Occasional Newsletter #11, January 18, 2021
(also available as a pdf for downloading and/or printing)
Special: Please consider this now for the new semester!
The H-PAD Virtual Speakers Program–with excellent expert speakers on peace and social justice–is continuing into 2022. Virtual Speakers are available at no charge for your class, campus, or community gatherings. Consult the H-PAD website here for details of this program. Also, you might inquire whether a particular speaker is available for an in- person event. For more information beyond the H-PAD website, please contact Andor Skotnes (firstname.lastname@example.org).
H-PAD Joins Resistance to Culture War Attacks
H-PAD’s current priority is joining other progressive groups in responding to attacks on students, K-12 teachers, and college faculty by right-wingers who attempt to distort historical understandings, censor curriculum, and undermine academic freedom. The main areas of our developing response include:
1) Working in coalitions to resist laws, regulations, and “gag orders” that forbid teaching of the realities of racism, gender oppression, class domination, and social/cultural inequities.
On this, Ellen Schrecker writes:
We are supporting the national campaign organized by the African American Policy Forum to encourage faculty members to get their Faculty Senates or other official bodies to pass resolutions asking their trustees and administrators to join them in opposing the education gag rules.
Besides ramping up the academy’s general opposition to these repressive measures, these resolutions — which have already been passed or are near passage at some 20 colleges and universities — show their institutions’ authorities that their faculties have already acted collectively on the issue and stand ready to contest any future violations of academic freedom.
To help you organize this campaign on your campus and within your other academic networks, here is a recent report from PEN and some useful templates and other documents from the AAPF, all of which you can adapt to the specific needs of your own institutions.
If you have any questions, please contact Professors Jennifer Ruth (Portland State University, https://www.pdx.edu/profile/jennifer-ruth), Emily Houh (University of Cincinnati – https://law.uc.edu/faculty/directory/emily-ming-sue-houh.html), or Valerie Johnson (DePaul University, https://las.depaul.edu/academics/political-science/faculty/Pages/valerie-johnson.aspx).
2) Challenging the new McCarthyism in teaching and in the classroom
With leadership from historians who work with K-12 teachers, H-PAD is spearheading a new initiative in the “Culture Wars.” We are in discussion with various national organizations about co-sponsoring a series of online teach-ins this spring. The tentative theme is “Can We Talk? Teaching Controversial Subjects” (as in so- called Critical Race Theory or the 1619 Project). The format for these teach-ins would be two-fold: both teachers themselves discussing how they foster open debate, and historians providing useful expertise. The focus of organizing and outreach would be teachers in those states and districts where educators’ right and responsibility to pursue critical inquiry is under sweeping legislative proscription.
In addition, we are exploring other ways to bring our expertise as historians to bear in the resistance campaigns of human rights organizations, racial and gender justice groups, and education unions. Our activities are in their early stages, and we will update you as they develop. Please write us and let us know anything you and others are doing in this regard. The current culture war attacks are comparable to, and potentially worse than, those of the McCarthy era, and we feel that it is imperative for all of us to join the struggle.
RHR /H-PAD Sessions for the 2022 AHA Meeting–Rescheduled
The Radical History Review and H-PAD organized a set of ten excellent sessions for the 2022 AHA conference in New Orleans, January 6-9. Unfortunately the spiking COVID pandemic has forced us to relocate and reschedule our sessions. Of our ten sessions, one was canceled, seven are moving to the “virtual AHA conference” that is currently being organized online for February 21-27, and two
will be held outside the AHA framework. One of these two, “Radical Biography: Confrontations of Race, Gender, Power, and Privilege,” has already been rescheduled for the Leon Levy Center for Biography, CUNY Grad Center, NYC, March 22, 6:30 PM. We will pass on information about the rescheduling the other sessions when the information becomes available. In addition we plan to make podcasts of all the online sessions available later in the year
Ongoing Legislative Work
It’s clear that during the next 12 months, Congress will be making vitally important decisions pertaining to issues of peace and war, preserving democracy, and advancing social justice. As a national organization H- Pad has been signing on as supporters of legislative initiatives which reflect our goals. We are also committed to sharing information to our list about upcoming votes in the House and the Senate, which are of critical importance. If you are specifically interested in being a campus contact for this work, please let us know. Carolyn.Eisenberg@hofstra.edu