American Historical Review apology prompts soul-searching over racial gatekeeping in the academeHistorians in the News
A controversial book review in a well-known history journal has led to an apology from the American Historical Review and extensive introspection over gate-keeping and the barriers to young and minority scholars throughout academe.
The journal’s decision to allow a professor with views seen as supporting white supremacy to review a book on school segregation was met with surprise, but not by some scholars of American history. Nathan B. Connolly, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University, who is black, said scholars of color are all too familiar with having to overcome intellectual racism in academe.
"This is a rare moment of something being brought to light that is far, far more common than we would like to admit," Mr. Connolly said.
The book, Ansley T. Erickson’s Making the Unequal Metropolis: School Desegregation and Its Limits, debuted last year, but a review in February shifted the conversation from the book’s focus, school desegregation in Nashville, to the journal’s choice of the reviewer: Raymond Wolters.
Mr. Wolters, a professor emeritus at the University of Delaware, has written about desegregation in the past, which is how he came to be on the publication’s list of prospective reviewers. But in its apology the journal admitted ignorance about more recent criticism of Mr. Wolters’s work, which has been tied to white supremacy and discredited notions on the impact of biology on race. ...