Boycotts have consequences. Especially academic boycotts. Boycott someone and you might find that others are boycotting you.
The American Studies Association has chosen to ignore actual censorship and violations of academic freedom in countries like China and Pakistan while ramming through a dishonest racist resolution to boycott Israel. And now entire universities are pulling away from its violation of academic freedom and intellectual integrity.
Two American universities, Brandeis and Penn State Harrisburg, have decided this week to withdraw from the American Studies Association (ASA) in protest of the organization’s decision to join the academic boycott against Israeli universities.
“It is a with deep regret that we in the American Studies Program at Brandeis University have decided to discontinue our institutional affiliation with the American Studies Association,” a message on the university’s American Studies program said.
“We remain committed to the discipline of American Studies but we can no longer support an organization that has rejected two of the core principles of American culture – freedom of association and expression,” the Brandeis statement continued.
Dr. Simon J. Bronner of Penn State Harrisburg also issued a statement, saying that the ASA resolution to boycott Israel “curtails academic freedom and undermines the reputation of American Studies as a scholarly enterprise.”
As a result, the American Studies program at Penn State Harrisburg announced it would drop its institutional membership and will “encourage others to do so.”
Dr. Bronner, the chair of the American Studies program at the Pennsylvania university, is a prominent member of the ASA, and serves as the editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of American Studies, an ASA-sponsored publication.
“The withdrawal of institutional membership by our program and others allows us to be independent of the political and ideological resolutions issued by the ASA and concentrate on building American Studies scholarship with our faculty, students, and staff,” Dr. Bronner said in an additional statement to website Legal Insurrection.
The question is will other universities join the boycott of the boycotters and what impact will the splintering of the American Studies Association have?
It may very well leave a hollow ASA core of academic hijackers who have no interest in academic disciplines, only in issuing political statements.
Dr. Bronner has raised the possibility of alternative organizations to the ASA forming out of the rubble.
There might be alternative organizations forming in the future that better represent the field of American Studies. When and if that occurs, we will re-examine our independent position.
Mark Rice, Professor and Chair of the Department of American Studies, St. John Fisher College, Rochester, New York, thinks more will follow:
It will be interesting to see what the ASA institutional membership roll looks like at this time next year. It will take about that long to see which institutions may decide to withdraw from the association (and which others, if any, may decide to join).
Indeed, I’ve already heard from folks who say that they plan to drop their institutional membership because of the boycott vote. It’s too soon to say that an exodus has begun, but there is some real discontent out there.