still-combustible terrorist threat, economic hard times, and the re-emergence of Russian military assertion.

The extent of Clinton's success on free trade and furthering the role of the US as a key sponsor of economic globalisation is remarkable, despite setbacks such as the Congress's (then controlled by the Republican Party) decision to deny fast-track negotiating authority to the White House. Obscured by the security controversies following the 9/11 attacks, debates over free trade - conducted within a climate of intense partisanship and political polarisation - erupted again under Obama; they are now also featuring in the 2016 election campaign. For instance, candidates in the 2016 race swapped vastly differing assessments about how one of the key Clinton-era legacies, the North American Free Trade Agreement, had affected US employment and prosperity. Hillary Clinton, faced with criticisms from Senator Bernie Sanders-her leftist Democrat challenger in the primaries - substantially changed the way she spoke about her husband's economic-policy record. As in Bill Clinton's presidential years, left-leaning Democrats were joined by nationalist and protectionist Republicans in their hostility to free trade.

At one level, the pre-9/11 foreign policy of Bill Clinton might seem removed from contemporary concerns. Boys convincingly argues otherwise. Following Boys's lead, we might indeed argue that contemporary debates within US foreign policy can usefully be studied through the lens of the Clinton years. Such debates exhibit significant links to the earlier period. For example, the primary election season of 2016 will be remembered above all for the emergence of Republican populist foreign-policy nationalism as embodied in Donald Trump. Impulses such as those represented by Trump - anti-immigrant, combative, anti-globalist - were present also in the 1990s, notably in the Republican Party primary campaigns of Pat Buchanan. In the 1990s, rightist foreign-policy nationalism was contained by mainstream Republicans and by the onset of economic good times, associated (fairly or unfairly) with policies emanating from the Clinton administration. Post-Cold War Clintonian internationalism triumphed. By 2016, however, mainstream Republicanism had weakened. It is sometimes forgotten that Newt Gingrich, Congressional leader of the rightist post-1993 Republican upsurge, broadly co-operated in furthering Bill Clinton's internationalist agenda. Since Bill Clinton left office, the ups and downs of economic globalisation have also created new divisions and tensions within the American polity. Perceptions of US global decline were in effect reversed during the economic boom experienced in the 1990s. They re-emerged following the 2003 invasion of Iraq and in the context of Obama's foreign policy of strategic retrenchment. Such perceptions and divisions constitute the stage on which the US's next Democratic president will seek to build on the grand strategic legacy not just of President Obama, but also of Bill Clinton.

John Dumbrell has recently retired as Professor of Government at Durham University. He is the author of Clinton's Foreign Policy: Between the Bushes (Routledge, 2009) and Rethinking the Vietnam War (Palgrave, 2012). DOI: 10.1080/03071847.2016.1174494


Gerald R Ford Presidential Foundation Award

APG member Dafydd Townley, a PhD student at the University of Reading, has won the 'Gerald R Ford Presidential Foundation Award'. This is a very prestigous award which will enable Dafydd to conduct essential archival research at the Gerald Ford Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Dafydd says: 'My thesis is centred on the 1975 Church Committee, a Senate investigation into post-war US intelligence activities. The Committee's investigations occurred during the post-Watergate Ford Administration, and were part of the struggle between Congress and the White House for legislative superiority during the 1970s. Housed at the library are the memos sent between the White House and National Security Council members, letters from President Ford to staff members, and briefing notes housed at the GFL that give an insight into the measured response of the Ford administration. Of particular interest are the Richard B Cheney files and the Brent Scowcroft files. The GFL's collections will highlight the challenges the Ford Administration faced, and the strategy adopted to maintain Executive privilege and control of the intelligence agencies.'




The Political Studies Association (PSA) is committed to supporting the next generation of political scientists through its Graduate Network. The PSA Graduate Network (PGN) exists to represent the interests of postgraduate students within the PSA. It provides a voice for the postgraduate membership, connects them to established academics and the wider discipline, and allows them a space to develop a programme of events and activities to ensure Politics postgraduates are at the forefront of changes and developments in academia.  

We are looking for applicants to fill 5 positions:


Communications Officer

Events Officer

2 Network Officers, to assist across all portfolios.

We are seeking active and engaged individuals who want to make their mark on these positions.

Applications are open until this Friday 20th May at 5pm. To put yourself forward, please email: with a short statement about yourself; which role you would want to nominate yourself for; why you would be a suitable candidate; and your PSA membership number.

For more information about the committee please see here.


 CFP 13th International Spanish Association for American Studies Conference. Understanding (Human) Nature

 The "13th International Spanish Association for American Studies (SAAS) Conference, "Understanding (Human) Nature", will be held at the University of Extremadura. Cáceres (Spain), 5 - 7 April 2017. 

The list with the 24 panels issuing out call for papers can be accessed at the following site:


 The question of social justice: As America's two major parties move toward anointing their presidential nominees, there is a growing sense of disaffection and even insurrection among voters. And this has set the business-as-usual political and financial elites into a panic. It is all their own fault.

CrossTalking with Richard Wolff, Les Leopold, and Inderjeet Parmar.


 Bryant Lecture 2016: Populism and the Presidency

Mon 16 May 2016, 19:00 - 20:30

Journalist Martin Dickson examines the 2016 US Presidential campaign


 It is shaping up to be one of the most unusual in recent history. Candidates from the fringes of the Republican and Democratic parties, back by grass-roots supporters, have been mounting strong challenges to politicians favoured by party establishments.  The trend is especially marked among Republicans, who are at war with themselves. He examines the political, social and economic causes of the revolt, the policy implications for whoever gets to the White House, and whether there are lessons in America's experience for the UK and continental Europe.


The event will be preceded by a wine reception at 18.15.

Martin Dickson has over 30 years' experience of the media industry working in the UK, the US and elsewhere around the world as a reporter, commentator, editor and manager. He was formerly Deputy Editor (2005-12) and US Managing Editor (2012-14) of the Financial Times. He has been a close observer of US business and politics since the 1990s, when he spent five years heading the FT's New York bureau during the George Bush Senior and Clinton presidencies. The winner of various awards for business journalism, he has been a member of the board of the British Library since April 2015.



Bryant Lecture 2016: Populism and the Presidency


Conference Centre

The British Library

96 Euston Road



Show map How to get to the Library


Mon 16 May 2016, 19:00 - 20:30




+44 (0)1937 546546

- See more at:


The Intimate History of Democracy and Money in America

Tue 24 May 2016, 18:30 - 20:00

The 2016 Robert H Smith lecture examines the historical relationship between democracy and money in America


 The American political system is awash with billions of dollars, a situation that may well compromise the country's democratic aspirations.  How did the US arrive at this point? Most commentary focuses on the Supreme Court's recent (2010) Citizens' United decision. Gary Gerstle argues, however, that the troubled relationship between money and democracy originated two hundred years earlier when America first became a mass democracy and invented political parties. Managing a large and rambunctious democracy turned out to be hugely expensive business; and with the Constitution making no provision for publicly funded elections, parties fashioned themselves into brilliant money-raising machines, becoming the largest and most powerful organizations in nineteenth-century America. Dependent for their continued success on large infusions of cash, they gave monied interests extraordinary opportunities to penetrate governing institutions. Popular movements sought repeatedly to contest the influence of private money, but few enjoyed more than temporary or partial success. The money necessary to sustain democracy in America was simply too great. In making his points, Gerstle sweeps across American history, discussing the intersection of elections and money from the age of Jackson to the age of Trump.

Gary Gerstle is the Paul Mellon Professor of American History and Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge. He is the author of Liberty and Coercion: The Paradox of American Government from the Founding to the Present (2015), described by the Financial Times as a "towering achievement".

Sponsored by the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library in collaboration with Benjamin Franklin House



The Intimate History of Democracy and Money in America


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The British Library

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Tue 24 May 2016, 18:30 - 20:00


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Donald Trump declares victory: expert reaction

Donald Trump now faces no serious rival in his campaign for the Republican Party's presidential nomination. As the party comes to terms with the news, three experts take the measure of his chances.

Republican meltdown, Democratic opportunity

Inderjeet Parmar, City University London

Donald Trump's decisive victory in the Indiana primary election, coupled with the withdrawal of his principal rival, Ted Cruz, has made him the party's presumptive presidential nominee. It has exposed a deeply divided Republican party whose leadership has lost all credibility and whose conservative philosophy, which it has held dear since 1980, is in tatters. The party's very survival is now uncertain.

This near-apocalypse has been years in the making. The Tea Party insurgency has badly undermined both state and national party elites, driving the GOP further to the right and electing highly ideological congressmen and senators who refused to compromise with the Obama administration - not least Cruz, who defied the GOP leadership and forced the US government into a total shutdown in 2013.

But this collapse is also the fruit of decades of economic deterioration of the party's white working-class voters, especially those without a college education. Compounded by the 2008 financial crisis, decades of deindustrialisation have left a legacy of unemployment, underemployment, falling living standards and expanding social and economic inequality. This has also hit middle-income Republicans hard. Many of them now support higher taxes on corporations and the very wealthy and back some kind of redistribution of income and wealth.

This is a rejection of the core principles of the Reaganite conservative consensus: low taxes, free markets, welfare cuts, laissez-faire government. Trump has also shown that social conservatism is not a prerequisite for victory in the GOP primaries, another blow to the party's Reagan-era principles.

And so, is the GOP leadership left with no choice but to get behind Trump? There have been recent overtures. Some GOP stalwarts responded noticeably warmly to Trump's first "serious" foreign policy speech, and Karl Rove's well-funded campaign organisation has reportedly indicated that if necessary, it would back Trump against Hillary Clinton.

But Cruz's verdict on Trump, which is shared by a majority of Republican voters, speaks to just how toxic the GOP's presumptive nominee really is. "This man is a pathological liar, he doesn't know the difference between truth and lies … in a pattern that is straight out of a psychology textbook, he accuses everyone of lying," said Cruz on the threshold of the Indiana vote. "Whatever lie he's telling, at that minute he believes it … the man is utterly amoral".

The GOP civil war is unlikely to abate any time soon - and that's a boon to Clinton. The big question now is whether Clinton can turn the other party's crisis into the Democrats' opportunity. She must now fashion a message that inspires and unites her party for the general election - even as Bernie Sanders, her flagging but still formidable opponent, continues to win states and vows to continue his campaign against the party's establishment.

Trump won the battle: can he win the war?

Leighton Vaughan Williams, Nottingham Trent University

Donald Trump has been declared the Republican Party's nominee for the presidency of the United States - and for once, not only by himself. This victory defies all the laws of political gravity.

The traditional Republican way is to elect the establishment's chosen candidate, generally someone who has served the party faithfully and well - and preferably someone plausibly electable against the Democrats' standard bearer. The nominee is expected to stick to mainstream conservative principles and to be broadly acceptable to those pulling the strings at Fox News.

Trump fails all these tests. And with his signature blend of populism, provocation and spectacle, he has driven the party into a schism, pitting conservative against conservative.

In the immediate wake of the Indiana result the audience of Fox news was treated to a downcast debate between the network's two principal conservative voices, Bill O'Reilly and Charles Krauthammer. While O'Reilly tried to defend Trump as a misunderstood populist hero, Krauthammer declared himself implacably opposed to a man he declared was not a true conservative and who could not be trusted to defend conservative values.

The party shows no sign of being ready to unite behind Trump. The Hill, an influential political newspaper published in Washington DC, has even provided a list of Republicans who have declared on the record that they simply will not back him. The list is long, and includes some very influential conservative names.

These horrified "NeverTrumpers", who've been pushing their own #NeverTrump hashtag, are all too aware that nominating "The Donald" would not only betray the party's core principles, but possibly doom the GOP to electoral catastrophe. Disgusted conservatives might well decline to vote at all. That would contaminate Republican candidates across the country; the party would probably lose control of the Senate, and perhaps even of the House of Representatives.

So what exactly are Trump's chances against Hillary Clinton? The Real Clear Politics average of the most recent half dozen polls has Clinton leading Trump by an average of 6.2% in a hypothetical (and now very likely) match-up.

Take out the poll by the Rasmussen firm, which has a very chequered history - not least projecting a Mitt Romney victory on the eve of the 2012 election - and Clinton leads by 7.8%.

The respected Sabato Crystal Ball project at the University of Virginia's Center for Politics offers another perspective. This uses expert judgement on a state-by-state level to assess the likely number of electoral votes that would be won in a match-up between Clinton and Trump.

The best estimate offered, as of today, is a projected 347 votes for Hillary Clinton in the electoral college, with 191 going to Donald Trump. A total of 270 votes is required to win the presidency. By way of comparison, Barack Obama won 332 electoral votes in 2012 to 206 for Mitt Romney.

The betting and prediction markets tell a broadly similar tale.

Finally, let's look to the PollyVote project, which combines evidence derived from polls, expert judgement and prediction markets, plus a few other indicators, to provide an overall forecast of the likely outcome in November. As of today, the PollyVote predicts the Democrats to obtain 53.3% of the two-party popular vote, compared to 46.7% for the Republicans.

Trump stands today at the top of the Republican tree. He has won the battle. He will find it much harder to win the war.

Insurmountable obstacles

Matthew Ashton, Nottingham Trent University

Now that Trump has vanquished his Repubican rivals he can start setting out his stall for the general election and perhaps trying to pivot to the centre ground. But as a presidential candidate, his flaws are glaringly apparent.

Trump has burnt an unprecedented number of bridges within the GOP. Primary races are normally fairly rough-and-tumble affairs, but Trump has taken name-calling and mud-slinging to a whole new level. Given the level of vitriol he unleashed, it is difficult to imagine many of this year's failed candidates enthusiastically endorsing him, as usually happens once a presumptive nominee emerges. This might in turn make finding a credible vice-presidential candidate difficult.

Equally, given some of his exceptionally provocative remarks, Trump will struggle to appeal to crucial voting groups - Latinos, African-Americans and women in particular. He'll also struggle to attract independent and moderate voters while holding on to his more angry radical supporters.

In terms of organisation, Trump currently has quite a weak ground game. One of the reasons Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney back in 2012 was the fact that he arguably had the best campaign machine in history. While Hillary Clinton will inherit some of that equipment to augment her already formidable primary operation (and perhaps some of Bernie Sanders's too), Trump is essentially starting from scratch. He's shown the ability to adapt politically, but building a serious machine requires a lot of effort very quickly.

To compound all this, Trump will now come in for a lot more personal scrutiny. One of the arguments in favour of the primary system is that it means the eventual nominee will have been thoroughly vetted by the party establishment and media. But apart from in one or two cases, notably the brief flurry of stories about Trump University, they've given Trump a relatively easy ride on his record. With the Democrats prepared for the general election fight, that is going to change.

None of these obstacles are insurmountable, but they will demand monumental organisation and discipline. So far, Trump has demonstrated neither. And his temper and natural instinct to defend by attacking might be his biggest downfall.



The APG was well represented at the 2016 European Association of American Studies in Constanta, Romania. The bi-annual event had 400 attendees from 40 countries and the APG panel reflected this internationalism, with participants from the UK, Norway, Denmark and France.

The panel theme was 'Obama's Challenge: Rights, Liberties and the Pursuit of Progress' and was made up of Lea Stephan from the University of Tolouse, whose paper was entitled 'Half a Century of Healthcare from a Racial Perspective' and Niels Bjrre-Poulsen, University of Southern Denmark, with a topic of 'Unloading the Gun: President Obama, Executive Power and the Legacies of the Bush Administration's 'War on Terror'. In addition, there was Alf Tønnessen of Volda University, Norway, discussing 'Resistance to Paid Parental Leave in the United States and APG chair Clodagh Harrington of De Montfort University, UK speaking on 'The Power of Lunch: Healthy Kids, Vested Interests and the Nanny State.'

The 2018 EAAS bi-annual conference will take place in London and the CFP will be shared with all APG members when the time comes.


America's Moment, or How to Turn a Crisis into an Opportunity



 A defence of the status quo that focuses too much on Trump and Sanders (and Brexit) as threats, rather than as pointing the way to a new order, is a road to nowhere but the rise of the radical Right and the forces of backward-looking nationalism and chauvinism.

Barack Obama's recent visit to the United Kingdom to intervene in support of the Remain (in the European Union) campaign was an attempt to prevent the further unravelling of the US-led world system which is in severe crisis at home and facing significant problems abroad.

