Policies on Letters to the Editor and Comments on AHA Websites and Social Media
The American Historian Association welcomes feedback in diverse forms responding to our print and digital publications, as well as communications that address issues relevant to the profession.
Due to space considerations and in the interests of clarity of communication, letters to the editor of Perspectives on History should be no more than 750 words. Comments posted online to our website and digital publications should be no more than 500 words. Letter writers and commenters should keep in mind that shorter communications are more likely to be read in full.
Civility and Constructive Dialogue
Letters to the Editor and comments on our digital publications should be guided by the AHA’s Statement on Standards of Professional Conduct. Above all, letter writers and commenters should follow the values set out in the statement below:
Historians celebrate intellectual communities governed by mutual respect and constructive criticism. The preeminent value of such communities is reasoned discourse—the continuous colloquy among historians holding diverse points of view who learn from each other as they pursue topics of mutual interest. A commitment to such discourse—balancing fair and honest criticism with tolerance and openness to different ideas—makes possible the fruitful exchange of views, opinions, and knowledge.
The editors will not accept for publication, in print or in digital form, any statement that contains ad hominem attacks, namely, attacks that disparage a particular person or group of people rather than attempting to engage with ideas. Ad hominem attacks include abusive statements and remarks on a person’s character or reputation.
In short, letter writers and commenters should always address the ideas at hand, and refrain from remarking on the person who has those ideas.
The AHA wishes to promote dialog and an exchange of ideas. Therefore we may notify authors of articles and letters to the editor of Perspectives on History and Perspectives Online when we receive a response to their published work, and they will be offered an opportunity to reply. We will notify letter writers that their letter has garnered a response, but due to space and timing considerations we will defer further additional replies until the next issue.
Submission, Editorial Review, and Publication
Submission of a letter to the editor implies consent to publish (unless the writer expressly indicates that the letter is not for publication) and agreement with the policies set out in this statement.
Publication of letters to the editor and replies to letters is subject to approval by the Perspectives on History editorial board. Letters may be edited for length, house style, and content.
The editors reserve the right to moderate or remove posts to our website and social media outlets if they are inconsistent with the guidelines set out above or the AHA’s Statement on Standards of Professional Conduct.
Publication of a letter or comment in any of the AHA’s publications does not imply an endorsement of its content by the Association. The AHA is not responsible for the accuracy of the statements made by commenters and letter writers. Authors of letters and comments are solely responsible for their statements.