by Cinnamon Stillwell • Apr 6, 2010 at 4:26 pm
Teaching Middle Eastern Affairs is certainly more problematic than other regions. Due to the geopolitical realities of the ME, it is more politicized as an academic subject than any other region. As a result, academics dealing with the Middle East have the tendency to espouse political views that might affect both what topics will be covered and how. Subsequently, the study of the Middle East suffers from high levels of politicization and the academic content subordinating political views or ideologies.
Who wrote the above passage?
1) Campus Watch
2) A Campus Watch basher
Based on Campus Watch (CW)’s long record of combating the politicization of Middle East studies, number one would seem to be answer. But it turns out that the above statement, with which, incidentally, CW agrees entirely, was penned by a blogger who accuses us—get this—of politicizing Middle East studies!
The blog in question is titled, “Road to Academia,” and the anonymous blogger, according to his bio, is “a Finnish expatriate” and a “self-professed Middle East enthusiast” with a Masters degree in Middle Eastern and Central Asian Security Studies from the University of St. Andrews (UK) and six-month stint at the Finnish Foreign Ministry, Department of Middle East and North Africa, under his belt.
He’s also intellectually incoherent. In a March 22, 2010, post on Middle East studies at the London School of Economics–where is he currently pursuing a Masters degree in International Relations–he rightly abhors the politicization of Middle East studies. But then in a post several days later, he goes after precisely the people who combat that politicization in the most public way. He excoriates CW and insults Middle East Forum director Daniel Pipes for doing exactly what he is: critiquing Middle East studies.
The laziness and illogic of our critics knows no bounds. Most don’t take the time to read our material; preferring instead to rely upon the talking points of CW’s most vocal opponents. Even when they agree with our goals, they insist on trying to discredit our work. Can you say “cognitive dissonance”?