AHA Advocacy

In a wide range of situations, whether involving the rights and careers of individual historians, historical practice in diverse venues, or the role of history in public culture, the American Historical Association has the responsibility to take public stands.  See below for recent AHA actions.

To learn more about how the AHA determines whether to take a public stand, please see Guiding Principles on Taking a Public Stance (June 2017) and Policies and Procedures for Considering Amicus Brief Requests (January 2020).

AHA Executive Director Jim Grossman's The Megaphone at 400 A Street SE shares the process by which the AHA issues letters and statements and signs onto amicus curiae briefs.

For statements and letters from the 1990s-2020, please visit the AHA's News and Advocacy Archives.

In many states, legislators have introduced "divisive concepts" bills that seek to limit history education in ways that would make it virtually impossible for students to understand slavery and racism in American historical development. The AHA is leading or involved with several initiatives to combat these bills and provides resources and support for educators advocating for teaching history. For more information and for recent letters sent by the AHA to state legislatures, please visit our Teaching History with Integrity site and History Education Advocacy archive


  • Guiding Principles on Taking a Public Stance (June 2017)

    The Council of the American Historical Association issues a statement on when it has the right to take public stands in defense, most of which has to do with the rights and careers of individuals, considered as historians. (Created 2007; Updated 2017)

  • Policies and Procedures for Considering Amicus Brief Requests (January 2020)

    The AHA may consider requests for endorsing amicus briefs that coincide with the AHA's Guiding Principles for Taking a Public Stance. Such requests may be submitted by members of the Association, litigants, or other scholarly associations.

  • AHA Sends Letter to South Dakota Board of Education Opposing Social Studies Standards Revision Process (2022)

    The AHA has sent a letter to the South Dakota Board of Education opposing its social studies standards revision process.

  • AHA Supports Nomination of Colleen Shogan as Archivist of the United States (September 2022)

    The AHA has sent a letter to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs stating that it “enthusiastically supports” the nomination of Colleen Shogan as the 11th Archivist of the United States. Dr. Shogan “has worked effectively and productively with our members in such important settings as the Library of Congress, the White House Historical Society, and the America250 Commission,” the AHA wrote. “She has been especially effective as a collaborator across disciplines, drawing on her political science background to complement the work of archivists, librarians, and historians.”

  • AHA Signs Amicus Curiae Brief in Haaland v. Brackeen (August 2022)

    The AHA has co-sponsored, along with the Organization of American Historians, an amicus curiae brief in the Supreme Court case Haaland v. Brackeen. This brief, based on decades of study and research by professional historians, aims to provide an accurate historical perspective as the Court considers the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act.

  • AHA Letter to Virginia Governor Regarding Board of Historic Resources Appointments and Confederate Monuments (August 2022)

    The American Historical Association has sent a letter to Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin affirming the “importance of input from qualified historians” in deliberations about monuments in public spaces. “Your appointments to the Board of Historic Resources and other historical institutions fall within that reference to professional qualifications and democratic decision-making,” the AHA wrote. “A productive conversation requires that all participants act in good faith, with an informed understanding of scholarship and a careful and nuanced appreciation of the historical context.” The letter included a copy of the AHA’s Statement on Confederate Monuments, which “urge[s] communities faced with decisions about monuments to draw on the expertise of historians both for understanding the facts and chronology underlying such monuments and for deriving interpretive conclusions based on evidence.”

  • History, the Supreme Court, and Dobbs v. Jackson: Joint Statement from the AHA and the OAH (July 2022)

    The American Historical Association and the Organization of American Historians have jointly issued a statement expressing dismay that the US Supreme Court “declined to take seriously the historical claims of our [amicus curiae] brief” in its Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision. “Instead, the court adopted a flawed interpretation of abortion criminalization that has been pressed by anti-abortion advocates for more than thirty years. … These misrepresentations are now enshrined in a text that becomes authoritative for legal reference and citation in the future. The court’s decision erodes fundamental rights and has the potential to exacerbate historic injustices and deepen inequalities in our country.” To date, 30 organizations have signed onto the statement.

  • AHA Endorses LGBTQI+ Data Inclusion Act (June 2022)

    The AHA has formally endorsed the LGBTQI+ Data Inclusion Act, a bill that “ensures that lawmakers and federal agencies have the comprehensive data they need to advance policies that better serve LGBTQI+ people.” “Full equality and sound policy can only be achieved when we count all members of our community,” said Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03), who introduced the legislation. “Lawmakers and agencies are one step closer to finally having comprehensive data to craft better policies to remedy and address the disparities faced by LGBTQI+ individuals—particularly people of color—to ensure their needs are met.” The bill passed the US House of Representatives on June 23.

  • AHA Signs On to ASEH Letter Opposing Closure of EPA Digital Archive (June 2022)

    The AHA has signed on to a letter from the American Society for Environmental History opposing the Environmental Protection Agency’s plans to sunset its online archive in July 2022. In addition to being “immensely useful to environmental historians,” ASEH writes, “[t]he site has provided resources for others working in ecology, biology, toxicology, and other environmental sciences as well as geography, law, sociology, political science, and public health. … Not least among those who have relied on the EPA’s online archive are those working with and living in more marginalized or environmental justice communities, a stated priority of current EPA leadership.”

