Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
The History Department at The George Washington University is committed to respecting each of our students, staff, and faculty. We want everyone to feel welcomed and valued for who they are in our department and in our classrooms -- not only because it is our obligation, but also because we know that a diversity of backgrounds, experiences, identities, and perspectives makes any organization more creative and its work more important. We know this requires ongoing hard work from our department, and it requires creating spaces where those who do not yet feel fully included know that we will welcome, and learn from, their input when they speak their minds. We need the input of all students, staff, and faculty, with backgrounds, experiences, identities, and perspectives that we have not yet adequately included. Above all, we need you!
The field of history in particular needs a diversity of backgrounds, experiences, identities, and perspectives, because it is the job of historians to interpret the human past in all of its complexity and diversity. That means studying histories that have previously been understudied or even ignored, those of people of all genders, races, ethnicities, and nationalities, of the queer as well as the straight, the disabled as well as the able-bodied, the poor as well as the rich, the excluded as well as the privileged. That also means highlighting unacknowledged and uncomfortable truths, both about the elite and non-elite individuals and groups that historians study as well as about the way historians approach their topics. To do this we need as much diversity as possible among our students, staff, and faculty. We need you!
We strive to create a democratic environment where diverse representation ensures the free and open exchange of ideas. Equity and inclusion will not be achieved with a single act or set of acts but demand our constant and sustained effort. Some of our initiatives have included:
1. Establishing DEI committee (2020) with full- and part-time faculty and student membership
2. Hosting yearly faculty training sessions on DEI-related issues and concerns
3. Forming faculty working groups to make our syllabi and classrooms more reflective of diversity, equity and inclusion
4. Facilitating Town Hall events intended to provide an open and free environment for candid discussions
5. Sponsoring an Annual Lecture in Race and Inequality
But we know we need to do more, and we need your help to do so. A full engagement with history requires diverse perspectives and backgrounds. We need you!
Our Statement on Legislative Efforts to Restrict Education About Racism and American History
We the faculty and PhD students of the History Department at The George Washington University stand with the over seventy organizations, including the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU), that issued the Joint Statement on Legislative Efforts to Restrict Education about Racism and American History (June 16, 2021). We also commit our “firm opposition to a spate of legislative proposals being introduced across the country that target academic lessons, presentations and discussions of racism and related issues in American history in schools, colleges and universities ... In higher education, under principles of academic freedom that have been widely endorsed, professors are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject. Educators, not politicians, should make decisions about teaching and learning." (Quoted text is taken from this proposed draft for a senate resolution authored by the AAUP: https://docs.google.com/