Here. The groups here are defined mainly in terms of demographic categories (race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, but also disability status), rather than ideological or philosophical orientation. Readers may submit additional names, except in the sexual orientation and disability categories. One category not included at present is socioeconomic background.
(Thanks to several different readers who sent this along.)
I regret taking so long to write you an email expressing my regrets and frustration about how you have been treated by many of your colleagues lately. I have been trying my best to ignore it since I am on the market this year with very much to do and can't afford to let myself be so upset by the disturbing eagerness with which so many people (which included some of my friends, who are good people) seem so eager to jump on the leiter-bashing bandwagon. It is hard not to view it as largely the kind of group-think, social-signaling moralistic aggression that I still am apparently naive enough to be shocked and angered by when professional philosophers engage in it en masse. It saddens me to think of a large section of my colleagues as the "public" in Rushdie's famous quote from “At the Auction of the Ruby Slippers”:
"We, the public, are easily, lethally offended. We have come to think of taking offence as a fundamental right. We value very little more highly than our rage, which gives us, in our opinion, the moral high ground. From this high ground we can shoot down at our enemies and inflict heavy fatalities. We take pride in our short fuses. Our anger elevates, transcends."
This isn't to say that none of your critics have any valid points, or that I agree with everything you say... What galls me is the eagerness with which so many people want to signal their superior moral status by means of shooting down at you from their ostensibly greater moral heights, when in reality, few if any of your loudest critics have done as much for academic philosophy, or issues relating to the academy more broadly (freedom of speech especially) as you have. Or so it seems to me. I am surely biased since I read your blog more than others.
Again, I'm sorry it took me so long to write you, but I clearly should have earlier, not only for whatever sense of support you might get from it, but because I feel a lot better now too having finally expressed some of these thoughts. In the current climate, I do not feel at liberty to express my opinions on this subject in public. I would feel much safer publicly posting criticisms of U.S. or Israeli state terrorism than I would expressing support for you--or much worse, criticism of some of your critics. That in itself is a very sad state of affairs for the discipline, especially since the people I would be most wary of are many of those who make the loudest demands for (their approved forms of) inclusivity.
An interesting perspective, though I think the salience of social media amplifies what is actually a minority kind of censoriousness and priggishness masquerading as the moral high ground. Just as we can be confident that I won't stop enforcing my legal rights or calling out charlatans and hacks, we can be confident that it is quite a bit more risky to be a vocal critic of Israel than it is to to be a vocal supporter of me against a minority of web-savvy wrongdoers.
IHE has the latest details. The right-wing Volokh blog, whose selective interest in these issues is well-known, suggests this violates the professor's academic freedom. That seems to me dubious, except on a very capacious conception of academic freedom in which anything an academic says is part of that freedom, a conception which has no legal status. Professor McAdams's research profile does not suggest that his blogging critical of a colleague's teaching practices had anything to do with his scholarship, and so academic freedom is not at issue. On the other hand, he is clearly being punished for his speech, and while Marquette, as a private employer, is not bound by constitutional standards, it should honor a moral commitment to freedom of speech. As the IHE article notes, McAdams's suspension also does seem very suspect from the standpoint of AAUP guidelines. The strongest argument that could be made in favor of the university's action, at least on the facts that are public, is that by inciting a right-wing firestorm about the philosophy instructor's teaching, Professor McAdams interfered with university functions, though I'm not sure how persuasive I find that argument. (Consistent with the New Infantilism now running rampant in the blogosphere, some people suggested that because the philosophy instructor was a graduate student, though one running her own class, and McAdams a faculty member in a different department, he had some kind of special pedagogical or other obligation not to criticize her. That argument has no merit as a matter of law or AAUP norms.)