  • AHA Signs On to Letter Advocating for Title VI Funding (May 2022)

    The AHA has signed on to a letter to Congress from the Coalition for International Education urging stronger funding for the US Department of Education’s International and Foreign Language Education programs, including HEA-Title IV programs and Fulbright-Hays programs. “Many more programs would be made available to address the nation’s critical needs for advanced fluency in foreign languages, world regions and international business,” the letter states. “Students from all racial and socio-economic backgrounds would have more opportunities to obtain the international experience and skills in growing demand across a wide range of professional and technical fields impacting our global engagement, security and competitiveness.”

  • AHA Signs On to Joint Statement of Opposition to Banning Scholars Based on Citizenship (March 2022)

    The American Historical Association has signed onto a joint statement from the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies, and the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages “strongly oppos[ing] the vilification and exclusion of our Russian and Belarusian students and colleagues.” “Banning Russians and Belarusians based solely on their citizenship goes against our fundamental principles of scholarship, open communication, and dialogue,” says the statement. “Such sanctions have the potential to harm those living in authoritarian regimes who are opposed to the war. We encourage all members of our community who stand against the war in Ukraine to come together and support our students and colleagues.”

  • AHA Sends Letter to Iowa State University Urging Reconsideration of Planned Budget Cuts (March 2022)

    The American Historical Association has sent a letter to the leadership of Iowa State University expressing “grave concern about Iowa State University’s ‘reimagining’ of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the imposition of a cumulative 34% cut to the Department of History’s already lean operating budget.” “[W]e are mystified by the logic of a budget that will so dramatically diminish the presence of a department that has performed well, operated efficiently, and plays a central role in the university’s historic roots as a land grant institution dedicated to the role of higher education in public culture,” the AHA writes. The letter urges “the college to reconsider its drastic differential cuts” and emphasizes the Department of History is a “positive good to the budget, the university, and the citizens of Iowa.”

  • AHA Signs On to Coalition for International Education Letter Urging Reauthorization of Key Title IV Programs (March 2022)

    The AHA has signed on to a letter from the Coalition for International Education calling on congressional leaders to support the reauthorization of key programs under Title VI of the Higher Education Act. “Since the National Defense Education Act of 1958, Title VI continues to be a key federal-university partnership in the nation’s strategy for ensuring US security, global competitiveness, and deep understanding of foreign languages and cultures,” the letter states. “The USICA and COMPETE Act bills reauthorize the key Title VI foundational programs that address the nation’s critical and expanding needs for expertise in foreign languages, world regions, and international business, to be available whenever an international or global crisis erupt.”

  • AHA Signs On to African Studies Association Statement on Discriminatory Treatment of Africans Fleeing War in Ukraine (March 2022)

    The AHA has signed onto a statement from the African Studies Association (ASA) on the “discriminatory treatment meted out to Africans, including scholars and students, fleeing the war in Ukraine.” In the statement, the ASA condemns “this discriminatory, inhumane, and racist treatment of Africans fleeing Ukraine, which clearly violates international law,” and "call[s] on Ukrainian and authorities in neighboring countries to treat all those fleeing the conflict equally, with dignity, and without discrimination based on race or status.”

  • Historians Condemn Russian Invasion of Ukraine (February 2022)

    The AHA has released a statement “condemn[ing] in the strongest possible terms Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine” and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s abuse of history as justification for the attack. “Putin’s rhetorical premise for this brutal violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty is anchored by a set of outlandish historical claims, including an argument that Ukraine was entirely a Soviet creation,” the AHA wrote. “We vigorously support the Ukrainian nation and its people in their resistance to Russian military aggression and the twisted mythology that President Putin has invented to justify his violation of international norms.” To date, 42 organizations have signed onto the statement.

  • Bomb Threats against HBCUs: A History of Domestic Terrorism (February 2022)

    The AHA has released a statement historicizing and condemning the numerous bomb threats received by at least 17 Historically Black Colleges and Universities in early 2022. “These crimes are part of a long history of attacks on institutions that serve the Black community," writes the AHA. “[These acts] spawned not only a hateful legacy, but also a current, ongoing threat to the physical safety and emotional well-being of all Black Americans.” To date, 44 organizations have signed onto the statement.

  • AHA Condemns Violations of Presidential Records Act (February 2022)

    The AHA has released a statement “condemn[ing] in the strongest terms former President Donald J. Trump’s reported extensive and repeated violations of the Presidential Records Act of 1978.” “Historians, journalists, and other researchers depend on the preservation of presidential records to educate the public and inform future administrations,” the AHA wrote. “These acts of destruction and noncompliance with the Presidential Records Act demonstrate blatant contempt for both the rule of law and the principles of transparency and accountability that constitute the bedrock of our nation’s democracy.” To date, 30 organizations have signed onto this statement.

  • AHA Sends Letter to Collin College President Regarding Nonrenewal of History Faculty (February 2022)

    The AHA has sent a letter to Collin College president Dr. Neil Matkin stating that it “views with alarm your decision not to renew the contract of Dr. Michael Phillips, professor of history” after Professor Phillips’s request that his students “consider wearing masks to protect their own health and the health of their classmates.” This request, along with the historical context Professor Phillips provided about responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, was “well within institutional guidelines. . . . We fear that your actions will serve to intimidate other history professors who seek to teach about the history of pandemics and other controversial issues, and seek to protect the health of their students.”

