1 Aims of the Society
1.1 The object of the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies shall be the advancement of research, scholarship, and public education in particular by the promotion of the study of the cultural history of the eighteenth century. The Society shall be a charitable organisation as defined by United Kingdom charity law, and shall meet requirements set forth by the Charity Commission.
1.2 In furtherance of the said objects but not otherwise the Society may:-
1.2.1 collect and disseminate information on all matters affecting the said objects and exchange such information with other bodies having similar objects whether in Britain or overseas;
1.2.2 cause to be written and printed, made publicly available by electronic means or otherwise reproduced and circulated, gratuitously or otherwise, such papers, books, periodicals, pamphlets, electronic documents or databases as shall further the said objects;
1.2.3 organize and promote residential and non-residential conferences
1.2.4 raise funds and invite and receive contributions from any individual or organisation whatsoever by way of subscriptions and otherwise PROVIDED THAT the Society shall not undertake permanent trading activities in raising funds for the said objects, and provided that such financial contributions shall not, in the view of the Society’s Executive Committee, compromise the Society’s integrity and independence in pursuit of its scholarly objectives.
1.2.5 distribute funds to projects deemed to advance scholarly and public understanding of the eighteenth century, subject to a process of peer review.
1.2.6 award bursaries to individual scholars for the purpose of attending conferences organized by the Society, subject to qualification criteria established by the Executive Committee.
1.2.7 do all such other lawful things as are necessary for the attainment of the said objects.
1.3 The Society is a non-political and non-religious organisation.
2.1 Membership of the Society shall be open to all persons interested in the aims of the Society upon payment of one year’s subscription. There shall be four categories of members: regular members, honorary members, retired/unwaged members and student members.
2.2 Honorary membership may be conferred by the Annual General Meeting. Retired/unwaged members must not be in receipt of a regular source of income other than a pension or state benefits. Students who are registered for masters level or doctoral level qualifications may join as student members. Student members may vote at General Meetings, but cannot hold elected office.
2.3 Membership of the Society may be suspended, terminated or refused by a vote of the Executive Committee in cases where members, or prospective members, are deemed to be bringing the Society into disrepute. Such a vote is subject to quoracy requirements, and the decision must be ratified at the next AGM.
3.1 The Society has the following officers:
- A president
- A vice-president
- An executive secretary
- A treasurer
All officers are elected members of the committee with voting rights. Officers act as trustees of the Society.
- 3.2 The posts of president, vice-president and past president are tenable for two years. The posts of executive secretary and treasurer are tenable for five years. In normal circumstances, the office of president is not directly elected, but filled by the previous year’s vice-president. Where this is impossible, the same procedure is followed as for other officers, who are elected through a remotely conducted voting contest, held annually. The office of past president is not directly elected, but is filled by the previous president. Officers cannot hold the same office for two consecutive terms, but may have their term extended once by a further year, subject to the agreement of the Executive Committee and ratification at the Annual General Meeting at the beginning of the year in which it is proposed to extend it. When the term of the President is extended in this way, the term of office of the Vice-President will automatically also be extended for a further year, but not the term of office of the Past President. A former President is ineligible for re-election to the posts of Vice-President or President for a period of five years at the end of their term of office.
- 3.3 Roles of officers
- 3.3.1 The President’s role is to preside at meetings of the Executive Committee, to preside at the Business Meeting of the Society at the Annual Meeting and to formulate policies and projects for presentation to the Executive Committee in accord with the Society’s aims.
- 3.3.2 The Vice-President’s role is to assist the President in carrying out the above functions, and to succeed to the office of President at the end of the year’s term of office.
