SCS Board endorses joint statement on legislative efforts to restrict education on racism

The SCS Board of Directors has co-signed the following statement, which has been authored jointly by the American Association of University Professors, the American Historical Association, the Association of American Colleges & Universities, and PEN America. As of June 16, 2021, 80 organizations have endorsed the statement.

You can read the full text and list of signatories below and read the press release by the American Historical Association here

June 16, 2021

We, the undersigned associations and organizations, state our firm opposition to a spate of legislative proposals being introduced across the country that target academic lessons, presentations, and discussions of racism and related issues in American history in schools, colleges and universities. These efforts have taken varied shape in at least 20 states; but often the legislation aims to prohibit or impede the teaching and education of students concerning what are termed “divisive concepts.” These divisive concepts as defined in numerous bills are a litany of vague and indefinite buzzwords and phrases including, for example, “that any individual should feel or be made to feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological or emotional distress on account of that individual’s race or sex.” These legislative efforts are deeply troubling for numerous reasons.

First, these bills risk infringing on the right of faculty to teach and of students to learn. The clear goal of these efforts is to suppress teaching and learning about the role of racism in the history of the United States. Purportedly, any examination of racism in this country’s classrooms might cause some students “discomfort” because it is an uncomfortable and complicated subject. But the ideal of informed citizenship necessitates an educated public. Educators must provide an accurate view of the past in order to better prepare students for community participation and robust civic engagement. Suppressing or watering down discussion of “divisive concepts” in educational institutions deprives students of opportunities to discuss and foster solutions to social division and injustice. Legislation cannot erase “concepts” or history; it can, however, diminish educators’ ability to help students address facts in an honest and open environment capable of nourishing intellectual exploration. Educators owe students a clear-eyed, nuanced, and frank delivery of history, so that they can learn, grow, and confront the issues of the day, not hew to some state-ordered ideology.  

Second, these legislative efforts seek to substitute political mandates for the considered judgment of professional educators, hindering students’ ability to learn and engage in critical thinking across differences and disagreements. These regulations constitute an inappropriate attempt to transfer responsibility for the evaluation of a curriculum and subject matter from educators to elected officials. The purpose of education is to serve the common good by promoting open inquiry and advancing human knowledge. Politicians in a democratic society should not manipulate public school curricula to advance partisan or ideological aims. In higher education, under principles of academic freedom that have been widely endorsed, professors are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject. Educators, not politicians, should make decisions about teaching and learning. 

Knowledge of the past exists to serve the needs of the living. In the current context, this includes an honest reckoning with all aspects of that past. Americans of all ages deserve nothing less than a free and open exchange about history and the forces that shape our world today, an exchange that should take place inside the classroom as well as in the public realm generally. To ban the tools that enable those discussions is to deprive us all of the tools necessary for citizenship in the twenty-first century. A white-washed view of history cannot change what happened in the past. A free and open society depends on the unrestricted pursuit and dissemination of knowledge.

Signed,

American Association of University Professors
American Historical Association
Association of American Colleges & Universities
PEN America

The following organizations have co-signed this statement:

