The academic boycott circular firing squad forms on the left.
It’s not like I told you so.
But I told you so. Many, many times.
To those in the U.S. academic community who support the academic boycott of Israeli academics because they don’t like the policies of the Israeli government, I warned that they better prepare for the day when foreign academics start to boycott them for the actions of the U.S. government.
That day has arrived sooner than I thought. Though the boycott of U.S. academics being mounted is much less severe than the boycott sought against Israel, it’s a boycott nonetheless.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports:
Some faculty members are calling for a boycott of academic conferences in the United States in reaction to an executive order, signed on Friday by President Trump, that bars citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
A petition circulating online has drawn the signatures of hundreds of academics around the world.
“We the undersigned take action in solidarity with those affected by Trump’s executive order by pledging not to attend international conferences in the U.S. while the ban persists,” the petition says. “We question the intellectual integrity of these spaces and the dialogues they are designed to encourage while Muslim colleagues are explicitly excluded from them.” …
Max Weiss, an associate professor of history and Near Eastern studies at Princeton University and a signer of the petition, said in an interview that “academic boycott is one of the few resources that intellectuals and academics have for expressing their opposition to policies of a given government.”
Emery Berger, a professor of information and computer sciences at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, said he had heard discussions of relocating or banning conferences set to be held in the United States. Mr. Berger, who is involved in two subgroups of the Association for Computing Machinery, an international organization that runs many computer-science conferences, said members were discussing ways to lessen the effects of the travel ban.
“Science is intended to be free and open, and any place that restricts the travel of scientists to present their work is a problem,” Mr. Berger said. “We are talking about taking steps to mitigate this problem however we can.” He said he suspected other disciplines were having similar discussions.
He’s heard some academics call for a complete ban on conferences in the United States, until the order is lifted, Mr. Berger said.
A column in The Guardian raises the same issue, Should academics boycott Donald Trump’s America?:
The inauguration of President Trump poses a challenge to liberals inside the US and beyond; a truth brought home only too vividly by the introduction of an executive order barring entry to all refugees and any citizens from a list of Muslim-majority countries. There are many ways that the academic community can resist – and is resisting – the illiberal, populist regime represented by Trump’s White House.
But for non-US academics who travel regularly to the US to participate in scholarly meetings, this latest measure presents a dilemma of a very particular kind: should we continue to participate in conferences held in the US which many of our colleagues, including British academics with dual citizenship, may be prevented from attending?
This is not an abstract question. I am myself in the process of making a panel submission for a conference to be held in Denver in November. Others already have places confirmed and flights booked for major events taking place in the coming months. Should we change our plans in solidarity with our banned colleagues, or would doing so only isolate US-based scholars whose critical voices are needed now more than ever?
Should academics participate in conferences in the US which fellow scholars from 'banned' countries may be prevented from attending?
— Helen McCarthy (@HistorianHelen) January 28, 2017
I’m basically laughing my ass off over this development because it proves my point that academic boycotts are a systemic threat.
I still haven’t seen anyone call for an academic boycott of Turkey, despite thousands of academics having been arrested. And what about all the Arab countries and universities controlled by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority where there is no academic freedom?
Pretty selective outrage among the circular firing squad forming on the left.
UPDATE: The boycott is spreading, particularly in Canada, as the Toronto Star reports, and accusations that the U.S. is an Apartheid State are being made (just as they are made against Israeli to justify the boycott), Canadian academics boycott U.S. conferences over Trump ban: