Statement on Alleged Violations of Foreign and US Historians Abroad (2001)

Adopted by AHA Council, June 16, 2001

The American Historical Association is committed to the academic freedom of all historians. Article II of the AHA constitution and bylaws sets as its objective “the promotion of historical studies” through teaching, research, publication, the collection and preservation of materials, and the dissemination of historical records and knowledge. Academic freedom relates directly to this stated purpose. The AHA will, as appropriate, protest violations of the academic freedom of foreign historians and United States historians abroad which are brought to its attention.

 In order to respond in a timely fashion, the following steps will be followed.

  1. The Executive Director and the President of the AHA in consultation with the Professional Division or relevant Council members, as feasible, will review reported allegations of violations of academic freedom.
  2. If allegations of specific denials of academic freedom appear to fall within the purview of the AHA, they will be forwarded along with any supporting data to the Academic Freedom Committee of Human Rights Watch (HRW) or to other pertinent investigatory organizations concerned with academic freedom. The Executive Director and the President of the AHA will ask the cooperating organization to investigate the allegations and report their findings to the Association, along with information on the actions that the investigating organization intends to take in the matter. Advice on how the AHA can best help in the effort will be requested as well.
  3. The Executive Director and the President of the AHA will take this report to the AHA Council for their information and, as appropriate, for a decision on taking action.