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-2019, please visit the AHA's News and Advocacy Archives.

  • 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 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, 18 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, 152 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 Issues Letter Expressing Concern Regarding Termination of History Professor (December 2020)

    The AHA sent a letter to the chancellor and provost of the University of Mississippi expressing concern about the university’s decision not to renew the contract of Garrett Felber, assistant professor of history, and the possibility that Professor Felber’s activism relating to racism and incarceration might have affected a decision on his employment status. The letter also raised questions of procedure regarding this disciplinary action, citing the AHA’s Statement on Standards of Professional Conduct.

  • AHA Encourages Microsoft to Allow Editing on Footnotes in Microsoft Word (December 2020)

    The AHA submitted a comment in support of a campaign to enable commenting on footnotes in Microsoft Word using the Review function. “Adding the ability to comment on footnotes,” explained AHA executive director James Grossman, “would be of tremendous benefit to historians across the world.” Vote here to encourage Microsoft to add this function.

  • AHA Endorses Legislation Protecting Presidential Records (December 2020)

    The AHA has endorsed the Promoting Accountability and Security in Transition (PAST) Act, which would clarify and enhance existing law with regards to presidential transition and presidential records.“This vital legislation adds much-needed teeth to the Presidential Records Act,” said AHA executive director Jim Grossman. “Presidential records are the most important and widely-used source for studying how the executive branch of our federal government works, how it has changed over time, and how it might evolve to serve the needs of a new era. Many records of the current administration, however, are currently at grave risk. The Presidential Records Act lacks essential protections for preserving complete electronic records and affords Congress and the Archivist inadequate oversight over presidential transitions, when important records are most at risk. A legislative solution is imperative: the courts have made clear that they cannot act to force compliance until changes are made to the law. The AHA applauds this legislation for guaranteeing the preservation and accessibility of presidential records and furthering the transparency of our federal government—a requirement for a functioning, accountable constitutional republic and the protection of liberty.”

  • AHA Joins Lawsuit to Protect Historical Records (December 2020)

    The AHA has joined the National Security Archive, the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington as plaintiffs in a lawsuit intended to prevent valuable historical records from being irretrievably lost. The plaintiffs seek to ensure that the current administration complies with, and the National Archives provides oversight for, the charge of the Presidential Records Act to preserve “complete copies” of presidential records, including relevant metadata of digital materials.

  • AHA Issues Statement Concerning Access to French Archives (November 2020)

    In solidarity with the French Association of Archivists, the AHA issued a statement urging reconsideration of a policy change by the Secrétariat général de la défense et de la sécurité nationale that renders “some well-known sources, and many others yet to be analyzed, practically inaccessible, even to professional researchers.” The AHA stressed that “reading and interpreting these sources will be critical to the production of new historical scholarship in the future,” and noted that “Article L. 213-2 of the Code du patrimoine states that, after 50 years, almost all archival documents pertaining to the French state enter the public domain and should be made available without any conditions.” The AHA previously wrote to the French government about this issue in February 2020.

  • AHA Expresses Concern over Legislative Request to Monitor Teaching of 1619 Project and Critical Race Theory (November 2020)

    The AHA sent a letter to the Arkansas Division of Higher Education (ADHE) expressing “grave concern about a legislative request that has been circulated to academic units in the Arkansas university system.” The request sought to collect “data on the teaching of ‘The 1619 Project’ and ‘Critical Race Theory’ at public higher education institutions in Arkansas.” “Neither the legislature nor the ADHE,” writes the AHA, “should be monitoring what qualified scholars are assigning to their students, except as part of a bona fide review and assessment.”

  • AHA Urges Reconsideration of History Program Closure at Guilford College (November 2020)

    The AHA recently sent a letter to the president and trustees of Guilford College, noting with alarm “the dramatic restructuring of academic units and program prioritization announced by Guilford College on November 6, 2020, including the elimination of the history program.” The college plans to terminate one tenure-track and two tenured history faculty members “without adhering to its own contractual Faculty Handbook, not to mention generally accepted ethical guidelines.” The AHA urged administrators to reconsider these changes, which are “likely to have serious and deleterious consequences for the practice of historical work and hence the quality of undergraduate education at Guilford College.”

  • AHA Sends Letter Opposing Cuts in NHPRC Funding (November 2020)

    The AHA sent a letter to the US Senate Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government requesting that the subcommittee “reconsider its vote to eliminate funding for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.” The AHA noted that “the NHPRC provides millions of Americans with ready digital access to materials essential to civic education and an understanding of the documentary basis of American history” and urged a funding level that will “enable the agency to sustain its work on behalf of the nation’s history and heritage.”

