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

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Sally Anne MacEwen, Professor and Chair of Classics at Agnes Scott College, died on March 15, 2012 after a long and astonishingly cheerful and determined fight against cancer. Born in Abington, PA in 1948, Sally earned her B.A. From Mount Holyoke College and her Ph.D. From the University of Pennsylvania. After a two years at the University of Utah, Sally spent thirty years teaching at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA, where she inspired generations of women with a love of Classics and especially of Greek tragedy and its resonance in our modern world. Her unwavering commitment to her Quaker beliefs and to the importance of equality and diversity helped to make Agnes Scott more just and supportive of its entire community.

Sally’s publications ranged from Euripides’ Iphigenia at Aulis to Thelma and Louise, and her teaching was similarly wide-ranging. A signature course was based on her book Superheroes and Greek Tragedy: Comparing Cultural Icons, and at the time of her death she was teaching a new course entitled “Racism (or not) in Antiquity”; these two courses epitomize Sally’s scholarship, teaching, and profound understanding of the relevance of Classics in the modern world. In addition to her service at Agnes Scott, Sally was a long-time member of the Women’s Classical Caucus and served as its newsletter editor form 2004-2010.

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Mon, 04/30/2012 - 3:54pm by Adam Blistein.

From newsobserver.com:

For 44 years, Burian, a professor of classical studies, has transported his students to the ancient world, a place inhabited by emperors and slaves, gods and heroes. And along the way, he has taught them about their own time and place, and maybe a bit about themselves.

Burian’s last class at Duke was Wednesday. At 68, he’s retiring from the classroom, but will spend a year as dean of humanities at Duke, where he will put his wisdom to work on larger questions about the study of languages, literature, history, philosophy, religion.

Read more…

View full article. | Posted in Member News on Sun, 04/29/2012 - 11:43am by .

From the National Humanities Alliance:

April 24, 2012 – On April 10, the National Endowment for the Humanities launched a new website. After a complete overhaul, the new neh.gov provides a more user-friendly platform for people seeking grants and for the public interested in humanities research, scholarship, and public programs.  A new “EXPLORE” section allows users to access information about more than 200 documentaries, radio programs, and apps produced by broadcasters and others with NEH grants. A prominent new rotator will showcase news of NEH and books, seminars, and other projects growing out of Endowment funding.  Each NEH division and program will have its own series of pages to feature projects, news about grants and opportunities to meet program officers in the field. 

Other features include:

View full article. | Posted in Websites and Resources on Sat, 04/28/2012 - 11:59am by .

Congratulations to Alexander Loney, one of 39 ACLS New Faculty Fellows for 2012 (http://www.acls.org/research/nff.aspx?id=5556).  He received his Ph.D. in Classics at Duke and will hold his NFF position at Yale.  As defined by the ACLS, "the New Faculty Fellows program allows recent Ph.D.s in the humanities to take up two-year positions at universities and colleges across the United States where their particular research and teaching expertise augment departmental offerings.  This program is an initiative of ACLS to address the dire situation of newly minted Ph.D.s in the humanities and related social sciences who are now confronting an increasingly 'jobless market.'  The generous support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation makes this program possible."

View full article. | Posted in Member News on Thu, 04/26/2012 - 1:58pm by .

From Informationsdienst Wissenschaft:

Universität Leipzig erhält hochkarätige Humboldt-Professur
Susann Huster

Die Universität Leipzig hat eine mit fünf Millionen Euro ausgestattete Professur der Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung erhalten, um den renommierten Altphilologen und Informatiker Prof. Dr. Gregory Ralph Crane von der Tufts University in Medford/Boston, USA, zu berufen.

Crane gilt als führender Pionier der eHumanities, der Entwicklung von Computerprogrammen für die Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften. Er kombiniert in einem innovativen Ansatz Altphilologie und Informatik. So wendet er Methoden der Informatik zur Systematisierung der kulturellen Entwicklung des Menschen an. Seine Reputation als Pionier der Digital Humanities, der digitalen Geisteswissenschaften, verdankt er der Entwicklung der Perseus Digital Library, einer umfangreichen und frei zugänglichen Online-Bibliothek für antike Quellen. Als einer der innovativsten Forscher in seinem Gebiet ist er wie kein Zweiter in den Geisteswissenschaften und der Angewandten Informatik bewandert.

View full article. | Posted in Member News on Wed, 04/25/2012 - 11:34am by .

From now on, the Gnomon Bibliographic Database will also be available in an English version (http://www.englisch.gnomon-online.de/), including a comprehensive English thesaurus. The database contains around 500,000 entries, with monthly updates comprising the latest reviews, monograph studies, anthologies, and articles in periodicals.

View full article. | Posted in Websites and Resources on Mon, 04/23/2012 - 3:54pm by .

From the San Francisco State University News:

Alexandra Pappas has been selected by the Department of Classics to be the first endowed Raoul Bertrand Chair in Classics. Currently a fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C., Pappas will join SF State this fall as an assistant professor.

Pappas will teach courses in Greek and Latin language, Greek art and archaeology and courses on Greek and Roman culture.

"Dr. Pappas is a dynamic teacher who is sure to attract new students to study ancient Greece, Rome and the broader Mediterranean," said classics Chair David Leitao. "Her exciting interdisciplinary research will help keep the classics department at the cutting edge of humanities in the 21st century."

View full article. | Posted in Member News on Sun, 04/22/2012 - 11:52am by .

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Thu, 04/19/2012 - 3:49pm by .

Members may have seen a petition posted to the website of L’Année philologique (anphil.org), expressing concern about funding for the German office of L’Année.  Here is a brief account of the situation, of which the APA Board has been aware since January, and how we have decided to proceed.

The Société Internationale de Bibliographie Classique (SIBC), based in Paris, is the international not-for-profit organization that oversees L’Année.  The German office is one of six self-sustaining offices that prepare entries for L’Année;the others are in Paris (the main editorial office), Genoa, Granada, Lausanne, and Durham, NC.  This last is the American Office, which is the responsibility of the APA and reports to our Research Division.  The funds raised in our current Gateway Campaign to date ensure the continued operation of the American Office (though we continue to solicit contributions to meet all NEH challenge grant requirements), but the APA is very concerned about the health of the German Office, which prepares a significant amount of the content in each issue of L’Année: its funding is up for renewal in a difficult fiscal climate.  It is important for members to realize, however, that a threat to an individual office does not mean that the operation of the bibliography as a whole is in danger.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 04/17/2012 - 7:09pm by Adam Blistein.

Follow this link to submit an individual abstract for the 2013 Annual Meeting.  The Program Committee will review these submissions on June 29-30, 2012.  Please be sure that your membership is current (i.e., paid up for 2012) before beginning the submission process.  If you are not sure whether you have paid your APA dues for the current year, ask the customer service staff at the Johns Hopkins University Press at jrnlcirc@press.jhu.edu, 800-548-1784 (US and Canada only), or 410-516-6987 (all others). 

Before submitting your abstract, please read the Program Committee's instructions for the submission of individual abstracts this year.  Please note that the Committee has instituted several changes in the submission process.  In addition, see the Association's general regulations concerning abstract submissions and suggestions from the Program Committee that emerged from a workshop on abstract writing at the 2010 annual meeting. 

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 04/17/2012 - 5:52pm by Adam Blistein.

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