  • AHA Signs Statement Urging State Department to Protect Afghan Students and Scholars (February 2022)

    The AHA has signed onto a statement from the Middle Eastern Studies Association, the American Institute of Afghan Studies, and Scholars at Risk encouraging US State Department officials “to take immediate action to enable the safe and speedy relocation of Afghanistan's students and scholars, many of whom represent the best and brightest of the country's young generation.” The current admission pathways into the US, the statement says, “are not available to many Afghans who face challenges . . . . As the spring semester commences, we strongly encourage the White House to seize this moment and open a pathway for them to return to school and productive academic careers.”

  • AHA Sends Letter Opposing Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District Resolution (January 2022)

    The AHA sent a letter to leaders at the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District opposing the proposed Resolution No. 21-12, “Resolution Opposing the Teaching of Critical Race Theory.” “If the district is committed to academic freedom,” the AHA writes, “why has it singled out one set of ideas—critical race theory—as a subject that cannot be taught in Placentia-Yorba Linda schools?” The AHA hopes history teachers will not be required to minimize historical transgressions or their influence on the evolution of American institutions. “To do so would be a direct and clear violation of ‘the commitment to teach a complete and accurate account of history.’” The letter includes a statement criticizing similar legislative efforts to restrict education about racism in American history, co-authored by the AHA in June 2021 and signed by 152 organizations.

  • AHA Sends Letter Opposing Oklahoma Bill That Would Limit Teaching of Race and Slavery in America (December 2021)

    The AHA has sent a letter to members of the Oklahoma state legislature strongly opposing House Bill 2988, which would restrict the teaching of “certain concepts pertaining to America and slavery.” This “irresponsible legislation,” the AHA writes, would be “harmful to the youth of Oklahoma, leaving students ignorant of basic facts of American history and poorly prepared for the critical thinking and interpretive skills required for career and civic accomplishment.“

  • AHA Sends Letter Opposing Nonrenewal of History Department Faculty at Youngstown State University (December 2021)

    The AHA has sent a letter to administrators at Youngstown State University strongly discouraging the university from “proceeding with the reported nonrenewal of two faculty members in the history program.” These nonrenewals, in addition to planned retirements, “would severely diminish the department’s ability to maintain appropriate pedagogical and research standards, and counteracts the university’s own recent assessment of the department’s health.”

  • AHA Signs On to Letter Urging US House Leadership to Reauthorize Title VI International Education Programs (December 2021)

    The AHA has signed onto a letter by the Coalition for International Education “express[ing] our strong support” for the reauthorization of Title VI international education programs. “Whether it’s global health, environment, food production, cyber security, law enforcement, immigration and more, meeting our challenges increasingly relies on foreign language abilities, regional knowledge, cultural understanding, and experience abroad,” the letter states. “As the most comprehensive and multifaceted federal program in international education, we believe HEA-Title VI is the federal government’s foundational vehicle to address this 21st century human resource issue.”

  • AHA Calls on Polish State to Uphold the Rights of Historians (December 2021)

    The AHA has sent a letter to Polish president Andrzej Duda expressing “dismay and continued concern about events taking place in Poland related to the study of history and especially regarding historical research on World War II and the Holocaust.” The AHA originally wrote to President Duda in 2016 regarding the treatment of Polish historians, issued a statement in 2018, and wrote again in February 2021; this most recent letter comes as “scholars continue to be harassed, threatened with dismissal, or forced to resign.” The AHA calls upon Polish leaders “to protect the rights of historians and other scholars to conduct impartial research into history and to advance the search for historical accuracy in a still controversial, and often painful, past.”

  • AHA Releases Statement on Censorship and Prosecution by Chinese Authorities (November 2021)

    In a newly released statement, the AHA is “alarmed by news reports that Chinese authorities have escalated the censorship and prosecution of Chinese citizens who deviate from the Communist Party line of hero worship.” “Such efforts strike at the very heart of historical scholarship, which depends on open-ended inquiry and a free exchange of ideas, wherever that inquiry leads, and whether or not those ideas cast aspersions on historical actors,” the AHA states. “The AHA stands firmly against national laws and policies that in effect criminalize the historical enterprise.” To date, 20 organizations have signed onto this statement.

  • National Archives and Records Administration Responds to Reopening Questions in AHA Letter of August 5, 2021 (November 2021)

    The AHA wrote to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) on behalf of historical researchers seeking clarity about reopening plans. The questions in the letter drew on email communications received by the AHA and other membership organizations. NARA has provided responses to the questions posed in the AHA’s letter, as well as a communication to researchers. We are glad to publish these responses as a window into NARA’s reopening process and future plans. The AHA continues to work with our colleagues at NARA to increase communication between archivists and researchers.

  • AHA Signs On to Letter Urging DoE to Prioritize International and Foreign Language Education and Research (November 2021)

    The AHA has signed onto a letter by the Coalition for International Education “urg[ing] the Department of Education to prioritize and strengthen its international and foreign language education and research role under HEA-Title VI and Fulbright-Hays 102(b)(6).” “Our challenges increasingly rely on foreign language abilities, regional knowledge, cultural understanding, and experience abroad,” the letter states. “Key foreign language, regional studies, international business, research and education abroad infrastructures and capacity must be replenished.”

