Martin Kramer: On Casual BigotryHistorians in the News
Let me present Martin Kramer:
The program in Middle Eastern Studies at Yale needs to be strengthened with an additional major appointment. Its senior scholar, Abbas Amanat, recommends that the University hire Juan Cole. Kramer reasons that because both Amanat and Cole are Baha'is there is suspicious insider trading going on and that, since both Amanat and Cole are Baha'is, that might be good reason why Cole should not be hired. It is the same conspiratorial thinking – not the sweaty Ku Klux Klan or even the perspiring Kiwanis Club type – but of an aging old boy network that still thinks – just between us insiders – that a candidate might be rejected because of his religious identity. It's smart enough to explain to you that what it really cares about is the quality of the appointment, but just in case you aren't persuaded:"You know they're both Baha'is, don't you?"
It's a casually indulged bigotry. It's not like the raw bigotry of my first department chairman who would tell you straight up front: Catholics, Jews, Negroes, Orientals, and women need not apply. In fact, I don't think that Martin Kramer opposed Juan Cole's appointment at Yale primarily because Cole is a Baha'i. But it is shocking that he reached for that argument and didn't see the bigotry of it. It comes from a man who specializes in passing out advice to Princeton, Columbia, and Yale about who they should and should not hire in Middle Eastern Studies, cheers the results when they follow his recommendations, and knows enough to deny that his own insider trading influenced the result.
comments powered by Disqus
- Now it’s the University of Louisville’s turn to remove a Confederate statue
- A fortress built by Alexander the Great after he conquered Jerusalem has been discovered
- Yale students protest decision to keep Calhoun’s name
- Six maps that will make you rethink the world
- Middle Tenn. State President Wants to Strip Confederate General’s Name From Building
- The historian and cartographer Bill Rankin has developed a new way to visualize slavery
- Paula S. Fass says young Americans need required national service
- Historians are now trying to show that the gay revolution also took place in the midwest
- The Unconference Movement Grows – And Historians Are Taking the Lead
- New appeal to "Bring Back Military History"