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Statement on Academic Freedom in Turkey

African Studies Association
American Academy of Religion
American Anthropological Association
Executive Committee of the American Comparative Literature Association
American Council of Learned Societies
American Folklore Society
American Historical Association
American Society for Environmental History
American Sociological Association
American Studies Association
Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies
Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present
British International Studies Association
British Society for Middle Eastern Studies
Executive Committee of the California Scholars for Academic Freedom
Economic History Association
European Association for Middle Eastern Studies
European Association of Social Anthropologists
European Network for Cinema and Media Studies (NECS)
Executive Board of the European Society for Translation Studies
German Middle East Studies Association (DAVO)
German Studies Association
International Center for Medieval Art
Italian American Studies Association
Italian Society for Middle Eastern Studies (SeSaMo)
Latin American Studies Association
Law and Society Association
Linguistic Society of America
The Medieval Academy of America
Middle East Studies Association
Modern Language Association
National Communication Association
Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association
Political Studies Association
Société Française de Littérature Générale et Comparée
Society for Cinema and Media Studies
Society for Classical Studies
Society of Architectural Historians
TESOL International Association
World History Association

The above listed organizations collectively note with profound concern the apparent moves to dismantle much of the structure of Turkish higher education through purges, restrictions, and assertions of central control, a process begun earlier this year and accelerating now with alarming speed.

As scholarly associations, we are committed to the principles of academic freedom and freedom of expression. The recent moves in Turkey herald a massive and virtually unprecedented assault on those principles. One of the Middle East region’s leading systems of higher education is under severe threat as a result, as are the careers and livelihoods of many of its faculty members and academic administrators.

Our concern about the situation in Turkish universities has been mounting over the past year, as Turkish authorities have moved to retaliate against academics for expressing their political views—some merely signing an “Academics for Peace” petition criticizing human rights violations.

Yet the threat to academic freedom and higher education has recently worsened in a dramatic fashion. In the aftermath of the failed coup attempt of July 15-16, 2016, the Turkish government has moved to purge government officials in the Ministry of Education and has called for the resignation of all university deans across the country’s public and private universities. As of this writing, it appears that more than 15,000 employees at the education ministry have been fired and nearly 1600 deans—1176 from public universities and 401 from private universities—have been asked to resign. In addition, 21,000 private school teachers have had their teaching licenses cancelled. Further, reports suggest that travel restrictions have been imposed on academics at public universities and that Turkish academics abroad were required to return to Turkey. The scale of the travel restrictions, suspension and imposed resignations in the education sector seemingly go much farther than the targeting of individuals who might have had any connection to the attempted coup.

The crackdown on the education sector creates the appearance of a purge of those deemed inadequately loyal to the current government. Moreover, the removal of all of the deans across the country represents a direct assault on the institutional autonomy of Turkey’s universities. The replacement of every university’s administration simultaneously by the executive-controlled Higher Education Council would give the government direct administrative control of all Turkish universities. Such concentration and centralization of power over all universities is clearly inimical to academic freedom. Moreover, the government’s existing record of requiring university administrators’ to undertake sweeping disciplinary actions against perceived opponents—as was the case against the Academics for Peace petition signatories—lends credence to fears that the change in university administrations will be the first step in an even broader purge against academics in Turkey.

Earlier this year, it was already clear that the record of violations by the Turkish government of academic freedom and freedom of expression amassed in a matter of months has been staggering. The aftermath of the attempted coup may have accelerated and widened those attacks on academic freedom in even more alarming ways.

As scholarly organizations, we collectively call for respect for academic freedom—including freedom of expression, opinion, association and travel—and the autonomy of universities in Turkey, offer our support to our Turkish colleagues, second the Middle East Studies Association’s “call for action” of January 15, request that Turkey’s diplomatic interlocutors (both states and international organizations) advocate vigorously for the rights of Turkish scholars and the autonomy of Turkish universities, suggest other scholarly organizations speak forcefully about the threat to the Turkish academy, and alert academic institutions throughout the world that Turkish colleagues are likely to need moral and substantive support in the days ahead.

(note: organizations wishing to be included as signatories on the above statement should contact Amy Newhall at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)).

Home/Not Home: Centering American Studies Where We Are, November 17-20, 2016

More From the Editors


ASA Minority and Indigenous Graduate Student Travel Grant

This award will provide travel reimbursement of $500 to an advanced graduate student who is a member of the ASA and plans to attend the 2016 convention in order to present a paper related to critical ethnic and/or indigenous studies. Graduate students who have no support for convention attendance and are members of an under-represented group are particularly encouraged to apply.

