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The next FHHS meeting will take place virtually, on October 8-11, 2020. More information will be available soon on the History of Science Society website. FHHS will sponsor the following session:
Dismantling White Supremacism: A Conversation and Plan of Action
10.10.20, 11am EST
The past year has brought unprecedented political mobilization in History of Science, and academia more broadly, around dismantling anti-Black racism that upholds racist capitalism, along with patriarchy and indigenous dispossession.
This Open Discussion leverages our perspectives as historians of human science to explore cultures of White Supremacism as design problems: the way many organizations are designed are inherently discriminatory. Allied with efforts to develop cultures of inclusion, this discussion posits that additional (complementary) tactics are necessary to dismantle cultures of White Supremacism, as characterized in Jones and Okun’s “White Supremacy Culture” (2001).
The aim of this Open Discussion is to share concrete strategies and practical examples—such as the John Hopkins History Department plan of action—to support historians working to dismantle cultures of White Supremacism across multiple organizations, including in departments, committees, interest groups, and classrooms. This discussion will be relevant for scholars regardless of area of specialization in History of Science.
The Open Discussion addresses three questions:
- What are the spaces and processes of gatekeeping? Allied with the concern about who and what is being kept out of the gates, this discussion focuses on the spaces and practice of gatekeeping. The discussion may explore how groups can undertake a self-study to take account of–and change–unacknowledged privileging of White standards, values, and ways of being.
- How would our organizations operate, look, and feel if they were to be otherwise? Taking cues from Historians of Science developing speculative methods, the discussion will speculate on what “doing better” concretely and creatively will mean.
- What skills, resources, and systems of support are needed for actionable redesign of organizations? The discussion may address the Principles and Protocols technique (described in Adrienne Maree Brown’s Emergent Strategy) and consider how to safeguard against burnout and withdrawal if organizational redesign for justice is to be a long-term and ongoing process.
Laura Stark (Vanderbilt University), Ayah Nurridin (Johns Hopkins University), Dana Simmons (UC-Riverside University), Debbie Weinstein (Brown University) and Jacy Young (Quest University)
FHHS Statement in Support of Black Lives Matter
Present-day anti-Black racism and racism in policing emerges from a history of American eugenics, scientific racism, and White-settler claims to authority over knowledge. As historians of the human sciences, we support Black Lives Matter and allies working to dismantle oppressive structures and practices rooted in White supremacy; and we condemn American police brutality. The Forum for the History of the Human Sciences commits to ensuring that both our knowledge as historians and our antiracist values as scholars align with our practices as an organization.
The Forum for History of Human Science is a voluntary association of individuals interested in furthering scholarship in the history of human science.
It was established to promote research, education, and scholarship in the history of human science; to provide a forum for discussion; and to foster interest in the history of human science among scholars, scientists, students, and the public.
The Forum subscribes to a broad definition of human science that encompasses such disciplines as anthropology, economics, geography, history, linguistics, political science, psychiatry, psychology, sociology, and statistics, as well as aspects of the biological and physical sciences, medicine, education, law, and philosophy.
The Forum is an Interest Group formally affiliated with the History of Science Society (HSS), and it operates according to the provisions of the HSS By-laws. (Note, however, that members of FHHS are not required to be members of HSS.) FHHS is also one of three organizations currently affiliated with the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, with representatives serving on its editorial board.