From the News column of the March 2003 Perspectives
CMH Calls for Feedback on MLA Committee's Statement
AHA Staff, March 2003
The Committee on the Literatures of People of Color in the United States and Canada of the Modern Language Association has issued a "Statement for Good Practice" to the academy. In it the committee states that an important educational goal of departments of English and foreign languages is "to help all students become more sensitive to cultural differences, assist students of color to develop the sense of self-worth necessary to their success in higher education, and train future teachers to be aware of and appreciate cultural diversity" (p. 1). Furthermore, the statement makes detailed recommendations for the recruitment, mentoring, and evaluation of junior faculty members of color. These include: reexamining definitions of faculty positions in and out of traditional fields; making sure that junior faculty of color are mentored by committed senior faculty members; and recognizing the circumstances under which faculty of color teach, conduct scholarly research, and serve their departments and communities.
The AHA's Committee on Minority Historians (CMH) recognizes that in departments of history, the intellectual challenges faced by minority historians may be different. But the institutional concerns may indeed be similar for minority scholars or faculty of color in all disciplines. The CMH invites your response to the MLA committee's statement (available online—click on "Reports and Documents" on the MLA home page at www.mla.org) and welcomes whatever viewpoints you may have on the recruitment and retention of minority historians as well as historians working on marginalized subjects or areas. E-mail comments to Noralee Frankel.