  • AHA Sends Letter Objecting to University of Florida Preventing Faculty Members’ Expert Witness Testimony (November 2021)

    The AHA has sent a letter to President W. Kent Fuchs of the University of Florida stating that it “objects strenuously to [the] decision preventing University of Florida faculty members from testifying in a voting-rights case.” The university’s decision “is contrary to the principle that the state university is a resource upon which public institutions such as the courts can (and should) draw for expertise,” the AHA writes. “A public university is not a political agent of the state in which it is situated; it is a site of learning and scholarly inquiry in service to the residents of that state.”

  • AHA Signs Amicus Curiae Brief in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization (September 2021)

    The AHA, along with the Organization of American Historians, has become a signatory to an amicus curiae brief in the Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. This brief, based on decades of study and research by professional historians, aims to provide an accurate historical perspective as the Court considers the state of Mississippi’s challenge to a woman’s right to abortion, a right that was affirmed by the Court in Roe v. Wade.

  • AHA Releases Statement on Threats to Academic Conferences (September 2021)

    The AHA has released a statement condemning the harassment and intimidation of participants, organizers, and university sponsors of the virtual conference “Dismantling Global Hindutva: Multidisciplinary Perspectives.” “Conferences, both in person and across digital platforms, are critical to the exchange of ideas among historians and our colleagues in other disciplines,” the AHA wrote. “Disruptions to a conference represent an assault on the principle of academic freedom, and the AHA stands unequivocally with participants in this conference and its sponsors in their right to exchange ideas without fear of threats and intimidation.” To date, 40 organizations have signed onto this statement.

  • AHA Sends Letter to Missouri Governor Urging Reinstatement of LGBTQ+ History Exhibition (September 2021)

    The AHA has sent a letter to Missouri governor Mike Parson recommending “most emphatically” that he reconsider his “decision to remove the exhibition Making History: Kansas City and the Rise of Gay Rights from the Missouri State Museum.” “By excluding this high-quality, professionally researched and produced historical exhibition from the State Museum,” the AHA wrote, “you articulate a vision of the state that we hope you do not intend: that LGBTQ+ Americans are not worthy of recognition or inclusion in the state of Missouri.”

  • AHA Sends Letter Opposing Proposed Legislation on History Education in Texas (August 2021)

    The AHA wrote to Texas governor Greg Abbott and the members of the state legislature to oppose SB 3 and HB 28, introduced during the Texas legislature’s special session. “This proposed legislation threatens the integrity of history education in Texas,” the AHA wrote. The AHA “urges the Texas legislature to reject these bills, both of which seek to indoctrinate students rather than help them learn the inquiry-based skills that will prepare them for their future civic and professional lives.” The letter cited a previous AHA letter to Governor Abbott and the Texas Senate in May, an AHA statement in July, and a joint statement in June addressing similar legislative efforts that “risk infringing on the right of faculty to teach and of students to learn.”

  • AHA Signs On to Letter Urging Aid for Afghanistan’s Scholars, Students, Practitioners, Civil Society Leaders, and Activists (August 2021)

    The AHA has signed on to a letter from the Scholars at Risk Network to US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, requesting “immediate action” from the US Department of State “to save Afghanistan’s scholars, students, practitioners, civil society leaders and activists, especially women and ethnic and religious minorities.” “The eroding situation in Afghanistan poses a threat not only to the lives of our colleagues still in Afghanistan, but to the future of that country, and to the future security and honor of the United States,” the letter states. “If we move quickly, we can go a long way towards mitigating the worst of the threats and demonstrate continuing commitment to the future of Afghanistan and its people.”

  • AHA Sends Letter to NARA Regarding Planned Research Room Capacity (August 2021)

    The AHA has written a letter seeking clarity on the National Archives and Records Administration’s planned reopening following pandemic closures and to offer the AHA’s “help in communicating with the community of history researchers.” The AHA recognizes “the difficulties of operating facilities around the country during a pandemic” and encourages NARA to maximize equitable access to its collections while continuing to make the health and safety of NARA staff its highest priority.

  • AHA Issues Letter Objecting to Social Studies Curriculum Legislation in Ohio (July 2021)

    The AHA has issued a letter to Gov. Mike DeWine and the members of the Ohio state legislature registering “strong objection to Ohio HB 322 and HB 327, acts relating to the social studies curriculum in public schools.” These bills, wrote the AHA, are “a tangle of contradictory mandates” about how history can be taught and “part of a misguided, nationally coordinated attempt to put the government in classrooms at every level from kindergarten through high school—and in the case of HB 327, through higher education—to intimidate teachers, and to indoctrinate students rather than helping them learn the inquiry-based skills that will prepare them for their future civic and professional lives.”

