- Last Updated on 20 April 2017
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ASA Advocacy Policy
The ASA engages in advocacy to raise general awareness about the field of African Studies, to ensure the continued funding and support of African Studies within institutes of Higher Education, and to address ethical, academic freedom, and human rights issues relevant to the field.
The ASA achieves its advocacy agenda through the issuance of position statements and letters to officials, participation in coalitions such as ACLS and the Council for International Education, and outreach to media.
The ASA core advocacy agenda is defined through the following:
1) The “Ethical Conduct Guidelines” adopted by the Board of Directors on June 23, 2015
2) The ASA Policy Statement Concerning Academic Freedom
3) The ASA Policy Statement Concerning Human Rights
The ASA will advocate and release formal statements only on issues that directly relate to one of these three policies and which are directly relevant to the field of African Studies.
The decision to issue advocacy statements will be at the discretion of the ASA Board, represented by the ASA Executive Committee when the Board is unable to convene. The ASA Secretariat may also draft policy statements from time to time and bring these to the Board for approval by electronic vote. In order to ensure the timely response to emerging issues, all advocacy statements will be approved via an email vote with non-response within the 48 hour window considered to be consent with the issuance of the statement.
Requests for the ASA to engage in advocacy can be generated by ASA members for consideration by the Association’s leadership. All requests for advocacy should be sent to the ASA Executive Director who will coordinate with the Board of Directors to evaluate the potential for advocacy. Moreover, the ASA by-laws allow for members to bring a specific issue to vote by the full ASA membership by presenting a petition signed by 100 ASA members in support of an issue.
If you have been following recent reports about federal funding and want to find more information on how to get involved, please consider the following:
-Sign up for action alerts (below) from the National Humanities Alliance (NHA). Action alerts make it very simple to write emails to, tweet at, or post on the Facebook walls of Members of Congress. You can participate in the most recent action alert by sending messages to your Members of Congress supporting the National Endowment for the Humanities here.
-Know your data! If you write, call, or meet with your Member of Congress be prepared! Talk about how funding has directly benefited you and your community. You can also visit the NHA for resources on humanities funding, and the Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA) for resources on advocacy for social science funding
Statements by the ASA Board of Directors
Letters to Congress
The African Studies Association (ASA) is a member of the Coalition for International Education (CIE). As a member of CIE, the ASA signs on to letters to Congress advocating for support for international education. You can see letters to which the association has signed on to below.
The African Studies Association (ASA) is a member of the National Humanities Alliance (NHA), a coalition of organizations that advocates for federal funding for humanities research, teaching, programming, and preservation and access. NHA monitors and cultivates support for the following agencies and programs:
- National Endowment for the Humanities
- Title VI and Fulbright-Hays
- Institute of Museum and Library Services
- National Historical Publications and Records Commission
- Title VI Reauthorization
- Overall Funding Trajectory
About the National Humanities Alliance
The National Humanities Alliance (NHA) is a coalition dedicated to the advancement of humanities education, research, preservation, and public programs. NHA is supported by more than 140 national, state, and local member organizations and institutions, including:
- scholarly and professional associations;
- higher education associations;
- organizations of museums, libraries, historical societies and state humanities councils;
- university-based and independent humanities research centers;
- and colleges and universities.
NHA brings the United States humanities community together as a whole to champion effectively the importance of the humanities in Washington, D.C. and in communities around the country.
NHA Staff Advocates for the Humanities on Behalf of its Members
The staff of the National Humanities Alliance works year-round to leverage relationships in the executive and legislative branches of the federal government to promote policies that advance humanities research, programming, preservation, and teaching. Much of their work focuses specifically on Congressional appropriators to ensure adequate funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Department of Education’s foreign language and international education programs, and various other funding streams that support the work of humanities scholars and professionals around the country.
NHA Staff Facilitates Direct Advocacy
It is essential that Members of Congress also hear directly from their constituents. NHA facilitates this process in the following ways:
Annual Meeting and Humanities Advocacy Day:
On the first day of this two-day event, participants connect with a growing network of humanities leaders from around the country and highlight best practices for communicating the value of humanities research, education, programming, and preservation to Members of Congress. On the second day—Humanities Advocacy Day—participants visit members of Congressional delegations from their state to discuss the impact of their work and make the case for federal support for the humanities. NHA provide these advocates with key briefing materials targeted to particular states and districts. These visits, and follow-up correspondences, build essential relationships with congressional offices.
When a high volume of constituent letters promises to sway Congressional opinions on a pressing legislative issue, NHA issues action alerts to its members, to its large mailing list of advocates, and on social media. Action alerts make it very simple to write emails to, tweet at, or post on the Facebook walls of Members of Congress. NHA ensures that the Members receive a well-reasoned letter that makes the case for humanities programs and funding.
NHA facilitates year round advocacy, offering its members tips on how and when to engage district offices. NHA also schedules Hill meetings for its members year round—whenever they visit D.C.—and provides resources to maximize the efficacy of those meetings.
More information on NHA’s activities and benefits to members can be found here.