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May 2011

In this issue:

I.    The New Look of The British Scholar Society website
II.   Consider a tax-deductible donation to The British Scholar Society
III.  Update on The British Scholar Society Lecture Series
IV.  The “Essential Relationship”?
V.   “In the Public Eye”
VI.  Book of the Month
VII. Featured Scholar

I.  The New Look of The British Scholar Society website

 As the Society evolves so does our website.  Now, when you visit www.britishscholar.org you will find a few changes to our dropdown menus.  A new “Publications” menu includes the Blog, Journal, Newsletter, Book Series, Book of the Month, and Featured Scholar.  Our new “Outreach” menu contains our Documentaries, Lecture Series, and forthcoming Online Seminars.  We have also added a “Contribute” menu, where we encourage you to get involved with the Society by making a financial donation, volunteering your time, or sharing your ideas with us about how we may further our mission of promoting the study of Britain’s interactions with the wider world.  

In addition to the changes to the dropdown menus, the homepage offers new features.  We offer easy navigation to our three monthly updates:  Featured Scholar, the Book of the Month, and the Newsletter.  We also provide quick access to the Britain and the World journal page as well as the Membership page.  If you scroll down the page you will see the latest news from the Society, and you can always stay up to date with us by liking the Society page on Facebook, following our Twitter feed, and watching our YouTube videos by clicking on the respective logos on the right side of the screen.

We hope you will enjoy the new look of The British Scholar Society online.    

II. Consider a tax-deductible donation to The British Scholar Society

The British Scholar Society is an independent non-profit organization that depends entirely on volunteer labor and donations to keep it running.  While we do charge membership dues, they are completely consumed by the printing and shipping costs associated with the journal.  As we expand our Outreach initiatives, including the Preface Documentary Series, the Lecture Series, and the Online Seminars, we must ask for your help.  By donating to the Society, you will ensure that we are able to keep almost all of our activities free. 

We wholeheartedly believe that Britain and the World is the future of British history both academically and for the casual reader.  If we want to comprehend this increasingly interconnected world, we must look to Britain’s interactions with every corner of the globe in the modern era.  Few countries have been more central to world history since the seventeenth century than Britain.  It is the mission of the Society to further our knowledge of world and British history by understanding Britain’s global interactions over the course of the past four centuries.  Please help us ensure a healthy future for our global approach to British history. 

We know that economic times remain tough.  But if you can afford to spare anything at all, we would be most grateful.  You may make a fully tax-exempt donation securely online via Paypal through our Donation webpage at http://britishscholar.org/contribute/donations/.  You may also send us a check made payable to “The British Scholar Society” to: 

The British Scholar Society
5102 Woodview Avenue
Austin, TX. 78756-1905

If you make a donation during the month of May of at least $50, we will consider you to be a “Sustaining Member” of the Society and your name will appear in the next issue of Britain and the World.  If you make a donation of $1000, you will be made a Life Member of the Society and have your name listed on our Register of Life Members webpage at http://britishscholar.org/british-scholar/life-members/.  Finally, if you would like to sponsor a prize for scholarship or one of our many lectures around the world, we are happy to discuss naming rights with you.  Please contact me directly with your questions at bryandotsdotglassatbritishscholardotorg  (bryandotsdotglassatbritishscholardotorg)  

Thank you for helping the Society to thrive in its first five years.  With your continued support, the next five years at The British Scholar Society should prove very exciting.

Sincerely,
Bryan S. Glass
General Editor    

III. Update on The British Scholar Society Lecture Series

The British Scholar Society continues to add dates to its Lecture Series.  Future installments include:

6 July 2011, King’s College London:  Professor Kathleen Burk of University College London will speak on Anglo-American Relations

4 December 2011, Newcastle University:  Dr. Helen Berry of Newcastle University will speak on entangled sexualities in the eighteenth-century British world

We have just agreed to hold a lecture at the Centre for British Studies at the Humboldt University, Berlin in May 2012 and we are looking into a lecture in Cardiff, Wales, also in 2012.  Please stay tuned to our Twitter feed and the Newsletter for more information as it becomes available.

IV.  The “Essential Relationship”?

by:  Bryan S. Glass

At first glance, Barack Obama and David Cameron appear to be strange bed-fellows.  Given the short and rather distant relationship between the Obama Administration and Downing Street, many people were caught off-guard when the two leaders of the most powerful Anglophone countries in the world co-wrote an op-ed piece for The Times.  Perhaps even more unusual was the topic “Not just special, but an essential relationship.” Yet given the economic, cultural, linguistic, philosophical, political, religious, and historical ties between the two countries, this op-ed should not have surprised historians of Britain, America, and the world.   

