History Department Diversity Statement

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."

 

Link to Department of History Statement Against Racism, Anti-Semitism, and Prejudice

Link to Department of History Statement Against Racist Phrases When Referring to COVID-19

Link to Department of History Statement Condemning Police Brutality


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Israel and Palestine

 

The Executive Committee of the Department of History at the University of Illinois joins with scholars across the world in condemning the state violence that the Israeli government and its security forces have been carrying out in Gaza and standing in solidarity with Palestine and support for the struggle for Palestinian liberation . While statements are important, we are as committed to actions and practices that are aimed at imagining real and sustainable change. We firmly believe such change must be predicated on critical engagement with modes of scholarship, and especially histories, that acknowledge and respect the full human rights of all peoples and the collective rights of all communities. If you are interested in joining the efforts of History@Illinois to develop programs and projects which advance these commitments, please contact us at history@illinois.edu.


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Anti-Asian Hate Statement

The History Department joins many today to express our condolences to the families of the victims of the Atlanta shooting and to repudiate the combined racism and male supremacy that seem to have motivated it. Yesterday, a lone white gunman went on a shooting spree, murdering eight women, two white and six Asian American, who worked for three spas in the Atlanta area. In the past year, there have been 3,800 incidents reported of racially motivated hate-related attacks towards Asian Americans. Women are more than twice as likely to be targeted than men. In sixteen of the largest U.S. cities hate crimes against Asian Americans rose by 150 percent in 2020. No doubt this latest incident, whether labeled a "hate crime" or not, can only contribute to the anguish and fear Asian Americans are experiencing. While we see a dramatic rise in hateful incidents, anti-Asian racism has a long, violent history in this country. This horrendous history is exemplified by the 1871 Chinese massacre in Los Angeles, the 1930 bombing of the Filipino Federation of America in Stockton, CA, Japanese-American internment, and the 1982 murder of Vincent Chin, to name a few.

We express solidarity with the people of Asian descent in our campus during this time of tragedy. We reject race and sex stereotyping and sexual violence towards women, of which Asian American women have long been the victims. And we call upon our leaders on campus and in the Champaign-Urbana area to do their utmost to be vigilant in stopping attacks towards the Asian and Asian American members of our community and prosecuting to the fullest those responsible for such attacks.

 

Approved by Excomm