Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Leiter, a post headline:
"A turning point: the NY Times comes out for academic freedom and repudiates Dershowitz and those who police discourse on Israel"

The integrity of the academy becomes more important than the subject of debate. it would make sense as a defense of proceduralism, but Leiter's not defending due process.

note taking/ comments posted elsewhere
No political science department wants to be seen as licensing or even engaging, arguments that are seen as absolutely outside social norms. if the White Students Union decided to hold a debate between a holocaust denier and a holocaust endorser no department would sign on as a co-sponser. No department would sponsor Farrakhan, Kahane or David Duke, (though a triple bill would be worth it). There wouldn’t even be an argument. Heads of state are in another category.

The only reason the Brooklyn political science department signed on the the BDS presentation is because they take it seriously, as an argument worthy of consideration. Arguments deemed not worthy even of consideration, or worthy of actual contempt, are simply ignored. A BDS event would not have been sponsored ten years ago. The change over that time is political and cultural. Change outside the academy has resulted in change inside the academy.

On the larger issue, academic “freedom” is a misnomer. The better term is academic independence: the independence of the academy in decision-making. Let them handle their own internal politics. Let their struggles with groupthink and lazy assumption remain theirs alone. I know a few people who’ve based their entire careers on where funding was going to be at any given time. That’s not academic freedom it’s academic realpolitik.
It would be interesting to do a study specifically of how the academy separates people whose ideas, works or actions it follows: when the academy comes to them (fieldwork) and when they are invited into the academy and on what terms. Patients are allowed in but have limited autonomy. etc.

City Council Speaker—and leading mayoral candidate—Christine Quinn is a signatory to that “other” letter about the Brooklyn College BDS panel from the “progressive” government officials and politicians. 
…For many years when she was a member of the City Council, Quinn and her office financially supported—to the tune of roughly $4,000 a year—the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS) at the CUNY Graduate Center. The money, according to one representative request letter from CLAGS that I have seen (from 2004), was supposed to fund publicity and outreach for CLAGS talks, panels, and events. 
Talks like this one (see p. 13 of this newsletter): "Unzipping the Monster Dick: Deconstructing Ableist Penile Representations in Two Ethnic Homoerotic Magazines.”
It says something about the relative situation of Palestinians and homosexuals in our society that Quinn as an out lesbian can take the position she has, so Robin can respond by linking to actual homosexuals rather than simply to their heterosexual supporters.

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