We at the International American Studies Association are shocked, horrified, and express our heartfelt sympathies and solidarity on hearing the horrible news about the killings at Charles University.
In the strongest terms, we condemn such violence, particularly at universities as well as other places of learning – spaces for our shared exploration and acquisition of knowledge in the world. As one of our officers once wrote – about a 2009 school shooting in Germany:
There is a social contract in the classroom. There is a minimal trust between students and teacher. Trust that s/he will teach me something valuable. Trust that they will try to learn what I have to give. Trust that we are safe in the learning process. Trust that no one will try to hurt, harm, kill or maim us. Trust that has been broken again. Trust that has to be restored.
We want to express that we are there in their loss, trauma and grieving with the students, teachers and staff of the departments and leadership of the Faculty of Philosophy/Arts, Charles University in Prague, and the people of the city of Prague and the country of Czechia. We encourage our members and colleagues to reach out to them and to seek to support them at this difficult time in the ways they prefer to be supported.
We also encourage our members and colleagues to be relying on reporting only from trustworthy sources about this event and others. We recognize that mass shootings have become a transnational phenomenon – yet each has its own nuances, and various countries have significant enough differences in their own constitutional, ideological, legal and political landscapes that serious thinking and scholarship must take into consideration. There are some comparative studies on European and US events: https://helda.helsinki.fi/server/api/core/bitstreams/29c463ee-2371-467e-a1ec-d30360be0dc9/content
Some recent rigorous scholarship about “campus carry” in the United States may be found at the link below – but its relevance to events in other societies has to be critically assessed.
The IASA officers and Executive Council