The application should have two parts:  (1) a cover letter of no more than two pages that includes a brief autobiographical description, the title of the applicant’s paper and the session to which it belongs, and confirmation that the applicant will not receive any other financial support from his/her/their institution; and (2) a curriculum vitae.  Please send your application by Wednesday, September 14 to Ralina Joseph, chair of the critical ethnic studies committee, at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

ASA Critical Ethnic Studies Prize

The American Studies Association’s Committee on Critical Ethnic Studies calls for submissions for the 2016 Critical Ethnic Studies Prize, awarded to a participant in the annual meeting of the American Studies Association. Any paper given at the meeting is eligible for consideration, provided that it does not exceed 15 pages, including the notes. The paper should be a work-in-progress.  The author of the winning paper will receive a $500 award at the annual meeting to be held November 17-20 in Denver, Colorado.

Relevant submissions will contrast or connect the process of race-making or the experiences of racialized communities with similar processes or experiences inside or outside the United States. All essays must focus on the power of race/ethnicity to shape the lives of diverse groups of people.

Papers should be submitted electronically by Wednesday, September 14 to Ralina Joseph, chair of the c ommittee, at: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).  Late submissions will not be accepted.

CFP: Framing the “American Century”: Wars, Migrations, Social Justice (Due Sept 15, 2016)

The American Studies Association (ASA) and the Japanese Association for American Studies (JAAS), with support from the Japan-United States Friendship Commission (JUFSC), are pleased to announce a competition open to ASA members (U.S. citizens). We plan to select two ASA delegates (pending funding) for participation in the annual JAAS conference to be held in May-June 2017 in Japan. We invite proposals for papers to be presented at the JAAS conference and for the two-day pro-seminars in Japan. The award covers round trip airfare to Japan, housing, and modest daily expenses.

Sports Studies Schedule for ASA 2016

The Sports Studies Caucus is thrilled to present the following lineup for ASA 2016 in Denver. It includes the six panels formally affiliated with our caucus along with three others of interest! All NINE panels take place on Friday and Saturday.


8:00 to 9:45am - DENVER CONVENTION CTR, Level 4, Capitol 6
An Empty Home Field: Reflections on Sports, Race, and the Geographies of Place in the Neo-Liberal City - http://tinyurl.com/hue6zlp
- Amy Bass, John Bloom, Priscilla Leiva, Benjamin Lisle

10:00 to 11:45am, DENVER CONVENTION CTR, Level 4, Capitol 5
Competition and Commodity: Sports in 21st-Century Visual and Literary Culture - http://tinyurl.com/gtm427j
- Philip Deloris, Annie Gilbert Coleman, Jeffrey Lawrence, Roberta Newman

10:00 to 11:45am, DENVER CONVENTION CTR, Level 4, Capitol 6
Home on Campus?: Centering Sport in the University - http://tinyurl.com/jdmbyzf
- Sherrie Tucker, Lucia Trimbur, Noah Cohan, Daniel Gilbert, Theresa Runstedtler, Randal Jelks

12:00 to 1:45pm, DENVER CONVENTION CTR, Level 4, Capitol 1
Activism Caucus: Israel’s Lethal Involvement in Mega-Sporting Events: Heeding the Call for Boycott - http://tinyurl.com/jkjfxh9
- Chandni Desai, Dave Zirin, Linda Tabar

12:00 to 2:00pm, DENVER CONVENTION CTR, Granite C
Business Meeting: Sports Studies Caucus - http://tinyurl.com/gqd47gh

2:00 to 3:45pm, DENVER CONVENTION CTR, Level 4, Capitol 7
Sports Studies Caucus: Built: At Home with the Athletic Body - http://tinyurl.com/jmqkgry
- Mary McDonald, E. Hella Tsaconas, Kara Fagan, Erica Rand, Chelsea Jones

4:00 to 5:45pm, DENVER CONVENTION CTR, Level 4, Capitol 7
Sports Studies Caucus: Refusing to Defend this House: Athletic Insurrection at the University of Missouri and Beyond - http://tinyurl.com/hzggwfh
- David Leonard, Emmett Gill, Letisha Engracia Cardoso Brown, Drew Brown, Doug Hartmann, C. Richard King


8:00 to 9:45am, DENVER CONVENTION CTR, Level 3, Mineral Hall F
Race in the Sports Documentary - http://tinyurl.com/hehlk9y
- Travis Vogan, Samantha Sheppard, Guy Harrison, Aaron Baker

10:00 to 11:45am, DENVER CONVENTION CTR, Level 3, Mineral Hall F
Sisters With Attitude: How Venus and Serena Williams Changed the Game - http://tinyurl.com/gqdu725
- Vanessa Perez, Treva Lindsey, Salamishah Tillet, Brittney Cooper

