Statement of Solidarity

The social protests of the past two weeks call upon us all to advocate for justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Sean Monterossa, Ahmaud Arbery, David McAtee and the many, many other victims of anti-Black violence in this country. The Columbia Department of Art History and Archaeology mourns their deaths and stands against racism. We condemn violence and bias and the marginalization of Black, Indigenous and all Peoples of Color and discrimination based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, nationality, citizenship status, religion, ability, socioeconomic status and the intersectionality of these identities in society at large. We call for the dismantling of systemic forms of oppression. And we recognize that we need to hold ourselves accountable to these values.

As a community of teachers, scholars, and curators, we understand the role that art and visual culture have always played in shaping and spreading but also speaking back to structural inequality, as well as in envisioning alternative futures. As a department, we promote critical engagement with artistic traditions from across the globe and the span of history. We hold our scholarship to the highest standards and we are proud of the impact our faculty and students have had on the field. Yet these times call for a deeper commitment to institutional change. This effort requires our sincere and ongoing work.

We echo and support the statements from the broader Columbia community, and from our partner organizations and institutions, about the particular role to be played by the arts and humanities in the social transformations that are needed and their recognition that now is not a time for empty gestures. In our own attempts to think beyond our historic modes of operation, we connect with the broader call for advocacy of equity and racial justice.