ASEH Condemns Executive Order

The American Society for Environmental History is committed to academic freedom, freedom of expression, and fostering diversity with regard to age, gender, race, ethnicity, nation of origin, physical abilities, sexual orientation, religion, training, and employment. To this end, the ASEH affirmatively embraces all who wish to join, participate, and have a voice in our Society.

Unfortunately, challenges to these core principles have risen dramatically with recently announced policies, from threats to the NEH to the executive order regarding the immigration and entry of nationals from seven countries. ASEH asserts in the strongest possible terms the importance to the United States of continuing to welcome immigrants and the talents that they contribute. ASEH condemns this executive order as contrary to the values we hold dear in the field of environmental history, which is an inherently open and international discipline. As an affiliated society of the American Historical Association, ASEH also has joined the AHA in its strong condemnation of the executive order.

In view of recent developments, ASEH has added a Forum to the conference program in Chicago to discuss Threats to the Free Flow of Ideas and People. The Forum will be held on Saturday, April 1, following the members' meeting in the early evening, and will provide participants with an opportunity to speak on these issues and to join the Society in forging its agenda during these difficult times.

Chicago, our host city, is a Sanctuary City. On January 25, 2017, Mayor Rahm Emanuel reiterated that Chicago will remain a Sanctuary City regardless of the political or economic cost. Hence Chicago Police will not collaborate with any federal directive aimed at detaining or deporting foreign citizens. Likewise, Cook County has a sanctuary ordinance that states that the Sheriff’s Office will not do so either. Passed before the recent presidential election, these ordinances are widely revered in Chicago as the cornerstone of the city’s reputation for welcoming citizens of all nations.

ASEH has always valued international participation and our leaders are heartbroken at the prospect of losing the camaraderie, research, and perspective of our colleagues outside the United States. We are committed to supporting all ASEH participants who are impacted by this executive action. We hope that our colleagues who can do so will join us in Chicago so that together we can develop a response to the current crisis as well as to other issues that threaten to undermine our mission.

Kathleen A. Brosnan, President

Graeme Wynn, President Elect

Lisa Mighetto, Executive Director