The American Historical Association, as a member of Scholars at Risk, and also as a scholarly body concerned with and committed to protecting the working environments and rights of historians across the world, endorses in full the statement issued by Scholars at Risk calling for an ongoing dialogue about and the restoration of legal rights to academics in Turkey. (Update, 7/26/2016: The AHA has also joined more than 20 other scholarly societies and the American Council of Learned Societies in a letter expressing similar concerns and objections.)
At the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana in Venice, just a few feet from Piazza San Marco, where thousands of tourists come each day to pose for pictures and eat gelato, sits a manuscript—Codice Marciano It. XI, 66—containing an invaluable account of a crucial diplomatic mission to Egypt from the 16th century. I consulted this text, which holds the only surviving version of Giovanni Danese’s eyewitness report of Ambassador Benedetto Sanudo’s embassy to the sultan in 1503. Danese, Sanudo’s personal secretary, has left us a wealth of information on the materially based forms of diplomacy that helped maintain a stable relationship between Venetians and Mamluks in the early modern period.
A few weeks ago the European Union (EU) signed a controversial agreement with Turkey to staunch the flow of Syrian refugees to Europe. The agreement is a testament to Europe’s failure to cope with the millions of refugees who have reached its shores from Africa, the Balkans, and the Middle East over the past few years. This crisis seems unprecedented, but is it? The German Historical Institute took up this issue the other evening, hosting a fascinating panel discussion titled “Learning from the Past?
AHA members are involved in all fields of history, with wide-ranging specializations, interests, and areas of employment. To recognize our talented and eclectic membership, AHA Today features a regular AHA Member Spotlight series.
AHA president Patrick Manning sent a letter urging President Erdogan of Turkey to respect the academic freedom and freedom of expression of historians and other scholars in his country. This statement comes in light of reports that Turkish academics face dismissal, detention, and criminal investigation for signing a petition critical of the Turkish government.
At the 2016 business meeting of the American Historical Association in Atlanta, members voted against a proposed resolution, “Protecting the Right to Education in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” by a measure of 111–51.
By Leila Fawaz
Watching the ongoing refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe, I cannot but recall the suffering of Middle Eastern people at another time of great upheaval: during the First World War and following its settlement.
By Lauren Stokes
I just arrived in Germany for a short research trip about the regulation of family migration in West Germany. While I review West German attempts to curb migration from Turkey in the early 1980s, history gallops on outside of the archives. Angela Merkel visited Turkey this weekend in order to discuss how to tighten border controls; Henriette Reker was elected the first female mayor of Cologne on Sunday after being stabbed because of her pro-refugee stance on Saturday; and on an everyday level, local municipalities are struggling to process the new arrivals, relying on the volunteer labor of both Germans and refugees to create shelter and stability.