A united Europe - as a bulwark against the Soviet 'threat' and as a market for US goods and investment - was an American project. Today, it is threatening to disintegrate under the pressure of the Eurozone crisis, the refugee problem engulfing the continent as a result of past US interventions in Iraq, Libya, and Syria, and the rise of European nationalisms on the Left and extreme Right. The solution: forge a new grand bargain at home and abroad that allows for diffused leadership serving a broader range of national and class interests in the global polity. In concrete terms, this means either more democracy and equality (and less liberty and more state regulation), or outright control of the forces of the market that have devastated working class and poor communities through unrestrained globalisation.

The American president's intervention in the Brexit debate links his position on the issue to the crisis of Europe, where the Right is on the march - predictably, he drew a thinly-coded race card response from Boris Johnson and others from theVote Leave (the EU) campaign - but also the Middle East, where the US and Britain actively disordered the region after 9-11 that led directly to the rise of Islamic State. His position is also a reflection of the anti-establishment turmoil in the US primaries.

Obama's intervention points to the crisis of an international order established in the 1940s that froze power relations and has changed little over the past 70 years, and a domestic party system inaugurated by Reaganomics and social conservatism in 1980 that has yielded power to the market and Wall Street corporations.

Yet, the world has changed and power relations need to change with it. America's imperial paternalism - that brooks no one else's nationalism and even brands some variants of its own as 'isolationism' - needs to diminish to permit others to exercise the responsibilities of statehood, to develop a stronger stake in the global order, and better manage the world of the 21st century. And that grand bargain must be reflected and anchored at home in a political realignment - currently being fashioned by the Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders insurgencies. This realignment must take into account the interests of young people, the working poor and the squeezed middle class, and engineer a more socially responsible and politically-accountable financial elite - the 0.1% that since the 1990s has led the corporate takeover of American politics and the current inequalities of income, wealth and power.

Many frame the issue from conservative positions - producing blueprints for a slightly reformed US-led order. One has only to look at the reports coming out of Brookings, the Council on Foreign Relations and the legion of scholars at America's many elite academies - such as Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School (for example,). But their flawed, US-centric framing leads to a status quoist set of conclusions, while actually there is an historic opportunity presented by the crisis for a renegotiation of global order or perhaps a series of negotiations - thematic and regional - to reshape and fashion a new settlement for the new century.

Dominant framings of the issue lead to an omission of any serious consideration of the opportunities presented by Donald Trump's critique of the US role in world, especially his questioning of its principal post-1945 institutions and relationships. For raising those questions alone, the GOP's primaries front-runner is branded an isolationist. But Trump's challenge is more than "isolationism"; isolationism is an epithet used by the US foreign policy establishment to undermine practically any opposition to its interpretation of America's global role. Trump is an "America First-er", not an isolationist, and questions the various alliances and institutions that the US-led order built and rests upon. Trump's challenge - whether or not he wins the nomination or the general election - will not go away, because it's one raised on the Left by Bernie Sanders too. Between Trump and Sanders, and the ratchet effect of Sanders on Hillary Clinton, there is a structural problem highlighted by their current popularity that is deep-seated and enduring and has now come to a head in a popular revolt against the American elite.

The conservatism of entirely US-centric solutions and critiques of Trump (and Sanders) also elides serious critiques of either the inequalities of the US-led international order or of its effects at home. The majority of Americans have seen their income shares and wealth diminish steadily since the 1970s and are fully aware of the inequities of power and wealth distributions. That is why they are rejecting the elites of both parties in such great numbers.

Need for realignment

The domestic crisis of US liberal order and its global problems are related but are not insoluble. They require a realignment at home and abroad. Otherwise, narrow nationalist impulses will come to the fore while at the moment there is an opportunity to redefine and reshape globalisation to benefit and not damage so many people - instead of carrying on which the old project of hollowing out the state in its social functions, cutting adrift large swathes of people.

This may be an historic moment of opportunity presented by crisis; the dominant concepts are no longer working adequately, fixed in old global power relations from 1945, slightly tweaked and absorbed in the 1970s, broadly incorporating as apprentices global south 'middle class' powers like India, China and Brazil. When the West was confronted with the rise of the oil-producing states of the Arab world and the challenge of the G-77 third world countries demanding a New International Economic Order, its elites did what they'd done with the domestic rise of working class reform movements - they bought them off. Those days, and that kind of thinking, may be long gone.

Defending the status quo is to defend the iniquitous past. A defence of the status quo that focuses too much on Trump and Sanders (and Brexit) as threats, rather than as pointing the way to a new order, is a road to nowhere but the rise of the radical Right and the forces of backward-looking nationalism and chauvinism. There is sufficient force in the rise of Trump and Sanders which suggests there are significant bases for future positive change.

What the new order will look like is the big issue, not whether there should be one at all. This is the major question of our time.

Inderjeet Parmar is professor of international politics, and co-director of the Centre for International Policy Studies, at City University London. Follow him on Twitter and via his blog.









 Civil Rights Documentary Cinema and the 1960s: Transatlantic Conversations on History, Race and Rights

The British Academy, London

24-26 May 2016

This conference - held in memory of American social activist, politician and leader in the civil rights movement Julian Bond (1940-2015) - brings together documentary filmmakers, activists, and film, history and media scholars. Its focus is films based in civil rights history and inspired by it. It will promote a trans-Atlantic exchange of ideas around film production, activist subjects, and historical research in the making of civil rights cinema, civil rights history and cultural memory. It examines race and rights - activism, massive resistance, film and visual cultures - to intervene creatively in the history of the 1960s and in the historiography of the civil rights movement.

Films screened will include selections from the ground-breaking 14-hour documentary series Eyes on the Prize (1987) and full screenings of At the River I Stand, (1993), Scarred Justice: The Orangeburg Massacre, 1968 (2008), Rebels: James Meredith and the Integration of Ole Miss (2012), The March (2013), Ballots and Bullets in Mississippi (aka Dirt and Deeds in Mississippi, 2015)


To view the programme and to register for the conference please visit the British Academy event page.

In conjunction with the conference, there is will also be a free evening screening of Julian Bond: Reflections from the Frontlines of the Civil Rights Movement and a conversation with its director Eduardo Montes-Bradley on Tuesday 24th May. Please register for this separately at the British Academy event page.

This conference is co-sponsored by the Centre for Research in Race and Rights, the University of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent University, the University of Leicester and the University of Birmingham.


 2016 PHN Annual Conference


It's election time! The United States will choose a new president in 2016, consigning Barack Obama's administration to the history books. More frequently than ever before, the White House press office talks about "legacy," and while it is perhaps too early to pass unequivocal judgment on Obama, the speculation compels attention. In recent years, presidential scholars have turned to memory studies as a means of revealing the way historical images evolve, and therefore it seems particularly timely to consider presidential legacy as the current incumbent does the same.

The Presidential History Network, in conjunction with Northumbria University, will host a two-day symposium to analyze the phenomenon of "presidential legacy."


 The Richard E. Neustadt Book Prize, 2016

The American Politics Group of the PSA is pleased to invite entries for the 2016 Richard E. Neustadt Book Prize, the top prize devoted to US politics in the UK.

The prize of £400 will be presented to the best book in the field of US government and politics (including political history and foreign policy) published in the calendar year 2015, and authored by an academic permanently employed at a UK university. The APG is pleased to acknowledge the generous support of the US Embassy for this prize.

The prize winner will be announced at the APG annual colloquium held at the Eccles Centre (British Library) on 2 December 2016.

Previous prize winners include Professor Steven Casey of the London School of Economics, Professor Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones of the University of Edinburgh, Dr Andrew Preston of the University of Cambridge, Professor Alan Ware and Stephen Tuck, both of the University of Oxford, Professor Iwan Morgan of UCL and Professor Robert Singh of Birkbeck College and Dr Timothy Lynch of the University of Melbourne.

Entrants for the prize should arrange for four (4) copies of their book to be sent to:

Dr Clodagh Harrington

Dept of Politics and Public Policy

De Montfort University

The Gateway

Leicester LE1 9BH

Closing date is 20 May 2016.



The Dept of International Politics are pleased to host a public lecture as part of the official launch of the'Centre for International Policy Studies' at City University, 8th April:

Bruce Cumings (University of Chicago): "The Uses of History: How Political Leaders Use History"

At 6pm - A130, College Building, City University

Followed by wine reception at 7.30pm

Free to attend, but please register your place:

Tanya Shennan

Departmental Administrator (Psychology & International Politics)

Room D332, Rhind Building

School of Arts and Social Sciences

City University London

Northampton Square


T: 020 7040 0056






 The Dept of International Politics are pleased to host a book presentation:

"American Grand Strategy and Corporate Elite Networks. The Open Door since the End of the Cold War" (Routledge 2016)

by Bastiaan van Apeldoorn and Naná de Graaff (Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam)

American Grand Strategy and Corporate Elite Networks presents a novel analysis of how US grand strategy has evolved from the end of the Cold War to today, offering an integrated analysis of both continuity and change. The post-Cold War strategy has continued to be oriented to securing an 'open door' to US capital around the globe. This book will show that the three different administrations that have been in office in the post-Cold War era have pursued this goal with varying means: from Clinton's promotion of neoliberal globalization to Bush's 'war on terror' and Obama's search to maintain US primacy in the face of a declining economy and a rising Asia. It takes as its point of departure the social sources of grand strategy (making), with the aim to relate state (public) power to social (private) power. While developing its own theoretical framework, it offers a rich and rigorous empirical analysis based on extensive primary data that have been collected over the past years, including extensive biographical data of 90 cabinet members and senior foreign policy officials.

Thursday 7th April 2016, at 5.30 pm in DLG09, Rhind Building

Free to attend, but please register your place:

For further details please email:

Tanya Shennan

Departmental Administrator (Psychology & International Politics)

Room D332, Rhind Building

School of Arts and Social Sciences

City University London

Northampton Square


T: 020 7040 0056





The American Elite's Political Crisis


The current crisis in the US Right and the insurgency from the Left are shattering the consensus forged over decades and centred on the might of the market. A major political realignment may be in the offing.



American sociologist Alvin Gouldner once noted that if there is an iron law of oligarchy, there must also be an iron law of democracy. Power is all too frequently concentrated in fewer hands, corrupting democracy in the process and debasing the broader political culture. But nothing lasts forever and perhaps the most dangerous time for any system is when its guardians are most comfortable, made complacent and even smug by the feeling of "we've never had it so good".

For the American political elite - regardless of their party affliations - 2016 must increasingly feel like 1973: then, the elites complained that the biggest threat facing them came from "a highly educated, mobilised, and participant society". To many, that's democracy. To elites, as Bill Domenech noted recently, mass mobilisations look like chaos and disorder. In 2016, just like in 1973, elites want to shepherd the enraged sheep back into their pen to resume their allotted place, voting every couple of years and otherwise enjoying life as consumer-sovereigns. But the sheep don't appear to be listening at the moment because the market is not delivering.

The current crisis in the US Right and the insurgency from the Left are shattering the consensus forged over decades and centred on the might of the market. But the mental universe of elites has rendered invisible the plight of the many while they've been enjoying the spoils of privatisation, the profits of globalisation and the licence of corporate non-regulation, presided over by a political class more or less completely in the grip of Wall Street mentalities. They do not see that the world has moved on, that there are working and middle class people whose living standards and prospects bear no relationship to the classless utopia or American dream of some golden age. In truth, the golden age disappeared around 1973 and, for minorities, its lustre was a mere mirage.

The pent up rage on the Right represents the shrill cry of people in the shadows upon whose psychic and social plight Donald Trump's demagoguery has shone an energising ray of light. Many of them would hardly shrink, might even celebrate, the subliminal slogan at the heart‎ of Trumpism - white, working class power. It may be a road to nowhere but division by mobilising resentment and pain through irresponsible, but well thought out, knee-jerk bigotry and ethnocentrism. Yet its adherents look to a golden past when America was theirs, as was the world. At home and abroad, they see defeat and humiliation at the hands of lesser peoples, including a supposed Muslim foreigner in the White House. So they want their country back and to make it great again. In this scenario, perhaps Trump is like Benito Mussolini restoring the Roman empire. Racial antipathy among marginal white workers appears to have conjoined two forces that conventionally pull in opposite directions; class matters in America but in usual ways. President Barack Obama has unwittingly proved a prime target for racist anti-elitists.

The frustrations of the many young workers and middle classes rest on the Left with Bernie Sanders's socialism. The under-thirties don't care about the Cold war and its constructed 'Red Scare' that the over-fifties were force-fed and imbibed for decades after 1947; they want Swedish welfare capitalism in spades, to be relieved of lifelong indebtedness incurred at college and the costs of corporate-controlled healthcare. They would rather divert war spending to building a new America worthy of the American dream, tax the rich, stem the flow of big money into politics, and restore the healthier public political culture of the 1960s - built by a mobilised, educated and participatory populace who had had enough of racial and gender oppression, militarism and war, and a corrupt, arrogant elite.

Sanders talks the politics of class, which actually accords with the cry of white workers backing Trump - but the latter cannot see past their identity politics of ethno-racial loss. So the two groups with so many complaints and demands in common remain divided, one of the reasons sociologist Werner Sombart gave over a century ago in answer to his question: "Why is there no socialism in the United States?"

With Ted Cruz still on the margins of the Republican elite's affections, only Hillary Clinton stands unequivocally for defence of the existing system, explaining why Republicans - the creators of "Stop Trump" organisations - may end up holding their noses and voting Democratic in November. But they may not get the chance if Sanders continues to surprise by adding more wins to add to his current 11, especially in big states like California and New York.

The short term political prospects are pretty bleak and Americans are prepared for a bumpy ride into the summer nominating conventions. But the discontent is so intense that there's likely to be a correction. The US system has proved very flexible in the past, including when it was captured by corporate money and then recaptured/recalibrated by more enlightened elements allied with reformist politicians. The Gilded Age of 'robber barons' - Rockefeller, Carnegie, Vanderbilt et al - in the 1880s and 1890s gave way to leftist and conservative progressivism (both state building programmes against the excesses of the market); in turn, progressivism gave way to red scares after 1918 and the free market jamboree of the '20s that ended in the Wall Street crash of 1929. The New Deal of the 1930s inaugurated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt just about outlived the second world war but came under the intense scrutiny of the FBI and McCarthyism. And the pendulum swung again with the Great Society programmes under Lyndon Johnson, and again with Reaganomics in the 1980s and 1990s (by then known as the Third Way).

Major party realignments in the US seem to happen every 30 or 40 years - 1896, 1932/6, 1968, possibly 1994. The country may be heading towards another one, although it is early days still. The Republican party's days look numbered, while the Democratic party is reeling under the Sanders insurgency. That's the terrain on which a new politics will probably emerge, but only if organised constituencies develop to maintain pressure on their leaders to remind them where their interest lie. Gouldner's iron law of democracy demands it.


Professor David Keith Adams OBE

The University of Keele has announced the death of David Adams - founding head of Keele's American Studies Department and a central figure in the creation and development of American Studies in the UK.


 America's 'Little Rebellion' Against its Political Elite is the Storm Before the Calm


 The rise of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders reflects the political economy of neoliberalism in crisis: when the 'free market' fails to correct itself, politics has to do the adjusting.

The established political system in America is in shock, and it does not look as if this firestorm is likely to burn itself out anytime soon. But it is the storm before the calm. As Thomas Jefferson said of Shays' armed rebellion against heavier taxes levied to pay the war loans of rich merchants, "a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing" for a republic. It brings to the surface the simmering frustrations of the people which forces governments to act.

This has happened before, of course: In the late 1890s, social reform followed the outbreak of violent Populism, the Great Depression of the 1930s brought forth the New Deal, and, in the 1960s major democratic and civic reforms followed the upheavals of the Civil Rights movement. Hence, there is little reason to suppose the American political system is not flexible enough to weather the Trump storm and come out stronger, more representative and resilient.

What voters seem to want is a newly-realigned order that can steer the US away from where it is today: an increasingly unequal society with fewer opportunities to achieve the American dream.