  • AHA Issues Letter Regarding COVID-19 Vaccination Rates in Louisiana (July 2021)

    The AHA has issued a letter to Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and other leaders in the state expressing “alarm that vaccination rates in the state of Louisiana remain well below the national average.” “We know that city and state officials are eager to see business travel resume and travel industry jobs and revenue rebound,” the AHA wrote, “and we trust that you will mount a vigorous public health effort to increase vaccination rates and prevent a renewed surge of COVID cases, which would necessitate the reimposition of restrictions on conferences and business travel.” The AHA wants to ensure that its annual meeting, to be held in New Orleans in January 2022, is “as safe as possible for all to attend.”

  • AHA Issues Statement on Threats to Historical Integrity in Texas (July 2021)

    In a statement on the recently-enacted Texas House Bill 3979, the American Historical Association “views with alarm several provisions” in the so-called “divisive concepts” legislation, including those affecting state institutions that present history to the public. “By hindering the professional development of public historians and restricting funding,” the AHA’s statement says, “this law would prevent state-owned agencies and facilities from presenting accurate views of Texas history, and would hobble fundraising efforts crucial to the vibrant state-sponsored public-history sector.“ The legislation “clearly violates” the AHA’s Standards for Museum Exhibits Dealing with Historical Subjects and “will adversely affect not only K–12 students, but all Texans and visitors who want to learn more about the state’s complicated past.” 28 organizations have signed onto this statement to date.

  • AHA Signs On to Letter for Increased Funding of International Education and Foreign Language Studies (July 2021)

    The American Historical Association has signed on to a letter from the Coalition for International Education to Senators Patty Murray and Roy Blunt supporting increased funding for the US Department of Education's international and foreign language education programs. The letter strongly recommends funding for International Education and Foreign Language Studies, including for HEA-Title VI and Fulbright-Hays 102(b)(6) programs, that would restore them to their FY 2010 levels, adjusted for inflation.

  • Joint Statement on Legislative Efforts to Restrict Education about Racism in American History (June 2021)

    The American Association of University Professors, the American Historical Association, the Association of American Colleges & Universities, and PEN America have authored a joint statement stating their “firm opposition” to legislation, introduced in at least 20 states, that would restrict the discussion of “divisive concepts” in public education institutions. In total, 155 organizations have signed onto the statement.

  • AHA Releases Statement on LGBTQ+ History Curriculum (May 2021)

    In response to recent legislative efforts and existing anti-LGBTQ+ laws in several states, the AHA has released a statement opposing “efforts to restrict the teaching of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer history in elementary, middle, and high schools.” “The failure to teach LGBTQ+ history,” the statement argues, “distorts the historical record, harms LGBTQ+ students specifically, and prevents all students from receiving a complete education.” The AHA supports “expanding access to LGBTQ+-inclusive history curricula and greater protections for history teachers who include LGBTQ+ history in their classrooms.”

  • National Coalition for History Issues Statement Opposing “Divisive Concepts” Legislation (May 2021)

    The National Coalition for History (NCH) has released a statement opposing the passage of so-called “divisive concepts” legislation currently under consideration in numerous state legislatures. NCH “deplores the intent of these bills to foment confusion and have a chilling effect on teachers,” the statement said. “We denounce such bills as thinly veiled attempts to place limits on a curriculum which fosters a comprehensive and critical look at our history from a variety of perspectives.” The NCH provides leadership in history-related advocacy. The AHA is a member of the Coalition, and AHA representatives serve on its executive committee.

  • AHA Issues Letter Objecting to Texas Bill (May 2021)

    The AHA has written a letter to Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and the members of the Texas Senate registering strong objection to Texas House Bill 3979, urging them to “reject this misguided, harmful, and unnecessary piece of legislation.” The letter describes how the bill would likely endanger Advanced Placement and dual-enrollment programs in Texas public schools. “The actual purpose” of the bill, the AHA writes, “is about whitewashing American history, keeping to the margins (or excluding altogether) such central issues as slavery; forced removals of Native Americans; inequalities based on race, gender, or other characteristics; and other aspects of our past likely to inspire the vigorous discussion that characterizes a good history class. . . . To deny Texas students the opportunity to discuss these issues openly and freely is to deny them their rightful place as citizens of the United States, and of the world.”

  • AHA Endorses Letter for Increased Funding of International Education and Foreign Language Studies (May 2021)

    The American Historical Association signed onto a letter from the Coalition for International Education to Representatives Rosa DeLauro and Tom Cole supporting increased funding for the US Department of Education's international and foreign language education programs. The letter strongly endorses a bipartisan letter from 116 House members recommending increased funding for International Education and Foreign Language Studies, including for HEA-Title VI and Fulbright-Hays programs at their FY 2010 levels as adjusted by inflation.

  • AHA Signs On to MESA Statement on Florida Bill (May 2021)

    The AHA has signed on to a Middle East Studies Association statement opposing a Florida bill (HB233), approved by both houses and awaiting the governor’s signature, that would allow “students to record in classrooms without the consent of their professors.” The bill would also mandate “the State Board of Education and the Board of Governors to conduct an assessment of the ‘intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity’ at every institution in the Florida College System.” The statement notes that the proposed law “constitutes a legislative intrusion that will have a chilling effect on the free exchange of opinions it claims to enhance” and would limit “students’ abilities to express their views freely in an open environment.”