- 3.3.3 The Treasurer’s role is to administer the financial affairs of the Society. It shall be the Treasurer’s duty, under the direction of the Executive Committee: to be responsible for the receipt and disbursement of the monies of the Society in a manner consonant with the Society’s purposes and interests, to arrange for the safekeeping of the assets of the Society and to do so in the most advantageous and secure means possible. The Treasurer shall report to the members of the Society at General Meetings and by means of an abridged report distributed either on paper or by electronic means. The Treasurer shall cooperate in an annual audit of the Society’s affairs. A competent auditor shall be appointed by the Executive Committee for that task
- 3.3.4 The Executive Secretary’s role is to to oversee the implementation of policies decided on by the Executive Committee, to administer the day-to-day business of the Society and to be responsible for the continuing operations of the Society, to coordinate the election process and make arrangements for meetings of the Executive Committee, to participate in the formulation of policies and projects for submission to the Executive Committee, to assist the President in preparing for meetings of the Executive Committee and to superintend any processes of scrutiny or peer review that may be required in the context of the Society’s administrative affairs.
4 Executive Committee
- 4.1 Membership
- 4.1.1 The Executive Committee consists of the Officers, the immediate Past President, six elected Ordinary Members, and holders of appointed posts, which may include, but are not limited to, the posts of Editor of the Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, the Journal General Reviews Editor the Conference Academic Programme Coordinator, the Conference Venue Organiser, the Communications Officer, and the Postgraduate and Early Career Scholars Representatives. No member of the Committee shall be under the age of eighteen years.
- 4.1.2 All members of the Committee have equal voting rights, subject to quoracy requirements. The President has a casting vote.
- 4.1.3 All holders of appointed posts on the Committee shall be members of the Society in good standing. Holders of appointed posts have voting rights, but their presence at a meeting does not by itself fulfil quoracy requirements.
- 4.1.4 The Executive Committee has four formal Subcommittees: the Finance Subcommittee, the Publications Subcommittee, the Conference Subcommittee and the Officers’ Subcommittee. Members of the Executive Committee may be invited to sit on a Subcommittee in a personal capacity. In addition to the President, Vice-President and Executive Secretary, who sit on all Subcommittees, membership of Subcommittees includes holders of the following posts:
- Finance Subcommittee
- Past President
- Communications Officer
- Publications Subcommittee
- Editor of the Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies
- Journal General Reviews Editor
- Past President
- Communications Officer
- Conference Subcommittee
- Conference Academic Programme Coordinator
- Conference Venue Organiser
- Officers’ Subcommittee
- Past President
- 4.1.5 Subcommittees may take decisions on behalf of the Executive Committee, subject to the same quoracy requirements that apply to meetings of the Executive Committee. The Finance Subcommittee has a remit for the financial affairs of the Society, the Publications Subcommittee for the Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, the Society’s website, and any other publications in print or electronic form, and the Conference Subcommittee for the Annual Conference, the Postgraduate and Early Career Conference, and any other events sponsored by the Society. The remit of the Officer’s Subcommittee is the administration of the Executive Committee itself, including the creation and abolition of appointed posts, and appointment of holders of appointed posts.
- 4.1.6 The election of Ordinary Members and Officers shall take place through consultation of the membership by postal or electronic means in accordance with the procedures set out below. These procedures shall be overseen by the Executive Secretary. Elections shall take place annually.
- 4.1.7 Ordinary Members shall hold office for not more than three years. If a situation should arise where adhering to the three-year term of office would result in more than one ordinary member having to retire in any one year, then ordinary members may extend their term for one year, subject to prior ratification at the AGM; this may be done no more than three years in succession. They are not eligible for re-election as ordinary members for a period of three years after their term of office has expired, but may be elected as Officers of the Society during that period.
- 4.1.8 The Executive Committee shall have power to create not more than three appointed posts on the committee between General Meetings.
- 4.1.9 Appointed posts on the committee are not subject to election, but the subsequent General Meeting must ratify any appointments, whether to existing or newly created posts.
