The Time and Site Committee (Steve Gietschier, Chair, Russell Field, Johanna Mellis, and Ornella Nzindukiyimana) has unanimously recommended that the 2022 NASSH conference be held in Chicago rather than Columbus, Ohio. The Executive Council is in complete support of the recommendation as it allows us to fulfill the contract we signed but have been unable to honor with the Doubletree Hotel in Chicago for both 2020 and 2021 because of COVID-19, no small matter as the organization would have been out some $46,000 by not following through on arrangements that had previously been negotiated.
Although this means our 50th Anniversary celebration will not be held at the site of our first conference, the Time and Site Committee and the Executive Council are excited about finally being able to fulfill the contract with the Doubletree Hotel and continue to be enthusiastic about Chicago as a conference venue. Importantly, the Time and Site Committee is in the process of revising the five-year plan for conference sites that was agreed upon by the membership in Boise, Idaho in 2019 and will provide an update of their discussion (and suggestions) well in advance of our upcoming virtual meeting.
Thanks to everyone for their understanding. The pandemic has required us to make difficult decisions, but decisions we think are in our best interests of the organization and its members. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. Be well and stay safe.
The Executive Council of the North American Society for Sport History stands in support of and in solidarity with Dr. Johanna Mellis and Dr. Nathan Kalman-Lamb. They, in a good faith Twitter exchange about American college sport, experienced bullying from ESPN radio host Dan Dakich that escalated to doxxing and sexual harassment on his radio show. We offer our colleagues support with the following statement.
"The Executive Council of the North American Society for Sport History (NASSH) stands in support and solidarity with all those who are subjected to intimidation, incivility, and harassment. Regrettably, such behaviors are not and have not been unusual in the world of sport. Scholars with public-facing work ought to be able to engage with the larger community, whether digitally or in-person, without fear of harassment. NASSH supports an open exchange of ideas, including disagreement, and we stand against targeted harassment of all kinds, including sexual harassment, doxxing, and bullying. We particularly stand against misogynistic and sexist abuse. Such behaviors perpetuate harm and serve to silence critics, which is antithetical to the scholarly mission of our society. NASSH seeks to support its members, and we stand with all of our colleagues who are subjected to such attacks."
Executive Council, NASSH
The North American Society for Sport History (NASSH), a proud and thriving organization dedicated to the scholarly study and promotion of the history of sport, is set to celebrate its 50 years of existence in Columbus, Ohio in 2022. As excited as members are about this significant milestone in the organization’s history, a milestone that will be marked by a number of special activities and events, the NASSH Executive Council recognizes that a celebration of this type must coincide with a public recognition of the colonialism, racial inequality, injustice, and white privilege permeating North American culture. We are deeply troubled by the recent deaths of unarmed Black and Indigenous men and women, continued racism across North America, and persistence of police brutality evidenced on an almost daily basis.
Of many recent frightening images, the videos of a helpless Black man lying on the ground crying for his mother while having life literally sucked out of him by the pressure exerted from a policeman’s knee, a 26 year old Indigenous woman shot and killed after police were called on a ‘wellness check’ and the deadly police shooting of a young Black female emergency room technician while sitting in her apartment have been horrific. They are stark reminders of the genocide and displacement of the Indigenous peoples, the enslavement of Black people and the ongoing legacy of racial inequality and discrimination that have been carried out in North America since the first arrival of the Europeans more than five centuries ago.
It is apparent that North Americans have failed to live up to our democratic ideals, devoting far too little attention to the systemic racism and colonialism that has resulted in the senseless deaths of Black, and Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) and negatively impacted every institution in our countries. . The great Black intellectual and activist W.E.B. DuBois was absolutely correct when he noted, initially at the First Pan-African Conference in London in 1900 and then more famously three years later in his The Souls of Black Folk, that “The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line.” What he could not have anticipated is that the problem would persist into the twenty-first century. The recent spate of violence perpetuated against Black and Indigenous people has galvanized individuals and groups representing various colors, cultural backgrounds, sexual orientation, occupations, religious affiliations, and political parties into an extremely large and powerful and energized Black Lives Matter movement. BLM aligns with and reinforces the Indigenous Idle No More movement. Organized rallies and marches in cities large and small across the United States, Canada and Mexico have been held to protest racial violence and discrimination. Sparked by the deaths of defenseless Black and Indigenous men and women in North America, protests reflecting the increasing anger over police treatment of Black and Indigenous people and different ethnic minorities have been staged in such culturally diverse places around the world as Berlin, Brisbane, London, Paris, Hamburg, and Tokyo. But these protests and the political energy they generate must be turned into corrective action.
The Executive Committee is in full support of and stands in solidarity with those participating in these rallies and protests and other efforts made to wipe out systemic racism. We commit our scholarly association to the encouragement of Black and Indigenous scholars and of the critical, engaged scholarship and communication that interrogates and lays bare the scourges of colonialism and racism in all its forms in our societies.
Inspired by the words of famous Black poet Maya Angelou, “This is the time where we need to uplift, not to separate,” we are committed to inclusivity and diversity in all its various forms. We will undertake new initiatives and push for positive administrative and organizational change. In addition to our “Resolution on Racial Mascots” passed at the 2017 NASSH Business meeting, and the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the 2018 NASSH Business meeting, we approved at our recent Executive Council meeting the creation of a Diversity Recognition Award. Brought forward by the Membership Committee in an effort to increase diversity in our membership, the Award will be given to an individual studying the history of sport who self-identifies as an ethnic/racial minority. We approved, moreover, a new honor address brought forward by the NASSH 50 Committee that will recognize prominent individuals who have promoted diversity, equity, and social justice through sport history by virtue of their research, advocacy, and professional practice. Finally, we are very supportive of the “Caucus on Inclusion” initiative that has been put forward. Although not official sponsors, we are enthusiastic about this initiative which is intended to foster dialogue among members regarding diversity and ultimately result in measures to create and preserve the safe spaces necessary for people to talk more freely about racial matters and broader concerns of inclusivity. Please let me know by Tuesday, June 30 if you do not endorse this statement. On a related matter, the American Historical Association (AHA), with which we have affiliated status, has released what they term the “AHA Statement of Racist Violence in the United States." The Executive Council strongly endorses this statement and trusts that the NASSH membership is supportive of this endorsement as well. With that said, please let me know by Tuesday, June 30 if you do not support the “AHA Statement of Racist Violence in the United States.” As always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. Be well and stay safe.
David K. Wiggins, NASSH President
George Mason University
Fairfax, Virginia, USA
George Mason University
The University of Texas at Austin
Lindsay Parks Pieper
University of Lynchburg
Graduate Student Inquiries
The University of Texas at Austin
California State University, Northridge