The symptoms of an unsustainable order are evident in the churning that both the GOP and Democratic primaries are witnessing. So intense is the feeling of violent anger on the right, but also idealism on the left, that the corporate-domination of American politics is under the spotlight more intensely than at any time since the early 1970s. Establishing a new equilibrium means the correction which should have occurred after the Iraq War and especially following the 2008 financial crisis must happen under the watch of the next president, regardless of which party is in office.

But let's get back to Jefferson. A democratic government like America's "has a great deal of good in it," he said. "It has its evils, too, the principal of which is the turbulence to which it is subject… I hold it that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Unsuccessful rebellions, indeed, generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people, which have produced them…. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government."

Therein lies the secret of American government and why the current political crisis will most likely pass even if it wrecks careers and political parties in its wake. Yet, a society riled up as the US is at present would do well to fear what Jefferson commented a year later: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." With around 300 million private firearms in America, owned by anywhere from 40% to 50% of the population, and Donald Trump's rallies becoming increasingly raucous and aggressive as protests against his attacks on Muslims, Mexicans and other minorities mount, the danger of escalating violence hangs in the air. Should Hillary Clinton and Trump slug it out in the contest for the White House, the degree of polarisation could well lead to general ugliness - and even serious outbreaks of violence.

Ironically, a Trump-Sanders contest might bring forth a more interesting political struggle - for the hearts and minds of those who've missed out on the American dream and blame globalisation, the outsourcing of American jobs, and the takeover of life and politics by big corporations. The real schism is hardly between black and white or Mexicans or Muslims but between the super-wealthy and the majority of Americans. Trump's base - his hard core support - consists of non-college educated working class whites who reject conservative small government or cuts to welfare and who want heavier taxes on the rich and big business. Their ethno-centrism prevents them from joining the Sanders people. Sanders is the only real "class" candidate who stands for working people, while Clinton wins among blacks, and whites with annual incomes over $200,000, losing among young people by wide margins.

Sanders faces a fundamental structural problem - the lack of a strong political machine or movement nurtured over time, which reaches from the pinnacles of national politics down to the local ward. Clinton has the Democratic party machine with and behind her, in her very DNA. She raises millions of dollars for local senate and congressional races. She has a history with black voters that Sanders cannot even dream of.

Sanders knows this, of course, and is glad of the endorsement of Democracy for America, a million-strong group backing progressive candidates in mainly local races around the US. Such backing means local campaigners will knock on doors, put up posters and bumper stickers, and make Sanders visible everywhere and not just on national TV. But even so, this is unlikely to be enough to provide significant political backing in Congress to President Sanders. If elected, he will not be able to govern.

More likely is a strong showing for Sanders in a closely-fought contest which allows him to make progressive demands on the Clinton campaign in the run up to November - on healthcare, college tuition fees, heavier taxes on the rich, protection of social security and pensions. And a dampener on higher military spending. In those conditions, a victorious Clinton would find it difficult openly to deliver the White House to Wall Street. There is such contempt for corporate-fuelled politics that Sanders might harness the movement to demand more from Clinton than she is currently promising.

It appears, at least superficially, that a great political realignment has begun in the US, but unless this process alters the orientation of the dominant parties, the change will not endure. Trump's demolition of the Republican party is continuing apace and impacting his principal opponent - Ted Cruz, a 'frenemy' of the GOP establishment. Ironically, Sanders may be strengthening the Democratic party by hoovering up major discontent and pulling Clinton to the left. His pledged delegate count, regardless of the final outcome of the nomination contest, is likely to be so high that he could rightfully demand Clinton's presidential election platform move further to the left than she would prefer - given her indebtedness to corporate donors.

The core message from Trump and Sanders is that the economic system is failing most Americans, increasing corporate wealth, income and wealth inequality, and polarising society and politics. The votes for Sanders and Trump are really screams against a political establishment that has been taken over by corporations, corporate mentalities and agendas - lower taxes and more state subsidies for the rich, the outsourcing of well paid jobs through globalisation to low-wage societies. It is a delayed-reaction demand for a recalibration of the system after the long reign of neo-liberal, free-markets-know-it-all politics. The ideological dominance of neoliberalism is now under severe strain. Markets do not correct themselves, politics does.

It's the storm before the calm of which Jefferson would have approved, refreshing the tree of liberty, the health of government, and the happiness of the people.




After Super Tuesday, Decoding What America Stands For

BY ON 16/03/2016 •                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Donald Trump's emphatic victories in Florida, Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina, to add to his previous thirteen wins, makes him the clear favourite to win the GOP's nomination for US President, while Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders remain locked in the battle for the Democratic Party nomination. But the big story of this cycle of primaries is the routing of the Republican establishment by Trump, a populist property tycoon. Trump has dumped out of the race the principal GOP establishment candidate, Marco Rubio, crushing him in his home state, Florida, 45-27% of the vote. Many worry about the damage Trump's populist-paranoid style is doing to America's standing, as his illiberal, Islamophobic and racist 'anti-politics' galvanises crowds and provokes violent protests across the country. 

With 621 delegates to the nominating convention, Trump is almost half-way to the 1231 he needs to become the popular choice of registered Republicans, while Ted Cruz us languishes in distant second with 396 delegates. Yet Cruz is also deeply hostile to the Republican Party's leadership and is, for now, the Tea party's chosen son. Only John Kasich, who has won his home state, Ohio, is openly loyal to the party but has just 138 delegates (mainly from his Ohio triumph).  

Trump's victories should not be surprising by now. His average polling in all five contests (Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio) on March 15 was 32.5%, and he's getting even more popular, topping 50% Republican voter support nationwide for the first time. With his rallies turning violent, and attracting widespread protests, Trump has raised the temperature by refusing to condemn aggression and assaults by his supporters, and instead blamed Sanders and anti-Trump Republicans for the violence. According to the Southern Poverty Law Centre's recent survey of hate crime, the inflammatory political rhetoric used by Trump, Cruz, Rubio and others, including by many more liberal voices, has created a climate of violence against minorities.   

The GOP is as puzzled as everyone else: a few days ago, Rubio defended US President Barack Obama against Trump's accusation that Obama had divided Americans - and its Rubio who's been dumped out of the primaries by Floridians. Last week, over a hundred so-called 'reasonable Republicans', including some supporters of Bush's global war on terror, rendition, torture and the Iraq war, declared Trump a racist, militarist warmonger - and the Republican electorate has delivered four more states to the Trump tally. Those dubbed the 'crazies' by the George HW Bush administration are now calling Trump names, but few Republicans are listening. 

When academics were asked early on in the primaries if Trump was a fascist, most laughed. But comparisons to Benito Mussolini's style are becoming more common. Trump's anti-intellectual, illiberal, anti-minority, anti-democratic, anti-politics, which harks back to a mythical golden age of American greatness, which Trump promises to restore, his profound prejudice against minorities and outsiders, and opponents regardless of their politics, his flip-flopping and inconsistencies, and encouragement of violence at home and abroad - makes the comparison more viable. His campaign, and especially his rallies, look and sound like those organised by segregationist third party candidate George Wallace in 1968, whose language about protestors and disorder were remarkably similar to the restore-order-through-violence rhetoric of Trump. Both Wallace and Trump appear to welcome violent altercations because of their essentially authoritarian approach and appeal to strength over weakness. 

With all this thunder on the right, it is important to remember that there is a real contest brewing in the Democratic party primaries. Although Clinton has won many more states than Sanders, with a little under 1100 pledged delegates, she is just 320 ahead of the 'socialist' candidate, mainly due to the proportional distribution system in party primaries. Sanders has been a strong second in several contests, including losing by under 2% in Illinois and by just 0.2% in Missouri. He lost Massachusetts (1.4%) and Iowa (0.2%) by tiny margins as well. But Sanders's best states - those outside the deep South - are yet to come and the demographics there weigh towards Sanders. In such conditions, come the nominating convention in July, Clinton's majority might be much smaller and force the hand of the so-called super-delegates of party elders towards Sanders. And, finally, most polls show Sanders defeating Trump in a presidential contest more handsomely than Clinton does. 

But the bigger meaning of the primaries was perhaps delivered by the defeated Rubio. From within the Republican elite's tent, he condemned the party's leadership for complacency, arrogance and elitism towards conservatives: "…I blame… a political establishment that for far too long has looked down at conservatives as simple minded people… as bomb throwers…. taken conservatives' votes for granted, and that has grown to confuse cronyism for capitalism and big business for free enterprise." 

With a few tweaks, that could as easily have been said about the Democratic party establishment - as Sanders suggests and millions of votes attest. The gap between the established political elite and the vast majority of Americans is now wider than it has been since the 1970s - the last time the very legitimacy of the American political system was called into question in the wake of the horrors of the Vietnam War, the illegal bombing of Cambodia, the furore over the leaked Pentagon papers and the Watergate scandal that destroyed Richard Nixon. 

It is unlikely that a contest between Trump and any Democratic candidate will not be ugly, possibly violent, divisive and damaging to America's global standing. But it might clarify what America really stands for. 

Inderjeet Parmar is Professor and Head of the Department of International Politics, City University London. 

The Richard E. Neustadt Book Prize, 2016

The American Politics Group of the PSA is pleased to invite entries for the 2016 Richard E. Neustadt Book Prize, the top prize devoted to US politics in the UK.

The prize of £400 will be presented to the best book in the field of US government and politics (including political history and foreign policy) published in the calendar year 2015, and authored by an academic permanently employed at a UK university. The APG is pleased to acknowledge the generous support of the US Embassy for this prize.

The prize winner will be announced at the APG annual colloquium held at the Eccles Centre (British Library) on 2 December 2016.

Previous prize winners include Professor Steven Casey of the London School of Economics, Professor Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones of the University of Edinburgh, Dr Andrew Preston of the University of Cambridge, Professor Alan Ware and Stephen Tuck, both of the University of Oxford, Professor Iwan Morgan of UCL and Professor Robert Singh of Birkbeck College and Dr Timothy Lynch of the University of Melbourne.

Entrants for the prize should arrange for four (4) copies of their book to be sent to:

Dr Clodagh Harrington 

Dept of Politics and Public Policy

De Montfort University

The Gateway

Leicester LE1 9BH

Closing date is 20 May 2016.


What Lies Behind the Civil War in the GOP? 

 Analysis of Republican primary results so far suggests that the crisis in the GOP is far deeper than the Trump phenomenon and is exposing a party incapable of governing with anything like a coherent programme let alone a favoured candidate backed by the official leadership.

Republicans have been raised for the past 25 years on the most shrill rhetoric against their Democratic rivals - so much so that facts and truth were long ago jettisoned to the dustbin of history. But that incivility, bluster and downright mendacity has come home to roost: and it's tearing the Republican Party apart. A party that stopped the American government from functioning on numerous occasions in the Obama years and has now managed to bring its own authority to a grinding halt as the populist Donald Trump and Tea Partier Ted Cruz race ahead of the GOP elite's favourite son, Marco Rubio, who's trailing in the polls even in Florida, his home state.  

Trump voters are certainly fed up with the GOP establishment but they are not primarily sourced in the Tea Party. Trump's support responds to his populist image and message - harvesting the message of fear, threat and anxiety delivered by Republicans since Newt Gingrich's declaration of war on President Bill Clinton. Ted Cruz is the Tea Partier, the right-wing insurgency against the Republican establishment. Unless voters who previously backed Ben Carson and John Kasich switch allegiance to Rubio, which they might, the GOP will lose complete control over the race for the White House in November 2016. 

The 'vast right wing conspiracy' was only partially self-serving when announced by First Lady Hilary Clinton in the 1990s. It coincided with the development of a genuinely influential conservative establishment - from the Heritage Foundation through to Fox News and the Project of a New American Century (PNAC), an alliance at the core of the post-9-11 road to Iraq and the construction of an 'axis of evil' - Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, among others - upon whom a disastrous global war on terror continues, laying waste to any semblance of the international rule of law, the authority of the United Nations and the moral standing of the United States.    

The whole mentality of right wing Republicanism which took hold of the party was summed up by the Republican strategist Karl Rove when he retorted to reporters that "we're an empire now and we create our own reality" - that is, we act and speak and make reality - while the rest of us live in the reality-based community. What Rove meant was that truth and falsehood had no place in the mindsets of real statesmen like George W. Bush; they were too busy making history to pay heed to the realities of the world.   

Put together with the level of vitriol in the Republican candidates' debates, this is a process that's exposing a party that appears to have lost control of the primaries and, if either Trump or Cruz wins the White House, is likely to disavow their own president.  

A former head of the CIA and NSA has suggested that the US military might refuse to obey orders from commander-in-chief Donald Trump. Over a hundred self-styled 'reasonable Republicans' - some of whom supported some of the worst decisions in recent US foreign policy history - have declared Trump a racist warmongering military adventurer. There are moves among congressional Republicans to distance themselves from a future President Trump and effectively leave him without a party in Congress to organise and deliver a legislative programme. They would treat President Trump as if he were a third party candidate.  

There have been bitter rivalries before - indeed the primaries are famous for 'venting' - but the rhetoric appears to be reaching new lows because there is so much at stake. This is happening because the Republican establishment has no credible candidate in the primaries as Trump and Cruz pull away, leaving clear daylight between them and Rubio. Republicans are wounded and have had enough. Those who want "their country back" are behind Trump and Cruz. Those who want their party back are behind Rubio. This is nothing less than a civil war within the Grand Old Party which believes it is the real heart and soul of America and the keeper of the keys to the White House.  

The contrast with the Democratic primaries could hardly be more stark: despite the lively debates, differing visions and personalities of Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, the Democrats are broadly united behind a liberal message; and their debates have been a model of civility.  

 The GOP is used to making war on its enemies: now they seem to be turning their guns on themselves.                      

Inderjeet Parmar is Professor and Head of the Department of International Politics, City University London


 Super Tuesday Just Redefined American Politics

November may be one of the most brutal elections in American history. Donald Trump's victories in 7 states on Super Tuesday clearly shows that the Republican Party is split: its elite sare unable to decide on a strategy, their favoured candidate is incapable of inspiring conservative support, and the party is heading for almost certain defeat in November 2016. The Democrats, on the other hand, are still divided between Hillary Clinton and BernieSanders but are open to supporting all the way to the White House whichever candidate wins the party nomination. The sheer persistence and significance of both the Trump and Sanders campaigns indicates that the tectonic plates of the American political landscape are shifting beyond the grasp of the established political party system. Ben Domenech, publisher of The Federalist may have called it right a few days ago when he suggested that we are witnessing a political realignment. We're moving from a traditional understanding of left-right politics that we've had for a long time to something that looks very different. However, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are not the disease and they're not the symptom of the disease - they are the beta test of a cure, from the perspective of the people.                                                                                                                                                                                                              

 An examination of the combined effects of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina, and now Super Tuesday primaries on the national polls up to this point shows two significant trends: Donald Trump is the credible candidate for the GOP nomination and Hillary Clinton has moved firmly, if not decisively, ahead of Bernie Sanders, possibly because of the Trump effect: Clinton is defining herself increasingly as the most likely candidate to defeat Trump in November 2016, and lots of Democrats are rallying around her. But Sanders did better than forecast in most polls on Super Tuesday, winning four states.



There appears to be little such credible movement within the GOP against Trump, despite Ted Cruz's wins in Oklahoma and Texas, his home state, and Marco Rubio's victory in Minnesota. The GOP looks like a rabbit in the headlights of an approaching truck. In terms of convention delegates, though, Trump's lead is looking unassailable. Some pollsters from RealClear Politics are suggesting that after last night, Trump has a 60% chance of being the Republican nominee. Clinton, for some, has a 90% to 100% likelihood of being the Democratic contender for the White House.

 It will be interesting to see what the GOP's uncommitted senators and governors do now in terms of endorsements. After the initial batch of primaries, and now Super Tuesday, history suggests that Trump is the rock-solid favourite to win the Republican presidential nomination because, since 1996 at least, every major party candidate who triumphed in New Hampshire and with a large national lead has gone on to win the party nomination. But Trump is different, some say - he's an 'insurgent' outsider, like Barry Goldwater in 1964, who may yet unite the opposition, unless the latter remains split over its even greater dislike of Cruz. But like Goldwater, who presaged the rise of a more right-wing Republican coalition, Trump may well be signposting the future of not only Republican but also national politics. Yet, a kinder, gentler Trump seems to have emerged from last night's results - suggesting the ability to work with the GOP, to unify it, to broaden its appeal, and win back estranged conservatives.