UPDATE: Over at IHE, there is a strong statement in the comments from longtime academic freedom commentator John K. Wilson (one of the few who was consistently on the right side of the Ward Churchill debacle):
I haven't studied the case enough to make a judgment on whether the TA was right or wrong (or both). But I know with certainty that Marquette is wrong to suspend a professor for talking about the case and expressing an opinion. McAdams is perfectly free to publicly criticize a TA's approach, and nothing about it constitutes harassment or some violation of privacy. The fact that the university can't even clarify exactly why they're suspending McAdams is particularly suspect. McAdams' blog should not be grounds for any kind of investigation; the fact that he was suspended without a hearing shows that this punishment is entirely illegitimate.
That last point is particularly important: suspension without even a hearing indicates that Marquette has just left the AAUP universe. What a disgrace.
ANOTHER: Justin Weinberg (South Carolina) offers a rather tendentious characterization of McAdams's offenses in the third update, and even if it were all true, it would not justify suspension without even a hearing. That McAdams is a right-wing creep is not grounds for his being sanctioned for his speech. Particularly odd is Weinberg's complaint that McAdams failed to show "any concern for Abbate’s welfare or future academic career." But McAdams has no obligation whatsoever to be concerned about this: Abbate is not his student, indeed, is not even in his department. The idea that this is a sanctionable offense on McAdams's part is, itself, a symptom of the New Infantilism, for which Weinberg's blog has become a leading cyber-cheerleader (though to his credit, he permits fairly wide-ranging discussion in the comments).
[W]e were intimidated by an explicit threat to dissolve the department by invoking Regent Policy 4H (the policy on program discontinuance). The idea was to fire everyone, and then hire back some of us. Those lucky enough to be rehired would be rostered (for administrative purposes) in other departments....[T]he threat to shut down the department — which came directly from the Dean's office — had its intended effect on many of my colleagues....
On Dec. 2, the Boulder Faculty Assembly was at long last permitted to discuss some of the pertinent issues. It passed a motion that includes this sentence: "The administration has taken precipitous punitive measures against faculty members without due regard for [the] rules." The group had previously deleted the claim that the administration had "created a sense of fear, insecurity, and distrust among faculty." It is unfortunate that these words were deleted, since they describe exactly what has been done to the philosophy department. Fear, insecurity, and distrust have been the entirely predictable result of administrative posturing and bullying.
The past couple of years have given me a taste of what it must be like to live in a police state. (Think here of malicious gossip taken as gospel, of email surveillance and anonymous reporting, of secret trials and equally secret verdicts.) Faculty members of impeccable character have been afraid to speak out because they fear retaliation against anyone who challenges the narrative being put forward by the administration.
Title IX issues have lately (and quite rightly) received a great deal of attention. But there is another pressing issue on this campus. The community as a whole is endangered when top administrators are permitted to act with reckless disregard for the reputations and careers of both faculty and graduate students.
The Medill senior suing Northwestern under Title IX filed a motion Thursday asking the judge who dismissed her lawsuit to reconsider or vacate his decision.
The new motion reveals multiple concerns about philosophy Prof. Peter Ludlow’s sexual conduct toward students that were brought to the University before the student accused him of sexual assault in 2012....
“The newly-discovered evidence clearly establishes that Northwestern was on actual notice of, and had a prior knowledge of, Ludlow’s past misconduct toward young female students and his predisposition to be involved with them in a sexual and questionably inappropriate manner, but failed to monitor or supervise him,” the Medill senior’s motion claims.
Several readers have sent this paper, some of which raises a genuine question about the status of psychological findings about implicit bias and stereotype threat to which I'd be interested in hearing from experts. (The authors clearly have an agenda of their own, and some of their points are rather tendentious, which is why it would be good to hear from other experts about whether their representation of the literature is fair.) In particular, I'm curious whether any of the claims below the fold are correct:
In many state colleges and universities philosophy programs are housed in one department with religious studies. In some of these cases, philosophy faculty would prefer to be in self-standing philosophy departments. To make this change, philosophy faculty must persuade administrators that philosophy programs should be housed in autonomous philosophy departments.
These philosophers need arguments and data. Here are the questions. What are the particular ways in which the "Philosophy and Religious Studies" combination is problematic? What are the most effective arguments against that combination? (The arguments must appeal to Deans and Provosts.)
