Middle East studies in the News
Who Gave Nadia Abu El Haj Tenure?
by Paula Stern
In a most amazing decision, going contrary to all logic and standard scholarly practice, Barnard's tenure committee has granted Nadia Abu El-Haj tenure and passed the decision to Columbia for ratification. Barnard is still refusing to comment, hoping that the pressure can be kept off Columbia long enough to complete the process - it is truly a dirty deal.
When I wrote to President Shapiro, she offered her opinion that experts should decide Nadia Abu El-Haj's tenure acceptability and that I was not qualified. So who's on the committee and responsible for this decision? Two art history professors, a biologist and two historians (one who specializes in early American history and the other in medieval intellectual history; economic history; history of science).
It's getting hard to take this entire process seriously and if this matter were not so important...it might well be funny.
For more information on the tenure committee, see Why is Columbia Cowering?
Just think...this whole fiasco could have been avoided, if only someone in the Barnard administration would have thought to wonder why a Palestinian woman would write her dissertation on Israeli archeology...if not to put forth her own political agenda. If that wasn't a red flag, I don't know what was. The proof is in the work itself. Filled with inaccuracies, twisted truths, and insidious suggested revisions to history.
El Haj would have you believe that Jews burned down parts of Jerusalem during the destruction of the city by the Romans in the year 70 CE. Why? What evidence does she have to support this absurd claim? Romans and Jews were there, you see - 50-50, maybe it was the Romans, maybe it was the Jews...who can tell almost 2000 years later. It's a convenient argument - if you ignore the one historian who has documented it...one who lived so much closer to the time period in which this happened...someone who has widely been accepted as the historical source for all things related to the time and area (Josephus)...why believe him, thinks El Haj, when by inferring a different reality, one can hope to revise facts on the ground.
Two art history professors, a biologist and two historians...one university President who admitted she'd read "most" of the book and would read the rest over "winter break" after the controversy broke...and one professor filled with hatred watching to see if she can be granted a position of honor despite her lack of credentials, despite her lies, despite her revisionist version of history. Two art history professors, a biologist and two historians.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
Campus Watch contact e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org