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Monday, June 20, 2011

Scholarship sacrificed on the altar of political correctness at Yale

I was sent the following statement by email from Charles Asher Small, the director of the Yale Interdisciplinary Initiative for the Study of Anti-Semitism regarding Yale's shutdown of his program:
Statement from Charles Asher Small

Executive Director and Founder of YIISA

“Recently, Yale University officials informed us of their precipitous decision to close YIISA, The Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism.

It became evident that YIISA and Yale University have different visions and approaches to the study of antisemitism. YIISA, like Yale, believes in the necessity to publish in top tier journals. YIISA scholars, its graduate and post-doctorate research fellows, esteemed senior visiting professors, and scholars associated with YIISA have done so at a high caliber and with success.

YIISA, however, is committed to critical engaged scholarship with a broader approach to the complex, and at times controversial context of contemporary global antisemitism.

It is this mission that my colleagues at YIISA so eloquently and with a sense of integrity engaged. This was reflected, for example, in the conference, “Global Antisemitism: A Crisis of Modernity”. Held in August 2010 it was the largest academic conference on the study of antisemitism ever. This illustrated not only the relevance of YIISA, but the concern, if not alarm, that scholars of antisemitism have for the contemporary global condition. It also marked the launching of the International Association for the Study of Antisemitism (IASA) a professional association, of which I was elected by peers to be its first President.

We believe that the role of a true scholar and intellectual is to shed light where there is darkness. It is a responsibility of scholars to understand the implications of antisemitism on society, nationally as well as internationally. YIISA has been successful in this regard since our formation in 2006. YIISA was the first research center based at a North American University dedicated to the study of antisemitism, and will continue to be a trailblazer in the field.

I wish to express appreciation for the role Yale students and professors played in the development of YIISA. I am especially grateful for the community of scholars from across the United States and from around the world that contributed to YIISA. I look forward to continuing to work with these scholars. I also look forward to work with academics that will be associated with the new Yale Program on Antisemitism, to be constituted, especially with my esteemed colleague Maurie Samuels. We are all colleagues on a subject matter with profound implications. I would also like to thank members of the YIISA Board of Trustees for their efforts and for their continued commitment to further our mandate. I am also grateful for the thousands of people that attend our events and support our work.

We are in conversation with several academic institutions that understand the importance of our mission. They have expressed interest in YIISA becoming part of their academic community. It is also my hope, given the importance and timeliness of the subject, that several research centers, dedicated to the study of antisemitism, especially the contemporary global context, will open at universities across the United States.”

Charles Asher Small, D. Phil

Executive Director and Founder

Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism
I guess Small is still drawing a salary from Yale - otherwise, I doubt he would have issued this statement.

In my earlier post, I mentioned that the closing of YIISA might have been done to appease Muslims over the conference that the center held last September. The following statement from Yale that was sent to me this morning all but confirms that. Please read this short (2-page) document.

Yale Program for the Study of Antisemitism

I assume that what's going on here is obvious to all of you, but in case it's not, please allow me to point out the key sentences:
Professor Samuels, who will convene YPSA, has written an award-winning book on Jewish fiction writers in France, and he is currently working on a major study of the portrayal of Jews in French literature and culture from the time of the Revolution through the present. Professor Samuels’s recent courses offered to Yale undergraduates have included “Jewish Identity and French Culture” and “Representing the Holocaust.”
Professor Maurice Samuels is an eminent scholar of Jewish studies, and that includes some scholarship in the study of anti-Semitism, but it is clear that his research is into things like the Dreyfus trial and the Holocaust - the types of anti-Semitism about which it is politically safe to speak. What Yale won't be doing anymore is to present papers like the one presented last year about Islamic anti-Semitism, which is probably the most prevalent type of anti-Semitism in the world today. Are you outraged yet?

During the course of Sunday and Monday, a friend in academia has been sharing with me copies that he has received of letters and emails written to Professor Salovey, who wrote the letter I embedded above. Frankly, there have been some furious reactions among the academics to this turn of events.

Scholarship has been sold out to political correctness, and this time it's happening on one of the most prestigious campuses in the United States of America. It should be clear to all of you that there are very few college campuses in the US that can match Yale's prestige and even fewer that might be willing to take on this kind of political hot potato of a program. American academic freedom has been sold out to the 8th century Mullahs of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf. And as usual, the Jews are the victims.

What could go wrong?

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At 9:53 PM, Blogger Juniper in the Desert said...

"The Big Lie", the one the God of the Jews and Zoroaster warned against, the one that Hitler proclaimed and that is an intrinsic part of izlam, is now to be the reigning principle of the world.

At 12:46 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

Dymphna sent the following comment (Part 1 of 2):

When Phyllis Chesler sent around the story, it appeared that they were closing
shop because a major donor conveniently died -- iow, it was something they'd
wanted to do before but couldn't.

I've moved past outrage and am in despair about this school and others like it.
I tried to post a comment on your blog, but the comment function on Blooger
seems to be non-functioning today.

Yale is way up there on the Disgustometer...

There's the Yale Divinity School's Watermelon Memo:


And don't forget what they did with the book about the MoToon images (and
Mohammed imagery throughout history). Professor of Ethics at Duke, Garry Hull,
was so angry he put out his own book of the banned images that Yale University
(at the very last possible moment) pulled from the book:


"The Danish cartoons and other images of Muhammad were banned by Yale
University Press from Jytte Klausen's The Cartoons that Shook the World — for
fear that someone, somewhere, might respond violently to their publication.

The editors of Muhammad: The "Banned" Images and the signatories who subscribe
to the Statement of Principle argue that recent threats of violence against the
use of particular words and images are creating a climate that hampers academic
discourse, grants legitimacy to censorship, and eventually corrupts the First

If you care about free speech and scholarly discourse..."

Yale simply keeps the elite's children (plus a smattering of affirmative action
slots) until they come of age. Then they get their ticket stamped and move on,
thoroughly indoctrinated.

I don't have his URL, but a libertarian essayist wrote this about the current
state of 'higher' learning:


At 12:49 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

This is from Dymphna. There's an essay in the middle that unfortunately did not fit.

IMO, this change will occur from the bottom up, with apprentices coming back
into favor. Yale, et al will return to being a resource for the very wealthy.
And at that point may well return to the openly anti-semitic bastions they
always were.

My son went to teh College of William & Mary and had to put up with a great
deal of foam-flecked leftist ranting. I read recently that it's at the top of
leftist camps when it comes to voting: 90% of the faculty admits to
be "liberal". Uggh.

Will held his own against them because he'd prepared himself. For example, he
needed to fill a humanities elective so he took poetry, knowing that he'd get a
professor who didn't approve of anything written by dead white males, and
certainly nothing after say, 1900 (and that's being generous). She chastised
him for using rhyme and meter. He retorted that since he was writing a sonnet,
he'd stick to Shakespeare's forms. He's an accomplished poet, though science is
his metier.

Oh, well. My grandchildren will almost surely be learning Chinese and not
Arabic. When the petrol-fed Jihad shrivels up, China will still be coming into
its own.


PS Virginia may be the only state still on the books which permits one to
attain an education in the law by apprenticing to a board-certified lawyer. The
apprentice takes the boards whenever he and his mentor decide he's ready...

I don't know how many ppl still do this.


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