The National Association of Scholars (NAS) today issued a report on the teaching of American history at the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M. UT-Austin professor Jeremi Suri wrote a response to the NAS report on the blog of The Alcalde, the University of Texas alumni magazine, which we reprint here.
Last week, Mitt Romney directed that Obama “take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago.”
For good and bad, ‘division and anger’ have always been part of American politics. Take the case of Alexander Hamilton. He was called “Tom S**t” in one New York paper, was accused of having African ancestry (shades of ‘born in Kenya’), and was accused both of being a bastard and a foreigner. He could give as well as receive (one of the reasons for the anger against him), but could also move into something more substantial… including the Federalist Papers.
On the blog of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), its longtime president Anne Neal writes about the election of Rudy Fichtenbaum as the new president of the AAUP. Her alarmist rhetoric not only distorts what the AAUP does today, but fundamentally rewrites the history of the AAUP in a completely misleading way.
Neal writes, “one cannot help but view with alarm the results of the AAUP elections, which in large measure suggest that the AAUP has now positioned itself as a faculty labor union advocating for faculty rights rather than enforcing faculty ethical obligations.” Of course, the AAUP has been a faculty labor union advocating for faculty rights for more than 40 years now. The phrase “enforcing faculty ethical obligations” is the evasive code language that ACTA uses for its goal of purging left-wing faculty who express political views. The AAUP has never done this, and never will. The AAUP for a century has advocated for faculty rights and never enforced the “ethical obligations” of individual faculty.
Harry Keyishian, 1964, with his T.S. Eliot dartboard
Harry Keyishian today
January 23, 2012 marks the 45th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Keyishian v. Board of Regents, perhaps the most important case defending academic freedom in the history of law (see the essay by Marjorie Heins today about the case). I interviewed Harry Keyishian via email about the decision that bears his name. Harry Keyishian has taught English at Fairleigh Dickinson University since 1965, and is the director of Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. He is the author of many books, including Screening Politics: The Politician in American Movies, 1931-2001 (2003) and The Shapes of Revenge: Victimization, Vengeance, and Vindictiveness in Shakespeare (1995).