The Austrian Studies Association joins the international community in condemning the abhorrent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Elijah McClain, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and the many other victims of police violence. We stand in solidarity with the world-wide protest movement to repudiate these violent acts against Black and Brown people in our communities and to confront systemic racism in all its forms.
As scholars of the literature, history, and culture of Austria and the former Habsburg territories committed to fostering cross-cultural engagement and understanding, we are obliged to look critically at the instances of race-based oppression that have scarred Austria and the former Habsburg territories over the centuries. Examples of such instances are the marginalization of, discrimination, and violence against people of color, historical forms of oppression of Black people for instance in the form of “Völkerschauen,” the long history of antisemitism, the active participation in the Nazi genocide of Jews and other minorities, Islamophobia, and acts of resistance to the granting of asylum and humanitarian aid to refugees and displaced people.
We hold fast to the conviction that institutional growth can only occur when Black and Brown people and members of other marginalized groups have a place at the table where decisions are made. To this end, we are committed to cultivating a culture of openness and respect for the diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives of our membership and to promoting scholarship that highlights the multifaceted nature of Austrian culture.
Black lives matter, and the Austrian Studies Association is committed to asserting this truth in word and in deed.