Letter to Our Students and Colleagues

January 29, 2017

To the Members of the Brown Community,

With one quick signature, President Trump’s recent executive order on immigration overturned decades of legal, moral, and historical precedent. The stay of this order by a district court in Brooklyn is temporary, and the future of it is uncertain.

As faculty, we keenly understand the need for international connections. We value our colleagues overseas, we appreciate the global diversity of our local community, and we recognize the scholarly significance of intellectual exchange across borders. Knowledge and understanding, we know, don’t belong to any one country. For these reasons, we are greatly dismayed by the short-sighted backwardness of this most recent executive order.

More powerfully, as human beings we are moved and outraged by what we have seen since President Trump signed the order. Families, many of whom have sold off their belongings and waited patiently for the chance to move to the United States, held in custody at American airports. Green-card holders and legal residents of the U.S. turned away. Refugees seeking asylum and safety have been abandoned or returned to the homelands they fled. Thousands of citizens rushing to airports to support these vulnerable people, and to compel the state to grant them entrance. And, most perversely, the order’s inclusion of an insulting gesture to “9/11” as a rationale for this madness, even though the seven “Muslim” countries covered by its uncertain authority played no role in the events of that day.

We are moved and outraged – and also mobilized. We feel certain that other executive orders are forthcoming, and that these will dramatically impact what we do. We know that universities are despised by the so-called alt-right, and that Brown in particular has been singled out for what we see as reasonable, rational stances on diversity, inclusion, and justice – and what are described elsewhere in the most negative terms. We believe in the values of the modern university. We are not afraid. We aren’t going anywhere and we aren’t going to stop speaking, teaching, and writing about what we see happening in front of us. We are bearing witness – and studying up.

Only a week in, and there is already a pattern. Other executive orders in this tumultuous week – those impacting the Dakota Access and Keystone pipeline projects, for instance, or the farcical effort to construct an impermeable wall between the U.S. and Mexico – reflect a disturbing dismissal of treaty obligations and constructive diplomacy between sovereign nations, a dismissal all too easily explained by the white nationalist project at the core of the Trump presidency. Federal science has been suppressed, the press has been threatened, and knowledge itself seems to be under assault. We expect there is more to come. We are certain this will be rough.

To our students, we say this: we stand with you, ready to theorize, to scrutinize, and to problem-solve, against the grain of a Presidency committed to “alternative facts,” bigotry, and the lowest sort of leadership. In ordinary times, the work that we do generally is fairly boring. But when facing a rising tide of ignorance and fabrication, we know that exacting scholarship and good teaching are transformed into radical weapons. We bear them confidently.

To our fellow faculty members and graduate students, we say: let us stand together and make our voice heard loud and clear in opposition to this executive order and in support of our colleagues and friends who are directly impacted. We would like to draw your attention to the petition circulating among academics in the United States that you may wish to sign: https://notoimmigrationban.com/

To the administration, we say: we share your concerns about this executive order and deeply appreciate the resources and initiatives that have been mobilized to meet this long term challenge. We ask you to continue your commitment to the safety and security of our community. We agree that we must protect the privacy of the immigration status of international and undocumented students, faculty, and staff, and that we must help ensure nondiscrimination in admission or treatment of the most dangerously exposed members of our community.


Matthew Guterl, Africana Studies and American Studies
Daniel Rodriguez, History, Latin America and the Caribbean
Naoko Shibusawa, History and American Studies
Tamar Katz, English and Urban Studies
Lundy Braun, Pathology and Africana Studies
Evelyn Hu-DeHart, History, American Studies, and Ethnic Studies
Richard Meckel, American Studies
Michael D. Kennedy, Sociology and International and Public Affairs
Tricia Rose, Africana Studies and Director, CSREA
Andre C. Willis, Religious Studies
Lynne Joyrich, Modern Culture and Media
Jim Egan, English and Center for Public Humanities
Linford D. Fisher, History
Bonnie Honig, Political Science and Modern Culture and Media
James N. Green, History and Portuguese and Brazilian Studies
Nitsan Chorev, Sociology and Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Marc Redfield, English and Comparative Literature
Andrew Schrank, Sociology and Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Tracy Steffes, Education and History
Baylor Fox-Kemper, Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences
Vazira Zamindar, History
Jose Itzigsohn, Sociology
Tony Cokes, Modern Culture and Media
Beshara Doumani, History
Suzanne Stewart-Steinberg, Italian and Comparative Literature
Denise Davis, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Stephen Bush, Religious Studies
Sreemati Mitter, History and Watson
Kevin Escudero, American Studies and Ethnic Studies
Paul E. Nahme, Judaic Studies and Religious Studies
Paja Faudree, Anthropology
Karen Newman, Comparative Literature and English
Faiz Ahmed, History
Roger Mayer, Modern Culture and Media, and Visual Art
Lewis Seifert, French Studies
Stephanie Merrim, Comparative Literature and Hispanic Studies
Melody Chan, Mathematics
Michael Satlow, Religious Studies and Judaic Studies
Daniel Hirschman, Sociology
Matthew Gutmann, Anthropology
Lukas Rieppel, History
Kate Schapira, English/Nonfiction Writing
Seny Kamara, Computer Science
Sarah Besky, Anthropology and Watson Institute
Jennifer Lambe, History
Anne Fausto-Sterling, Professor Emerita
Rebecca Nedostup, History
Kerry Smith, History
Robert Self, Chair, Department of History
Tamara Chin, Comparative Literature
Rebecca Schneider, Theatre Arts and Performance Studies
Amanda Anderson, Humanities and English
Thomas Goodwillie, Mathematics
Thalia Field, Literary Arts
Susan Smulyan, American Studies
Jason Protass, Religious Studies
Patricia Ybarra, Theatre Arts and Performance Studies
Nancy Jacobs, History
Ellen Rooney, English and Modern Culture and Media
Daniel Katz, Mathematics
Debbie Weinstein, American Studies
Emily Drumsta, Comparative Literature
Cynthia Brokaw, History
Philip Rosen, Modern Culture and Media
Pedro Felzenszwalb, Engineering and Computer Science
Monica Muñoz Martinez, American Studies and Ethnic Studies
Thangam Ravindranathan, French Studies
Brendan Hassett, Mathematics
Robert Lee, American Studies and Ethnic Studies
Daniel Kim, English and American Studies
Jessica Plavicki, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Anthony Bogues, Africana Studies and Director of CSSJ
Mercedes Vaquero, Hispanic Studies and Medieval Studies
Sheila Bonde, History of Art and Architecture
Prerna Singh, Political Science and the Watson Institute
Harold J Cook, History
Tara Nummedal, History
William Keach, English
Wendy Chun, Modern Culture and Media
Lingzhen Wang, East Asian Studies
Geri Augusto, Watson Institute and Africana Studies
Esther Whitfield, Comparative Literature and Hispanic Studies
Elena Shih, American Studies and Ethnic Studies
Elizabeth Hoover, American Studies and Ethnic Studies
Jeffrey Hoffstein, Mathematics
Evelyn Lincoln, History of Art & Architecture and Italian Studies
Joseph W Hogan, Biostatistics, School of Public Health
Richard Rambuss, English
Ronald L. Martinez, Italian Studies
Jacques Khalip, English
Adrienne Keene, American Studies and Ethnic Studies
Cristina Abbona-Sneider, Italian Studies
Samuel Zipp, American Studies and Urban Studies
Nathan Pflueger, Mathematics
Bhrigupati Singh, Anthropology
Elsa Amanatidou, Classics
Emily Owens, History
Dan Abramovich, Mathematics
Steven Lubar, American Studies
Gretchen Schultz, French Studies
Amy Remensnyder, History
Jay Reed, Classics and Comparative Literature
Laura Bass, Hispanic Studies
Thomas A. Lewis, Religious Studies
Itohan Osayimwese, History of Art & Architecture
Klaus Widmayer, Mathematics
Massimo Riva, Italian Studies
Jill S. Kuhnheim. Hispanic Studies
David Wills, French Studies and Comparative Literature
Yang Wang, East Asian Studies
Silvia Sobral, Hispanic Studies
Leticia Alvarado, American Studies and Ethnic Studies
Beverly Haviland, American Studies
Paul B. Armstrong, English
Karen Allen Baxter, Africana Studies/Rites+Reason Theatre
Eva Gómez García, Hispanic Studies
David Estlund, Philosophy
Jessaca Leinaweaver, Anthropology
Stratis Papaioannou, Classics
Kim Boekelheide, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Ravit Reichman, English