ACPA-College Student Educators International
Agricultural History Society
Alcohol and Drugs History Society
American Anthropological Association
American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
American Council of Learned Societies
American Educational Research Association
American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO
American Folklore Society
American Library Association
American Philosophical Association
American Political Science Association
American Society for Environmental History
American Society for Theatre Research
American Sociological Association
American Studies Association
Anti-Defamation League
Association for Ancient Historians
Association for Asian American Studies
Association for Documentary Editing
Association for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies
Association for the Study of Higher Education
Association for Theatre in Higher Education
Association of College and Research Libraries
Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges
Association of Research Libraries
Association of University Presses
Association of Writers & Writing Programs
Business History Conference
Center for Research Libraries
Central European History Society
Chinese Historians in the United States
Coalition of Urban & Metropolitan Universities (CUMU)
College Art Association
Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender History
Comparative and International Education Society
Conference on Asian History
Conference on Faith and History
Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes
Czechoslovak Studies Association
Forum on Early-Modern Empires and Global Interactions
Freedom to Read Foundation
French Colonial Historical Society
German Studies Association
Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities
Historical Society of Twentieth Century China
Immigration Ethnic History Society
John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education
Labor and Working-Class History Association
Middle East Studies Association
Modern Language Association
NAFSA: Association of International Educators
National Association for College Admission Counseling
National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education
National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education
National Coalition for History
National Council for the Social Studies
National Council of Teachers of English
National Council on Public History
National Women’s Studies Association
Organization of American Historians
Phi Beta Kappa Society
Radical History Review
Rhetoric Society of America
Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media
Shakespeare Association of America
Society for Austrian and Habsburg History
Society for Classical Studies
Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era
Society for the Study of Early Modern Women and Gender
Society of Architectural Historians
Society of Civil War Historians
Southern Historical Association
Urban History Association
Western History Association
World History Association

Categories

Follow SCS News for information about the SCS and all things classical.

Use this field to search SCS News
Select a category from this list to limit the content on this page.

The Departments of Classical Studies and Philosophy at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada, are pleased to announce a new two-year M.A. in Ancient Philosophy, now accepting applications for September 2013. This program is aimed primarily at undergraduate students interested in pursuing ancient philosophy at the doctoral level. Western has one of the largest concentrations of faculty in the field, including five specialists in ancient philosophy and an additional four core members with areas of research related to Greek and Roman language and history. This interdisciplinary program is the only M.A. program of its kind in North America and only one of a handful of similar programs in the world.

View full article. | Posted in Degree and Certificate Programs on Wed, 11/28/2012 - 9:07pm by .

James J. O'Donnell of Georgetown University has been appointed Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) effective January 1, 2013.  Prof. O'Donnell has served the APA in many capacities including terms as President and as Vice President for Publications.  APA was a founding member of the ACLS in 1919.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 11/28/2012 - 8:40pm by Adam Blistein.

Over the last few days we have posted a great deal of new information about the upcoming annual meeting in Seattle.  In addition to information about registering for seminars (posted last week), you can now find abstracts of almost all papers to be presented at the meeting as well as information on special events at the meeting.  In the latter document please note especially that the President’s Reception on Saturday afternoon, January 5, will celebrate the successful conclusion of the Gateway Campaign.  The Board of Directors has therefore approved a larger budget for hors d’oeuvres and snacks at this event than has been the custom in recent years.  The Board urges all APA members to attend this celebration.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 11/27/2012 - 8:25pm by Adam Blistein.

APA Office Hours:  November 2012-January 2013

Following is the schedule for the APA Office through the annual meeting in Seattle.  Our regular hours are 8:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

November 22-25, 2012                                   Office Closed (Thanksgiving Holiday)
December 22-26, 2012                                   Office Closed
December 27-28, 2012                                   Office Open (see Note A)
December 29-30, 2012                                   Office Closed
December 31, 2012                                        Office Open
January 1-8, 2013                                           Office Closed (see Note B)
January 9-11, 2013                                         Office Open (see Note C)
January 12-13, 2013                                       Office Closed
January 14, 2013                                            Normal Office Operations Resume

Note A:  The building where our offices are located at the University of Pennsylvania (220 S. 40th Street) will be locked, and the University will not be delivering mail during this period.  Courier services may be able to make deliveries, but the best ways of communicating with us will be via telephone and e-mail.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 11/20/2012 - 4:14pm by Adam Blistein.

Four seminars will take place at the annual meeting in Seattle.  Find details of these sessions here along with instructions for requesting seminar papers in advance of the meeting and Program Committee expectations for participants in these sessions.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 11/20/2012 - 3:41pm by Adam Blistein.

