The American Historical Association strongly condemns the executive order issued by President Donald J. Trump on January 27 purportedly “protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States.” Historians look first to evidence: deaths from terrorism in the United States in the last fifteen years have come at the hands of native-born citizens and people from countries other than the seven singled out for exclusion in the order. Attention to evidence raises the question as to whether the order actually speaks to the dangers of foreign terrorism.
Last week a news story appeared in The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper with a strong reputation for accuracy, that the Trump administration is considering the elimination of the NEH, along with other cultural agencies. Normally the AHA would not send out an alert based on a single report in a single newspaper. It is clear, however, that the “blueprint” reported in The Hill indeed points to a threat to the very existence of the NEH.
By Lee White
On January 19 the federal government issued its final rule governing Institutional Review Boards, which “explicitly removes” oral history and journalism from the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects. It was originally promulgated as the “Common Rule” in 1991. The historical community, collaborating through the National Coalition for History, has long argued that scholarly history projects should not be subject to standard IRB procedures since they are designed for the research practices of the sciences. The new IRB rule goes into effect January 19, 2018.
The AHA Council, at its January 5, 2017, meeting, approved the following statement:
By Roger Horowitz
The Business History Conference (BHC), the largest professional organization of business historians in the United States, has cancelled plans to hold its 2018 annual meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina. Its decision is in response to the adoption of the HB2 bill by the state government, and the recent rejection of a repeal of the measure by the North Carolina legislature. BHC will instead hold its 2018 annual meeting at the Baltimore Embassy Suites Inner Harbor.
An unusually bitter and divisive election has been followed by continuing evidence of polarization to the point of harassment seldom seen in recent American history. Historians can say with confidence that this is not our nation’s finest hour. Language previously relegated to the margins has moved out of the shadows, emboldening elements of American society less interested in a more perfect union than in division and derision.
The AHA Council approved a letter to US Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, requesting a timely recommendation to the White House regarding a National Monument in Beaufort, South Carolina, in recognition of Reconstruction. The proposed monument would be the first in the National Park Service to expressly represent the history of emancipation and Reconstruction. The significant historical events that transpired at Beaufort make it an ideal place to tell this critical story of experimentation, potential transformation, accomplishment, and disappointment.
AHA president Pat Manning sent a letter to Polish President Andrzej Duda expressing concern over the government’s treatment and potential prosecution of Jan T. Gross, professor of history at Princeton University. The celebrated historian of the holocaust is facing a libel investigation from Polish authorities for publishing historical accounts of Poles killing Jews during World War II. The potential actions, according to Manning, represent “a serious threat to academic freedom, freedom of speech, and impartial historical scholarship” in Poland.