Dear Friends and Colleagues,
The Department of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is committed to studying the complex histories of human encounters. We study these histories through a variety of lenses, understanding that categories of race and difference have created unequal power relations at historically specific moments across time and space. We also believe that, on top of our scholarly endeavors, our academic responsibility includes an effort to acknowledge and rectify racial and social inequities within our own community, for we believe that intellectual excellence only resides in a structure of empowerment. Particularly, in light of historical and ongoing patterns of exclusion, subjugation, and violence, and in acknowledgment of a nationwide pattern of declining enrollment of numbers of students of color in higher education, the Department affirms its intention to actively recruit and retain students and faculty of color. This commitment moves beyond a desire for inclusivity. We strive to create a vibrant learning environment where students and faculty can critically examine, research, and challenge the ways race, ethnicity, gender, sexualities, class, and ability have shaped people's lives. In so doing, our Department will be better equipped not only to interpret the world but to change it.
Approved by the Department of History Faculty -- 2014
In light of recent events, the Department of History at the University of Illinois concurs with the American Historical Association on its statement: "As a nation, we've shown a reluctance not only to learn our own history but to learn from it, which helps to explain why we continue to witness--and set aside as exceptional--egregious forms of human-rights abuses in case after case. . . . Even as we mourn the death of George Floyd, we much confront this nation's past; history must inform our actions as we work to create a more just society."