Classics programs in two institutions in the Russian Federation are being threatened with closure.  Click here to sign a petition in support of the Russian State University of the Humanities in Moscow.  Click here to sign a petition in support of the program at St. Petersburg State University.  The latter link opens a page that appears to be completely in Russian, but the English version will appear if you click on an expansion link with a caret pointing down (V)after the first several lines of Russian text.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Mon, 11/19/2012 - 1:27pm by Adam Blistein.

The Committee on Ancient and Modern Performance invites expressions of interest in directing a staged reading at the 2014 APA meeting in Chicago. CAMP is very proud to sponsor this reading, which has become a tradition. The eleventh annual reading, which will take place at the 2013 APA meeting in Seattle, will be Alcestis, adapted and co-directed by Mark Damen and Mary-Kay Gamel.

Proposals for plays must be accompanied by a firm commitment by a director or a larger creative team who will assume full responsibility for production. Scripts must be complete by the time the statement of interest is submitted, and the proposer must have the legal right to perform the script.

The director is given free rein with regard to the artistic realm of the play, including the scale of the production, though we strongly caution potential directors to be mindful of the extreme limitations imposed by a very short rehearsal period (approximately two days), a short time slot for performance (under two hours), few theatrical resources, and a limited budget. The director is responsible for writing and distributing a call for actors, for planning in advance the type of production to be done, for maintaining contact with a CAMP liaison and the APA regarding performance progress and needs, and of course for directing the show in Chicago.

Statements of interest must address the following issues:

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Fri, 11/16/2012 - 7:13pm by Adam Blistein.

"Because it's been a language of scholars and old things, it's got a mystique and romance to it," says Rachel Currie, one of many Australian students breathing new life into the dead language of Latin.

At the University of Western Australia, where Currie is taking a double major in biomedical science, introductory Latin this year has 129 students, an increase of 150 percent. Currie prizes Latin as a kind of master key of language that unlocks scientific terminology and opens up insights into English grammar as well as Romance tongues for travel in Europe.

But sheer fun can't be overlooked, and the textbook Lingua Latina, with its Roman family saga, helps teachers deliver. "Marcus beats up his sister, one of the uncles joins the army -- it's exactly like a Roman soap opera," Currie says.

A new liberal arts-style curriculum at UWA has helped languages generally, says Yasmin Haskell, who holds the Cassamarca Foundation chair in Latin humanism. Students must take "breadth" courses outside their home faculty. As a result, Latin reaches beyond the language nerds. Students from the sciences narrowly outnumber those from the arts.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Tue, 11/13/2012 - 2:30pm by Information Architect.

If you regularly use Facebook or Twitter, you may want to follow the APA (https://www.facebook.com/APAClassics and @apaclassics). All posts to this APA blog are also published on those pages. In addition, those pages highlight features of the upcoming annual meeting in Seattle.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 11/08/2012 - 3:27pm by Adam Blistein.

I want to thank the more than 200 APA members who responded to my recent request for comments about the proposal from the Board of Directors that we consider changing the name of the Association. I am currently preparing a summary of their comments and suggestions and will post it just before or after Thanksgiving. That will initiate a public discussion that the Board wants to be as open and inclusive as possible. Information Architect Sam Huskey has been developing a new blogging mechanism that will permit Board and committee members to post articles and allow members and friends to respond. The Board believes that public discussion of the issue of the name change is a good way to inaugurate this new effort on our part to take advantage of electronic media. This discussion will inform the deliberations of the Board of Directors when it meets, as usual, at the annual meeting in January and determines the next steps we should take in reaching a decision on this important issue.

With best regards,
Jeff Henderson

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 11/08/2012 - 3:19pm by Adam Blistein.

Pages

Latest Stories

Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings
Classical Studies at Boston University and Classics, BU Center for the Humani
Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings
The Classics Program at Hunter College is pleased to announce the 84th Joseph

© 2020, Society for Classical Studies Privacy Policy