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academia Tag

This post is a follow up to a story we ran earlier this week, Third World Quarterly publishes “The Case for Colonialism” leading to censorship demands. An article (pdf) by Portland State University’s Bruce Gilley, in Third World Quarterly arguing the “Case for Colonialism” provoked a backlash that was professionally threatening to the author. Here is the abstract of the article:

Bruce Gilley of Portland State University (image above) published an article titled “The Case for Colonialism” in the decidedly anti-Colonial journal Third World Quarterly (home of the Edward Said Award). In its self-description, Third World Quarterly writes:
TWQ examines all the issues that affect the many Third Worlds and is not averse to publishing provocative and exploratory articles, especially if they have the merit of opening up emerging areas of research that have not been given sufficient attention.
Gilley is no newcomer to controversy.

Allan Bloom's book The Closing of the American Mind was published in 1987, which is now very close to 30 years ago. And yet its relevance has only grown in the intervening years. It describes the influence of the left on the university and what it teaches, and how it has affected subsequent generations of students and how they think about a host of things, including America itself. Here's an excerpt from the book that very much resonates today:
Contrary to much contemporary wisdom, the United States has one of the longest uninterrupted political traditions of any nation in the world. What is more, that tradition is unambiguous; its meaning is articulated in simple, rational speech that is immediately comprehensible and powerfully persuasive to all normal human beings. America tells one story: the unbroken, ineluctable progress of freedom and equality. From its first settlers and its political foundings on, there has been no dispute that freedom and equality are the essence of justice for us. No one serious or notable has stood outside this consensus...All significant political disputes have been about the meaning of freedom and equality, not about their rightness...

Dartmouth College students who are part of the Black Lives Matter movement recently staged a protest which invaded a school library. As we reported yesterday at College Insurrection, some students who were trying to study allege physical assault. Campus Reform has the details:
Dartmouth students lead profane Black Lives Matter protest Black-clad protesters gathered in front of Dartmouth Hall Thursday night, forming a crowd roughly one hundred fifty strong. Ostensibly there to denounce the removal of shirts from a display in Collis, Dartmouth's student center the Black Lives Matter collective began to sing songs and chant their eponymous catchphrase. The band then marched into Baker-Berry Library. “F*** you, you filthy white f***s!” “F*** you and your comfort!” “F*** you, you racist s***!”

Esteemed Harvard law professor and author Alan Dershowitz addressed the controversy unfolding on college campuses like Yale and Mizzou in an appearance on the Kelly File Thursday night and called it what it is. Zachary Leshin of CNS News provides a partial transcript:
Dershowitz: ‘The Fog of Fascism Is Descending Quickly Over Many American Universities’ “These are the same people who claim they are seeking diversity. The last thing many of these students want is real diversity, diversity of ideas. They may want superficial diversity, diversity of gender, diversity of color, but they don’t want diversity of ideas.” “We are seeing a curtain of McCarthyism descend over many college campuses,” said Dershowitz. “I don't want to make analogies to the 1930s, but we have to remember it was the college students who first started burning books during the Nazi regime. And these students are book burners. They don’t want to hear diverse views on college campuses.”

The Mizzou clown show continued today with the online flogging and ensuing resignation of Dr. Dale Brigham, a professor in the university's Nutrition and Exercise Physiology Department. Breaking News from a local NBC affiliate tells me that Brigham's resignation was not accepted by the university. We're waiting for more details. In the mean time, here's the back story...

On this morning's episode of Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough and his fellow panelists dove deep into the University of Missouri race controversy, focusing on the forced resignations of university president Tom Wolfe and chancellor R. Bowen Loftin. During the discussion, Scarborough did the unthinkable, and asked the question we've all been pondering since this story broke: what did these men do to deserve this? Scarborough's point was fair---the media hasn't uncovered or reported a single piece of evidence to suggest that either man turned a blind eye to complaints of harassment or abuse---but the panel, in true MSNBC panel fashion, proceeded to give him a lecture in Sensitivity 101. Watch:

As a result of protests that included a hunger strike by a graduate student and the pressure of a threatened boycott by members of the football team, President Tim Wolfe and Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin of the University of Missouri announced their resignations yesterday. The protests occurred after a series of alleged racial incidents at the university. Here's a quick summary of the events leading up to their departures:
The protests began after the student government president, who is black, said in September that people in a passing pickup truck shouted racial slurs at him. In early October, members of a black student organization said slurs were hurled at them by an apparently drunken white student. Frustrations flared again during a homecoming parade, when black protesters blocked Wolfe's car, and he did not get out and talk to them. They were removed by police. Also, a swastika drawn in feces was found recently in a dormitory bathroom. The university did take some steps to ease tensions. At Loftin's request, the school announced plans to offer diversity training to all new students starting in January, as well as faculty and staff.