On the Democratic side, things looks very different - there are only two candidates and Clinton is seemingly pulling ahead; a CNN poll on Monday put Clinton 55% to 38% ahead of Sanders, despite the latter being seen as more honest. Still Clinton is viewed as the better potential commander in chief despite backing the disastrous Iraq War in 2003. Yet, in head to head national polls, Sanders beats Trump more decisively 47% to 41% than Clinton 45% to 42% - according to RealClear Politics poll averages. But November 2016 looks like a contest whose contours are clearer: self-styled billionaire 'insurgent outsider', speaking for the 'people' to make 'America great again', railing against the 'establishment Clinton', who's main appeal might come to be - 'I'm not Donald Trump'. If so, November might see one of the most brutal of contests in American history since Thomas Jefferson took on John Adams, each trading slurs that would shock Americans even today.  

Inderjeet Parmer is a Professor of International Politics at City University London. 



The University of Warwick Politics and International Studies Department is hosting a conference on the future of the Impact agenda in the UK. With preparations for the next REF already underway, this is an opportune moment to have a profession-wide discussion about Impact, with contributions from political scientists, funding bodies, HEFCE, and a broad range of other non-academic constituencies. This interdisciplinary event maybe of interest to the members of the PSA American Politics Working Group. We want this to be a full discussion with as many different positions and opinions being brought forwards. The deadline for proposals is the 15th March 2016.  


 The Conversation, a news site that publishes articles written by academic experts and edited by journalists, is looking for academics to contribute to its US election coverage.

They generally publish 800-word op-eds, and everyone who writes for them has final signoff on any edits made to their work.
Both timely, news-hooked responses and more contextual pieces are very welcome; everyone who's interested, from all disciplines, should get in touch with ideas.
Possible key themes include:
- Explainers on the political process and key social/policy issues
- Historical parallels with previous events, elections and leaders
- Race, class and gender inequality
- Anything specific to particular states or regions of the US
- Anyone who will be spending time in the US this year and can write dispatches from there

To express your interest, drop a line to the Politics Editor, Andrew Naughtie (, with your ideas.
Visit The Conversation website at

 CFP: "Fear and friendliness in the United States" 

American Studies Association of Norway
Oslo, Norway
Oct. 28-30, 2016 Conference venue: Scandic Helsfyr, Oslo

 The American Studies Association of Norway (ASANOR) is a professional, academic organization for people who are actively interested in American Studies. ASANOR is pleased to call for proposals for its 41st annual conference in Oslo, 28-30 October 2016. 

Conference theme: "Fear and friendliness in the United States" 

The USA has a culture of fear, but American culture is also a culture of friendliness. In a sense, the USA is torn between fear and friendliness; closeness and openness; and pessimism and optimism. This tension is visible in many areas. The election and reelection of president Barack Obama on the one hand evoked fear of a socialist, foreign take-over of America, but also was an expression of friendliness towards talented people despite their ethnic and class background. In Fargo, the widely acclaimed film and TV-series, the niceness of the Upper Midwest is contrasted with the harshness of big city crime. The graphic novel turned into hit TV-series The Walking Dead explores how a group of survivors balance fear of strangers with friendliness towards fellow human beings in a post-apocalyptic era.

The tension has deep roots in American history. Alexis de Tocqueville noted Americans' enduring optimism, but just a few years later, nativist sentiments drew on people's fear of the new and unknown. Sinclair Lewis' novel Main Street (1920) explored how friendly Midwesterners fostered a narrow culture where outsiders remained outsiders. During the 20th century fear was sometimes used in the name of defending a free and open republic: the Asian Exclusion Act of 1924 and the hearings of the House Un-American Activities Committee in the McCarthy Era excluded alien elements that were a perceived threat to American freedoms. Today, fear of Islamic terrorism lead presidential candidate Donald Trump to call for a temporary ban on Muslims from entering the United States.

We seek proposals for papers and panels addressing the role of fear and/or friendliness in American culture and in relation to other cultures. Each paper should last for no more than 20 minutes. As an interdisciplinary academic organization, ASANOR wishes to include presentations from a wide range of disciplines. Topics include, but are not limited to:


  • Film and popular culture
  • Literature
  • Race and ethnicity
  • National politics
  • Crime
  • Regionalism
  • Immigration
  • Religion
  • Legal issues
  • Foreign relations
  • Nationalism 


Invited speakers:

Keynote speaker 
Professor Amy Louise Wood (Illinois State University) will deliver the keynote address. Her current research investigates ideas about criminality at the turn of the 20th century, which wavered between fear and friendliness toward the criminal, and the effect of these ideas on prison reform. Professor Wood has previously published the book Lynching and Spectacle: Witnessing Racial Violence in America, 1890-1940 (University of North Carolina Press, 2009) for which she received the Lillian Smith Book Award and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award in History. 
Panel on academic publishing 
Michelle Houston, commissioning editor with the Edinburgh University Press, has been invited to participate on a panel on academic publishing along with scholars in the field (tbd). 
Panel on writing for/speaking to a general audience 
We have also invited a group of scholars to share their experiences on writing for and speaking to a general audience. How can we as Americanists explain current events to the average Norwegian? 

Proposals for Individual Papers  

Please provide the title and an abstract (300 words max.) of the paper you are proposing: your name, institutional affiliation, and email address; and a brief biographical statement (100 words max.). Please include the biographical statement at the end of your abstract.

Proposals for Panels 

Please provide a description (700 words max) of the topic of the panel and each panelist's contribution; the title of the panel and titles and abstracts for individual papers; and a brief biographical statement (100 words max.) about each panelist. Please include the biographical statements at the end of the abstracts.

Please send proposal and CV to Dr. Hilde Løvdal Stephens at and associate professor Alf Tomas Tønnessen at by April 15, 2016. 


Conference organizers:
Hilde Løvdal Stephens
Mia Jønnum
Alf Tomas Tønnessen


The Postgraduate and Early Career Researcher network for the British Association for American Studies
Promoting the research of postgraduate and early career researchers in the field of American Studies since 2001

Research  Reviews  Career Advice  Interviews 
BAAS and Eccles Centre Awards
This is a special U.S. Studies Online email detailing the awards offered by BAAS and the Eccles Centre for 2015-2016, which include a wide variety of opportunities for postgraduates, early-career researchers, and established academics. Please note that for most of these awards, membership of BAAS is required. 
The following BAAS Awards are available for the 2015-16 academic year. Details of application processes and closing dates for each award can be found at the BAAS website or by following the links below. 

BAAS are also very pleased to be able to offer a special 
Adam Matthew Digital Essay Prize to postgraduates and Early Career Researchers, for which the prize is £500 and a year's subscription to one Adam Matthew Digital Collections archive chosen by the winner. 

Closing dates for these awards vary (please follow the links for more details), but the earliest closing date is 
Saturday 30th January 2016

BAAS Submission Guidelines: Travel Awards and Essay Prizes
Applicants are invited to apply for one of several awards being offered in 2016 to help support scholars wishing to visit London to use the British Library's collections relating to North America.
·  One Visiting Professor Award of £7000 is offered to help support three months of research at the British Library by a senior scholar from the USA or Canada.
·  One Visiting US Fellow Award of £2500 is offered to help support one month of research at the British Library by a senior scholar from the USA.
·  One Visiting Canadian Fellow Award of £2500 is offered to help support one month of research at the British Library by a senior scholar from Canada.
·  UK researchers from outside the M25 corridor may apply for one of five postdoctoral Visiting Fellowships, which offer £2250 to support at least one month of research at the Library.
·  UK-based doctoral students may apply for a Postgraduate Student Award of £600 to support research visits to the Library.
·  Researchers normally resident outside the UK in a country that has membership of EAAS may apply for the postdoctoral Eccles Centre Visiting European Fellowship (which offers £2500 to support at least one month's research at the Library) or the European Postgraduate Award of £800 to support research visits to the British Library.
The administration of these Awards will be managed by the British Association for American Studies. The award holders are required to acknowledge the support received in any resulting publications, and will submit a brief written report and a financial report support by receipts, to the Eccles Centre and to BAAS at the end of the Award period.
Candidates should submit a brief CV and a document outlining the nature of the North American Studies research they propose to undertake at the British Library (total number of pages should not exceed four) by email to:

Closing date: 30 January 2016


 Call for Papers: Daniel Patrick Moynihan's America

Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford, 29 April 2016

Described by Steven F. Hayward as 'the Forrest Gump of American Politics,' the politician and scholar Daniel Patrick Moynihan was directly involved in or commented upon nearly all of the great and controversial issues in the twentieth century U.S. As a sociologist, political scientist, ethnographer, ambassador, senator, and official in four presidential administrations, Moynihan's career spanned fifty years and numerous spheres of public life.



 In 2016, the fortieth anniversary of Moynihan's first election to the Senate, and thirteen years after his death, the Rothermere American Institute's Annual Postgraduate Conference will be dedicated to a consideration of Moynihan's legacy and the developments in the life of the American nation that occupied his career. The conference will include a keynote panel featuring John Price, who was Moynihan's assistant for urban affairs in the Nixon White House.

 We invite papers from postgraduate scholars and early-career academics (those who have completed their doctorates within the last three years). Special preference may be given to submissions with Moynihan as a central/significant figure, but papers are invited on the following or related themes:

- The presidency from Kennedy to Clinton                                           - The U.S. Congress

- The postwar Democratic Party                                                              - Conservatism and neoconservatism

- Welfare policy                                                                                             - Race, ethnicity, and civil rights

- Diplomatic history and international relations                                - Public health policy and epidemiology

- Architecture and urban planning                                                          - Government secrecy                                                    

 - Politics and policy in New York                                                            - Federalism

Submissions should be sent to the organisers (Louisa Hotson, Daniel Rowe, and Patrick Andelic) at by 29 February 2016. Learn more at the official conference blog:  





The 2016 APG conference programme is available via the link APG 2016 Conference.
We are still looking for some volunteers to chair a few sessions, so we'd be very grateful if you could email us your availability and panel preference. Could we please also  ask those of us who are in a  4 people panel to keep their papers to 15 minutes in order to allow enough time for Q&A and discussion. Do not forget to register - just follow the link. Registration closes on December 16.

The university will contact you with info on how to get to the venue and accommodation in late December / early January, but please do not hesitate to get in touch should you have any questions.

The 2015 American Politics Group annual Colloquium

On Friday 13 November, the 2015 American Politics Group annual colloquium took place at the US Embassy, London. With guest speakers from the UK and abroad and over 100 attendees, the day was a resounding success. The event began with thoughtful insights from Embassy representative Tom Williams on the security challenges currently facing the US, followed by reflections from Baroness Williams of Crosby on the political cultures of the US and UK. James Boys (Richmond University) drew the content of his recent publications (see below for details) to consider America's place in the world, particularly in the context of the looming 2016 elections.


After lunch, Eddie Ashbee (Copenhagen Business School) addressed the group on the politics of austerity, as recently outlined in his 2015 publication, and the final session of the day involved visiting former members of Congress (FMCs) Tim Petri (R-WI) and Jim Moran (D-VA) sharing their experience and opinions on contemporary US politics. As has become colloquium tradition, the day carried on in a more informal manner at a local pub, and a measure of the FMC's enjoyment of the day was that they were the last to leave!

 Thanks to everyone who organised, participated and attended on the day, and an extra special thanks to Philip Davies at the Eccles Cente and to US Embassy staff for all of their time and efforts in bringing such a great Congress to Campus week of events together.

 Eddie Ashbee, The Rights and the Recession, (MUP 2015)

 James D Boys, Clinton's Grand Strategy: U.S. Foreign Policy in a Post-Cold War World (Bloomsbury, 2015)

James Boys Hillary Rising: The Politics, Persona and Policies of a New American Dynasty, (Biteback, 2016)


Conference: Ideas and Transformations in the Americas - Call for Papers

April 28 - 29 2016 - UCL Institute of the Americas

Following the success of our 1st International Conference in 2015, the UCL Americas Research Network invites graduate students and early career researchers working on any aspect of the Americas to participate in our 2nd International Conference: 'Ideas & Transformations in the Americas' with keynote speeches by Prof Maxine Molyneux (UCL Institute of the Americas) and Prof Diane Negra (University College Dublin).

With important elections coming up across the region in 2015-16 it is essential to pause and consider how ideas can transform the political, economic, social and cultural landscape across the Americas. We welcome papers from international researchers working across the humanities, the social sciences and beyond in order to create a dynamic, interdisciplinary conference that will showcase the depth and quality of emerging research on the Americas.

This includes proposals that explore Central, South and North America and we particularly encourage participation from researchers whose focus is upon Canada and the Caribbean. Whether this is national, regional, local, comparative, transnational, or global we hope to create a hemispherically-diverse conference which will foster interdisciplinary conversations that transcend the boundaries of the nation-state.

We welcome proposals that explore any topic pertaining to the broad theme of the conference, including:

  • The interaction of social, cultural, economic and political ideas
  • Regional transformation, cooperation, integration and conflict
  • International relations and foreign policy
  • History, narratives and identity
  • Democracy, human rights and security
  • Protest, social movements and regime legitimacy
  • Urbanization, ecology, communities and agrarian movements
  • Gender and feminism

The conference will be free to attend. Please submit abstracts by14 December 2015 and feel free to contact the Network at the same email address for further information.

NOTE: Abstracts should be no longer than 250 words and should be accompanied by a short biographical note. The Network will respond to all potential participants in January 2016 and thedeadline for the submission of accepted papers will beMarch 31 2016.


APG 2016 conference - booking link now live

We are delighted to annouce that we are now taking booking for the APG 2016 conference, due to take place at Reading University from 7-9 January.

Please sign up via the link here:

We very much look forward to seeing you there.



 American Politics Group annual colloquium 

Thanks for booking tickets, if you've already done so. If not - the number of £30 tickets (with lunch) still available are running out - so please book as soon as you can

There are still some £13 tickets (no lunch provided) available.

 Booking can be made via

 If you are able to share details with colleagues, or by twitter/facebok - can I suggest the following text ​Studying US politics at university? able to get to London on 13th Nov? … (please share by retweeting)"


James D Boys to speak at APG 2015 colloquium

We are very excited to have James D Boys giving a talk on US foreign policy at the APG 2015 colloquium (November 13 at the US Embassy, London. Scroll down the APG news page for colloquium booking information).

James is Associate Professor of International Political Studies at Richmond University, UK, and Visiting Senior Research Fellow at King's College London, UK. He is Managing Director of the Resolute Group of Associates and a regular contributor to the BBC, Sky News and Aljazeera.



APG Travel Award Report 2015

In 2014, University of Glasgow History student Joe Ryan-Hume was awarded the APG Alan Grant Memorial Award of £750 which faclitated a research trip to the US Library of Congress. As a thank you to APG members who generously facilitated the visit, Joe has written a report which outlines the purpose and benefit of his 5 week stay in Washington DC. See APG Travel Award section for details.



Latest book news

In July 2015, Eddie Ashbee's The Right and the Recession was published (in hardback) by MUP.

We are delighted that Eddie will be coming to the US Embassy, London on November 13 to speak at the APG 2015 colloquium. Edward is an Associate Professor in the Department of Business and Politics at Copenhagen Business School and a member of the APG executive committee. 



Presidential History Network 2016 conference - CFP

The deadline for the call for papers for this year's annual PHN conference is approaching. Dertails can be found via



Winner of the APG Richard E Nesutadt book prize 2015

The APG is delighted to announce the winner of the APG 2015 Richard E Neustadt book prize. The judges were obliged to choose from among an excellent range of entries, and unanimously agreed on When Soldiers Fall: How Americans Have Confronted Combat Losses from World War I to Afghanistan by Professor Steven Casey (LSE).


The £400 prize will be presented at the US Embassy, London, to Professor Casey by Baroness Williams of Crosby at the APG 2015 colloquium on November 13.

Link here


Job Vacancy: Curator, North American Collections, British Library, London (Salary £31,858 to £36,087)

The British Library is looking for a curator to help manage the post-1850 American and Canadian collections.
The British Library holds one of the largest and most important collections from North America in the world, from the colonial period to the present day. As a core member of the Americas and Australasian team, you will help to build these collections through acquisition and donation and seek to make this intellectual heritage accessible to everyone, for research, inspiration and enjoyment.
You will help to manage the post-1850 American collections and approval plans for contemporary acquisitions from the USA and Canada, and will assist those using the collections across all periods.
You will work closely with the Eccles Centre for American Studies, and encourage use of our USA and Canadian collections on site and online.
You will have experience of relevant work in a research library or similar institution and, ideally, a library and post-graduate qualification in discipline relevant for the role, such as American Studies, Literature, History or Politics.
You will bring to the role a demonstrable ability to engage with a range of groups, including the general public and an academic audience, and an understanding of current research trends in American and Canadian Studies.
The full job description is attached, and is also available here.

Closing date 26 October 2015.

Interviews will take place week commencing 9 November 2015.
For full details of how to apply visit;jsessionid=7420392110926D6352CB47B5331606F5?latest=01000700


If you are interested in the post and would like to do a little background reading, please have a look at this recent entry on the BL's Americas blog, which contains many useful links:

For an informal discussion about the role, please feel free to contact Dr Matthew Shaw, Lead Curator, Americas & Australasian Collections,


APG Colloquium at US Embassy, London, 13 November

What's current in US Politics? What are the issues that could turn the 2016 election? International experts will discuss these and other questions in the American Politics Group colloquium at the US Embassy. Ideal for academics, postgraduate & university students, researchers and teachers.

Speakers Include:

  • Dr James D Boys, Richmond University, on challenges for US Foreign Policy

  • Baroness (Shirley) Williams of Crosby, Former UK Cabinet Minister & US Academic (Harvard), on US Politics, from two different perspectives.

  • Dr Eddie Ashbee, Copenhagen Business School, on the politics of austerity

  • Former members of Congress Tom Petri (R-WI) and Jim Moran (D-VA)

  • Elizabeth Dibble, Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy, London.


Generously facilitated by the Eccles Centre and US Embassy

Tickets are now available for the event. There are two types of ticket
£30 includes lunch
£13 includes coffee etc in the two breaks, but would require leaving the Embassy to get food outside during the lunchbreak
I'm not sure how quickly tickets will be snapped up, but other than ones set aside beforehand (for speakers & guests), Eventbright will sell tickets until they are 'sold out'
The address is NOT available on the public events at Eventbrite - but please feel free, in fact I urge you, to share this email - or otherwise publicise the event to anyone who might be I attending.

Best wishes



Sunday September 13th 2015

Many thanks to everyone who has already submitted a paper proposal for the APG 2016 conference. For anyone who has not yet submitted a proposal, but would like to, please see the attached document for details. The event will take place at Reading University from January 7 - 9 and the keynote speaker will be Professor Steven Teles (Johns Hopkins University). We very much look forward to seeing you there.
Please feel free to share this CFP with colleagues and students as appropriate.

Clodagh Harrington

APG 2016 Annual Conference Call for Papers

Friday August 28th 2015



The US politics community values its mentors and will wish to join me in acknowledging dear friends who are taking their retirement this summer.  Nigel Bowles and John Dumbrell are both stepping down at Oxford and Durham respectively, and while Iwan Morgan has been persuaded to continue making a contribution to the work of the Institute of the Americas, he also is moving to a more modest commitment of his time to UCL.

I share with John Dumbrell a debt to the intellectual leadership of the late John Lees, who taught us both at Keele University, and who made sure that we were both invited to the tiny inaugural conference of the American Politics Group.  Nigel insists that he was with us at APG conferences immediately after that first (1975) conference, but he has always seemed enviably young in aspect without ever being less than genuinely wise.  Iwan, tracing a more historical route, has delivered huge value to the profession, mentoring a legion of students through London Metropolitan, the School of Advanced Study, UCL, HOTCUS and APG.

John played an important role in two of the UK's finest American Studies programmes, at Keele, and at Leicester, before moving to Durham, and everywhere he went, he took the American Politics Group conference with him, becoming a repeat manager of successful APG events.  Iwan pulled off the especially difficult task of hosting an APG conference in London, finding ways that APG members  could afford a few New Year days in the capital.  His contribution to the establishment of the Institute of the Americas is inestimable.  Nigel's connection to the annual APG conference will become legend, involving St Anne's and the Rothermere Institute in becoming regular hosts, come unspeakable snow or unseasonably early blossom!  His leadership of the Rothermere American Institute has been unmatchable.

All these three colleagues have represented the APG community as featured lecturers, media experts, and prizewinning authors.  Their colleagues as well as their students have benefitted from their teaching, scholarship and friendship, and they have all three also formed a part of the intellectual bridge connecting US politics scholarship and the American Studies community in the UK.  It is sometimes said at retirement, or semi-retirement, allows more time with the family.  Well guys, don't be strangers, we are your family and we expect to see you again soon.

Phil Davies, British Library


Sunday August 2nd 2015

Call for Papers

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the American Civil Rights Movement and the 50th anniversary of the UK Race Relations Act, during Black History Month, please join the Centre for Research in Race and Rights (University of Nottingham), Bright Ideas Nottingham, the Monitoring Group and Nottingham Contemporary for The October Dialogues 2015:

Black Lives Matter: The Past, Present and Future of an International Movement for Rights and Justice

Nottingham Contemporary, The Space, October 28, 2015, 9.30am-5pm

Plus an evening of Hip Hop performance and dialogues featuring Akala and activist-scholars Dr. Monica Miller and Dr. James Peterson (Lehigh University) (6.30-9pm).

Please register for the day conference, the evening event or both:

Stephen Lawrence. Eric Garner. Mark Duggan. Michael Brown. Sean Rigg. Trayvon Martin. Olaseni Lewis. Freddie Gray. Kingsley Burrell. Oscar Grant. Smiley Culture. Mya Hall. Cynthia Jarrett. Tamir Rice. Julian Cole. Tony Robinson. Cherry Groce. Walter Scott. Colin Roach. Rodney King. Demetre Fraser. Sandra Bland. Azelle Rodney. #SayTheirNames #ICantBreathe
#HandsUpDontShoot #BlackLivesMatter

The rallying calls of a new movement have spread across the US and the UK. There have been around 1000 Black Lives Matter protests worldwide in the last two years, including in at least 10 UK cities. There are now 30 Black Lives Matter chapters across the United States. The movement responds to the oppression, violence and exclusion that shapes black lives: in the US, 42% of black children are educated in high-poverty schools, black Americans are 37% of the country's homeless population, constitute nearly half of the 2 million jail population, and are 26% of those killed by police (though are 13% of the population). In the UK, black children are more than twice as likely as white children to be living in poverty, black people are six times as likely as whites to be stopped and searched, are more likely to go to jail when convicted of similar crimes and will serve longer sentences, are twice as likely to be not in employment, education or training, and are more likely to be forcibly restrained when held under mental health legislation. "I Can't Breathe" evokes the suffocating daily reality of all these statistics.

A series of panels featuring activists and researchers will explore the roots, dynamics and possible futures of #BlackLivesMatter. Is it a movement or a moment? A transatlantic or an American phenomenon? How does it operate on local, regional, national or international levels? Does it have a leader? What characterises its rhetoric, visual culture and philosophies? Is it a new civil rights movement, a new Black Power movement or a new black feminism? Did Black Lives Matter bring down the Confederate flag? Push President Obama to speak with a new voice? What is its protest heritage-does it draw from the lessons, tactics and legacies of anti-slavery, anti-lynching, the Black Panthers, Anti-Apartheid, or other movements? Is there a usable past for Black Lives Matter and what is that protest memory in the U.S. and UK? What should #BlackLivesMatterUK be about? What is the history of Black Lives Matter since the UK Race Relations Act and the U.S. Civil Rights Movement of 50 years ago, and where is Black Lives Matter going next?

Please send a 200-word abstract on these or related topics and a short biographical note to by August 24. Panels will be announced by the end of August. In particular we welcome presentations by postgraduate and early-career researchers (within 5 years of the PhD). Funding will cover UK travel and accommodation for presenters, complimentary lunch will be served, and registration is free:

Supported by the British Academy


Friday July 17th 2015

The Alan Grant and Ros Davies Memorial Research Travel Awards 2015

Through the generosity of its members, the PSA American Politics Group is able to offer two grants of £750 each to help support research trips to the USA for work on projects related to American politics.

Applications are invited from persons normally resident in the UK, and from scholars currently working at, or registered as postgraduates at, UK universities and institutions of higher education. Preference will be given to young scholars, primarily postgraduate students. Unsuccessful applicants for previous rounds of the awards are eligible to apply. 

While the project may be part of a larger and long-term programme of work, the proposed research visit should have well-defined, achievable and discrete aims, with results that will be reported and disseminated widely. The award is not intended to complement a long-stay visit to the USA.

The closing date for applications is 31 August 2015. The research trip must be completed by 31 December 2016. Awards for travel will not be made retrospectively. Successful candidates are required to provide a brief report of their research trip for publication on the APG website and are requested to acknowledge the assistance of the APG in any publication that results from research carried out as a result of the award.

Applications should be sent by email to J David Morgan at giving the following information:



Contact Address:


Institutional affiliation:

Highest academic qualification and awarding institution:

Position held (if any):

Proposed dates of visit:

Purpose of visit (Provide a summary of your research agenda and explain how the proposed research trip enhances it. What research will you undertake and where? Do not exceed 1,000 words)

Estimate of full cost (Be specific and realistic)

Name, address & email of one referee (Your referee should be familiar with your work and your research proposal. The prize committee will solicit references only of short-listed candidates. There is no need to provide a reference letter with your initial application)

Tuesday June 23rd 2015

Presidential History Network Symposium

Call for Papers

"Presidential Legacy"

May 26-27, 2016

Northumbria University 


It's election time!  The United States will choose a new president in 2016, consigning Barack Obama's administration to the history books.  More frequently than ever before, the White House press office talks about "legacy," and while it is perhaps too early to pass unequivocal judgment on Obama, the speculation compels attention.  In recent years, presidential scholars have turned to memory studies as a means of revealing the way historical images evolve, and therefore it seems particularly timely to consider presidential legacy as the current incumbent does the same.

The Presidential History Network, in conjunction with Northumbria University, will host a two-day symposium to analyze the phenomenon of "presidential legacy."  We invite scholars to submit paper proposals that investigate the presidential image in:

popular culture,

political rhetoric,

monuments and memorials,

        and depictions produced outside the United States.

Proposals for individual papers or panels (up to 4 papers) should include a 250-word abstract.  E-mail submissions to  The deadline is October 16, 2015.

The symposium will begin with a keynote panel from H. W. Brands, the Jack S. Blanton Sr. Chair in History at the University of Texas, Austin and renowned author of over twenty-five books on American history, among which include biographies of Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and Ronald Reagan.

The symposium will also include a panel on presidential libraries to understand the way they shape public memory.  Speakers will include staff and scholars from presidential libraries.

Saturday June 20th 2015

Notes from the APG

1. The date of the 2015 APG annual Colloquium is Friday 13 November, and details regarding speakers and booking will be shared with members nearer the time.  The colloquium is part of the annual Congress to Campus UK programme, which is led by the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library in co-operation with the US Association of Former Members of Congress, and supported by the US Embassy, London.  Elements of the programme are supported by De Montfort University Leicester; the Europe-Atlantic Group; Leicester University; Sulgrave Manor the American Politics Group; and the British Association for American Studies
2. The 2016 APG conference will take place at Reading University from January 7-9 and the keynote speaker is Professor Steven Teles of Johns Hopkins University. A call for papers will be sent out in September, along with booking and accommodation details.
3. Submissions are invited for the 2015 APG Ros Davies and Alan Grant memorial travel awards, which consist of two £750 payments for eligible scholars planning to undertake temporary research in the US. Application form

Monday May 18th 2015

How the United States Ends Wars, The Clinton Institute for American Studies, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland, 23-24 October 2015. CALL FOR PAPERS

Thursday May 14th 2015

Professor Bob Williams 


I am sure all members of the American Politics Group will be deeply saddened to learn of the death of Bob Williams.


Bob was a very loyal member of the APG. He organised several APG conferences, typically in Durham in deepest midwinter. His approach to academic life was always etched in humour and in a keen awareness of the absurd. Bob was for ever an enemy of pomposity and a champion of academic and scholarly humanity. His published work was mainly in the field of political corruption, where his expertise extended well beyond the United States. His academic centre of gravity was always, however, in the study and teaching of American Politics. His edited volume, Explaining American Politics: Issues and Interpretations (Routledge, 1990) was a conscious and highly successful effort to showcase the work of American Politics Group members. The book exemplified Bob's commitment to academic good fellowship in general and to the American Politics Group in particular.


Bob worked at Durham University from 1971 to 2005, becoming Principal of St Aidan's College (where he hosted APG events) in 1991. Colleagues may not be aware that Bob was also a long-serving magistrate and a writer of thrillers under the pen-name of Jack Carey.


Bob will be deeply missed by all those students and colleagues whose lives he touched and enriched.


John Dumbrell (Professor of Government, Durham University)

Wednesday May 13th 2015

John Dumbrell's first publication in Vietnamese.

Monday April 20th 2015

The 2015 Richard E. Neustadt Book Prize


The American Politics Group of the PSA is pleased to invite entries for the 2015 Richard E. Neustadt Book Prize, the top prize devoted to US politics in the UK.


The prize of £400 will be presented to the best book in the field of US government and politics (including political history and foreign policy) published in the calendar year 2014, and authored by an academic permanently employed at a UK university.  The APG is pleased to acknowledge the generous support of the US Embassy for this prize.


The prize winner will be announced at the APG annual colloquium held at the US Embassy in London in November 2015.


Previous prize winners include Professor Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones of the University of Edinburgh, Dr Andrew Preston of the University of Cambridge, Professor Alan Ware and Stephen Tuck, both of the University of Oxford, Professor Iwan Morgan of UCL and Professor Robert Singh of Birkbeck College and Dr Timothy Lynch of the University of Melbourne.


Entrants for the prize should arrange for four (4) copies of their book to be sent to:

Dr Clodagh Harrington

Dept of Politics and Public Policy

De Montfort University

The Gateway

Leicester LE1 9BH

Before the closing date of 15 May 2015.


Monday March 23rd 2015

In memory of David Watson

I have only just become aware of the death, 6 weeks ago, of David Watson. I first met David when he was teaching at Oxford Poly, and he was part of the small group that attended a very early APG conference.

David was an active and engaged participant.  He was encouraging, cheerful, perceptive, and a dedicated contributor to the book reviews section of the American Politics Newsletter, even when he had taken over as the VC of Brighton University, and a continuing interest in US politics could hardly be fitted into his life.

I am so sorry we have lost him.

Phil Davies 

Saturday March 21st 2015

European Association for American Studies Conference - Call for Papers: Closing Date 15th June 2015

Proposals in all areas of American Studies are now cordially invited for the 2016 EAAS conference!
The biennial EAAS conference will take place from 22 to 25 April 2016 in the lovely coastal town of Constanta, Romania.

The full call for proposals can be found at the conference website, and proposals may be submitted at any time between now and 15 June 2015 via the easy to use online form at

Keynote Speakers already booked include:

Professor Rodica Mihaila (University of Bucharest & Director, Fulbright Commission, Bucharest)

Professor Gary Gerstle (Paul Mellon Professor of American History, Cambridge)

Linda Cox (Executive Director of the Bronx River Alliance, New York).

With this Open Call for Proposals the 2016 EAAS conference creates the context for wide-ranging explorations of our subject landscape without limiting the opportunity for in-depth concentration and innovative co-operations. Just over a century ago Theodore Roosevelt was the first US presidential hopeful to announce his candidacy with the phrase 'my hat's in the ring' - your EAAS colleagues trust that the invitation to join our meeting in 2016 will inspire you similarly, to submit a proposal and to take part in this important biennial meeting. We look forward to seeing you in Constanta.


Friday March 20th 2015 

The Richard E. Neustadt Book Prize, 2015



The American Politics Group of the PSA is pleased to invite entries for the 2015 Richard E. Neustadt Book Prize, the top prize devoted to US politics in the UK.


The prize of £400 will be presented to the best book in the field of US government and politics (including political history and foreign policy) published in the calendar year 2014, and authored by an academic permanently employed at a UK university.  The APG is pleased to acknowledge the generous support of the US Embassy for this prize.


