Dear Fellows and Members,
The recent EU referendum has brought the issue of how international exchange and collaboration enrich history as a discipline to the forefront of the profession’s attention.
Whatever our position on the outcome of the referendum, I’m sure that as historians we want to ensure that our discipline remains outward looking and global in perspective. Only 13% of historians in UK university departments study the non-Western world; the equivalent proportion in Canada is 20% and in the US 27% (see the revealing study by Luke Clossey and Nick Guyatt in AHA Perspectives, May 2013). Surely we must want in the coming years to become more comprehensive in our understanding of all the world’s peoples and their histories, rather than less.
The Royal Historical Society is committed to this goal and to keeping our discipline as diverse and capacious as possible, both in terms of academic employment and in terms of the scholarship that we support. We are particularly conscious at this moment of the precarious situation in which citizens of EU nations who are working as historians in the UK find themselves, and are keen to gather information about their situation that would allow us to support them in any way we can. We also wish to facilitate collaboration between UK-based historians and others abroad, both in the EU and in the wider world. If you have any information about or experience of threats to employment or collaboration, please do write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Council will keep these international issues at the head of its agenda and I hope to be able to report to you in the autumn on further developments, both the challenges that we are encountering and the opportunities that we hope to open up.
With best wishes,