AHA Announcements: 2021 Archive

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

    Nov 17, 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, 19 organizations have signed onto this statement.

  • National Archives and Records Administration Responds to Reopening Questions Raised in AHA Letter

    Nov 15, 2021 - 

    In August, the AHA wrote to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) on behalf of historical researchers seeking clarity about reopening plans. NARA has now provided responses to the questions posed in the AHA's letter, as well as a communication to researchers. We are glad to publish NARA's responses as a window into NARA’s reopening process and future plans, and we will continue 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)

    Nov 05, 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)

    Nov 03, 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.”

  • Hiring: Editor, Perspectives on History (October 2021)

    Oct 14, 2021 - 

    Join our collaborative team of staff dedicated to promoting history and supporting the work of historians. The AHA is accepting applications for Editor, Perspectives on History. We will begin reviewing applications on November 1, 2021.

  • AHA Announces Grant Program to Support Small History Organizations (October 2021)

    Oct 04, 2021 - 

    The AHA announces a major new initiative to offer $2.5 million in grants to dozens of small history-related organizations adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities' American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grantmaking Program, the AHA’s Grants to Sustain and Advance the Work of Historical Organizations provides financial support from $10,000 to $75,000 for short-term projects that explore new ideas or build on experiments initiated during the pandemic. Membership associations, site- or location-based institutions, and history and humanities departments at historically Black and tribally controlled colleges and universities with annual budgets of less than $750,000 are eligible to apply between October 15 and December 14, 2021. Recipients will be announced by March 1, 2022. Successful applicants may begin projects as early as April 1, 2022. More information on application requirements is available at historians.org/sharp-grants, or contact project director Dana Schaffer, the deputy director of the AHA with any questions.

  • AHA Announces Initiative to Support Teaching History with Material Culture (October 2021)

    Oct 04, 2021 - 

    The AHA announces a new initiative to help educators make effective use of material culture in their in-person or remote classrooms. Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities’ American Rescue Plan: Humanities Organizations program, “Teaching Things: Material Culture in the History Classroom” will create publications that prepare and enable educators to use historical artifacts in their classrooms. A booklet for teachers will serve as a guide to teaching history with material culture alongside other primary sources. Two digital Teaching Toolkits (one for secondary educators and one for college instructors) will include detailed lesson plans, object analyses, discussion questions, assignments, assessment guides, and activities. A digital Object Library will include objects for classroom use and additional materials for teachers to craft lesson plans that fit their curriculum. “Teaching Things” is directed by Sarah Weicksel, director of research and publications, and will run through September 30, 2022.

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

    Sep 20, 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)

    Sep 14, 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 Joins Learn from History Coalition (September 2021)

    Sep 08, 2021 - 

    The AHA is a founding member of the Learn from History Coalition. Organized by Stand for Children, Learn from History is a coalition of parents, educators, and other concerned Americans who are working together to combat “divisive concepts” bills and to ensure that all children can learn accurate, thorough, and fact-based history in our schools. 

  • AHA and Fairleigh Dickinson University Release Survey on Public Perceptions of History (August 2021)

    Aug 31, 2021 - 

    With funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the AHA partnered with Fairleigh Dickinson University to develop and implement a national survey to assess public perceptions of, and engagement with, the discipline of history and the past. The 40-question survey explores the public’s definition of the term “history,” where audiences access history, which sources of history are perceived to be reliable, their historical learning experiences, attitudes toward historical revision, correlations between civic engagement and an interest in history, and the perceived value of history. Complete raw survey data are available for download for those wanting to explore these topics in more depth.

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

    Aug 25, 2021 - 

    The AHA sent a letter to Texas governor Greg Abbott and the members of the state legislature opposing 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.” It 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)

    Aug 18, 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)

    Aug 03, 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)

    Jul 30, 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.”

  • Hiring: AHA Meetings and Virtual Events Assistant (July 2021)

    Jul 30, 2021 - 

    Join our collaborative team of staff dedicated to promoting history and the work of historians! The AHA is accepting applications for a meetings and virtual events assistant. We will begin reviewing applications on August 23, 2021.

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

    Jul 28, 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.”

  • New Honorarium for Perspectives on History Authors (July 2021)

    Jul 26, 2021 - 

    Starting with the September 2021 issue of Perspectives on History, authors of articles published in the print magazine will be paid an honorarium of $100 per article. (This honorarium will not be offered to writers who submit In Memoriam essays or letters to the editor or who are published online in Perspectives Daily.)

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

    Jul 08, 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 Announces Policy Regarding Author Name Changes (July 2021)

    Jul 06, 2021 - 

    The American Historical Association has codified its policy regarding author name changes in AHA publications. On request of the author, the AHA will update author names in the digital version of publications, including articles in the American Historical Review and Perspectives on History and content written for the AHA website. Print publications will be updated in the event that the publication in question is reprinted.

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

    Jul 01, 2021 - 

    The American Historical Association has signed onto 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.

  • AHR Announces New Additions to Board of Editors (July 2021)

    Jul 01, 2021 - 

    The American Historical Review has announced the following additions to the Board of Editors, for three–year terms beginning July 1: Hannah Barker (Arizona State Univ.), Shelly Chan (Univ. of California, Santa Cruz), Kalani Craig (Indiana Univ.), Cymone Fourshey (Bucknell Univ.), Atina Grossmann (Cooper Union), Eric Tagliacozzo (Cornell Univ.), Josh Reid (Univ. of Washington), and Wendy Warren (Princeton Univ.). The Board of Editors reviews manuscripts and serves as an advisory council on all matters relating to the journal.