The prize winner will be announced at the APG annual colloquium held at the US Embassy in London in November 2015.


Previous prize winners include Professor Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones of the University of Edinburgh, Dr Andrew Preston of the University of Cambridge, Professor Alan Ware and Stephen Tuck, both of the University of Oxford, Professor Iwan Morgan of UCL and Professor Robert Singh of Birkbeck College and Dr Timothy Lynch of the University of Melbourne.


Entrants for the prize should arrange for four (4) copies of their book to be sent to:


Dr Clodagh Harrington

Dept of Politics and Public Policy

De Montfort University

The Gateway

Leicester LE1 9BH


Before the closing date of 15 May 2015.


Monday January 19th 2015

The Presidential History Network (PHN) has organized an event for March 27, 2015 (2pm-5pm) in collaboration with UCL's Institute of the Americas.  Details of the event - including a programme and biographies of the speakers - are available on the PHN website.

Saturday January 17th 2015

Earlier this week, we were fortunate enough to have the chance to interview political historian Dr James D. Boys regarding his forthcoming book, Clinton's Grand Strategy: U.S. Foreign Policy in a Post-Cold War World, which is released in the UK in March and in the US in April. Read more ..

Monday January 12th 2015

The APG held its annual meeting during the recent conference at MMU. The minutes have now been published.

Thursday January 8th 2015

The 2015 APG conference, held at Manchester Metropolitan University, concluded on Tuesday.


Tuesday December 9th 2014

Chris Olewicz, an APG travel award recipient, has submitted the following report on his research trip:

My thesis focuses on the 1960s radical student journal Studies on the Left, which was created by graduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the late 1950s. The founding editorial board included a number of people who went on to have notable careers in journalism, academia, and politics including James Weinstein, Martin Sklar, Norm Fruchter, Tom Hayden and Stanley Aronowitz. Influential among the members of the New Left student movement, Studies became known as the "intellectual organ" of that movement.

As a self funded PhD student, it has proved difficult at times for me to raise the required funds for me to conduct research trips. The APG Travel Grant award enabled me to visit Madison, Wisconsin in August 2014, where I spent just under three weeks examining primary documents in the archives of the Wisconsin Historical Society. The staff were very helpful, and gave me full access to the papers that I needed. Of particular importance were the James Weinstein Papers, and the Studies on the Left Papers. Both collections are crucial to enriching my thesis, and I was happy to find that I had underestimated the quantity, quality, and depth of the material.

The trip was my first ever research trip outside the UK, and I was determined to make the most of my time there. In addition to my research, I was also able to arrange meetings with a couple of academics familiar with Studies on the Left and the subject of print culture in the New Left period. I also took some time to take in the city. Madison is a beautiful place with a great culture and atmosphere, and I would dearly like to return. I'd like to thank the American Politics Group for granting me the award, which enabled me to further my research, whilst providing me with an unforgettable experience.

Monday December 8th 2014

There will be a symposium to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing. This will take place on Monday 9 February 2015, from 6.00 to 9.00 at the University of Reading. The organizers intend to publish an edited collection out of the symposium on nuclear weapons and the Cold War with Palgrave Macmillan.

Hiroshima symposium

Thursday December 4th 2014

Steve Hurst and Andy Wroe have a new blog posting: Existing narratives of the effects of partisan polarization in Congress on foreign policy issues are too simplistic.

Tuesday December 2nd 2014

The programme for the 2015 American Politics Group conference, (January 4th - 6th, Manchester Metropolitan University) has just been published.

Conference programme

Sunday November 30th 2014

US Politics/ US Political History Lectureship
UCL Institute of the Americas is pleased to announce that we are seeking to appoint an exceptional scholar to take up the position of Lecturer in US Political History or US Politics from September 2015. UCL-IA is a leading multidisciplinary specialist institution for the study of Latin America, the United States, the Caribbean and Canada. The post is available as a full-time open-ended contract. The post-holder will be required to carry out research, teaching and administration within the Institute, especially in the area of US History or Politics.
The preferred candidate will have a PhD and either research and teaching knowledge in US political history since 1865 or in modern and contemporary US politics. He/she will also have experience of teaching and other forms of public presentation, including undergraduate courses and postgraduate taught modules. The post-holder will also have a proven record of the ability to supervisor academic work by undergraduate and Master's students, and of conducting high quality research as reflected in the authorship of high quality publications or other research outputs.

The salary is based on the grade 8 scale which is £41,430 - £48,873 per annum inclusive of London Allowance. The deadline for applications is Monday 5th January 2015. Interviews are likely to be held in early February. Further details regarding the job description and application process can be found here.


Friday November 21st 2014

Book now for the 2015 American Politics Group conference at Manchester Metropolitan University, (January 4th - 6th).

Tuesday November 11th 2014


A new and important book edited by Clodagh Harrington:

This volume contains a vibrant set of insightful essays which examine the array of challenges facing the Obama administration, and the president himself. Topics range from how best to manage a ruptured economy to controlling the budget, the green agenda, foreign policy and the recalibration of US relations with the UK, along with sections on presidential leadership, elections, healthcare and food poverty. The common theme throughout is the issue of governing in a fractured, fractious political environment, and the difficulties that accompany this. Contributing scholars are based at both US and UK academic institutions, and so a range of informed perspectives are offered throughout this engaging work. Packed with detail and yet highly accessible, this volume will appeal to those interested in American politics, history and the political process.

Friday October 31st 2014



The APG extends travel grants to researchers. Here's a report from Philippe Beaulieu-Brossard, a Ph.D. candidate in International Relations at the University of St-Andrews.

Field Trip Report: The APG Alan Grant and Ros Davies Memorial Research Travel Award 2013


Research Project: American Experts and the Iranian Nuclear Crisis: the 'Failure' of Speaking Truth to Power?


The APG travel grant enabled to partially fund my fieldtrip to New York City, Washington D.C. and Boston. This fieldtrip took place from January 21st to February 1st, 2014. The aim was to investigate the practice of congressional hearings by focusing on how experts translate their knowledge to legislators and how this translation affects US foreign policy. I narrowed down hearings to those held by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs about US foreign policy towards Iran (1998-2014). I contacted most (former) senior officials, legislators (and their aides), and experts (in academia or think tanks) who took part in these hearings. I was able to successfully interview 17 individuals (4 former senior officials, 4 legislative senior assistants in charge of hearings, and 9 experts based in Universities or think tanks). The APG travel grant enabled to conduct half of these interviews in person and to conduct participant observation at a hearing held by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. This hearing was about the on going negotiations between the US and Iran.

This fieldtrip provided evidences strengthening my claim that institutionalised forums do not have an instrumental purpose in foreign policy-making. They, however, are spaces employed to reassure legislators in their beliefs about US foreign policy by morphing scientific knowledge into political knowledge. My research supports this claim by analysing how legislators select experts, how knowledge available mainly derives from the Washington D.C. think tank community, how this knowledge morphs into political knowledge, and how experts loose their authority in the process. This research will first be presented at the next International Studies Association (ISA) convention in New Orleans in February 2014. My aim is to submit this paper to the Annual Review of Political Science. Last but not the least, this fieldtrip also provided key insights to my thesis on the Iranian nuclear crisis from the American perspective. 


Saturday October 18th 2014


The Handbook of Political Citizenship and Social Movements is to be published by Edward Elgar at the end of this month. Edited by Hein-Anton van der Heijden (University of Amsterdam) the Handbook surveys a broad range of movements and ties them together with changing and contested representations of citizenship. The chapter on the Tea Party movement is written by Eddie Ashbee, (Copenhagen Business School).

"This outstanding Handbook establishes the relationship between political citizenship and social movements as an area of study. As an in-depth and well-conceived source for beginners, experienced scholars and students alike, it provides theoretically rich, methodologically diverse, and empirically wide-ranging chapters on political struggles over citizenship. Moreover, the bridging between sociological and political theories of movements and citizenship reveals both in a different light" (Engin Isin, The Open University)

Handbook of Political Citizenship and Social Movements 

Sunday September 28th 2014


APG/BAAS Annual US Politics Colloquium

US Embassy, London

The Obama administration: hope, change and partisan politics

Friday 14 November 2014, 11.00am - 5.00pm

(registration and coffee 10.30 - 11.00am)


Speakers Include:


William Barnard (author and former Chair of Democrats Abroad) and Republican counterpart, Dissecting the 2014 Election Outcomes

Dr Althea Legal-Miller (University College London), Barack Obama and the African American Struggle for Racial Justice

Professor Inderjeet Parmar (City University) Foreign Policy Challenges for the Obama Administration

Former Members of Congress Hon Mary Bono (R-CA) and Hon Brian Baird (D-WA) discussing current US political issues


The APG would like to extend sincere thanks to the US Embassy, London for hosting the event, which will take place from 11.00am - 5.00pm. Lunch will be taken this year at the Embassy's in-house restaurant. This must be paid for in advance with your colloquium registration. Lunch is just £15. There are other places to eat around the Embassy for those that want to make independent arrangements. The colloquium fee of £10 without lunch includes refreshments.


Booking form


Saturday September 20th 2014

Some photos from the workshop that the APG sponsored together with the British Politics Group at APSA's 2014 Annual Meeting in Washington DC. (Thanks to Matt Beech at the University of Hull for the snaps). 






Friday September 12th 2014

Fulbright Awards funding for UK academics and professionals: call for 2015-16 applications

The US-UK Fulbright Commission is pleased to announce a call for applications for its 2015-16 Scholar Awards. Fulbright awards provide generous grants for research, teaching or a combination of the two in the United States. All-disciplines awards provide funding for individuals to pursue any academic subject at any US higher education institution. The Commission also offers a variety of awards in specific subjects and at specific institutions in the US.

Scholar Awards typically provide a contribution towards any institutional fees, travel to/from the US, accommodation and general maintenance costs while in the USA. Successful grantees also receive a number of memberships, sickness and accident benefit coverage and visa sponsorship. There is substantial pre-departure support, including a Finalists' Workshop (March) and a 2-day Orientation Programme (July). Once on-the-ground in the US, further support is offered by the Council for the International Exchange of Scholars (CIES), including additional travel grant opportunities for scholars to accept guest lecturing invitations at other US institutions. After the grant period is over Fulbrighters have access to our vast US-UK alumni network and are given the opportunity to attend a range of social and cultural events in the UK.

Applications for 2015-16 awards are open until 5pm on 31 October 2014.

We also have a range of grants available at the Postgraduate level to help fund Master's degree and Doctoral degrees/research in the US.

For more information on the whole list of available Awards, deadlines, eligibility and how to apply visit the Awards section<> of the Fulbright website.

Questions? Please contact the Fulbright Awards staff via email at


Tuesday September 2nd 2014

Dates for your diary:

The APG's annual colloquium will be held at the US Embassy in London on Friday November 14th and the 2015 annual conference (at Manchester Metropolitan University) will take place between January 4th and 6th.

Please also note that the submission deadline for applications to the American Politics Group Alan Grant and Ros Davies Memorial Travel Grants for 2014 has been extended until September 14.
Full details of these awards are attached. Please share with colleagues as appropriate and I would be particularly grateful if you would inform any eligible post-graduate students of these two £750 awards.
The extended deadline will not affect the decision date. Winners will, as usual, be announced at the APG colloquium in November.

APG travel awards

New book

 A new book by Lucas Richert: Conservatism, Consumer Choice, and the Food and Drug Administration during the Reagan Era: A Prescription for Scandal. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2014.


And a forthcoming book:

Eddie Ashbee's next book, The Right and the Recession, will be published by Manchester University Press in 2015. Here's a summary:

The Right and the Recession considers the ways in which conservative activists, groupings, parties and interests in the US and Britain responded to the financial crisis and the "Great Recession" that followed in its wake. The book not only outlines events and developments but argues that the tensions and stresses between different ideas, interests and institutions were pivotal in structuring the character of political outcomes. Thus, within the US, the forms of policy pursued by Republicans and their efforts to block President Obama's agenda were for the most part shaped by the tensions between the Tea Party movement and established Republican Party elites. In Britain, the stresses between the Cameron government's civic conservatism and more traditionalist Conservative interests opened the way for populist challenges and enabled the United Kingdom Independence Party to gain much more of a political foothold. At the same time, they opened a way for the Conservative leadership to reframe its commitment to fiscal retrenchment and austerity. When the Conservatives took office in 2010, the public expenditure cuts were portrayed as a necessary response to earlier "overspending". Increasingly, however, retrenchment was represented as a way of securing a permanently "leaner" state. The book assesses the character of the shift in thinking as well as the viability of efforts to shrink the state and the parallel attempts in the US to cut federal government spending through mechanisms such as the budget sequester. It suggests that although the right may succeed in reducing the size and scale of state social provision, the state is likely to reassert itself in the longer-term.

Monday September 1st 2014

The annual conference of the American Political Science Association (APSA) has now concluded. The APG was well-represented and members from the UK, the US and Denmark were in attendance. On the day before the main programme began, the APG (together with APSA's British Politics Group and the Centre for British Politics at the University of Hull) held a well-attended workshop considering Britain and America in Critical Perspective: Austerity, Uncertainty, and Decline?. The presenters included Alex Waddan (University of Leicester) who addressed comparative health policy issues and Eddie Ashbee (Copenhagen Business School) who looked at the fate of civic neoliberalism" in both the US and the UK.

Tuesday August 26th 2014


American Political Science Association annual conference, Washington DC.

Saturday August 2nd 2014

American Politics Group (Political Studies Association - UK), 2015 Annual Conference: Call for Papers

The forty-first annual conference of the American Politics Group of the Political Studies Association will be held at Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester (UK) from January 4 - 6 2015.

Paper or panel proposals considering contemporary US political institutions or processes, foreign policy issues or political history are invited. The conference organizers would particularly welcome proposals addressing comparative themes or surveying relevant theoretical and methodological questions.

Proposals (no more than 150 words for single papers, 300 words for panels) should be sent to Dr Steve Hurst ( by no later than October 30 2014.

The APG is the leading scholarly association for the study of US politics in the UK and has members in the US and continental Europe as well as the UK itself.

Further details about the group and its activities can be found on the APG website. Full details of the conference will also be posted on the website. In the meantime any enquiries should be directed to Dr Steve Hurst, Chair of the American Politics Group, (

Thursday July 31st 2014

The American Political Science Association holds its Annual Meeting in Washington DC, August 28 - 31. Information about APG activities at the conference.

And - another great posting on The Monkey Cage by Andy Rudalevige (Bowdoin College) considering the House of Representatives' decision to authorize the Speaker to sue President Obama on its behalf.

Tuesday July 8th 2014

The APG Alan Grant and Ros Davies Memorial Research Travel Awards 2014


Through the generosity of its members, the PSA American Politics Group is able to offer two grants of £750 each to help support research trips to the USA for work on projects related to American politics.


Applications are invited from persons normally resident in the UK, and from scholars currently working at, or registered as postgraduates at, UK universities and institutions of higher education. Preference will be given to young scholars, primarily postgraduate students. Unsuccessful applicants for previous rounds of the awards are eligible to apply.


While the project may be part of a larger and long-term programme of work, the proposed research visit should have well-defined, achievable and discrete aims, with results that will be reported and disseminated widely. The award is not intended to complement a long-stay visit to the USA.


The closing date for applications is 31 August 2014. The research trip must be completed by 31 December 2015. Awards for travel will not be made retrospectively. Successful candidates are required to provide a brief report of their research trip for publication on the APG website and are requested to acknowledge the assistance of the APG in any publication that results from research carried out as a result of the award.

Applications should be sent by email to Dr Clodagh Harrington at giving the following information:


Contact Address:


Institutional affiliation:

Highest academic qualification and awarding institution:

Position held (if any):

Proposed dates of visit:

Purpose of visit (Provide a summary of your research agenda and explain how the proposed research trip enhances it. What research will you undertake and where? Do not exceed 1,000 words)

Estimate of full cost (Be specific and realistic)

Name, address & email of one referee (Your referee should be familiar with your work and your research proposal. The prize committee will solicit references on only short-listed candidates. There is no need to provide a reference letter with your initial application)


Friday July 4th 2014

Andy Rudalevige has another Monkey Cage posting, (The Monkey Cage is an influential blog now sponsored / hosted by The Washington Post). The posting considers presidential power in the wake of the US Supreme Court's ruling on recess appointments and House Speaker John Boehner's proposed legal action against President Obama.

