Middle East studies in the News
Publishing Controversy [on University of Michigan Press, Pluto Press, Joel Kovel, "Overcoming Zionism"]
by Scott Jaschik
The controversy continues over the University of Michigan Press and its distribution agreement with Pluto Press, a left-wing publisher in Britain whose books are handled by Michigan in the United States. Three of the eight members of the University of Michigan Board of Regents last week released a letter calling for the press to stop all distribution arrangements for other publishers. Distributing books that the Michigan press has not reviewed, the letter from the regents said, "debases the press' franchise and leaves the press and the university open to damage." The relationship with Pluto became controversial because of a book it published and Michigan distributed called Overcoming Zionism, which was press officials said they would not have published had it been submitted directly to them. The press announced that it would not block distribution of the book or end its relationship with Pluto, citing academic freedom issues, but said it would review its policies on having distribution relationships with outside publishers. The letter from the regents said that academic freedom was not the issue because they were not trying to ban any book. "This is a commercial and policy issue, not a free speech issue," the regents wrote. "We firmly believe that the University of Michigan should not make money from books that do not meet our own scholarship standards."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.
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