Statement of Values
adopted by the Department October 2018
Preamble by the Inclusive Climate Committee:
In 1970, the AHA Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession wrote in its report that:
The present demand for social justice for women coincides with the permanent interest of the historical profession. To increase the opportunities open to women in the field of history is to advance the quality of the profession itself.
The Department holds that this principle applies to those marginalized and underrepresented groups discriminated against on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, religion or nonbelief, disability, sexuality, gender identity, age, and socioeconomic/employment status. To perpetuate such discrimination is to harm not only these individuals but also the profession and the Department as a whole. With that in mind, the principles detailed in the statement of values are intended not to serve as a definitive body of regulations but to outline the model of professional, inclusive behavior the Department expects of all of its members, including faculty, students, and staff.
Equitable treatment, collegiality, and professionalism should govern our standards of behavior, by which we mean a shared commitment to mutual respect for each other intellectually and as individuals, to civil discourse and consideration of dissent as a valuable element of intellectual life, to fairness, to equity among constituencies (including undergraduate student; graduate student; tenure-track, non-tenure-track, and tenured faculty; department and university staff, guests, and visitors), and to awareness of the historical and contemporary discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, religion or nonbelief, disability, sexuality, gender identity, age, and socioeconomic/employment status in our profession and in academia that may contribute to an unhealthy climate. With this understanding of collegiality, we commit ourselves to set an example of professionalism for our students, our peers, and workers in other fields.
As part of this commitment, faculty should consider graduate students in the Master’s and Doctoral programs as junior colleagues–just as graduate students should consider themselves. This does not erase the pedagogical relationship between faculty and graduate students. It entails a commitment to professionalization, including inclusion of graduate students in the department’s various workshops and seminars. It also means recognizing that faculty and graduate students have a shared pedagogical responsibility toward undergraduates and a shared commitment to equity and inclusivity within the classroom.
We recognize that an unequal burden of labor exists for many women, members of the LBGTQIA+ community, and marginalized and underrepresented groups, resulting from structural inequalities that the academy still struggles to overcome (including the disproportionate demands of informal advising). The Climate Committee considers unequally distributed burdens of labor to be a central concern alongside other forms of discrimination. It is with these goals in mind that we have formulated the following non-exclusive set of principles, with the hope that members of the department community will use them as guidelines in making decisions for which inclusivity is a relevant concern.
Statement of Values for Equitable Professional Conduct in the Department of History:
- In the classroom, we follow and encourage basic etiquette, which we understand to mean a commitment to mutual respect, equity and equitable treatment, and civil discourse. In disagreeing, we separate the argument from the individual, reject the use of personal attacks, and welcome dissent as an important part of intellectual life without undermining or demeaning the views of others.
- We encourage attention to respect and inclusion in all of the ways we communicate importance–for example, our syllabi, reading lists, panels, workshops, invited speakers and events. In all of these arenas, we strive to reflect the diversity of the past as well as the diversity of the historical profession. People in the past, and scholars of history now, have occupied a broad spectrum across race, gender and gender identity, sexuality, national origin, religion, age, disability, and socioeconomic status; we work to ensure that the works we assign, the events we plan, and the speakers we invite, do as well.
- We strive for comprehensive exam, dissertation, and departmental committees that are not single-gender.
- We strive for mentoring, travel monies, and teaching and research opportunities to be distributed equitably through open and transparent processes.
- We create university-oriented spaces (including digital spaces), and plan university-affiliated and course-related events with an eye to inclusivity by considering how the scheduling or invitation process may include people with care responsibilities or religious obligations, and by ensuring that informal activities represent the diversity of the profession.
- We recognize as a serious form of discrimination any overt or covert judgment or criticism on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, religion, disability, sexuality, gender identity, age, and socioeconomic status against any member of our community.
- In promoting the work and achievements of our colleagues, we recognize the need to celebrate the full diversity of the Department’s membership.
- We are respectful to all present in our workplace, including students, faculty, department staff, university employees, guests, and visitors. This includes being respectful of the physical space in which we work.
- We are committed to upholding this Statement of Values as members of this Department. We take responsibility for the enactment of the values expressed in this statement by speaking up when it is appropriate and necessary to do so and by maintaining ongoing fora on these issues.
We share a commitment to maintain a professional, equitable and collegial environment that welcomes all members of our community.
We remember that in addition to this statement of values, students are subject to the University’s Student Code of Conduct and its enforcement protocols, as well as the History Department’s Handbooks for doctoral and masters students; faculty are governed by Georgetown’s Faculty Handbook, which outlines rights and responsibilities, and procedures for protecting and enforcing those rights and responsibilities; and staff are also responsible for following the University’s overarching policies, including the University Code of Ethical Conduct, and are subject to the Professional Code of Conduct as detailed in the Human Resources Manual.
The Georgetown University History Department supports historical scholarship and the free exchange of ideas. Scholarship itself is in many ways a conversation, and often that conversation takes place through conferences. Recently, participants, organizers, and university sponsors of the virtual conference “Dismantling Global Hindutva: Multidisciplinary Perspectives” (September 10-12, 2021) faced harassment and intimidation, including multiple threats of serious violence and invasion of a digital conference space. The History Department joins the American Historical Association (new window) in condemning these and any other attacks that seek to limit conference presentations and participation.
Conferences, both in person and across digital platforms, are critical to the exchange of ideas among historians and our colleagues in other disciplines. Disruptions to a conference represent an assault on the principle of academic freedom, and the History Department stands unequivocally with participants in this conference and its sponsors in their right to exchange ideas without fear of threats and intimidation.