Publication Date

November 30, 2020

Perspectives Section

News

Post Type

Advocacy

The research of historians is more essential than ever, and the AHA is committed to ensuring that historians can do their work at home and abroad in safety. The AHA continues to advocate for historians by protecting professional standards, defending historians’ free speech, and encouraging debate and challenging ideas in the public sphere.

AHA Signs onto Amicus Brief in Ahmad v. Michigan

Along with the Association of Research Libraries and other partners, the AHA signed on to an amicus curiae brief filed on September 30 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 Statement Urging Retraction of Executive Order Prohibiting the Inclusion of “Divisive Concepts” in Employee Training Sessions

On October 9, 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 have signed onto the statement.

AHA Letter Expressing Grave Concern for Russian Historian

On October 20, the AHA sent a letter to the chairman of the Supreme Court of Karelia expressing “grave concern” for Yuri Dmitriev, a Russian historian sentenced to a jail term of 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 Submits Comment on Proposed Rule Change for International Scholar Visas

On October 27, the AHA 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.”

Gabriella Virginia Folsom is the communications and operations assistant at the AHA.

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