- 4.1.10 All appointed posts on the committee, apart from the Editor of the Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies and the Journal General Reviews Editor, are subject to a term of two years. Holders of all appointed posts apart from Journal Editor and Reviews Editor may be reappointed to those posts a maximum of three times by the Executive Committee, subject to ratification by the General Meeting. The posts of Journal Editor and Reviews Editor are subject to a term of five years, and cannot be held for two consecutive terms. The term for the posts of Journal Editor and Reviews Editor may, however, be extended once by a further year, subject to the agreement of the Executive Committee and ratification at the Annual General Meeting at the beginning of the year in which it is proposed to extend it.
4.2.1 The Executive Committee shall meet at least two times a year, once at the time of the Annual Meeting of the Society and at such other times as it may determine, or at the call of the President, or, if the President is unable to act, at the call of the Vice-President, or, if both are unable to act, at the call of the Executive Secretary, or at the written request of at least four voting members of the Executive Committee directed to the Executive Secretary.
- 4.2.2 Meetings of the Executive Committee can only be held at a venue, time and date agreed by the President, Vice-President or Executive Secretary, of which reasonable steps have been taken to notify all committee members. Meetings are only quorate when six committee members are present, of whom at least two are elected members. Non-quorate meetings may engage in discussion of Society policies, but may not take decisions which involve financial expenditure. All meetings of the Executive Committee and Subcommittees must be minuted, and the minutes circulated to all members of the committee, or relevant subcommittee. Minutes of each meeting must be agreed to be an accurate record, normally at the next meeting of the Executive Committee or relevant subcommittee.
- 4.2.3 Elected members of the Executive Committee members are required to attend its meetings. In the event of non-attendance at two meetings successively without due reason or notice members are liable to be removed from the Executive Committee. When travelling expenses for Executive Committee members are paid, such expenses will only be paid for claims related to travel within the UK, in accordance with a formal expenses policy drawn up by the Treasurer.
- 4.2.4 The Executive Committee shall have power to create working parties, whose membership may include non-members of the Executive Committee. Meetings of working parties need not be minuted, but must be reported back to meetings of a Subcommittee, or the full Executive Committee. The only function a working party can undertake is discussion of Society policies; they are not vested with any of the powers of a quorate Executive Committee meeting.
- 4.2.5 The Executive Committee shall have power to appoint consultants, in areas where specialist expertise is needed. They are not required to be members of the Society, nor of the Executive Committee, unless elected in the usual way. However, they may be required to attend meetings of the Committee, or Subcommittees, as necessary, and may be paid for their services to the Society.
- 4.2.6 The Executive Committee shall define the duties of all working parties and appointed posts it creates, and the Executive Secretary shall inform the members of the Society of the actions of the Executive Committee and of those of any Subcommittee through a bulletin or by any other appropriate means.
5 Annual General Meeting of the Society
- 5.1 The Society shall hold an Annual General Meeting. General Meetings may be called at other times, with not less than one month’s written notice to all members, by the Executive Committee or by the President at the request of not less than 20% of the members. In emergencies, the Executive Committee has the power to cancel the Annual Meeting or to change its date or location.
- 6.1 Officers and Ordinary Members of the Executive Committee are elected by a majority of Society members who choose to participate in the voting process, through votes cast through postal or electronic means. Vacancies in elected positions occurring between elections may be filled by decision of the Executive Committee; appointed holders of these positions must stand for election at the next available opportunity.
- 6.2.1 At least one month’s written notice must have been given before voting in an election is scheduled to begin. The period in which votes are received must be no shorter than one month.
- 6.2.2 Candidates for election must be fully paid-up members of the Society (ie who have paid their subscription fees for the year in which the election takes place, and have no outstanding subscription fees for other years). Eligibility to vote is restricted to members of the Society in good standing (ie who have paid any applicable subscription fees for the year in which the election takes place).