On the first weekend in May I attended a conference held in Boston entitled "GenerationCaliphate: Apocalyptic Hopes, Millennial Dreams and Global Jihad." The conference was organized by Richard Landes, millennial scholar, inventor of the term "Pallywood," blogger at The Augean Stables, exposer of the suspect nature of the claims about al Durah's death, author of the book Heaven on Earth, brilliant and original thinker, and a person I'm glad to call my friend. One of the strongest impressions I got from the conference is how many people there are who have dedicated their lives to studying the history of Islam and Islamic thought and how much information they have gleaned about how that thought informs the motives and expectations of modern terrorists. Many non-experts tend to think of terrorists as more grounded in the present than they apparently are, to minimize what seem to be their wild fantasies about the end of the world, and to fail to appreciate how very much those apocalyptic dreams are informed by Islam and its history. Something else that struck me about the conference was how it illustrated that although many of us tend to think everyone fighting terrorism is on the right, there are some people on the left who are very concerned about terrorism and take it very seriously, but that there are some rather large rifts between those of the right and left who share this common cause and common interest in combating terrorism. There were too many erudite and engrossing speakers at the conference to describe each one, but some highlights (in addition to the aforementioned Richard Landes) were, in no particular order:

I don't know what should be done with refugees from Syria but this proposal from Stanford professor David Laitin seems like cruel and unusual punishment. CBS News of Detroit:
Stanford Professor: Let Refugees From War-Torn Syria Settle In Detroit What to do with refugees from war-torn Syria? Send them to Detroit! That’s the message Thursday from a Stanford University political science professor in the New York Times. David Laitin writes in an opinion piece titled “Let Syrians Settle Detroit” that refugees traumatized by war usually turn out to be good citizens. “Suppose these two social and humanitarian disasters were conjoined to produce something positive,” Laitin says. Laitin notes that Syrians have set up thousands of shops at a refugee camp in Jordan and writes that Detroit’s large American Arab population would help them assimilate.

Kids these days. Students who neglected their studies to protest the Michael Brown grand jury decision were disappointed when their appeal to the administration for special accommodations during finals was rejected. According to Fox News Cleveland:
Over 1,300 Oberlin students signed a petition for college administrators asking for understanding and “alternative modes of learning” as they continue to cope with what’s happening across the country. They asked for the normal grading system to be “replaced with a no-fail mercy period,” and said “basically no student …especially students of color should be failing a class this semester.” In response, Oberlin President Marvin Krislov said that he understands their concerns and that he and the Academic Deans took the request seriously, however “we are in firm agreement that suspending grading protocols is not the way to achieve our shared goal of ensuring that students have every opportunity and resource to succeed,” he said in a statement. Administrators did offer students some assistance in the form of counseling and other support services. They also added increased flexibility in terms of students making “incomplete requests.” They also extended the deadline for students to change from “a grade to the pass/no pass” option.

The attacks on a University of Virginia law professor for expressing legal views not in keeping with the views of some LGBT activists and much of the political establishment has created a stir in legal academia. In Jamaica, a somewhat analogous case is developing regarding a recently retired professor who was fired from his continuing HIV/AIDS research position after filing an accurate, but politically incorrect, expert report in a highly contentious case in Belize (h/t Blazing Cat Fur). The case has received almost no attention outside the Caribbean press, and none in the U.S. as far as I can tell. The background is that the Belize Supreme Court is considering a court case seeking to overturn Section 53 of the criminal code, which bans some forms of homosexual behavior, specifically male-on-male sodomy. Argument was held in May 2013 but there has been no decision as of this writing. The highly charged nature of the case pits a coalition of international gay rights activists against some Christian churches and groups. Enter Dr. Brendan Bain, who retired as a Professor in 2013 from the University of West Indies.  While still a professor, in 2012 Dr. Bain submitted testimony in the form of an Expert Report in the case (embedded in full at the bottom of this post). Dr. Bain is one of the pioneers in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean, as detailed in the introduction to his Expert Report, and in the numerous news reports referenced later in this post. [caption id="attachment_87310" align="alignnone" width="454"]Dr. Brendan Bain by Steve Shapiro for the 2011 Caribbean HIV Conference (Dr. Brendan Bain,by Steve Shapiro for the 2011 Caribbean HIV Conference, used under an Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license.)[/caption] Among other things, even after his retirement as a professor Dr. Bain was director of the U.S.-funded Regional Coordinating Unit of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training (CHART), which he helped create.  Here is his bio from 2013 from the CHART website:

I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday weekend while remembering the sacrifices of those who gave their lives to defend America and freedom. It seems the neo-socialists don't want to feel left out during this weekend of patriotism and honoring the fallen. Liberation News, the "newspaper for...