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February 7th, 2017

Statement by the Officers and Executive Council of the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) regarding immigration policy changes in the US

The Society for the History of Technology is committed to academic freedom, freedom of expression, and fostering diversity with regard to age, gender, race, ethnicity, nation of origin, physical abilities, sexual orientation, religion, training, and employment. To this end, SHOT affirmatively embraces all who wish to join, participate, and have a voice in our Society.

The United States Executive Order of January 27, 2017, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into The United States” challenges these core values.  The Society for the History of Technology registers its principled opposition to any blanket travel ban that targets entire countries, covering not only millions of their inhabitants but also numerous others living around the world who happen to have been born in the designated countries. Such bans are impossible to implement in a way that respects basic principles of justice and human rights, and they are profoundly at odds with the reality of our globalized world. Knowledge creation in the history of technology—as in most intellectual domains—fundamentally depends on international mobility for research and the diffusion and exchange of ideas.  The present travel ban issued by the United States will have a significant and detrimental impact on the ability of SHOT members, students, and colleagues to conduct their research and professional obligations.  Just as worrying are long-term unintended consequences that include diminished international cooperation, loss of trust in the possibility of an open and tolerant global society, and erosion of the many social and economic benefits that flow from the production and exchange of knowledge.

The Officers and Executive Council of the Society for the History of Technology agree with the statement issued by the American Historical Association and urge members to read it at:


The Local Organizing Committee for the SHOT Annual Meeting in Philadelphia in October this year has organized a Round Table on the conference theme Technology, Democracy and Participation.  We urge members to propose similarly pertinent topics to the Program Committee.

With regard to the forthcoming annual meeting the Officers and Executive Council agree that

1.     Registered participants who are denied a visa or entry (even with a visa) to the United States for the meeting will have their registration fees refunded.

2.     If a speaker accepted by the Program Committee is unable to attend the meeting due to their entry to the US being impeded by federal regulations, we undertake to do our best to make alternative arrangements for the speaker to present her or his paper via Skype or a similar communications system.

3.     While some participants who can travel freely may be reluctant to attend the meeting if current immigration policies remain in force, we strongly encourage everyone who can to come to Philadelphia.  This will help affirm our determination to remain an international organization in this changed reality and to limit the damage to our Society and its core values.

4.   As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization SHOT does not take partisan stands on policy issues.

Download the statement.

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