by Karin Wulf
Starting later this month, the OI will convene a Working Group on Inclusive Practice. The OI’s Executive Board has charged me, together with the OI’s Council Chair, Jennifer Morgan, with bringing this group together to consider inclusivity throughout our programming, including our publications, meetings, fellowships, and more. All current and former members of the OI’s Board and Council have been invited to join the group, and we have extended invitations to other individuals whose experience and expertise can help guide us in this important project.
I’m excited for this important work to begin. The group has a brisk schedule that culminates with a full report and recommendations to be shared with the current OI Board and Council at their next annual meeting, in May 2020. I look forward to sharing more about that report, and our next steps, in the summer.
As we think about the distinctive role of research organizations, and how we can best contribute to the communities we serve, it is clear that process and practices are crucial. We can best support scholars and scholarship, and best share that work with the wide world, by making our processes as transparent as possible, and our practices as inclusive as possible. We have taken a variety of steps to think through these issues as they relate to the OI, including reflecting on the Omohundro name, on the methodologies in our publications, and on sexual harassment. This commitment has also guided, for example, our work on publishing ethics, and it will guide the working group this year. There is more, but let our focus for today be what we are doing going forward.
The early American past, whether we investigate it from the vantage of history, literature, anthropology, art history, or any disciplinary or professional perspective, was complex and diverse. Our scholarship recognizes this, and our scholarly organizations are impoverished when they do not or cannot reflect this in the diversity of individuals who make up our community.