The Boston University History Department recognizes and mourns the long history of racial injustice that has left deep scars on our society and which continues to manifest in horrific incidents of racial violence, including the very recent murders of Black men and women at the hands of police. We acknowledge, too, the long and vital history of antiracist protest, so vividly impressed on our minds during demonstrations across the United States and around the world in the summer of 2020. Indeed, we believe historians have a particularly important responsibility to help deepen our collective awareness of historical injustices and to underscore lessons from the past that can be useful in the present.
As historians, we are immersed in the study of the wide variety of lived experiences of people across the globe and so, in our research and teaching, repeatedly affirm the inherent diversity of the human experience. It is only by exploring past difference that we can understand present diversity, whether it is shaped by race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, or religion or arises out of the experience of longstanding injustices that profoundly alter the course of peoples’ lives. As scholars working in the city of Boston, moreover, we remember the long history of slavery and anti-black oppression in our own city as well as the legacy of genocide and dispossession that targeted the Native people of this region.
The Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Committee of the BU Department of History was formed in the aftermath of racial violence and anti-racist protest in the summer of 2020. We seek to further a more inclusive and equitable learning and teaching environment in our Department and across the University. We are committed to recruiting and supporting a diverse faculty as well as encouraging the development of courses that reflect diverse human experiences and that investigate systemic forms of discrimination and oppression. We also seek to foster a community – with undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and staff –that is both mindful of long-standing inequities and welcoming of a culture of inclusion.