Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

This has been a year of profound disorientation and anxiety for people across the globe. With a pandemic raging and economic inequality on the rise, many of us have seen our lives upended in extraordinary ways. 2020 has also been a year of soul-searching, as we confront the stark reality of racial injustice and violence—laid bare in example after example, in structure after structure, and in country after country.

The Stanford Department of History commits to doing better. We will aim to improve the diversity, equity, and inclusion of our community in all respects. The Department has historically had success in increasing gender diversity. Nonetheless, we recognize our past and present failings. While we have achieved some success in improving our diversity with regard to gender, we still have a long way to go with regard to racial and ethnic diversity among our faculty. We maintain that our professional calling as historians involves attention to diverse ways of being in the world. We strive to create a teaching and learning environment in which all members of our communities feel respected and valued for their differences and unique contributions. As historians, we are particularly attuned to institutional structures that continue to entrench the power and privilege of certain groups over others. We especially recognize the injustices visited upon Black and Indigenous communities in this country and globally, and we commit to using the tools and resources of our scholarship to illuminate and challenge narratives that dehumanize and marginalize.

As historians, we value words. But we also recognize that words require action, so here are some concrete initiatives that we will take in the coming months and years. We will update this agenda as we have more information.

  1. While we recognize all aspects of diversity (broadly defined) including gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, sexuality, and many others, now, going forward, we aim to place special emphasis on the long-term task of increasing racial and ethnic diversity of the faculty (in this regard, the diversity of our graduate cohorts still regularly outstrips that of our faculty). To this end, the Department is participating in the University’s IDEAL initiative at both the faculty and post-doc levels. We also plan to have the Diversity Committee be more closely involved in future hiring initiatives, with the aim of ensuring these diversity goals continue to be primary considerations. We are committed to increasing the racial and ethnic diversity of our faculty.

  1. While recognizing that meaningful change needs to start at the top, we are also committed to going beyond faculty diversity. In order to measure how far we are progressing towards our goal of a more diverse and inclusive workplace, we are examining (self-reported and anonymous) demographic data of our faculty, graduate students, and staff. Related to this, we are also seeking to develop more productive engagement with the Department’s graduate students concerning issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

  1. Finally, we are currently designing a series of lunch-time seminars throughout 2021, open to faculty and occasionally to graduate students. These discussions will place issues of DEI center-stage and cover topics ranging from syllabi design, conceptualizing new research projects, and faculty-student mentoring (to name just three of many other possibilities). Our aim is to increase the visibility of DEI topics within our Department and to ensure that we maintain momentum with regard to faculty discussions on this crucial issue.