  • AHA Signs On to Letter Opposing DHS Records Schedules (May 2021)

    The AHA signed on to a letter drafted by Open the Government to Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas requesting the withdrawal and reevaluation of the Department of Homeland Security records schedules authorizing the destruction of records of abuse, neglect, and misconduct. On March 12, 2021, a federal judge invalidated one of these records schedules, ruling that the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) failed to evaluate the long-term interests in the ICE records expressed by members of Congress, advocacy organizations, historians, and others. DHS and NARA are now considering their next steps, both in this case and with respect to other DHS records destruction schedules.

  • AHA Endorses Letter for Congressional Title VI Enhancements (April 2021)

    The American Historical Association signed onto a letter from the Coalition for International Education to Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). The letter expressed support for the bipartisan re-authorization of the Higher Education Act and the inclusion of enhancements to Title VI in the bill.

  • AHA Signs Joint Letter Registering Alarm about Georgia Voting Restrictions (April 2021)

    The AHA and nine other scholarly societies have sent a letter to convention bureaus in Georgia to “register our alarm and disappointment about the passage of SB 202” and its voting restrictions. “The grave concerns we share about this legislation,” the letter reads, “force us to reconsider whether we can in good conscience bring our meetings to your state. . . . As it stands, it will be difficult for us and our members to consider coming to Georgia in the future should the law remain in place.”

  • AHA Signs On to Amicus Curiae Brief on Records Release (April 2021)

    The American Historical Association has signed onto an amicus curiae brief in Lepore v. United States regarding the release of the records of two 1971 Boston, Massachusetts, grand juries that investigated the Pentagon Papers leak. Although grand jury records are usually kept under seal in perpetuity, the AHA supports the court’s original position that these records can be released as a matter of exceptional historical significance, a precedent the government is working to overturn. Relevant to this case is the AHA’s comment on Rule 6(e).

  • AHA Issues Letter Regarding Proposed Termination of Tenured Faculty Members at Salem State University (April 2021)

    The AHA has written a letter to the president and provost of Salem State University strongly discouraging them from proceeding with the reportedly proposed termination of four tenured members in the history department. “This drastic reduction in faculty would severely diminish the department’s ability to maintain the impressive pedagogical and research standards that the department sets for itself and apparently maintains, along with its striking level of engagement with local communities,” the AHA wrote. The letter noted the Salem State history department’s participation in AHA Tuning, the data at Salem State showing history ranked #1 of 30 majors in the “fill rate” of its courses, and the fact that “Salem is a site of considerable historical importance,” making the role of historical work at Salem State “in many ways a special case.”

  • AHA Statement on Violence against Asians and Asian Americans (March 2021)

    The AHA has issued a statement deploring the recent incidents of violence and harassment aimed at Asians and Asian Americans. “This hostility against particular groups because of their ethnic origins—expressed via cultural stereotypes, scapegoating, physical aggression, and bloodshed—has deep roots in our nation’s past,” the AHA writes. “The murder in Atlanta of eight people on March 16, including six women of Asian descent, suggests that we have not transcended this history.” From 2019 to 2020, the number of hate crimes committed in the United States against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders increased by 150 percent. “The racialized misogyny explicit in the Atlanta killings is the product of generations-long stereotyping and cultural denigration against Asian American women in particular.” 45 organizations have signed onto the statement to date.

  • AHA Protests Imprisonment of Moroccan Historian (March 2021)

    The AHA recently sent a letter to King Mohamed VI and Prime Minister Saadeddine Othmani of Morocco protesting the imprisonment of Maâti Monjib, historian at the University of Mohammed V in Rabat. Monjib was sentenced to a year in prison for charges that appear to be “baseless, levied more in the interest of a political agenda than honest law enforcement,” and is on a hunger strike. The letter urges “the release of Dr. Monjib and the respect of his civil and legal rights,” and asks for “immediate attention to this matter to ensure Dr. Monjib’s health and well-being.”

  • AHA Letter Expressing Support for the New Orleans City Council Street Renaming Commission (March 2021)

    In a letter to the City Council of New Orleans, the AHA expressed enthusiastic support for the work of the New Orleans City Council Street Renaming Commission and its final report, “a remarkable document of collaborative historical research.” The letter praised the process undertaken by the Renaming Commission and its consultation with historians, including many AHA members. The letter urged “all localities undertaking this kind of process to recognize that it is indeed possible to listen to a broad spectrum of voices, and not just the loudest, angriest, or most powerful.”

  • Success of Lawsuit Challenging ICE Records Disposition (March 2021)

    The American Historical Association joins co-plaintiffs Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations in sharing the success of our lawsuit against the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The lawsuit challenged NARA’s approval of ICE’s records disposition, which would have authorized ICE to destroy several categories of records documenting mistreatment of immigrants detained in ICE custody. On March 12, 2021, Judge Amit Mehta granted summary judgment on the challenged aspects of ICE’s records destruction plan. The court also made clear that during its records evaluation process, NARA must pay close attention to the records' long-term research value and must meaningfully consider public comments raising concerns.

  • AHA Expresses Concern over John Carroll University Policy Permitting Elimination of Tenure (March 2021)

    The AHA has issued a letter to leaders of John Carroll University expressing “grave concern about the recent approval by [the] Board of Directors of a ‘budgetary hardship’ amendment to the university’s Faculty Handbook,” noting that “both faculty governance and the integrity of tenure seem to be hanging by a thread.” The AHA urged the board “to reconsider the threat to tenure protections” that the amendment represents.