'So sue me': Obama, the House, and executive power (July 2nd)



Thursday July 3rd 2014

First Presidential History Network Conference (Report)

Presidential scholarship in the UK is on a roll.  Since Professor Iwan Morgan's 2011 ranking exercise that appraised the leadership credentials of past presidents from a UK perspective, the number of publications and conferences investigating the White House has soared.  On June 27, 2014, Northumbria University joined the chorus with a one-day conference entitled "A Presidential Nation: The Presidency in U.S. History."

The event marked the first meeting of the Presidential History Network, a group that serves the academic needs of scholars interested in the presidency, individual presidents, and corollary interests in the institutional, political, or cultural history of the American polity.  Presidential studies, once considered "traditional political history" has been rehabilitated and the PHN aims to take advantage of the new era of political history.  Interdisciplinary scholarship has renewed interest in political history and the introduction of cultural studies, gender, race, memory, transnationalism, and social sciences brings new angles.  As Julian Zelizer points out, an innovative generation of scholars aims to "explore the full range of scholarship that exists outside history departments to see and profit from all the possible partnerships."  Unintentionally, but perhaps unsurprisingly, the PHN conference heard papers from an eclectic range of new political approaches to the presidency.

Dr. Peter O'Connor, a recent doctoral graduate from Northumbria University kicked off the event with a transatlantic view of the antebellum presidents and demonstrated how the British perception of the second party system drew on fears of mob rule and democracy as populism.  PhD candidates Belle Grenville-Mathers (Sheffield) and Chad King (University of Missouri) delivered compelling analyses of Ulysses S. Grant's presidency and his management of other branches of government.  Four-time elected Franklin Delano Roosevelt received coverage from Dr. Alex Goodall (UCL) who surveyed the open door idea as a foreign policy tradition from which FDR drew.  Professor Dean Kotlowski (Salisbury University) challenged previous accounts of FDR's decision to seek a controversial third term.  Race featured heavily.  Dr. Kevin Yuill (Sunderland) examined the Nixon administration's immigration policy and prevailing racial ideas.  Dr. Joe Merton (Nottingham) revealed how the boom of interest in white ethnicity shaped presidential elections in the 1970s.  The wave of scholarly interest in science policy came into focus with Professor Richard Damms (Mississippi State) evaluation of Eisenhower's administration and Dr. Gareth Davies (Oxford) explored the way presidents from LBJ to Obama cope with "natural disasters."  Dr. Jon Herbert and Dr. Luca Trenta considered linguistic deployments.  Herbert analyzed historical co-option and invocation of past presidents, and Trenta the complex definition of "imminent" as a means for war-making.

The conference's keynote was Professor Sidney Milkis, the White Burkett Miller chair of Politics at the University of Virginia's Miller Center.  Prof. Milkis delivered a comparative analysis of Barack Obama's and Theodore Roosevelt's speeches at Osawatomie, Kansas.  As the epicenter of 1850s abolitionist activism and where John Brown skirmished with slaveholders, Osawatomie also boasts two infamous presidential speeches (Theodore Roosevelt in 1910 and Barack Obama in 2011).  Both instances are regarded by Milkis as presidential turns to progressivism.  In 1910, Roosevelt spoke of New Nationalism in his quest for a third term.  In 2011, Obama spoke of universal healthcare and launched his reelection campaign.  Professor Milkis is the former director of the Miller Center's Democracy and Governance Studies group, which investigates the intersection and historical roots of contemporary American politics.  It is no wonder these episodes intrigue him.  Presenting Theodore Roosevelt as the leading progressive of his era, Milkis asserted that Obama hoped some of the progressive magic would rub off on his plans for social welfare programs.  It was a positive invocation, Milkis asserted.

Sponsored by the U.S. Embassy and Routledge, the first PHN conference concluded with closing remarks from Prof. Iwan Morgan (UCL).  Encouraged by the turn-out and caliber of the scholarship, plans are already underway for next year's event.

Dr. Michael Patrick Cullinane, Senior Lecturer U.S. History, Northumbria University


Thursday June 5th 2010

Britain and America in Critical Perspective: Austerity, Uncertainty, and Decline?







The American Politics Group is co-organizing (with the British Politics Group of APSA and the Centre for British Politics in the School of Politics, Philosophy & International Studies, University of Hull) a short course at this year's annual conference of the American Political Science Association: Britain and America in Critical Perspective: Austerity, Uncertainty, and Decline?

The course will be held on Wednesday August 27th. Both the course and the conference itself will be taking place in Washington DC. The course includes the following papers and presentations:

Eddie Ashbee, Copenhagen Business School: Charting the Right, Civic Neoliberalism and Processes of Intercurrence

Alex Waddan, University of Leicester: Making the Most of a Crisis? Social Policy after the Great Recession in the US and UK
Kevin Hickson, University of Liverpool: One-Nation Labour
Tim Oliver, Johns Hopkins University: London and the EU: the international pro-European capital city of a Eurosceptic, Little England state?

Christine Harlen, University of Leeds: U.S. Hegemony and the Global Crackdown on Tax Havens
Simon Lee, University of Hull: 'Re-balancing' Our Understanding of Austerity and Relative Decline: The Developmental State and Developmental Market Traditions in the United Kingdom and United States

David Coates, Wake Forest University: Giants in Decline: The Shared Political Agenda of the Anglo-American Growth Model
Amani El Sehrawey: The Transatlantic Relationship, the European Union, and British Politics: Negotiating a British Foreign Policy 
Rebecca Howard: UK-US Policy Towards the Middle East

Mark Bevir, University of California, Berkeley: Joined-up Security: A Genealogy

Andrew Dorman, King's College London: The Politics of Austerity: Preparing for the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review

Further details and registration


Thursday June 5th 2014

HOTCUS Postgraduate and Early Career Workshop

Registration is now open for the inaugural Historians of the Twentieth Century United States (HOTCUS) postgraduate and early career workshop, to be held at the University of Sheffield on Saturday 21st June 2014.  We welcome participation from Americanists of all periods and so would be extremely grateful if you could share these details with your networks.
Created as part of HOTCUS's commitment to fostering the advancement of postgraduate and early career researchers in the UK, the event will explore the central aspects of academic career development for those researching any area of U.S. history.  Arranged through a series of roundtable discussions, the workshop will offer a venue for established scholars (see attached schedule) to share their experiences of academic work and impart valuable knowledge on areas such as publishing, interviewing, public engagement, grant applications, working in the United States, the UK and beyond the academy.  The event will promote an open dialogue between participants of all disciplines and periods, giving aspiring scholars an excellent opportunity to discover new ideas and techniques for the future as well as meet fellow academics in an informal environment.
For those interested in attending, places for the workshop can be booked via our website: The event costs £10, which includes lunch, refreshment and membership to HOTCUS, and can be paid via Paypal on the website.  For any queries please contract Mr. Thomas Keep and Dr. Zoe Colley at

Sunday May 25th 2014

A conference at the Rothermere American Institute, 17-18 September 2014

The Rights of the Political Minority in America














Papers are invited for 'The Rights of the Political Minority in America', a conference at the RAI on 17 and 18 September 2014. The conference will meet amid debate about the future of the rules governing the filibuster in the United States Senate, where the rights of individual senators and the minority party to hold up business have never seemed stronger, but also in a context in which the rights of minority parties in state-level governments seem as weak as they have ever been. The conference hopes to attract presentations not only from historians of American government, but also from political scientists and practitioners.

Abstracts of proposed papers should be sent to either or by 15 May 2014

Conference website


Tuesday May 20th 2014

The programme for the June 27th conference (A Presidential Nation: The Presidency in U.S. History) organized by the Presidential History Network at Northumbria University is now available. Panel themes include the nineteenth century executive, Franklin Roosevelt's White House and the Cold War presidency. The plenary lecture will be given by Sidney Milkis of the University of Virginia.

Conference programme

Wednesday May 7th 2014

The Fulbright Commission (US - UK) is advertising for an Alumni and Development Manager. The closing date is just five days away - May 12th.

Further details

Saturday May 3rd 2014

The 2014 American Politics Group annual colloquium will be held on Friday 14 November at the US Embassy in London. The event will review the mid-term elections and we very much hope to see you there. 


Thursday April 17th 2014

The 19th Annual Douglas W Bryant Lecture - How Dismal is the Future of American Politics? Monday 19 May 2014

In 2012 Barack Obama became the only Democratic president other than Franklin Roosevelt to win successive presidential elections with over 50% of the popular vote. He believed he had a mandate to demand action from Congress on two issues where public opinion appeared to expect government leadership: gun control legislation and the 'fiscal cliff'. His failure to secure action on both issues illustrated his subsequent inability to translate his electoral victory into a mandate to govern.
In the Nineteenth Annual Douglas W Bryant Lecture, Professor Tony Badger, reflecting on a half a century of studying modern America, asks why is it so difficult to govern the United States, and why is the American system of politics so dysfunctional? He looks at the historic limits on the presidency and the federal government, the low level of political participation, the extreme polarisation of party politics, the loss of popular faith in the federal government, and the malign influence of both money and religion on contemporary politics. He expresses scepticism about any likely progress on the immediate policy challenges facing the United States: immigration reform, the deficit, the reigning in of entitlement spending, and climate change. He asks if the US can respond nimbly to the crises in the Middle East and the challenge of China. However, Americans have portrayed the inadequacy of their politics in apocalyptic terms many times before. Tony Badger will suggest that economic recovery, energy self-sufficiency and the sheer scale of America's per capita wealth and military capability will enable the United States once again to survive the dysfunctionality of its political system.
Tony Badger has been Paul Mellon Professor of American History at Cambridge University since 1992 and Master of Clare College since 2003. He was elected a Fellow of the Society of American Historians in 2012. Badger has written extensively on the New Deal, southern liberal politicians and the Civil Rights Movement. He is currently writing a biography of Albert Gore Sr.
When: Lecture 19.00 - 20.00, preceded by reception from 18:15
Place: Conference Centre, British Library
Price: Free, but attendance is by prior reservation ONLY.  Places may be reserved via the Box Office, or by email to Please note, tickets are not issued for this event.

Wednesday April 9th 2014

The Midwest Political Science Association annual conference, held in Chicago, concluded on Sunday.



Tuesday April 8th 2014


Call for Papers:


J. William Fulbright in International Perspective:

Liberal Internationalism and U.S. Global Influence


Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics and Society

University of Arkansas

Fayetteville, Arkansas

April 17-18, 2015


Senator William J. Fulbright is without doubt one of the titans of U.S. politics in the twentieth century. The longest-serving chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Fulbright was senator for Arkansas for thirty years (1944-74) and left a singular imprint on U.S. foreign policy during those decades. As a result his stature is possibly as great internationally as nationally. This conference brings together a selected group of scholars to examine Fulbright's contribution and re-assess his legacy in the context of U.S. foreign relations, and, more broadly, global developments in the twentieth century.


The two-day conference is built around two central themes, which partly overlap but also contrast with each other in important ways. Firstly, we want to consider the Fulbright Program itself as the embodiment of the Senator's aim to both contribute to the fostering of a global intellectual elite centered on the United States, as well as internationalize U.S. culture and society. Arguably Fulbright's most lasting achievement, the Program has proved to be a vital element in global knowledge transfer, with around 325,000 alumni to date. While we welcome proposals that address the domestic and political origins of the exchange program, we are particularly interested in proposals that examine the Fulbright program in local contexts across space and time.


Secondly, the conference will focus on Fulbright's contributions toward liberal internationalism in the twentieth century. From his early legal work in international law to his later career on the global stage, the Arkansas Senator is a political paradigm for a certain kind of U.S. world leadership based on effective international organizations (including the UN) and the promotion of modernization and development abroad. In this respect, his opposition to the Vietnam war exemplifies Fulbright's particular vision on the uses and abuses of U.S. power globally. Committed to liberal internationalism and multilateral governance, Fulbright was also at heart a Southern politician, who embraced the region's sectional interests, including opposition to the civil rights' agenda. That contrast between provincialism and cosmopolitan aspirations shows a divide that still has consequences for America's global policies, and for the perceptions others have of the U.S. international presence.


Proposals are welcome that address, as individual papers (no group panels) the following: any aspect of Fulbright's philosophy, its effects on other nations' foreign policy conduct or style of internationalism, the embodiments and contradictions of Fulbright's approach to the internationalism of his day, particular southern variants of mid-century internationalism, racial, class, and gender aspects of liberal internationalism or the Fulbright exchange program, and the tensions between provincialism and cosmopolitanism inherent in Fulbright's career.


The conference, sponsored by the Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics and Society, will be part of its distinguished Blair-Rockefeller Legacy Series. The event  "J. William Fulbright in International Perspective" will be the sixth in the Series, which was inaugurated in 2001 with an analysis of the Clinton Administration, and has most recently included an examination of the legacy of George W. Bush's foreign policy. The Center will provide substantial coverage of travel and lodging costs. For more information about the Blair Center initiatives go to 


Please send a 400 word abstract, together with a short CV (4 pp. max.), to by 15 June 2014.



The convenors expect to publish a selection of revised papers as chapters in an ensuing volume.


Organizing Committee:

Alessandro Brogi, University of Arkansas

Giles Scott-Smith, Roosevelt Study Center and University of Leiden

David J. Snyder, University of South Carolina


Wednesday April 2nd 2014

Eddie Ashbee has a new blog posting considering the "Sheldon primary"


Thursday March 27th 2014

Call for Papers

"A Presidential Nation: The Presidency in U.S. History": One-day conference, June 27, 2014, Northumbria University and organized with the Presidential History Network


Keynote Speaker: Sidney M. Milkis, University of Virginia White Burkett Miller Professor of Politics

From George Washington to Barack Obama, the office of the presidency has inspired scholarly interest, be it in the job, the policies of America's chief executives, or the personalities.  The Presidential History Network has recently organized to bring together academic scholars that are interested in the presidency to disseminate their research and develop their ideas among peers.  Along with Northumbria University, the Presidential History Network is pleased to invite academics to submit papers or panels for a one-day conference.

The program committee welcomes panel and paper proposals that deal with the history of United States presidency in the broadest sense.  Please submit up to 250 words along with a short biographical note, your affiliation (if any) and contact details. Prospective panel organizers should submit up to 500 words along with a short biographical note and contact details for each speaker. Submissions can also be considered for inclusion in a possible conference volume.

The deadline for the submission of proposals is 25 April 2014. Proposals, or enquiries relating to these, should be sent to the following email address: 


Friday March 21st 2014

The deadline is approaching for proposals for the British Politics Group's one-day workshop at the 2014 American Political Science Association conference in Washington DC. Comparative proposals, considering policy in both the UK and the US, will be welcomed.  

British Politics Group One-Day Workshop: 'Britain and America in Critical Perspective: Austerity, Uncertainty and Decline?', Wednesday 27thAugust 2014, Washington DC.

A one-day workshop and short course organized by the British Politics Group of APSA in cooperation with the American Politics Group of the Political Studies Association (UK) and the Centre for British Politics in the School of Politics, Philosophy & International Studies, University of Hull.

In 2014 Britain faces many challenges - the uncertainty around economic recovery; the continued politics of austerity; the future of Britain and its relationship with the European Union and the further erosion of Britain's global role. In an age of austerity, uncertainty and decline the challenges facing the US body politic are no less challenging. How do political elites respond to these challenges? To what extent will their responses shape the engagement of an increasingly sceptical public with politics and democracy in the 21st Century? Is it too early to assess the impact of Coalition Government on British politics? What is the future of the special relationship in light of the Commons vote on Syria? What impact has an Obama Presidency had on the office of President and on party politics in Washington?

The British Politics Group is organizing a one-day short course workshop to explore these issues which will complement our panels later in the week at APSA's Annual Meeting. We welcome proposals for full panels and individual papers from early career scholars through to established scholars in political science, international relations, political economy, political theory, history of ideas and constitutional scholars. While we seek panels with a comparative focus, individual papers need not be explicitly comparative.

