[Marxism] Fwd: Reading Salaita in Illinois—by Way of Cary Nelson (part 1) | Mondoweiss

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Aug 13 17:57:07 MDT 2014


Ever since the news broke on Aug. 6 that Steven Salaita’s faculty 
appointment at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) had 
been terminated due to tweets critical of Israel, the most prominent 
expert voice—indeed, the only expert mainstream voice—to emerge in 
support of the university’s decision has been UIUC English professor 
Cary Nelson.

Nelson’s reputation as an advocate of academic freedom, having lectured 
and written at length on the subject and having served as the president 
of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), has made 
him the go-to voice on the Salaita affair in reports featured in The 
Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, CNN, HuffPost Live, and 
elsewhere.

But last January, I wrote a lengthy study of Cary Nelson’s stance toward 
academic boycotts and Palestine/Israel, calling into question his 
ability to professionally assess issues of academic freedom when the 
region is involved.

As a follow-up to that piece, I shall demonstrate that Nelson’s 
authority to speak about Salaita’s termination is compromised on several 
counts:

Nelson’s history of direct political opposition to Salaita, specifically 
on the issue of Israel and BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions).

--Nelson’s undisclosed communications with the instigator of the attacks 
against Salaita—William Jacobson of the Legal Insurrection 
blog—specifically on the issue of Salaita.

--Nelson’s membership, and even leadership, in organizations that seek 
to “strengthen[] the pro-Israel movement on campus,” “advocate on behalf 
of the State of Israel,” and counter “the far left’s attacks on Israel.”

--Nelson’s now-contradictory stances on academic freedom that have even 
compelled the AAUP to distance itself from his comments.
Nelson’s unfamiliarity with Twitter, which has led him to make 
embarrassingly ill-informed accusations.

--Nelson’s refusal to acknowledge the existence of any interpretation of 
Salaita’s tweets other than his own, leading to a refusal to argue for 
his interpretation.

--Nelson’s failure to disclose—and even his refusal to disclose at 
times—the conflicts of interest detailed above before offering a 
supposedly professional opinion on the matter.


full: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/08/reading-salaita-illinois-1.html



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