We should always expect Britain and the United States to be close.  Of course, there have been disagreements in the past between the two countries, some being much more severe than others, as in the case of the War of 1812. Overall, though, these disagreements have been overshadowed by a sense of cooperation and fraternity that is underscored by our common heritage.  The British Scholar Society is an organization dedicated to understanding Britain’s interactions with the entire world from the seventeenth century to the present, and few relationships are easier to understand than that between Britain and the United States.  Perhaps most importantly for the interested layman, we speak the same language, which drives the high level of understanding between our two countries.  This linguistic bond, it is true, should never be underestimated.  But history also gives us insight as to why the two countries, barring something catastrophic occurring, will always remain close.  The common values shared by Britain and the United States include the rule of law, representative government, dedication to human rights, and a free-market economy.  The commonalities are pointed out by President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron when they state that “we look at the world in a similar way, share the same concerns and see the same strategic possibilities.”  This similar worldview has only been possible by the test of time and its concomitant trials and errors.  You need not look far to find disagreements between the two countries.  Most recently, there have been differences as to the most effective way to handle the economic crisis.  And no analysis of major disagreements would be complete without discussing the twentieth-century Anglo-American conflicts over the Suez Crisis, Palestine, civil rights, and imperialism.  The truth, however, is that all of the disagreements between the two countries over the past 235 years cannot mask the innate connections that make the relationship unbreakable.

History bears testament to the bonds of kith, kin, and ideology that have always made the relationship between the US and Britain more than just special.  Language emboldens the connection.  The joint article by President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron should not be viewed as something groundbreaking.  The relationship between Britain and the United States has always been essential.  This is just the first time that it has been articulated as such.     

At The British Scholar Society we applaud the two leaders for recognizing the importance of committing “to strong collaboration between our universities and research facilities.”  As we are dedicated to increasing understanding of the interactions of these two countries, we believe that such collaboration will only bring benefits.  With this conviction in mind, we anticipate a stimulating and successful annual conference at the University of Edinburgh in 2012.  Let us hope that from now on the relationship will always be viewed as essential.  History already attests to this reality.     

V. “In the Public Eye”

We invite our members to share any information on their public engagements that help to raise awareness of history outside of the academy.  This will be a recurring feature in future newsletters.  If you would like to share the impact you are having beyond academia please send us your story to editoratbritishscholardotorg

The first historian “In the Public Eye” is Professor T. M. Devine, the Sir William Fraser Professor of Scottish History and Palaeography and the Director of the Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies at the University of Edinburgh.  Professor Devine is also the current Chairman of The British Scholar Society’s Editorial Advisory Board. 

Tension in Scotland has been high over the past few months as sectarian violence, including attempted bomb attacks against the manager of the Celtic football team and certain high-profile Celtic supporters, dominates the news.  Neil Lennon, the Catholic manager of the Celtic team, was even assaulted at a recent match against Heart of Midlothian in Edinburgh.  Given his expertise on Scottish sectarianism, Professor Devine has been at the center of this story from the beginning.  In March, prior to the attempted postal bomb attacks, Devine served as an expert witness in a sectarian-related offence at the Perth Sheriff Court.  But when the ‘bombs in the post’ episode occurred in late April, Devine was quick to offer his expert analysis to the general public.  In the span of four days he appeared on the following television and radio programs:

TV – BBC1: News at Ten; BBC: News 24 (twice); BBC1 Scotland: Reporting Scotland; BBC2: Newsnight Scotland; ITN: News at Ten; BBC1 Northern Ireland: Newsline.

RADIO – BBC Radio 4: World at One, Today, PM, Six O’clock News, The World Tonight, Money Box Live; BBC Radio 5: Live Drive; BBC Radio Scotland: Newsdrive, Review of the Week, and Reporting Scotland

Even more importantly from a global perspective, Professor Devine wrote numerous featured newspaper articles on the subject and was quoted at length in an article run by the Associated Press:

NEWSPAPERS – Featured articles in Scotland on Sunday and the Sunday Herald; quoted at length in articles in The Times, New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Globe and Mail, Vancouver Sun, Montreal Gazette, Toronto Star, Canadian Press, Pretoria News Weekend, The Nation  (Thailand), Irish Times, and the Irish Post.  The Associated Press article quoting Devine as an expert on the topic was published in over 230 newspapers in England, Ireland, Europe, North America, Australasia and Europe.

This story is far from over, and we expect that Professor Devine will be called upon again to give his expert opinion in the days and weeks ahead.  

If you would like to learn more on sectarian strife in Scotland over the years please read T. M. Devine’s Scotland’s Shame?  Bigotry and Sectarianism in Modern Scotland.

VI. Book of the Month

 Trials of the Diaspora: A History of Anti-Semitism in England

VII.  Featured Scholar

Benjamin Grob-Fitzgibbon

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