Tenure as a fact on the ground
We have previously noted the tenure battle over Nadia Abu El-Haj, at the center of which is the book we published in 2001, Facts on the Ground: Archaeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society.
Abu El-Haj was granted tenure by Barnard last November. A sort of post-mortem on the whole affair appears in today’s issue of the New Yorker. Jane Kramer reviews Abu El-Haj’s academic career, the controversy over her tenure decision, and the continuing debate—at Columbia University and elsewhere—over fact and bias in Middle Eastern studies departments.
Throughout the swirl of rhetoric, the articles and editorials, speeches and screeds, petitions and counter-petitions Abu El-Haj remained silent, trying to avoid the distraction. She finally spoke to Kramer for the New Yorker article. “What happened last year—it wasn’t about me. I was a cog in the big wheel of the Middle East and Israel.”
Only an abstract of the article is online at the New Yorker website. But a pdf has been posted elsewhere. Also, Jane Kramer spoke with Jon Wiener on KPFK’s On the Radio (starts about 21 minutes in).