Possible topics include: comparative approaches to foreign policy analysis; the future of ideology in coalition Britain; where now for the politics of austerity?; policy innovation in comparative perspective; the constitution: continuity and change?; critical perspectives on US politics and policy; testing public opinion - how good are the polls?; continued disengagement?How active are citizens in an age of austerity?

Please submit panel and paper proposals by 31st March, 2014 to Peter Munce: ( For further information contact Matt Beech ( Edward Ashbee ( or Peter Munce (


Wednesday March 19th 2014

The American Politics Group of the PSA is pleased to invite entries for the 2014 Richard E. Neustadt Book Prize.


The prize of £400 will be presented to the best book in the field of US government and politics (including political history and foreign policy) published in the calendar year 2013, and authored by an academic permanently employed at a UK university.  The APG is pleased to acknowledge the generous support of the US Embassy for this prize.


The prize winner will be announced at the APG annual colloquium held at the US Embassy in London in November 2012.


Previous prize winners include Dr Andrew Preston of the University of Cambridge, Professor Alan Ware and Stephen Tuck, both of the University of Oxford, Professor Iwan Morgan of UCL and Professor Robert Singh of Birkbeck College and Dr Timothy Lynch of the University of Melbourne.


Entrants for the prize should arrange for four (4) copies of their book to be sent to:


Dr Steven Hurst

Department of History, Politics and Philosophy

Manchester Metropolitan University

Manton Building


M15 6LL


Before the closing date of 30th April 2014.


Monday March 3rd 2014


News from Clodagh Harrington about the APG at Spring Congress to Campus

Spring Congress to Campus UK got off to a good start at the Eccles Centre on March 3 with the help of the American Politics Group. Former Members of Congress Bob Clement (D-TN) and John Coyne (R-PA) engaged with guest speakers on a range of political hot button issues from the budget to religion via foreign policy, the Constitution and elections. Josh Simon (Kings), Ashlee Godwin (RUSI), Tim Hames (DMU and BVCA) Anthony Bennett (formerly at Charterhouse) and David Waller provided ample food for thought to the 100 sixth form students in attendance.

For many years the APG has been involved in the November round of Congress to Campus and this was first time the group participated in the spring schedule. Thanks to Phil Davies for extending the invitation, and for allowing the APG to have a hand in shaping the first day of what will surely be an exciting week of US politics events.


 Tuesday February 25th 2014

News from Will Kaufman (University of Central Lancashire and troubadour) about the Woody Guthrie Annual, "... an open-access peer-reviewed journal containing the most up-to-date scholarship on Woody Guthrie, his work and his cultural and political significance."



Monday February 24th 2014

The preliminary programme for the 2014 European Association for American Studies conference (America: Justice, Conflict, War) in The Hague, (April 3rd - 6th) has now been issued.

Monday February 17th 2014

The European Research Council is funding a number of posts based in the School of Law at the University of Manchester. Applicants will be expected to have a PhD or equivalent in a relevant area of Law, Sociology or Political Science. The posts include Research Associate in Transnational Constitutional Law (American Law).
Further details of the post.

Saturday February 15th 2014

News from the Eccles Centre at the British Library about a conference that is not only interesting in itself but may be of relevance to the still substantial numbers studying US politics at A-level. The event is co-sponsored by the APG:

American Politics Today 2014

A One-Day Conference
Monday 3 March 2014, British Library Conference Centre, (10.30 to 15.30)
The Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library will welcome former Members of Congress Bob Clement (D-TN) and Jim Coyne (R-PA) as guests of honour for its American Politics Today conference on Monday 3 March.  The Congressmen will provide delegates with an invaluable insight into the realities of the American political system.
They will be joined by leading UK experts in the field, from the American Politics Group of the UK, to address a range of topics, taking in the role of the Constitution, the 'Special Relationship', the budget, Presidential elections and the place of religion in contemporary politics.
The full programme is as follows:
10.00 - 10.30 REGISTRATION (soft drinks available)
10.30 - 10.35 Welcome
10.35 - 11.20 The Constitution in Contemporary US Politics
Dr Joshua Simon (King's College London) and the former Members of Congress
11.20 - 12.10 A 'Special' Relationship? The US-UK Link Reconsidered
Ms Ashlee Godwin (Royal United Services Institute) and the former Members of Congress
12.10 - 13.00 The Battle of the Budget: Obama's Fiscal Headache
Dr Tim Hames (BVCA and De Montfort University) and the former Members of Congress
13.00 - 13.45 BUFFET LUNCH
13.45 - 14.40 US Presidential Elections in an Era of Partisanship
Dr Anthony Bennett (author; teacher of US politics, Charterhouse 1989-2009) and the former Members of Congress
14.40 - 15.30 The Faith of our Fathers: Religion and Contemporary US Politics
Mr David Waller (University of Northampton) and the former Members of Congress
15.30 CLOSE
The conference is co-sponsored by the Eccles Centre and by the American Politics Group of the PSA.
The conference fee is £10 and this includes lunch.
To reserve a place(s), please email  Registration closes on Friday 21 February, with conference fees due by that date.

Wednesday February 12th 2014

Professor Inderjeet Parmar (currently Visting Research Scholar at Princeton) tells us that in addition to the Public Lecture by Professor Thomas Dye on Wednesday 26 February, at City University London, (please see below), there is also a one day workshop - ELITES AND AMERICAN POWER - taking place at City University London on Friday 28th February 2014.
Speakers include Kees van der Pijl, Thomas Dye, Leslie Sklair, Herman Schwarz and many other leading scholars.

Prices and booking details will shortly be available on our estore. If you are interested in attending please contact

Monday February 10th 2014

News from UEA ..

UEA International Summer School
The University of East Anglia will be running a unique and exciting accredited module in American Studies this summer, 'Revolutionaries, Radicals and Renegades', at UK 20 credits that are part of our International Summer School.
'Revolutionaries, Radicals and Renegades' asks students to consider the complex transnational operations of radical and revolutionary movements throughout the history of the Americas. In particular, it explores the literary and philosophical connections between British and American thinkers and artists from the Revolutionary Era, through the Civil Rights Movement to the present. Our academic lead, Nicholas Grant, will be happy to discuss the academic programme with any of your students.
Our summer study programme runs for 4 weeks from 28 June-25 July and provides a stimulating academic experience at the UK's #1 university for student experience. Our participants come from all over the world, providing an internationally diverse experience in a beautiful location on the East coast of England. Our programme fee includes airport transfers, more than 40 academic contact hours and transcript (20 UK credits), private en-suite accommodation, arrivals and finale events and an inclusive social programme, and we have an early bird fee of £2,295.00 for applications submitted before 21 March. The 'Revolutionaries, Radicals and Renegades' module carries a supplement of £695.00 as two weeks is spent living and learning in the nation's bustling capital, London.
We hope our programme will be of interest, and do let us know if you have any queries. In the meantime I've attached the module outline.
International Summer School 2014 : 28 June-25 July

Sunday February 9th 2014

More events and publications seem to be planned as we move towards the fortieth anniversary of President Richard Nixon's resignation.

The Life, Career, and Legacies of Richard M. Nixon
The Journal of American Studies of Turkey is preparing a special Richard M. Nixon issue devoted to focusing on the meaning and legacies both inside and outside the United States of this controversial figure in American history and culture. In April 1994, in the eulogy he delivered at the funeral of Nixon, President Bill Clinton suggested, "[M]ay the day of judging President Nixon on anything less than his entire life and career come to a close." This has certainly not happened: August 2014 will mark the fortieth anniversary of Nixon's dramatic resignation as president of the United States, and still his place in American history is very much under dispute. This anniversary, four decades after Watergate, is timely for a fresh look at Nixon's career and legacy.  Nixon's career has also been the subject of a recent comedy program Nixon's The One (2013)

Papers may include but are not limited to the following topics:

* Nixon and the idea of "the American Dream"
* From Red Scare to Détente
* Nixon and the press
* Representations of Nixon in the media (film, television, online, etc.)
* Nixon as environmentalist
* Liberalism vs. conservatism
* Morality: "Nixon was no worse than other presidents, he just happened to get caught"
* Nixon, China, and globalization
* Countercultural disdain for Nixon
* Nixon vs. the liberal elite
* Foreign Policy - opening up China
* Nixon and the "Southern Strategy"
* Nixon as a culture warrior
* The Vietnam Syndrome and the rise of neoconservatism
* The Nixon Doctrine and the Middle East
* Government surveillance past, present and future
* Watergate as defining moment in 1970s American culture
* The Nixon tapes and their revelations
* Nixon vs. Woodward & Bernstein
* Frost/ Nixon
* Global evaluations of Nixon, inside and outside the United States
* From Watergate to Whitewater

Proposals for papers should be sent to the Editor, Laurence Raw ( or the issue editor Roger Chapman (  The length is flexible; we invite longer papers (between 50000=7000 words) as well as 'think-pieces' of 1500-2000 words each.  Book reviews of material relating to Nixon are also welcome: any suggestions would be gratefully received.

The due date for submission of proposals is 30 April 2014, the date for completed papers 30 September 2014.

Saturday February 8th 2014

Who's Running America?








And here's information about a public lecture hosted by Professor Inderjeet Parmar at City University by Prof Thomas Dye (Florida State U) on elite power in the United States.
The lecture will be based on his new book, Who's Running America? The Obama Reign (2014)
It's at 6.30pm, Wednesday 26 February in the Oliver Thompson Lecture theatre.
Full details
Who's Running America? is about the nation's institutional elite - the people who direct and manage the largest corporations, banks, and insurance companies; the giant media conglomerates; the prestigious law and lobbying firms; the most heavily endowed foundations and universities; the influential policy planning organizations (think tanks); and the leading civic and cultural institutions. The current edition, The Obama Reign, describes the Obama White House and Cabinet, the leaders of Congress, and members of the Supreme Court. Who's Running America? describes the people who occupy these key institutional positions - it names names. It describes their educational backgrounds, their rise to the top, and what they do with their power. It sets forth an oligarchic model of national policymaking, in which corporations and wealthy individuals establish foundations which in turn fund policy planning organizations that feed policy recommendations to the mass media and to the White House, congressional committees, and the courts.
The Obama Reign focuses on the rise to power of the Barack Obama, his early years in Indonesia and Hawaii and his education at Occidential College, Columbia University and Harvard Law School. It chronicles his first unsuccessful bid for a seat in Congress and his later rise to the U.S. Senate and his fight for Democratic presidential nomination. It describes his first presidential campaign in 2008 and his reelection campaign in 2012. It traces the challenges he faced in the Oval Office as well as the people he chose to surround himself with, including Hillary Clinton, Valerie Jarrett, and John Kerry. It profiles Obama's opposition in the Congress including John Boehner and Paul Ryan. On the Supreme Court, it focuses on the lives of Clarence Thomas and Sonia Sotomayer.
The Obama Reign examines the board rooms of the nation's largest corporations and banks, the owners of the nation's leading media outlets, and the "fat cat" political contributors. It adds a number of essays on institutional leadership. These include: "The Walton Family", "Fannie Mae", "the Wall Street Bailout", "Ben Bernarke, Managing the Nation's Money:, "Warren Buffett, Radical Investor", "Rupert Murdoch, Founder of Fox", "Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, The New York Times," "The Graham Family, The Washington Post", Arianna Huffington, Internet Mogul", "Fat Cats, Financing Politics", "Bill Gates, Global Philanthropy", "The Private Companies", "The Liberal Establishment", "George Soros, Funding the Far Left".

Friday February 7th 2014

We now have further information about events at the Rothermere American Institute looking back at the Watergate crisis.









We are delighted to announce that registration is now open for the next Annual Postgraduate Conference at the Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford, which will be held on Wednesday, March 12th, 2014.

This conference takes the Watergate crisis as its theme, exploring the political, social, and cultural ramifications in the forty years since the resignation of President Richard Nixon. The conference will conclude with a discussion between Alexander Butterfield, former Deputy Assistant to President Nixon, and John R. Price, Special Assistant to President Nixon for Urban Affairs.

To register, please email the conference conveners, Patrick Andelic and Patrick Sandman, at The conference fee will be £10 and is payable on arrival at the RAI or by sending a cheque (made to the 'Rothermere American Institute') c/o Patrick Andelic, St. Anne's College, Oxford, OXON, OX2 6HS. The fee will include lunch and refreshments. Registration will close on March 1st, 2014.

The conference will be followed by a dinner (three courses, with wine) at Trinity College, which all delegates are welcome to attend. When registering, please indicate if you are planning to attend the dinner, as well as any dietary requirements.

Further information can be found at (

Watergate 2014_Programme.pdf

Watergate 2014_Poster.pdf 


Wednesday February 5th 2014

British Politics Group One-Day Workshop: 'Britain and America in Critical Perspective: Austerity, Uncertainty and Decline?', Wednesday 27thAugust 2014, Washington DC.

 A one-day workshop and short course organized by the British Politics Group of APSA in cooperation with the American Politics Group of the Political Studies Association (UK) and the Centre for British Politics in the School of Politics, Philosophy & International Studies, University of Hull.

In 2014 Britain faces many challenges - the uncertainty around economic recovery; the continued politics of austerity; the future of Britain and its relationship with the European Union and the further erosion of Britain's global role. In an age of austerity, uncertainty and decline the challenges facing the US body politic are no less challenging. How do political elites respond to these challenges? To what extent will their responses shape the engagement of an increasingly sceptical public with politics and democracy in the 21stCentury? Is it too early to assess the impact of Coalition Government on British politics? What is the future of the special relationship in light of the Commons vote on Syria? What impact has an Obama Presidency had on the office of President and on party politics in Washington?

The British Politics Group is organizing a one-day short course workshop to explore these issues which will complement our panels later in the week at APSA's Annual Meeting. We welcome proposals for full panels and individual papers from early career scholars through to established scholars in political science, international relations, political economy, political theory, history of ideas and constitutional scholars. While we seek panels with a comparative focus, individual papers need not be explicitly comparative.

Possible topics include: comparative approaches to foreign policy analysis; the future of ideology in coalition Britain; where now for the politics of austerity?; policy innovation in comparative perspective; the constitution: continuity and change?; critical perspectives on US politics and policy; testing public opinion - how good are the polls?; continued disengagement?How active are citizens in an age of austerity?

Please submit panel and paper proposals by 31st March, 2014 to Peter Munce: ( For further information contact Matt Beech ( Edward Ashbee ( or Peter Munce (

Tuesday February 4th 2014

Here's a belated note. Andy Rudalevige was on PBS Newshour  at the end of  last week reflecting on the State of the Union Address and the presidential agenda.

Monday February 3rd 2014

The Rothermere American Institute (University of Oxford) will be holding a special seminar on Wednesday March 12th (17.00) considering Nixon the President, Nixon the Man.

Alexander Butterfield, Deputy Assistant to President Nixon, and John Price, Special Assistant to President Nixon for Urban Affairs, discuss their experiences of working for the enigmatic and controversial 37th President of the United States.

Friday January 31st 2014

The Transatlantic Studies Association has issued a Call for Papers for its 13th annual conference which is being held between the 7th and 10th July at the University of Ghent, (Belgium).

Thursday January 30th 2014

Clodagh Harrington (the APG's Vice-Chair) reflects on the State of the Union Address and applauds President Obama's ".. bullish refusal to allow Congressional stonewalling" in her latest blog posting.

Wednesday January 29th 2014

Eddie Ashbee has published a brief review of Mitt, the newly-released Netflix documentary, on his blog.






Tuesday January 28th 2014

Mark Wheeler of London Metropolitan University has published an article in Politics (currently available in Early View) considering the television series The Wire, and locating it within the debates that have defined the US polity. The essay discusses the ways in which the series ".. employs the narrative conventions of a contemporary thriller to offer an alternative view of American democracy".

Sunday, January 26th 2014

The Obama Presidency: Promise and Performance, edited by William Crotty (Northeastern University) and including chapters by Bill himself as well as John Berg (Suffolk University), has now been released in paperback.

"When William Crotty and his colleagues tackle a topic, we have learned to expect something special. This book is no exception. Crotty and his contributors revisit the tumultuous journey Barack Obama has been on since the heady days of his 2008 triumph. This book tells us not only what happened, but why Obama's presidency has been buffeted by a unified opposition party, economic dislocations at home and abroad, and a world in transition. A must-read" (John Kenneth White, Catholic University of America).