Regarding data, it would help philosophers in this position to know which other philosophy departments around the country were once in combined departments, and it would help to know when the split occurred. Finally, it would also be helpful to know the ways in which those philosophy programs have improved after the separation (perhaps in major recruitment, faculty recruitment and retention, research output, and so on).
Noelle McAfee took her PhD in Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin in the late 1990s. I was one of the placement directors when she was first on the job market, and got a rather irate e-mail from her late in the process, since she felt I had not done enough to help her. She, in fact, got a tenure-track job at the University of Massachussetts, Lowell, and then, through the SPEP network, eventually landed a few years ago at Emory University, a SPEP bastion. Well before her move to Emory, McAfee joined the SPEP "Advocacy Committee," which had as its primary purpose counteracting the effect of the PGR that I edited, so her personal vendetta now turned into a professional one. In that role, McAfee spent years on social media posting lies and misinformation about the PGR and sometimes about me personally. After awhile, this grew tiresome, and past experience with SPEP miscreants (like John McCumber) had taught me that a firm response usually sufficed to pull them back from the defamatory brink, which it did with McAfee, at least under her own name. (Sally Haslanger and David Velleman, the two longtime PGR haters, who released my e-mails to McAfee on the web omitted all this history, of course--indeed, they never inquired about it since their aim was to harm me and the PGR, not inform.) But then it turned out that under the pseudonym "ChrisClaire," McAfee had not only written much of her own entry on Wikipedia, but had also taken to vandalizing the wikipedia page about me (the Wikipedia editors eventually put a stop to her mischief). A class act.
UPDATE: [Apparently, Professors Kemp and Aboulafia did not realize that the latter's Facebook page is set to public, and so did not intend for the discussion to be generally available, so as a courtesy to them, I have removed Professor Kemp's comments. Its relevance, in any case, was only this: Prof. Kemp called attention to professed "feminist" philosophers involved with SPEP who had participated in cover-ups of sexual harassment in their department. Noelle McAfee weighed in in response as follows: "I was tagged to this post but I must say I am not willing to be any party to disparaging other feminist colleagues here. If that's going to go on, I'd just as soon not be tagged." Solidarity is, apparently, more important than truth or justice, even justice for victims of sexual harassment.]
NOELLE MCAFEE, aka, CHRIS CLAIRE UPDATE: Following McAfee's policy of not linking, I will comment briefly without linking to her non-response. McAfee doesn't deny any of my allegations (since they're all true, and as she notes the record of most of her lies and misinformation on the PGR is on her blog, except for the defamatory bits which she wisely removed), except one, namely, that "the Wikipedia editors eventually put a stop to her mischief.” In fact, after I e-mailed the Wikipedia help desk about the vandalism, she did stop vandalizing the entry, as a high level editor assured me she would. Even better, McAfee now admits to using the pseudonym "ChrisClaire" (not only to vandalize the entry about me, but to write most of the entry about herself): after I e-mailed her about her use of the pseudonym "ChrisClaire" to vandalize the wikipedia entry about me, McAfee writes that, "I contacted a high-level editor at Wikipedia and asked for help." The "help" she got--besides being told to stop the vandalism and stop writing her own entry--was the information that Wikipedia actually will pay to defend editors who are sued for defamation--not an issue in this instance, but a remarkable policy nonetheless which readers should keep in mind the next time Wikipedia asks for donations.
Philosopher Kathleen Wallace, who is Chair of the Department at Hofstra University, and who has called attention before to the unfortunate tendency of those studying outcomes by college major to lump philosophy with religion, writes:
Briefly, the issue for philosophers concerns how philosophy majors are often aggregated with religious studies majors by data collectors and researchers. This may have deleterious consequences for philosophy when student outcomes are reported in the media.
There is a time-sensitive action item during the public comment period for proposed revisions to the census bureau's American Community Survey (ACS). ACS is proposing to eliminate Question 12 which asks about the respondent's college major. Comment period closes: December 30, 2014.