  • AHA Submits Comment on Proposed Rule Change for International Scholar Visas (October 2020)

    The AHA has submitted a comment on a proposed revision to Department of Education rules governing student and visiting scholar visas. The proposal would limit the length of such visas for both undergraduate and graduate students to a maximum of four years. The revision, writes the AHA, “will likely result in a larger proportion of international students who never graduate“ from undergraduate programs and “would undermine the globally dominant position that American PhD programs have earned in the past century—indeed enfeebling American PhD programs in history and rendering their graduates uncompetitive for employment against PhD graduates trained in other countries.”

  • AHA Issues Letter Expressing Grave Concern for Russian Historian (October 2020)

    The AHA recently sent a letter to the chairman of the Supreme Court of Karelia expressing “grave concern” for Yuri Dmitriev, a Russian historian sentenced for 13 years by the Karelian Supreme Court for what the Delegation of the European Union to Russia has referred to as “unsubstantiated” charges “triggered by his human rights work and his research on political repression in the Soviet period.” The AHA wrote to “respectfully urge the Supreme Court of Karelia to order the release of Mr. Dmitriev.”

  • AHA Issues Letter Defending AHA Member’s Right to Free Speech (October 2020)

    The AHA recently wrote to the president of Collin College on behalf of AHA member Dr. Lora Burnett, requesting that the college respect "the right of historians to express their opinions as private citizens without fear of institutional discipline."

  • AHA Statement Urging Retraction of Executive Order Prohibiting the Inclusion of “Divisive Concepts” in Employee Training Sessions (October 2020)

    In response to the president’s recent executive order prohibiting the inclusion of “divisive concepts” in employee training sessions, the AHA has issued a statement urging the retraction of the order because it is “neither necessary nor useful.” “Rather than banning ‘divisive concepts’ from any educational venue,” the statement explains, “historians seek to draw public attention to these concepts so that they can be discussed, debated, and ultimately challenged.” As of November 2, 31 organizations signed onto the statement.

  • AHA Signs onto Amicus Brief in Ahmad v. Michigan (October 2020)

    Along with the Association of Research Libraries and other partners, the AHA has signed on to an amicus curiae brief in the Michigan Supreme Court case Ahmad v. University of Michigan concerning “the use of a public records request to circumvent a deed of gift” of private papers to the University of Michigan Library. The brief asserts that an early release of the papers, which would violate the deed of gift, would set a dangerous precedent resulting in individuals destroying their personal papers rather than making them available to historians and other researchers.

  • AHA Signs onto Comments Opposing DHS/CBP Proposals Permitting Records Destruction (September 2020)

    The AHA has recently signed onto two comments posted to the National Archives and Records Administration website in response to a proposed records schedule that would classify a set of Customs and Border Patrol records as "temporary," which would allow their destruction in as quickly as four years.As proposed, the Department of Homeland Security would be permitted to destroy "records developed to track and monitor complaints that are or will be investigated by DHS Civil Rights and Civil Liberties regarding alleged violations of civil rights and civil liberties." The proposal also includes only 25 year retention for additional records that include documents related to sexual assaults in prison. These records are comparable to the schedules identified in a lawsuit filed in March by the AHA along with the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. As is often the case with records schedule retention policies the issues are complex, even arcane. Historians have the professional authority to argue for longer retention because of the value of such records for historical research.

  • AHA Issues Statement on the Recent "White House Conference on American History” (September 2020)

    The AHA has issued a statement on last week's “White House Conference on American History” deploring the tendentious use of history and history education to stoke politically motivated culture wars. As of October 14, 46 organizations signed onto the statement.

  • AHA Sends Letter in Support of Women's History Museum (September 2020)

    The AHA has sent a letter to Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) expressing support of S.959, the Smithsonian Women’s Museum Act, which would authorize the creation of a National Women’s History Museum as part of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. “The AHA is proud to support this bill,” the letter states, “and in the process affirm the central role women have played in the shaping of American history.”

  • AHA Sends Letter Registering Concern over Séminaire de Saint-Sulpice (September 2020)

    The AHA recently sent a letter to the Québec Ministry of Culture in regards to the Séminaire de Saint-Sulpice archive and library in Montréal. The AHA expressed “grave concern for the future preservation, maintenance, and accessibility” of the historically significant archives and collections at Saint-Sulpice, following the recent firing of the professional staff charged with overseeing these collections.