Michael Steinberg, History, Music, German Studies
Tim Harris, History and Renaissance Studies
Christopher Rose, School of Engineering, Associate Dean of the Faculty
Howard Chudacoff, History
John Bodel, Classics and History
Kenneth Sacks, History and Classics
Parker VanValkenburgh, Anthropology
Ethan Pollock, History
Omer Bartov, History
Bathsheba Demuth, History and Environment & Society
Susan Ashbrook Harvey, Religious Studies
Caroline Castiglione, Italian Studies and History
Jennifer Johnson, History
Ourida Mostefai, Comparative Literature & French Studies
Peter van Dommelen, Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World
Andrew Scherer, Anthropology
Michael Rosen, Mathematics Department
John Cherry, Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World
Tate Paulette, Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World
James Morone, Political Science, Urban Studies, and Public Policy
James Valles, Physics
Robert Pelcovits, Physics
Brad Marston, Physics
Robert Preucel, Department of Anthropology
Laurel Bestock, Egyptology and Assyriology, and Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World
Felipe Rojas, Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World and Egyptology and Assyriology
Nancy Khalek, Religious Studies
Catherine Lutz, Anthropology and Eatson Institute
James L. McClain, History
Katharina Galor, Judaic Studies
Kym Moore, Theatre Arts and Performance Studies
Youenn Kervennic, French Studies
Mary Gluck, History and Judaic Studies
Michael Hugh Stewart, English Department, Nonfiction Writing Program
Janine Anderson Sawada, Religious Studies and East Asian Studies
Yannis Hamilakis, Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, and Department of Classics/Program in Modern Greek Studies
Elizabeth S. Taylor, English Department, Nonfiction Writing Program
Catherine Imbriglio, English, Nonfiction Writing Program
Courtney J. Martin, History of Art and Architecture
Ross E. Cheit, Political Science
Catherine Imbriglio, English, Nonfiction Writing Program
Sarah Thomas, Hispanic Studies
Andrea Flores, Education
Caroline Klivans, Applied Mathematics and Computer Science
Matthew Reilly, Archaeology and the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice
Ed Hardy, English, Nonfiction Writing Program
William H. Warren, Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences
Julie A. Kauer, Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology & Biotechnology
Seth Rockman, History
Jeffrey Moser, History of Art and Architecture
Andrea Megela Simmons, Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences
James A. Simmons, Neuroscience
Felipe Martinez-Pinzon, Hispanic Studies
Beth Bryan, English
James Kuzner, English
Richard Schwartz, Mathematics
Theresa M. Desrochers, Neuroscience
Elena Oancea, Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology & Biotechnology
Patrick Heller, Sociology
Brenda Rubenstein, Chemistry
Kiri Miller, Music
Wendy Edwards, Visual Art
Thomas Serre, Cognitive Linguistic & Psychological Sciences
Lawrence Stanley, English
Bernard Reginster, Philosophy
Katherine M. Kinnaird, Data Science Initiative and Applied Mathematics
Fulvio Domini, Cognitive Linguistic & Psychological Sciences
Johnny Guzman, Applied Mathematics
Pauline Jacobson, Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences
Joshua Schechter, Philosophy
Emily Oster, Economics
Richard Kenyon, Mathematics
Olakunle George, English
Ercan Balci, Center for Language Studies
Leigh Tarentino, Visual Art
Jim McGrath, John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage / American Studies
Ed Osborn, Visual Art
Richard Heck, Philosophy
Felicia Nimue Ackerman, Philosophy
Ralph E. Rodriguez, American Studies, Ethnic Studies, and English
Christopher S. Hill, Philosophy
Sherine Hamdy, Anthropology
Katherine A. Mason, Anthropology
Sinai Robins, Mathematics
Mary Louise Gill, Philosophy and Classics
Daniel Vaca, Religious Studies
Daniel Jordan Smith, Anthropology
Hannah Freed-Thall, Comparative Literature
Kenneth Chay, Economics
Anani Dzidzienyo, Africana Studies, Portuguese and Brazilian Studies
Alexandra Deaconescu, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry
Louis Putterman, Economics
Hilary Levey Friedman, American Studies
Jonathan Conant, History
Matthew Turner, Economics
Anne C. Hart, Neuroscience
Tara L. White, Behavioral and Social Sciences
Anja Sautmann, Economics
Michelle Clayton, Hispanic Studies and Comparative Literature
Adam McCloskey, Economics
Bryce Millett Steinberg, Economics
Diana M. Horrigan, Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology & Biotechnology
Jeremy Ravi Mumford, History / Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Sohini Ramachandran, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Bertram Malle, Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences
Mark Cladis, Religious Studies
Victoria Smith, Hispanic Studies