Response to \”James Joyce Open Letter / Request for acknowledgement\”

Dear Colleagues,

On 19th December 2018 when we answered the James Joyce Open Letter (received twice, first on 8th November and then on 12th December), we declared our utmost sympathy and full support for your revelations and strong condemnation of any form of “inappropriate” or “questionable” behaviour. We share your view that this totally unethical conduct compromises the dignity and the freedom of researchers. As mentioned in the letter, the forms such conduct may take – harassment, assault, misogyny, sexual abuse and even rape – are abhorrent to us. The Executive Committee of the JJIF has maintained the promise it made last December, and thus the agenda of AGM on 1st February 2019 contained a specific point to discuss the matter. All members present shared the same feelings of shame and condemnation; some absent members had also sent messages of sympathy and support. It was an intense discussion, and also one that reflected various and occasionally contrasting opinions. Our Joycean community is a rather small one with less than one hundred members; about sixty of them are mutual friends, while the others tend to vary from year to year depending on who has authored the papers given at the annual conference. In this small community we have never sensed, and never had cause to sense, any form of misconduct. However, alerted by the Open Letter, we take it as being of the utmost importance to check and maintain that scholars and students are free, in every sense, to pursue their studies. We hope that other literary communities will also take this path. Many of us also believe that, with regard to choosing which main speakers to invite to our annual conferences, we must always be alert to any Joycean scholars who have been found guilty of such offenses so that they are not admitted to any of our meetings. As the JJIF is based at the University of Roma Tre, it also abides by its Code of Ethics, a copy of which is attached here. Nevertheless, all members at the meeting agreed on the need for the future commitment of each individual “to ensure,” in words of the JJQ editor, “that everyone can operate in a safe, professional, and equitable environment. This means speaking up when harassment occurs, reporting it appropriately, and providing support to those who have been targeted.”

With kindest regards,

The James Joyce Italian Foundation,

The Executive Committee