Diversity & Inclusion

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Statement from the Department of History Diversity and Equity Committee and Department Chair Against Anti-Asian Racist and Misogynist Violence

We stand in solidarity with the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in this moment of mourning and condemn the violent and racist misogynist attacks against Asian people in the Atlanta area and beyond. This is not an isolated instance but another tragic and visible one in a long history of xenophobia and racist violence in this country, armed by the refusal to understand gun violence as a matter of public health. We reaffirm our commitment to discern and confront all forms of racism, along with other forms of injustice, discrimination and marginalization in our classrooms and scholarship while we continue to support and work with our students, faculty and staff to build a better world where everyone is treated as an equal human being, deserving of dignity and safety.

March 26, 2021

Statement on Diversity + Inclusion

Indiana University is situated on the traditional territory of the Kickapoo, Miami, Potawatomi, Shawnee, and Delaware Nations. The United States of America expelled these nations from the state of Indiana by way of force, yet the state continues to appropriate “Indian” in its own name and that of its capital. We write this statement in the midst of a global civil rights reckoning over persisting white supremacy. The separation of migrant families at the border and murders of people of African descent at the hands of police and civilians sparked new awareness and anger over a history of violence toward people of color dating back to settlement and slavery. As the white supremacist takeover of the US Capitol in January 2021 emphasizes, that history extends to the present.

The Department of History at Indiana University, Bloomington, maintains a fundamental commitment to the value and practices of equity and diversity.

Our research addresses all peoples in the world and their various cultures, as well as how they are intersectionally affected by age, citizenship, disability, ethnicity, familial obligations, gender identity or expression, land claims, politics, national origin or ancestry, race and color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or socio-economic background. Because marginalized peoples may not have left the kinds of evidence other cultures produced, our discipline is open to sources and methodologies that render these historical experiences visible so that we can have a better understanding of how they view their world. In our pursuit of making visible the histories of the various peoples of the world, we seek the expertise of those who have first-hand experience on the issues we are studying, whether they are scholars or not.

When we teach, diversity means honoring this range of research, offering courses on a variety of peoples, societies, geographic areas, and time periods. We use inclusive pedagogies which recognize that our classrooms include people from a range of backgrounds and who have a variety of educational needs. We strive to create a classroom environment conducive to developing historical understanding and a fuller appreciation of diverse epistemologies.

We also endeavor to share the responsibility and opportunity of service equitably across the department. Finally, diversity in departmental membership means valuing people of diverse backgrounds and abilities. Each person enriches our larger community, and we commit ourselves to prioritizing a departmental climate where people of all backgrounds will thrive.

The discipline of history is essential to the understanding and pursuit of diversity: by exploring and exposing the past we can analyze the present and act responsibly and ethically for the future. We remain mindful that our discipline has its own problematic history of exclusion and hierarchy. It took decades of insight, courage, and struggle for the profession to move beyond accounts of the privileged and powerful. In our own department, it took years before Asian American, Black, Catholic, Jewish, Latinx, Native American and women faculty, for example, gained tenure-line positions, entered the tenured ranks, or acquired administrative positions. We continue, as a group of scholars from the United States and around the world to try and break down the deeply embedded structural inequities that have shaped our ranks and leadership. We strive to hire and retain members of minoritized groups at all ranks and enable them to flourish and to ensure the fair evaluation of research, teaching, and service in hiring, promotion, tenure, and compensation.

A commitment to equity and diversity thus produces ever better history and more just futures. We are steadfast in our commitment to academic freedom and to research that is varied in its methodology, sources and geographies in the service of broader, more equitable understandings of the past. We value research, teaching, and service that allow us to discern and confront all forms of racism, along with other forms of injustice, discrimination and marginalization. We embrace these powerful tools for generating better historical analyses, better pedagogical practices, and a work environment that enables and rewards the labor done on behalf of these principles in the classroom, in our department, in our profession, and in our communities.

March, 2021