Ever since my September statement on Jessica Krug, I have received calls from Native scholars who have asked me to consider what it means for Duke University Press to continue to publish books by Andrea Smith, despite the overwhelming evidence that she has committed ethnic fraud for decades, as noted in this week’s New York Times Magazine article. Some of these calls have come from scholars who have worked for years to hold Smith accountable and to obtain transparency and honesty from her. These scholars have emphasized the harm that Smith’s deception has caused, and how it has added “to the vulnerability of the communities and constituents she purports to represent.”
For months now, we at Duke University Press have engaged in difficult conversations about how we can do a better job of considering ethical concerns as we make our publishing decisions. In the past, our considerations of works to be published did not always include serious engagement with questions of ethics outside of those raised in the peer review process. That has changed.
Lies matter. Silence also matters. Silence by those who have done wrong and by those who have enabled harm is itself an abdication of responsibility. Our publication of Smith’s most recent work did further harm by undermining the brave calls by Native scholars and others asking for accountability, transparency, and honesty. Our publication of her work continued to provide her with a platform, and became a legitimation in itself, allowing others to ignore the damage she caused. We are sorry.
We will not publish Andrea Smith’s future books. In addition, we are in conversations with Native scholars to find ways to better support Native scholarship and to publish more work that supports Native communities. Proceeds from Smith’s two recent books will be transferred to our Scholars of Color First Book Fund which supports the publication of first books with exceptional promise.
Our work to align our publishing practices with feminist, anti-racist, decolonial approaches will continue.