Department of History Anti-Racism Statement

  1. CURRICULUM: We are committed to encouraging attention to race in our curriculum, and aim to maintain no less than 50% of our courses with that keyword. 
  2. INCLUSIVE COMMUNITY: We seek to nurture an inclusive intellectual community that speaks to and reflects the broader diversity of the Amherst College student body. 
  3. PEDAGOGY: We are especially committed to ensuring that our pedagogy is informed by anti-racist approaches that decenter the West, challenge white supremacy and racist ontologies, and challenge empire. In order to enrich our awareness of different pedagogical approaches to teaching race and racism, we had a generative discussion with ODEI and student reps on February 24, 2023 and would welcome such conversations in the future.
  4. RACISM AND THE HISTORICAL PROFESSION: We are committed to a critical engagement in our curriculum with racism in the historical profession and to confronting the perpetuation of racism and racists assumptions within the profession and the historiography. First and foremost, we will continue to make an examination of how racism has structured the concepts and methodologies of historical analysis a prominent part of our obligatory methods course, “Writing the Past.” Further, we are committed to regularly inviting public speakers who engage these aspects of the historical profession and the efforts to mitigate/correct them. 
  5. ACCOUNTABILITY: We are committed to keeping track of and addressing the diversity of students in our courses, of our declared majors, and of our thesis writers annually. We will actively solicit student perspectives on how to make the department more inclusive through the creation of a student-faculty committee focused on community-building and belonging.
  6. RECOGNITION OF EFFORT: We regard our colleagues’ work toward building a welcoming and inclusive community in the classroom and among the majors as critical, and are committed to acknowledging these efforts as contributions to service in the department. One preliminary way of doing so is to include a recognition of these efforts in the departmental memorandum of the annual conversations with members of our faculty.
  7. ONGOING CONVERSATION: We are committed to candid conversation with majors about building an inclusive community, and will conduct a regular survey along those lines with current and former students. We will explore with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion various models for, and best practices of, conducting that survey.
  8. ANNUAL REPORT AND DISCUSSION: Finally, we are committed to include the implementation of the seven points above as a part of the chair’s annual review. Ahead of this, the chair will discuss the finding with the faculty in the final weeks of the Spring Semester.

version: 4/14/2023