- 6.2.3 Nominations may be made by the Executive Committee or by petition to the Executive Secretary. Nominations by petition for posts on the Executive Committee shall be made by fully paid-up members before a deadline published by the Executive Secretary at least one month in advance. To be valid, a nomination by petition must be supported by at least two fully paid-up members of the Society and must be accompanied by a statement from the nominee (who must also be a fully paid-up member) declaring a willingness to serve if elected.
- 6.2.4 It is the responsibility of the Executive Committee to ensure that there is at least one nomination for every post that is to be filled.
- 6.2.5 Eligible voters may cast one vote for each named Officer post for which an electoral process is being conducted, and a number of votes for Ordinary Members which corresponds to the number of Ordinary Member committee posts which the Executive Secretary has announced as available. Where there is no more than one nomination for a named Officer post, or no more candidates to become Ordinary Members than posts which have been announced as being available, then no formal election procedure will take place, the nominated candidates being deemed to have been elected by unanimous acclamation.
- 6.2.6 The Executive Secretary is responsible for the conduct of the election, including the assessment of numbers of votes cast. In the event that balloting results in a tie, it shall be broken in a manner to be determined by the Executive Committee.
- 6.2.7 The Executive Secretary shall announce the results of the election to the Executive Committee and at the following General Meeting.
- 6.2.8 All members of the Executive Committee shall officially begin their term of office from the Annual General Meeting at which their election is announced, or appointment ratified, or the fifteenth of January, whichever is soonest.
- 7.1 Membership subscriptions include a subscription to the Society’s journal. The amount of the annual subscriptions to the Society is determined by the Executive Committee in consultation with the publisher of the Society’s journal, with notice of any proposed change in subscriptions being published at least two months before the date on which they become due.
- 7.2 Subscriptions fall due on the 1st January, and last for the duration of that calendar year, regardless of when they are paid. If the amount of subscriptions is changed, the change becomes effective at the beginning of the calendar year which succeeds that in which notice has been given.
- 7.3 When mailing fees from the United Kingdom require a surcharge to the subscriptions of members with mailing addresses outside the United Kingdom to cover additional mailing costs, the publisher of the Society’s journal may assess such a surcharge to the dues of those members provided that such a surcharge reflects only those additional mailing costs reported to the Executive Committee by the publisher.
8 Disbursement of Funds
- 8.1 The Executive Committee has power to disburse funds to individuals or groups on behalf of the Society’s membership for purposes which directly contribute to the Society’s aims. Applications for such funding will be subject to peer review, and must include mechanisms for documenting and monitoring expenditure.
- 8.2 The Executive Committee also has power to grant bursaries, in the form of fee waivers, to individuals attending conferences organized by the Society. Criteria for the award of these bursaries must have been published by the Committee no less than three months before the date of the conference.
- 9.1 The Society is affiliated to the International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. Members of the British Society have the rights and privileges of Associate Members of the International Society.
- 9.2 The Executive Committee may apply for membership for the Society in other appropriate scholarly organisations.
- 9.3 Applications for affiliation to the Society by local, regional, and other scholarly organisations may be accepted by the Executive Committee when, ascertaining that the nature and activity of the organisation reflect the purposes of the Society, it deems such affiliation appropriate. The affiliation shall continue until the Executive Committee accedes to the request of an affiliated society to dissolve the affiliation, or so long as the nature and activity of the affiliated organisation reflect the purposes of the Society.
10 Amendments to the Constitution
- 10.1 The General Meeting of the Society may amend the Constitution by a majority of two-thirds of the members present and voting, provided that a quorum of thirty members be present.
- 11.1 The Society may be dissolved by the agreement of not less than three-quarters of those members present at a General Meeting specially summoned for this purpose as provided in Section 5.1 above. Any funds existing at the time of dissolution shall not become the property of any member or members but shall be devoted to furthering the objectives defined in Section 1.1, as assessed by independent peer reviewers following a process of application as described in Clause 8.1.
12 Transition to a new Constitution
- 12.1 A new Constitution shall become effective immediately upon its adoption by the membership at a General Meeting.