Middle East Studies

Volokh Conspirator David Bernstein writes,

Why do the poobahs of the world of “Middle East Studies” recoil in horror any time anyone threatens to call attention to their discipline? Because it is such a relentlessly one-sided, politiciized discipline that it could not possibly withstand public scrutiny. The latest evidence? The refusal of the Middle East Studies Association–which has slathered all over the late English professor (later promoted to “univeristy professor”) and self-described “Palestinian” activist Edward Said–to name Bernard Lewis, truly one of the great Middle Eastern scholars of the our times, an honorary fellow recognizing him as one of the ten “outstanding internationally recognized scholars who have made major contributions to Middle East studies.”

I’ve had similar thoughts. Practitioners of Middle East Studies–like Women’s Studies, Afro-American Studies, and other similar fields–tend to be rabid ideologues with little pretense of scholarly rigor. There are many fine Middle East scholars–and scholars who study women’s and minority issues, for that matter– but almost all of them call themselves political scientists, sociologists, historians, or whatever and work in departments named after academic disciplines rather than agendas.

FILED UNDER: Education
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.