American Musicological Society


We the Board of Directors of the American Musicological Society urgently request that the Trump administration withdraw its Executive Order of 27 January 2017 suspending entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, barring Syrian refugees indefinitely, and blocking entry into the United States for 90 days for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. This travel ban is inconsistent with freedom of inquiry, with basic principles of law, and with our nation's tradition of welcoming individuals from all nations to study and teach in the United States.

Our Society seeks to promote a greater understanding of the human condition by studying the music of many places, times, and peoples. To foster the larger public understanding of music in all its varied forms across the globe, we need to be able to communicate and travel freely. In addition to the many legal and ethical questions this ban raises and the human costs involved, it also impedes our core work. Already we have received reports of scholars who have been prevented from returning home to the United States from research trips abroad. Others see no way they can continue their studies. The order will also hinder international students who hope to study in the United States and American students who plan to study abroad.

At a more fundamental level, the ban conflicts with our values and our deepest sense of what is right and just. We hold dear the ideals of diversity, mutual respect, inclusion, and free inquiry, all of which the ban jeopardizes. The ban erodes our hope that these values will serve as the foundation for all governmental decisions regarding our members as well as our colleagues and fellow citizens around the globe.

Our collective experience teaches us that all peoples contribute richly to what it means to be human; to exclude entire groups of people on the basis of national origin or religious belief runs counter to our deeply held principles. We therefore stand with our colleagues in many disciplines to protest in the strongest possible terms the present ban on immigrants and refugees, an action that interferes with the mission of our Society.

To our members

Many members are asking what they can do. First, we ask you to let us know if you learn of threats to academic freedom and expertise and to the professional lives of those in music research. (See below for contact information.) Not only can we make our own case against such threats but also, perhaps even more importantly, we can reach out to the media regarding people to interview and cases to document. Our actions are embedded in a large network of organizations that share our objectives, and which can be more effective with your collaboration. 

Second, if you have expertise in particular areas that are threatened by current and future public policy decisions, please let us know. Such expertise can be crucial in bringing to light the evidence that is needed to sway policymakers. More direct communication between our organizations and leading experts will make our work more effective.

Third, please be prepared to respond to calls for action. We will be judicious in issuing action alerts calling for members to send letters to their representatives in Congress, but we hope to be able to count on your mobilization when called to action. 

For example, today you might want to sign the petition “Academics against Immigration Executive Order” by sending an email to, recently mentioned on the front page of the New York Times.

The Board of Directors of the AMS

rev. 2 February 2017




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