Campus Watch Research
Middle East Studies Self-Parody
by Michael Rubin
To compare just how bad Middle Eastern studies is, it may be useful to compare the discourse of a student columnist at Columbia University with Juan Cole, the past president of the Middle East Studies Association. Both address the same topic: The issue of tenure and academic freedom, but their ability to differentiate between fact and responsible discourse on one hand, and polemic labeling on the other is very different. Here and here.
The sad thing is that so many Middle East studies professors have isolated themselves in such a bubble of fellow-travelers and intellectual intolerance, that they have no idea of just how unprofessional their discourse and inability to accept criticism is.
As a related addenda, the Middle East Studies Association's Committee on Academic Freedom has yet to condemn Cambridge University Press for censoring Alms for Jihad which discussed links between Saudi donors and terrorism; the Iranian government for renewing threats against Salman Rushdie; or Juan Cole for bizarrely demanding an FBI investigation of how Walid Phares beat him out on a television consultant gig. it has, however, condemned the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights for warning of growing anti-Semitism among Middle East studies professors.
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