Academic Freedom, Ideological Boundaries, and the Teaching of the Middle East


This special Fall 2011 double-issue of Arab Studies Quarterly, co-edited by ICMES Board member Terri Ginsberg (along with colleagues Tareq Ismael,  Hossein Khosrowjah, Rima Najjar Kapitan, and Gayatri Devi), contains articles on seven recent academic freedom cases, each of which involves important and timely questions about Middle East teaching and scholarship. Cases covered are: Ward Churchill at the University of Colorado-Boulder (Dr. Julio Gonzales); Debbi Almontaser and the New York City Board of Education (Lawrence Davidson); Norman Finkelstein at DePaul University (Matthew Abraham); Douglas Giles at Roosevelt University (Giles); Terri Ginsberg at North Carolina State University (Ginsberg); Joel Kovel at Bard College (Kovel); and Kristofer Petersen-Overton at Brooklyn College (Petersen-Overton). Contextualizing these seven articles are analyses by Khosrowjah and Ginsberg, respectively, of key structural, disciplinary and discursive conditions within the U.S. academy which have contributed to–and continue to enable–the suppression and silencing of critical speech concerning the Middle East, U.S. foreign policy, and Zionism; and a concluding contribution by Kapitan that elucidates the positioning of academic freedom as a fundamental human right within American jurisprudence. [read more]