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From the Letters to the Editor column of the December 2007 Perspectives

The AHA and Academic Freedom

Robert Zaller, December 2007

Editor’s Note: Perspectives welcomes letters to the editor on issues discussed in its pages or which are relevant to the profession. Letters should ideally be brief and should be either e-mailed to Perspectives, or mailed to Letters to the Editor, Perspectives, AHA, 400 A Street SE, Washington, DC 20003-3889 (please include full contact information). Letters selected for publication may be edited for style, length, and content. Publication of letters does not signify endorsement by the AHA of the views expressed by the authors, who alone are responsible for ensuring accuracy of the letters’ contents. Institutional affiliations are provided only for identification purposes.

The AHA and Academic Freedom

To the Editor:

Although the boycott of Israeli scholars and academic institutions proposed recently in the United Kingdom has at last been rejected by Great Britain's University and College Union, the concurrent boycott by the country's public employee's union, Unison, has not. Despite the repudiation of these initiatives by many senior British academics and public figures, I believe that damage has been done to the spirit of free inquiry and scholarly exchange that is vital to the enterprise of scholarship everywhere. The American Historical Association should, in my view, forthrightly condemn all efforts to punish or exclude scholars on the basis of their citizenship, whether it be Israeli scholars refused participation in British ventures and conferences or Muslim ones denied visas to enter the United States.

—Robert Zaller
Drexel University (and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society)

Editor's Note: Readers' attention is drawn also to the essay by Barbara Weinstein (in this issue), which focuses upon the theme of academic freedom.