  • AHA Signs On to ACLS Letter Urging Iowa Legislature to Vote against Bill Eliminating Tenure (March 2021)

    The AHA signed on to a letter sent by the American Council of Learned Societies to members of the Iowa legislature and Gov. Kim Reynolds. The letter strongly encouraged lawmakers to oppose House File 496 and Senate File 41, “which would remove the status of tenure for professors and discontinue the practice at Iowa's three public universities.”

  • AHA Issues Letter of Support for Institute of Political History in Hungary (February 2021)

    The AHA sent a letter to János Áder, president of the Republic of Hungary, expressing “deep concern about recent government actions against the Institute of Political History,” including “unfounded attacks on our colleagues,” “eviction from its new premises,” and “defunding.” The AHA “urges the Hungarian government to reconsider the misguided steps that have already been taken to the detriment of the institute and to safeguard its premises, support its activities, and vouchsafe its independence now and in the future.”

  • AHA Endorses Educating for American Democracy Initiative (February 2021)

    The AHA has endorsed the Educating for American Democracy initiative, a multi-institution, cross-partisan initiative to create a Roadmap for Excellence in History and Civic Education for All Learners. The roadmap is “a practical and highly implementable guide about how to integrate history and civic education to give today’s diverse K-12 students a strong sense of connection to and ownership of our constitutional democracy.”

  • AHA Expresses Alarm at University Press of Kansas Financial Cuts (February 2021)

    The AHA sent a letter to the Board of Trustees of the University Press of Kansas expressing alarm about financial cuts and the press’s possible elimination. The letter notes that “few presses have done so much to burnish their home institution’s reputation, to advance the careers of promising scholars, and to make vital contributions to historical knowledge as the University Press of Kansas,” and that its demise “would be an incalculable loss for the historical discipline and for generations of American historians yet to come.”

  • AHA Signs On to MESA Statement Protesting Turkey's Attacks on Higher Ed (February 2021)

    The AHA has signed on to the Middle East Studies Association’s Statement in Solidarity with Protests at Boğaziçi University. Students and faculty protesting the appointment of a new rector “have faced police brutality, protesters have been described by government officials as terrorists, and those detained have been subjected to abuse, including strip searches and sexual harassment.” The statement condemned the “ongoing and intensified government assault on higher education in Turkey” and urged President Erdoğan to “restore the autonomy of universities and the protection of academic freedom—including freedom of expression, opinion, and association—in Turkey’s legal order.”

  • Schools, History, and the Challenges of Commemoration (February 2021)

    The AHA issued a statement expressing alarm regarding the San Francisco School Names Advisory Committee’s process in proposing changing the names of 44 public schools. The committee “showed little interest in consulting professional historians, relying instead on Wikipedia articles and cursory glances at other online sources.” The AHA is “not advising the people of San Francisco on the substance of their decisions,” the statement clarified. Instead, the AHA urged the San Francisco School Board to “begin this process anew, inviting broader public participation, enlisting the expertise of professional historians, and encouraging a robust debate about the way historical figures and events should or should not be memorialized via school naming practices.”

  • AHA Issues Letter Expressing Concern for Polish Historians (February 2021)

    The AHA sent letters to Polish leaders Andrzej Duda, Mateusz Morawiecki, Jarosław Kaczyński, and Jarosław Gowin expressing concern about recent legal proceedings against Barbara Engelking and Jan Grabowski, two historians convicted of libel regarding their co-edited book, Night Without End. In the letter, AHA emphasized that “a legal procedure is not the place to mediate historical debates” and urged Polish leaders to “uphold the rights of historians to investigate the past without legal harassment and with no fear of reprisals for making public their historical- and evidence-based findings.” In August 2021, a Polish appeals court dismissed the claims against Engelking and Grabowski.

  • AHA Signs On to ASEEES Statement Calling for Immediate End to Libel Trial of Polish Historians (February 2021)

    The AHA has signed onto the Association for Slavic, East European, & Eurasian Studies statement calling for an end to the trial of historians Jan Grabowski (Univ. of Ottawa) and Barbara Engelking (Polish Center for Holocaust Research), who are charged with libel for their 2018 co-edited book, Night without End: The Fate of Jews in Selected Counties of Occupied Poland. The trial “strikes at the very core of academic and intellectual freedom,” and the statement calls for a “clear and unambiguous repudiation of the legal and political strategy that allowed such a trial to go forward in the first place.”

  • AHA Opposes New Policy on Virtual Scholarly Exchanges in India (February 2021)

    The AHA issued a statement registering concern about a new policy issued by India’s Ministry of Higher Education/Department of Higher Education that “requires Indian scholars and administrators to obtain prior approval from the Ministry of External Affairs if they want to convene online or virtual international conferences, seminars, or trainings.” The AHA states that this policy is likely to “affect a wide range of scholarly exchanges that are critical to the free international expression of ideas” and “strongly maintains that government agencies should not intervene in the content of scholarly exchange.”26 organizations have signed onto the statement.

