Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Barnard Tenure Controversy Continues

On Monday, I was told to read the Times (that would be the New York Times for all you Londoners), because one of my professors was in it, contributing to (or commenting on) the Tenure controversy surrounding Barnard Anthropology Professor, Nadia Abu El-Haj's book, The Facts on the Ground. You can read an AP report here.

It is coming down to a debate between academic freedom (for those on Abu El-Haj's side) versus shoddy scholarship (for those against).

I have been avoiding reading the book for some time now so that I can plead ignorance, but it appears this tactic will no longer work.

For those of you in the NYC area, Alan Segal will be giving a lecture on what we can know from biblical archaeology on Monday, Sept 17 at 7 p.m. in 304 Barnard Hall. It will, to be sure, be an extremely turbulent event.

UPDATE: The event was hardly eventful. Some very prominent Middle Eastern and Asian Languages and Cultures (MEALAC) professors were there, such as Gil Anidjar. On the whole, it was an under-attended lecture and a rather respectful and collegial interchange.


Anonymous said...

yeah.... I went and ordered the book because so that I can have an educated opinion.... it's actually a bit back-ordered..

Boy, am I glad that I'm avoiding the latest charming controversy in Morningside Heights....

Jared Calaway said...

This controversy is probably the best thing to happen to this book. It came out in 2002, I think, and no one really has paid much attention to it (at least publicly) until Abu El-Haj's tenure review.

Controversy always makes best sellers!

Anonymous said...

I noticed "Book Culture" (formerly Labyrinth) still has copies.

Jared: thanks for the tip. I'll try to stop by. This should be interesting and I've also been trying to avoid reading this...