Academic freedom is not a natural phenomenon like gravity or even a natural corollary of the Rights of Man, but remains a relatively recent social invention.
Few BDS battles have been as successful and informative as the recent defeat of academic boycott at the Modern Language Association.
What does the surprising defeat of an academic boycott at AAA mean for the trajectory of BDS within academic associations?
The spiritual scale and nature of this loserness of BDS was never more on display than it was last week at Brown University.
The big news on the BDS front is about a lawsuit just filed against the American Studies Association (ASA) over the anti-Israel boycott they put in place in 2014.
By now, most of you have probably heard the good news that the American Historical Association (AHA) has voted down a motion “critical of Israel” (i.e., the best the BDSers could do in an environment where their squalid little boycotts are treated with understandable suspicion) by a 2:1 margin. The group responsible for forcing this […]
Recent anti-Israel votes by academic associations (notably ones devoted to anthropology and women’s studies) were shocking, but not surprising. Shock derives from the fact that academic boycotts have always been the most loathed of all boycott, divestment and sanctions activities, given how they collide with and threaten the very academic freedom upon which every scholar […]
It’s no secret that the most successful way to stop a community from being taken advantage of by the forces of BDS is for members of that community to organization against it. As we have seen in places like food coops, where both members and leaders have been hesitant to hand the reputation of their […]
Several striking bits of good news on the campus-wars front from both the Right and Left Coasts. Here in New England, it looks like the student body of Bowdoin College shot down an academic boycott measure by a massive margin of nearly 5:1. In this case, the BDS measure was particularly sweeping, consisting as it […]
Over the last two years, whenever critics have condemned anti-Israel academic boycotts as an attack on academic freedom that would, by necessity, harm individual scholars, we were told by academic boycott proponents that their actions were targeted solely at institutions and would thus have no impact on professors, students or scholarship. It’s been hard to put […]
As some of you might have heard, the latest attempt to bring an academic association on board the BDS “bandwagon” collapsed last night as the American Historical Association voted 144 to 51 to not bring two anti-Israel resolutions up for a vote within the wider organization. The specifics of the decision will likely seem Byzantine […]
As I described last time, academic boycotts can be treated with outrage, with contempt, with fear or with defiance. But if any of these reactions are going to lead to specific actions, it’s best to understand the true nature of such boycotts and those that are trying to push them onto an organization. Long time […]