Joint Statement by Leaders of Academic Units on Anti-Asian Racism

We come together to condemn anti-Asian racism, recognizing that this week’s murders in Georgia, along with persistent violence and intimidation directed at Asians and Asian Americans elsewhere, reflect legal, economic, and social exclusions, and U.S. militarism in Asia, which are older than our contemporary moment. We call for social justice, and not the reliance on policing and carceral remedies.
Because leadership matters, we demand that elected officials and others denounce representations of Asian Americans as perpetual foreigners, carriers of disease, sexualized subjects, or racial threats to national homogeneity and national security. Because education matters, we support colleagues who teach and conduct research on racism and anti-racism, especially those in Asian American Studies. And because support and solidarity matter, we stand with family, friends, students, colleagues, and community members most affected by anti-Asian racism.

The racist and misogynist violence of white supremacy has shaped our shared histories, and we know that the violence this week is connected to other violent acts perpetuated against Black, Indigenous, and Latinx communities, and women of color and LGBTQ communities, over many years. Our communities will be organizing a teach-in on racial violence, as well as future events at Yale that gather students, scholars, community members, and others within and beyond our campus. Our linked histories mean that we must work collectively.

Statement of Support

The Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations condemns the murder and wanton destruction of Black lives. We affirm the urgency of supporting African Americans in ways that seek to redress prejudice and hatred, and to dismantle a system that systemically oppresses communities of color. In partnership with allies inside and outside the academy, we commit to education that exposes the lethal ignorance that animates racism. We also reaffirm our commitment to inclusive excellence and to critical self-reflection regarding our teaching, scholarship, course offerings, departmental policies, and hiring practices.

The Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations is one of the world’s leading centers for the study of the Near East. 

Though the present Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations did not formally come into being until the twentieth century, the origins of the Yale Department go back to 1841, when Arabic was first offered at Yale.  Throughout its long history, the Department has maintained its strong sense of traditional humanist values, as well as its outstanding leadership role in developing and evaluating the latest techniques, perspectives, and resources for study of the Near East, from earliest times to the modern era. 

The graduate and undergraduate programs of the Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations emphasize reflective scholarship based on sound knowledge of the languages, civilizations, and material culture of the Near East.  The Department’s main faculty strengths today are in the areas of Arabic, Graeco-Arabic, and Islamic studies; Assyriology, including Sumerian and Akkadian; and Egyptology.  Instruction is also available in art and archaeology, Aramaic (including Syriac), Classical Ethiopic, Hebrew, Persian, modern and Ottoman Turkish, and Ugaritic. Read more…