Massad on the Right’s ‘Targeting the University’

By June 6, 2005

Joseph Massad, assistant professor of modern Arab politics and intellectual history at Columbia University, recently wrote an article in Al-Ahram expressing his view on the assault on academic freedom on campus. Here’s a snippet:

Targeting the university is the latest mission of right-wing forces who have hijacked not only political power and political discourse in the United States but also the very vocabulary that can be used against them. The campaign of the last three years or so to attack US universities as the last bastion where a measure of freedom of thought is still protected is engineered to cancel out such freedom and ensure that scholars will not subvert the received political wisdom of the day.

…The university, with all its limitations, is one of the few remaining spaces, if not the only remaining one, where critical intellectuals can still live the life of the mind. What the witch- hunters want us to do is to live the life of servitude to state power, as technocrats and as ideologues. This we refuse to do.