AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR
EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY STUDIES (ASECS)
STATEMENT ON CORONAVIRUS AND RACISM
The ASECS Executive Board has unanimously endorsed the following statement prepared by the Society’s DEIA (Disability, Equity, Inclusiveness, and Accessibility) Advisory Committee:
The CDC has recently declared that the spread of the coronavirus is a public health emergency of international concern. We trust that our members are seeking information from experts, following national guidelines, and taking personal care of your health. We also enlist your support as educators and as scholars of the eighteenth century in addressing the racism, xenophobia, and nationalism that have emerged in the wake of the current health concerns. Viruses, of course, do not discriminate by nationality, region, gender, race or ethnicity. Yet in ways reminiscent of past discourses of plague and “yellow peril,” many Asians and Asian-Americans are once again experiencing discrimination, hostility, and exclusion both in person and on social media platforms. Suspicion and hostility have also fallen on individuals who choose to wear masks in public whether for cultural reasons or from concerns for personal health. We ask all those attending the annual meeting or engaging with colleagues on line to ensure a fully professional environment for every member of our Society during this health crisis and to be cognizant of the burden that persons of Asian identities may be experiencing at this time. ASECS condemns all prejudicial and racialized responses to the current viral outbreak.