Scholarship sacrificed on the altar of political correctness at YaleI 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 SmallI guess Small is still drawing a salary from Yale - otherwise, I doubt he would have issued this statement.
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
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?