Wang is an exceptionally hard-working and gifted scholar of history who was in Iran conducting archival research on the Qajar dynasty during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Visiting archives and libraries to examine historical documents and to copy them for further study is an essential part of and a common practice in historians' training, and is expected of graduate students who hope to receive a doctorate in history. Historians all around the world are engaged in similar archival research in the pursuit of historical knowledge.
Scholarly exchange is a mainstay of intellectual freedom and a benefit to all of humanity, including the people of Iran and the United States. Widespread expressions of grief for the passing of the talented Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani in recent days have reminded us all that scholars are valued all over the world. Wang’s imprisonment may discourage scholarly exchange everywhere and sets an unfortunate example. Scholars should never be imprisoned for peacefully conducting their studies within the rule of law.
Wang's wife and young son in New Jersey await his safe return. As members of the academic research community, we encourage the Iranian authorities to set aside political differences and free Wang so that he can return home to his family and his studies.
Organized by:Dr. Malin Pinsky, Rutgers UniversityDr. Eleanor Hubbard, Princeton University