1. peretz

    that asshole is the one single giant reason no one reads/writes for the new republic anymore. he is one of the few people who could actually increase his own relevance by shutting up more.

  2. uhhhh  

    To the writer of the piece about McCarren Pool: it's Geri HALLIWELL, spell the name right if you're gonna talk about that righteous babe.

  3. ugh  

    that article about McCarren Pool was stupid. Don't fucking complai/share your experience unless it's worthwhile. This was so fourth grade.

    And McCarren is good shit, it's not just for hipsters

    • McCarren  

      That's a little harsh buddy. I thought that article was really well-written and an interesting perspective on indie music, which we prop up as the be-all-and-end-all of music. It's nice to hear someone say that it can actually be bad (shocking!) rather than fake enjoying it because, at our age, unless you love indie you just aren't a cultured human being.

  4. coogan

    The El-Haj essay series looked promising until I realized that, indeed, The Current refuses to look beyond the typical Columbia position. The outright bias thinly veiled under the guise of objective journalism saddens me.

  5. Anonymous

    The Shalem Center provided the seed money and training for The Current. William Kristol sits on the current board of the Shalem Center and Marty Peretz was involved at one point (according to Bari Weiss when she presented The Current's bid for recognition to SGB).

    Obviously Peretz is a fan. That's like saying Bryan Mercer is a fan of the Ethnic Studies professors he helped lobby to hire.

  6. the current  

    is money as always. no other publication on campus even comes close.

  7. ccc  

    it's really a problem for all the people who may not like some of the opinions in the current that it's the best-written publicatoin on campus.

  8. Bari

    Sakib: Peretz is uninvolved in The Current, but Hertog owns part of The New Republic, FYI.
    I also assume that what happens in closed SGB meetings when you presided as president is confidential.

    Coog: (HI!) Not sure what you mean by the typical CU position. Can you elaborate? (Hope all is well--)

  9. this point about  

    this point about "bias" is interesting. why is it not 'biased' when people write op-eds for the spec, or cpr, or any other publication? in those cases, the conversations aren't only about 'bias'--writers' arguments are judged, and praised or criticized. to simply dismiss something by yelling 'bias' is pretty ignorant.

  10. Anonymous

    My bad, wrong New Republic figure.

    I was Vice Chair at the time and the SGB Constitution (Article 5, Section 5) declares all meetings open.

  11. Anonymous

    Sorry Article 7, Section 4 back then. Article 5, Section 5 now. Guess the constitution as amended April 07 isn't up yet.

  12. Lyda  

    Hey alums, do you need to take this outside?

  13. coogan

    Hey Bar (i'm doing good, we should emails)--

    I'm going to pull some passages from the article, if that's all right with the Current staff:

    Editorial Introduction:
    "Before Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to Columbia dominated news on and off campus, another matter of Middle East politics and academic freedom was causing controversy: the tenure status of Nadia Abu El-Haj. A member of the anthropology department at Barnard College, El-Haj was recently granted tenure by a committee of Columbia professors and administrators.

    The committee’s decision was based largely on her book, Facts on the Ground: Archeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society [...]"

    David Rosen:
    "Post-colonial discourse has intellectually colonized much of the anthropology of the Middle East. As a form of _bricolage_ unburdened by rules of evidence or proof, it pulls together snippets of anything and everything to weave its dismal tale of unfettered nationalism and colonialism. The task is made easier by the book's definition of archeology, which intentionally conflates professional and scientific practices with popular and political uses of archeological material."

    James R. Russell:
    "_Facts on the Ground_ fits firmly into the postmodern academic genre, in which facts and evidence are subordinate to, and mediated by, a "discourse." There is no right or wrong answer, just competitive discourses. ."

    Jonathan Rosembaum:
    "Is the promotion of a personal, political agenda under the guise of an academic discipline legitimate scholarship protected by academic freedom?"


    The Columbia tenure process does not prioritize a single publication, as the editorial board and the above authors repeatedly claim. From Columbia's website:

    "In judging a nomination, an ad hoc committee relies especially on evidence of three kinds:

    (1) supporting documents, including a representative sample of the candidate's work;
    (2) letters of evaluation solicited from recognized scholars in the nominee's discipline; and
    (3) the personal testimony of witnesses."


    Provost Alan Brinkley writes reference letters play a "critical role" in the tenure review process (see documentation here:), again refuting the Current's claim that El-Haj's book solely achieved her tenure.


    Nadia Abu El-Haj has been getting flack from Jewish alumnae for her supposed undermining of the Zionist movement in Israel, specifically by writing a solitary book. Her critics focus all their effort on _Facts On the Ground_, but rarely do they mention her former status as a Fulbright Scholar, anything about her fellowships at Harvard, UPenn and Princeton, her friendship with Edward Said or her seven published articles.

    It's just upsetting, you know? That someone who is obviously not benefitting off of the Jewish-Palestinian conflict can have her achievements framed in such a manner. And I thought The Current would provide some of this perspective on this controversial and sensitive topic, but, alas, no such luck.

    • saidist  

      Friends with Said? Since when was that a good thing? Perhaps since it was a noble thing for a professor to throw a rock at Israeli soldiers and portray himself as the second coming of camelot or something. Great scholar.

  14. coogan

    Actually, Said _was_ a great scholar if you support postcolonialist studies, which is against oppression created by imperialist forces around the world.

    Gayatri Spivak, currenly only one of two of the highest designated professors in the University, has Said as a major influence.

  15. umm

    is camraderie with said is a negative for tenure at this university, I don't know what's a positive. he's one of the most influential scholars columbia has ever housed.

    I mean, half the english and history departments, among other parts of the university, were close with him.

    • saidist  

      Again my friends, you aren't proving anything to me. I happen to agree, he is one of the most influential scholars columbia has propped up. but you assume it's in a good way. this is a guy who completely fabricated his entire life story... much like his idol Arafat, by the way. i find it funny that you assume that just because spivak and the comparative literature department are influenced by Said means his influence was a good thing. Thanks to him, one is more likely to learn about crossdressers in Cairo in a MEALAC class (or in many middle east departments across the country) than a real history of, say, the Arab-Israeli war, which would in fact be useful education. Forgive me for being somewhat jaundiced towards liars, cultural relativists, and men who spout esoteric nonsense behind the chic banner of anti-imperialist, anti-western diatribe... reminds me of a few dictators around the world...

      • well

        mealac is a languages and literatures department. you expect cultural studies material in there. you want to know about the arab-israeli war? go ask prof. khalidi in the history dept. he's a saidist, and he knows his facts. imagine that...

        you have quite an issue with correlation and causation anyway. you might want to work on that.

  16. blahblah  

    it's flat incorrect to talk about Said, his popularity, his followers etc as if they are without an agenda--no 'bias'. the 'if you support postcolonialist studies' is a major caveat. being a saidist or postcolonialist is to subscribe to many ideas about the world, about research and about history (ideas laid out in the various Current articles). and many of these ideas lead to fluffy academic work that allows for--or even requires--politics to enter the academy. postcolonialism, unlike many postcolonialists and some bwog commenters would have us believe, is no more good because it claims the mantle of anti-imperialism than is george bush good because he claims the mantle of anti-tyranny and democracy. postcolonialism is an academically-dangerous (again, i point you to these professors' articles, which go over the history and theories) mindset, not just some noble anti-imperialist form of study.

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