  • AHA Posts to Federal Register Regarding Proposed NARA Digitization Policies (February 2021)

    The AHA sent comments to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) on the proposed rule “Federal Records Management: Digitizing Permanent Records and Reviewing Records Schedules.” The AHA “strongly support[s]” the requirement that “every five years, agencies review records schedules which are ten or more years old.” The AHA also recommends that NARA “require the involvement of subject matter experts in each review process undertaken with an agency” and “regularly draw on the expertise of staff members throughout the agency who have appropriate subject backgrounds and training.” The AHA also judges NARA “to have exceeded the requirements of federal law by stating that records will be accepted ONLY in digital form,” which could “delay, interrupt, or delay indefinitely the transfer of records.”

  • AHA Urges California Legislature to Amend AB1887 for Scholars (January 2021)

    The AHA sent a letter requesting that the California State Legislature amend the list of exceptions to AB1887, a law that bans state-funded travel to specified states with anti-LGBTQ laws. While the AHA “support[s] the principles underlying AB1887,” it is concerned that the boycott “restricts the work of graduate students and early career scholars, preventing them from completing research that would actually showcase the significance of LGBTQ life, among other pressing subjects, in targeted states.” The AHA urged the legislature to “permit state-funded travel for research and educational initiatives related to the discipline of history, broadly conceived, including LGBTQ culture, health, law, and politics.”

  • AHA Signs On to ACLS Statement Urging Kansas Board of Regents to Uphold Employment Protections for Faculty (January 2021)

    The AHA has signed on to a statement by the American Council of Learned Societies urging the Kansas Board of Regents to withdraw its endorsement of a proposed policy that would “ease the path to suspending, dismissing, or terminating employees, including tenured faculty members, without undertaking the processes of formally declaring a financial emergency.“ The AHA also sent a letter to the University of Kansas regarding this issue.

  • AHA Issues Letter of Concern Regarding History Program and Faculty Cuts at University of Evansville (January 2021)

    The AHA issued a letter expressing grave concern regarding the proposed removal of the history major and termination of two tenured history professors at the University of Evansville. Calling the process leading to the proposed cuts “an especially striking embarrassment for an institution whose stated values emphasize ‘a culture of trust,’” the AHA urged the university to “consider the educational and community impacts of this short-sighted plan for realignment, which will serve to weaken the preparation of your students for the global citizenship imperative to economic and civic accomplishment, as well as the lifelong learning essential to professional success.”

  • AHA Issues Letter Urging University of Kansas to Preserve Employment Protections for Faculty (January 2021)

    The AHA issued a letter urging the University of Kansas to reject a Kansas Board of Regents policy that would “temporarily allow public institutions of higher education to terminate or suspend employees, including tenured faculty, without declaring a financial emergency.” “As historians,” the AHA wrote, “we are especially aware of what can happen when principles of academic freedom in higher education lose the essential protection of tenure.” The university should “reject this extraordinary departure that would enable the university to enact drastic and arbitrary personnel actions while bypassing the process of formally declaring financial emergency.”

  • AHA Endorses $1 Billion Senate Bill for Civics Learning (December 2020)

    The AHA has endorsed the Educating for Democracy Act of 2020, which would provide $1 billion per year for the next five fiscal years to improve the teaching of history and civics in our nation's schools. This bipartisan bill “dramatically increases federal support for civics and history,” according to the CivXNow coalition, and “would ensure an investment required to give youth in our country the civic education they need to become knowledgeable and skilled protectors of our constitutional democracy.”

  • AHA Condemns Report of Advisory 1776 Commission (January 2021)

    The AHA has issued a statement condemning the report from "The President’s Advisory 1776 Commission.” “Written hastily in one month after two desultory and tendentious ‘hearings,’” the AHA writes, “without any consultation with professional historians of the United States, the report fails to engage a rich and vibrant body of scholarship that has evolved over the last seven decades.” 47 organizations have signed onto the statement.

  • Ransacking Democracy (January 2021)

    The AHA issued a statement condemning “the actions of those who, on January 6, stormed the United States Capitol, the seat of the nation’s legislature, the heart of its democratic form of governance.” The AHA deplores the “inflammatory rhetoric of all the political leaders who have refused to accept the legitimacy of the results of the 2020 election and thereby incited the mob.” 63 organizations have signed onto the statement.

  • AHA Expresses Solidarity with Mexican Historians (January 2021)

    The AHA has issued a statement expressing solidarity with “professional historians affected by the extreme and arguably punitive fiscal retrenchment affecting Mexico’s system of higher education.” The AHA “reminds decision makers that the habits of mind and knowledge that derive from the study of history have never been more important and deserving of adequate funding than at the present moment.”

  • AHA Joins Coalition to Save National Archives Facility in Seattle (January 2021)

    The AHA has joined the Washington state attorney general’s office; the state of Oregon; 29 tribes, tribal entities, and Indigenous communities from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska; and 8 community organizations, historic preservation organizations, and museums in filing a lawsuit “to halt the federal government’s unlawful and procedurally deficient sale of the National Archives at Seattle facility.” The government plans to transfer the Seattle facility’s records, most of which have not been digitized, to archive centers in Kansas City, Missouri, and Riverside, California— rendering public access to the records difficult if not impossible for millions of users.

  • AHA Procedures for Making Statements on Alleged Violations of Foreign and US Historians Abroad (June 2001)