Middle East studies in the News
Warping Middle East Judgments (continued)
by Steven Heydemann
From: Steven Heydemann
In addition to the good points Juan makes, especially about the "diversity" criteria, it is worth noting that the House language allocates up to 50% of the Title VI fund currently available for evaluation work to pay for this oversight committee. The transfer of funds from projects intended to make useful contributions to our understanding of the effects of Title VI programs to this committee will erode our already inadequate ability to take stock of what Title VI does. A bad trade off, in my view.
One additional point. Very few Title VI centers have the authority to hire or tenure full-time faculty. Thus, the call for "diversity" becomes even more bizarre, since it means, in effect, that the interdisciplinary and intellectually quite diver faculty who are associated with, but not employed by, Title VI centers should all be valuated according to a single, political criterion: where they stand in relation to neo-con views of the Middle East. To suggest that the architects and language teachers, and art historians, and, yes, even the political scientists, will be evaluated on this one criterion -- one that will in the vast majority of cases have nothing to do with the professional concerns of the faculty involved -- be much more than the disaster that Juan suggests.
Moreover, since the departments that hire and tenure the faculty associated with Title VI centers are not directly affected by Title VI funding, the ones who will suffer if funds are cut are the students--predominantly students of language--that those advocating the committee say they support.
Advocates of an oversight committee will note that Title VI has operated under this kind of oversight in the past. Well, yes and no. It is the case that Title VI has been subject to oversight by committee in the past. But never has such a committee been explicitly formed, and in all likelihood constituted, as an instrument of political control.
Not all committees are the same. The Senate is now debating whether and how to take up the matter of an oversight committee.
Readers of this board who have an interest in the issue should contact
Senators from the following list.
SENATE HEALTH, EDUCATION, LABOR AND PENSIONS COMMITTEE
Michael B. Enzi, WY
Lamar Alexander, TN
Christopher S. Bond, MO
Mike DeWine, OH
Pat Roberts, K
Lindsey O. Graham
John W. Warner, V
Edward M. Kennedy, M
Christopher J. Dodd, CT
Tom Harkin, I
Barbara A. Mikulski. MD
Jeff Bingaman, NM
Patty Murray, W
John F. Reed, RI.
John R. Edwards, N
James M. Jeffords, VT
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