  • AHA Signs ACLS Joint Statement on the Key Role of the Humanities (August 2020)

    The AHA has signed a joint statement authored by the American Council of Learned Societies on the key role of the humanities during the COVID-19 crisis. Offering “an urgent reminder of the vital contribution made by the humanities and social sciences to the public good,” the statement, signed by many societies as well as the leaders of academic organizations, libraries, and research centers across the country, urges universities to avoid making devastating cuts to humanities programs. Instead it calls on leaders of all institutions of higher education “to uphold the central importance of the humanities and the social sciences as you make important decisions that will shape the institutions under your stewardship for years and perhaps generations to come.”

  • AHA Issues Statement on Department Closures and Faculty Firings (July 2020)

    The AHA issued the Statement on Department Closures and Faculty Firings urging administrators to “respect the established principles and procedures of faculty governance and consult with faculty from all disciplines at their institution” before making budgetary decisions. The AHA emphasized that “history education must retain its vibrancy and institutional integrity” and that closing or decimating history departments “comes at immense cost to students and to colleges and universities themselves, and to society as a whole.”26 scholarly societies have cosigned this statement.

  • AHA Condemns Tenured Faculty Layoffs at Canisius (July 2020)

    The AHA sent a letter to the president and members of the board of trustees of Canisius College expressing grave concern about the college’s dramatic restructuring of academic departments, drastic reduction of the curriculum in history, and termination of three tenured faculty members. The AHA urged the college to reconsider its course of action, asserting that the college’s plan “diminishes the quality of a Canisius degree” and “identifies the college with employment practices that have no place in American higher education.”

  • AHA Issues Statement on Historical Research during COVID-19 (July 2020)

    The AHA has issued a statement urging universities to make a series of specific accommodations for faculty and students whose research has been interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. “Sustaining historical research during the COVID-19 crisis,” the statement argues, “requires flexible and innovative approaches to the conduct of research itself as well as to how we gauge productivity.” Recommendations include deferral and extension of research funding awards, increased access to online databases, support for research that does not require on-site research, and incorporation of virtual scholarship in professional evaluations.46 scholarly organizations have co-signed this statement to date.

  • AHA Signs On to AAS Statement on the 2020 Hong Kong National Security Law (July 2020)

    The AHA has joined several scholarly societies in signing the Association for Asian Studies’ Statement on the 2020 Hong Kong National Security Law. The statement expresses concern over the People’s Republic of China’s curtailment of Hong Kong’s freedom and expresses concern that such a law would inhibit academic exchange.

  • AHA Opposes New ICE Obstacles to Students from Foreign Countries (July 2020)

    The AHA has written a letter to the deputy director and senior official performing the duties of the director of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement strongly objecting to "modifications" declaring that foreign "students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States." Whether driven by nativism or an agenda to pressure higher education to reopen campuses, this ruling is likely to have a devastating effect on hundreds of thousands of foreign students and the colleges and universities they attend.

  • AHA Endorses Resolution Recognizing the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial (July 2020)

    In July 2020, the AHA endorsed a Senate resolution introduced by Sen. Elizabeth Warren recognizing the forthcoming centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921. Senator Warren and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee reintroduced this bill on March 10, 2021, and the AHA once again endorsed it. “Everything has a history, including white supremacy and the many forms of violence, coercion, and cultural practices that have legitimated and enforced it,” said AHA executive director Jim Grossman. “What happened in Tulsa was extreme, but not unusual. It is part of our nation's heritage. We must acknowledge that heritage, learn from it, and do whatever each of us can to ensure that it is just that—heritage, rather than continuing practice.”

  • Resolution Regarding Affiliations between ICE and Higher Education (June 2020)

    The AHA has issued a resolution acknowledging credible allegations of serious and systematic violation of human rights committed by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement and US Border Patrol and encouraging higher education institutions to consult with historians and our colleagues in other relevant disciplines before entering into arrangements with both agencies.

  • AHA Statement on the History of Racist Violence in the United States (June 2020)

    The AHA has issued a statement urging a reckoning with the United States’ deplorable record of violence against African Americans, a record that stretches back centuries. The killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers stands within this sordid national tradition of racist violence. It is past time for Americans to confront our nation’s past, using insights from history to inform our actions as we work to create a more just society. 97 scholarly organizations have co-signed this statement to date.

  • AHA Joins Call for Further CARES Funding for Higher Ed (June 2020)

    The AHA has joined 33 other societies in a letter to Congress requesting additional relief for higher education hit hard by challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter outlined the struggles that universities, especially HBCUs; community colleges; underfunded public institutions; and tuition-dependent nonprofit private colleges have faced in the wake of this crisis, and asked for greater investments in higher education to provide for the common good.