12:00 to 1:45pm, DENVER CONVENTION CTR, Level 3, Mineral Hall F
The Sporting Life: Athletic Cultures and Practices - http://tinyurl.com/j8r2gk7
- Pellom McDaniels III, Evan Brody, Margaret Kelly, Jennifer McClearen, Jasmine Mitchell

ASA Awards Regional Chapter Grants

ASA 2016 Regional Chapter Grants

The American Studies Association is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2016 Regional Chapter Grants to develop programming, in the form of conferences or other projects, that engages both American Studies practitioners and others interested in the field within a specific region in an original and creative manner.

1. Hawai’i American Studies Association:  Detours: A Decolonial Guide to Hawai’i Workshops and Creative Project. (Amount $3,000)

The project will host two full-day writing workshops for contributors who include academics, activists, artists, and practitioners. It will then host a public forum following the second workshop session. The editors of Detours are committed to allowing the project to unfold as contributors bring their expertise and ideas to it. The book and related materials will address specifically the ways in which communities of practice are working against the harmful effects of the tourism industry, while simultaneously turning the infrastructure of tourism and the genre of tourism writing on its head.

2. New England American Studies Association: NEASA Professional Development Colloquium, Annual Conference, and Liaison Program (NLP).  (Amount $3,000)

The goal of the program is to increase participation in American Studies events and to create a mechanism that will allow NEASA to better represent its broad membership. The colloquium, to be held in fall 2016, will again focus on professionalization concerns for graduate students, faculty, and alternative academics.  The next NEASA conference will be held in spring 2017.  To support these efforts, NEASA will use the ASA funds to help supplement the costs of its upcoming annual programs and NLP, which seek to contribute to the local scholarly communities both inside and beyond the academy.

3. New York Metro American Studies Association: Everything You Wanted to Know About Academic Professionalization—But Were Too Busy Updating Your CV to Ask. (Amount $3,000)

The colloquium will address careers outside academia for PhDs in American Studies and related fields, as well as offer workshops on skills and competencies central to academic professionalization. It will invite editors of major journals in American Studies as well as the editorial staff of university presses to speak about the environment for scholarly publishing today. The colloquium will include a session on grant-writing.  It will also bring in speakers on careers outside of academia, as well as offering short “how-to” sessions on nuts-and-bolts skills like compiling a cv, writing fellowship applications, and composing conference proposals.

4. Southern American Studies Association: Migrations and Circulations (2017 Biennial Conference of the Southern American Studies Association). ($3,000)

The grant will fund two initiatives that align with the mission of the conference and of the SASA. First, support for transportation and subsidized registration will enhance opportunities for educators and students to attend “Migrations and Circulations” and deepen the diversity of perspectives on conference themes. Additionally, funding for a plenary and discussion that engages all attendees in sustained exploration of interdisciplinary work by a prominent scholar will generate conversations about the past and future of our discipline.  The conference expects 150-200 attendees, including from states outside the region and throughout the world.

Early American Matters Caucus’ll sponsor these 2 sessions at Denver

Thanks to everyone who returned ballots in our recent voting, via the Early American Matters Caucus’s listserve! Among the 16 early-American-flavored panels already on the program at this November’s A.S.A. conference in Denver, our Caucus is sponsoring these two—

“The Anatomy of Home: Early American Bodies,” with papers by Melissa Adams-Campbell, Carla Cevasco, Rebecca Rosen and Amanda Stuckey; Cristobal will chair and serve as commentator.
“Colloquy with Elizabeth Maddock Dillon on _New World Drama: The Performative Commons in the Atlantic World, 1648-1849_,” with Cory Capers, Elizabeth Maddock Dillon, Duncan Faherty, Bob Fanuzzi, Dan Hutchins, Peter Reed and Shirley Samuels as panelists and with Dennis Moore as moderator—and with members of the audience as Respondents.

—and it turns out there’s more: in addition to accepting those 16 panel proposals, each of which included “early American,” “eighteenth century” or “nineteenth century” as a keyword, the program committee also constructed 13 other early-American-flavored sessions from individual paper proposals that had at least one of those keywords.

WATCH FOR FURTHER WORD about the reception we’re again co-hosting with the Environment and Culture Caucus, again with generous support from the American Antiquarian Society. Last year’s reception, at Toronto, coincided with the southern-regional chapter’s mixer, and we’re planning mixer and reception together again, this time around!

—Dennis Moore, co-choreographer (with Sari Altschuler) of the Early American Matters Caucus