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

    Jun 16, 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. It is not possible to address divisions that exist, however, without an honest reckoning with their histories. “The clear goal of these efforts is to suppress teaching and learning about the role of racism in the history of the United States,” the letter explains. Education proceeds from exploration, facts, and civil debate. “These legislative efforts,” on the other hand, “seek to substitute political mandates for the considered judgment of professional educators, hindering students’ ability to learn and engage in critical thinking across differences and disagreements. . . . Americans of all ages deserve nothing less than a free and open exchange about history and the forces that shape our world today.” In total, 152 organizations have signed onto the statement.

  • Hiring: AHA Research and Publications Assistant (June 2021)

    Jun 02, 2021 - 

    Join our collaborative team of staff dedicated to promoting history and the work of historians. The AHA is accepting applications for a research and publications assistant. We will begin reviewing applications on June 15, 2021.

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

    May 26, 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.”

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

    May 20, 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)

    May 14, 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 onto MESA Statement on Florida Bill (May 2021)

    May 11, 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 Letter Opposing DHS Records Schedules (May 2021)

    May 03, 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 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)

    Apr 30, 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)

    Apr 27, 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 onto Amicus Curiae Brief on Records Release (April 2021)

    Apr 19, 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(a), available here.

  • San Francisco School Board Halts School Renaming Plan (April 2021)

    Apr 08, 2021 - 

    In April 2021, San Francisco’s school board halted plans to change the names of 44 public schools. In February 2021, AHA had expressed alarm regarding the San Francisco School Names Advisory Committee’s process in proposing the school name changes in a statement on Schools, History, and the Challenges of Commemoration

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

    Apr 07, 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.”

  • Moroccan Historian Released from Prison (March 2021)

    Mar 25, 2021 - 

    Maâti Monjib, historian at the University of Mohammed V in Rabat, has been granted provisional release from prison. In a letter protesting Monjib’s imprisonment, the AHA noted he had been sentenced to one year in prison for charges that appeared to be “baseless, levied more in the interest of a political agenda than honest law enforcement.” 

  • AHA Issues Statement on the History of Violence against Asians and Asian Americans (March 2021)

    Mar 22, 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 Expresses Support for the New Orleans City Council Street Renaming Commission (March 2021)

    Mar 18, 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.”

  • AHA Protests Imprisonment of Moroccan Historian (March 2021)

    Mar 18, 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 Expresses Concern over John Carroll University Policy Permitting Elimination of Tenure (March 2021)

    Mar 10, 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 Executive Director Featured in Inside Higher Ed Article (March 2021)

    Mar 08, 2021 - 

    AHA executive director James Grossman was quoted in an Inside Higher Ed article on “Recruitment Strategies for the Humanities” by Colleen Flaherty. “There’s no reason for professors not to help undergraduate students realize that a history major prepares a student for multiple career paths,” Grossman said. “The AHA and its members pay considerable attention to not only the value of a history major, and of history courses to students in other majors, but also how we can best communicate that value to students.” The article also linked to the AHA’s Department Advocacy Toolkit, which offers data, stories, and strategies to articulate the value of studying and majoring in history.

  • Hiring: AHA Communications and Operations Assistant (March 2021)

    Mar 05, 2021 - 

    Join our collaborative team of staff dedicated to promoting history and the work of historians. The AHA is accepting applications for a Communications and Operations Assistant. We will begin reviewing applications on March 22, 2021.

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

    Feb 26, 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)

    Feb 23, 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.”

  • Lawsuit by AHA and Co-Plaintiffs Successfully Halts Sale of NARA Facility in Seattle (February 2021)

    Feb 19, 2021 - 

    The efforts of the American Historical Association (AHA) and co-plaintiffs in State of Washington et. al. v. Russell Vought et. al. have successfully halted the sale of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) facility in Seattle, Washington. A federal judge in Seattle blocked the federal government's plan to expedite the sale of the facility and the removal of the records from the Pacific Northwest.

  • Justice Department Strengthens Presidential Records Retention Policy in Response to AHA Lawsuit (February 2021)

    Feb 19, 2021 - 

    As one of four plaintiffs in National Security Archive et. al. v. Donald J. Trump et. al., the American Historical Association (AHA) joins our colleagues in reflecting on significant accomplishments: a formal instruction from the Justice Department articulating precise instruction to the White House for records retention, and immediate attention to these issues on the part of the Biden administration.

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

    Feb 16, 2021 - 

    The AHA has signed onto 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.”

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

    Feb 10, 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 Expresses Alarm at San Francisco School Renaming Process (February 2021)

    Feb 10, 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 Opposes New Policy on Virtual Scholarly Exchanges in India (February 2021)

    Feb 05, 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 islikely 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)

    Feb 02, 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 Signs onto ACLS Statement Urging Kansas Board of Regents to Uphold Employment Protections for Faculty (January 2021)

    Jan 28, 2021 - 

    The AHA has signed onto 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)

    Jan 26, 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 Condemns Report of Advisory 1776 Commission (January 2021)

    Jan 20, 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)

    Jan 08, 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)

    Jan 05, 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.”