  • AHA Issues Statement Regarding Historians and COVID-19 (April 2020)

    The etiology of the novel coronavirus is at once scientific and historical. In a statement endorsed by several peer organizations, the AHA emphasizes the importance of historical thinking in understanding the current crisis and urges all institutions that employ historians to be flexible and humane in considering the needs of their employees and constituencies.

  • AHA Sends Letter to University System of Georgia Opposing Proposed Changes to the General Education Curriculum (March 2020)

    In a letter to Dr. Tristan Denley, executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer for the University System of Georgia and chair of the General Education Redesign Implementation Committee, the AHA opposed proposed changes to the general education curriculum. The letter from the AHA asserts that the legislative requirement for instruction in the history and government of the United States and Georgia cannot be fulfilled by taking only one course, either in history or political science, and that proper instruction in history can be fulfilled only by trained historians.

  • Statement Encouraging Temporary Adjustments to Faculty Review and Reappointment Processes during COVID-19 Crisis (March 2020)

    The AHA signed onto a statement from the American Sociological Association regarding faculty review and reappointment processes during the COVID-19 crisis. The statement encourages institutions of higher education to consider appropriate temporary adjustments to their review and reappointment processes for tenured and contingent faculty, including adjusting expectations for faculty scholarship, limiting the use of student evaluations of teaching, and extending tenure timelines. The AHA also urges all higher education institutions that employ contract and/or part-time faculty to compensate fully for courses already contracted for summer and fall offerings.

  • AHA Encourages Congress to Support NEH during COVID-19 Crisis (March 2020)

    On March 19, AHA executive director Jim Grossman co-signed a letter to the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees requesting emergency funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities that would include support for historians whose income is imperiled by current conditions in higher education and other history-focused institutions, professional development relating to classroom and other historical work, and other needs relevant to the COVID-19 crisis.

  • AHA Joins Lawsuit Challenging ICE Records Disposition (March 2020)

    The AHA has joined the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations in a lawsuit against the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) challenging NARA’s approval of ICE’s records disposition, which authorizes ICE to destroy several categories of records documenting mistreatment of immigrants detained in ICE custody.

  • AHA Supports Release of Grand Jury Records of Historical Significance (March 2020)

    In connection with the amicus brief in Pitch v. United States, which was filed in September 2019, the AHA signed onto a letter to the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure of the United States Courts proposing a revision to Rule 6(e) to specify that the courts can release grand jury records based on historical significance. The proposed amendment would make clear that district courts have authority to order disclosure, in appropriate circumstances, of grand-jury materials of historical significance, and it would provide a temporal limit for secrecy regarding grand-jury materials that are stored as archival records at the National Archives.

  • AHA Expresses Concern over Deletion of Immigration Records (Feb 2020)

    In a letter to the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) on February 27, 2020, the AHA expressed concern over reports that EOIR had omitted close to 1,000,000 records from its September 2019 anonymized data release. The missing records include more than 1000 applications for relief filed by immigrants in the course of Immigration Court proceedings, which are not exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

  • AHA Sends Letter to French President Emmanuel Macron with Concerns about Unclear Procedures for Declassification of Archives (Feb 2020)

    In a letter to French President Emmanuel Macron, the AHA expressed concern that the change in policy to declassify documents at Vincennes and other repositories in France has rendered many documents inaccessible. The AHA encouraged the development of a clear, efficient, and effective procedure for declassification so that historians and other researchers can access materials of ongoing public importance.

  • Letter of Concern about Risks of NARA Policy Regarding Electronic Records (Jan 2020)

    In a letter to David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, the AHA voiced concern about the NARA policy that directs all agencies to manage all permanent records electronically by December 2022. The AHA argued that hasty implementation of the policy, with a lack of dedicated funding, will impair NARA's mission and have dire consequences for researchers.

  • Letter of Concern about the Proposed Closure and Sale of the NARA Facility in Seattle (Jan 2020)

    In a letter to Russell Vought, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, and members of the Public Buildings Reform Board, the AHA expressed concern about the recommendation for the closure and sale of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) facility in Seattle.

  • AHA Statement Condemning the Use of Historical Sites in Warfare (Jan 2020)

    The American Historical Association condemns the use of historical sites anywhere in the world as targets for destruction and as shields for protection. The use of historical sites in warfare is a violation of international law.