I'm attaching a brief summary of the issue with the time sensitive action item, which I was wondering if you would be willing to post on Leiter Reports. (The summary is in the attached: Download Aggregating_Data_Summary_v3PDF.) I've written up a more detailed explanation of the data issues which I put up on my website,
I encourage philosphers to take time to submit comments to the ACS, since I think Prof. Wallace is quite right about the unfortunate impact this has on the results for philosophy.
UPDATE: Professor Wallace reports that she heard back from the ACS "as to whether they use aggregated or distinct coding for philosophy and religion on ACS question 12," and it turns out to be the former. Here's their answer:
It looks like the main questions are whether or not we break down "Philosophy and Religious Studies" (4801) into further subcategories and if so, what forms we make those data available. For ACS, we do not break down that category into further subcategories during any of our processing steps, therefore we would not have those data available. Any respondent who wrote "Philosophy", "Religious Studies", "Theology" etc. would all be coded to one category (4801).
Professor Wallace adds: "I had said in the summary that I wasn't sure whether ACS used broad or more finely grained codes from NCES CIP. I will update the more detailed report on my website.... So, it is *really* important that philosophers get in their comments -- that philosophy and religious studies (and theology!) should be processed and reported as distinct majors -- on the ACS question 12 during the public comment period."
ANOTHER IMPORTANT UPDATE: Here's where you go to comment on ACS Question 12: Direct all written comments to Jennifer Jessup, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6616, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230 (or via the Internet at email@example.com). More information here:
As I progress through my PhD program, it's becoming clearer and clearer to me that a lifelong career in academia is probably not for me (for a multitude of reasons that aren't germane). Having said that, I am getting a lot out of my program and enjoy it plenty, and so don't exactly have a desire to drop out--it's just that I want to take a different career path afterward than we are typically groomed for. Given that my PhD would be from a widely respected, extremely well known university, do you think my professional (i.e., non-academic) prospects are good? Or would I be better off to drop out with my MA and seek other professional qualifications/training?
I would appreciate your input on this question, and the input of your readers if you see fit to share the question with them.
I wrote an original research paper for an edited volume which was published this autumn by a leading academic publisher. Colleagues already downloaded chapters from this volume several weeks ago. Amazon lists it as having been published on 05 Nov. 2014.
The publisher assigned the copyright year 2015 to the book. This is the year that is featured in the front matter and on the first page of every chapter. An experienced philosopher tells me it is standard practice for books published roughly from October onwards to be put into the next year for copyright purposes.
Like myself, the editor was unacquainted with this late-dating practice and very unhappy with it. When he inquired about it with the publisher, they wrote: "Usually, when books are published this close to the end of the year, our production department likes to put the following year for the copyright date", and they claimed: "In fact, most people like their books to have a newer copyright year". In a subsequent email, they quoted a passage from the book contract with the editor which stated that they get to decide what year is assigned to a book publication, period.
For reasons I needn't go into here, it mattered greatly to me that the book and my contribution would be published within 2014. This happened, but you can't tell from the copyright year. And I have never seen or heard anyone in academia make a distinction between copyright years and publication years. In particular, no such distinction is ever made in publication lists on CVs, or in bibliographies.
It seems patently absurd to me that anyauthor should be glad to have a work of theirs cited with a later rather than an earlier year of publication. Academic fields move. (And regarding the topic I published on, I believe things are moving quite rapidly right now.) Given that fields move, and given that the perceived originality of insights and arguments can only shift towards the worse with every year that passes, never towards the better, it is obvious that one will always prefer an earlier year to be associated with one's publication than a later one. Indeed, this seems so obvious to me that the above-quoted remark about people "liking their books to have a newer copyright year" almost sounds sarcastic.
Perhaps other readers could comment on the following questions:
1 As an author or editor, barring highly specific scenarios, would you really prefer a later year to be associated with a publication of yours?
2. Have other authors reading this ever been irritated about this practice, and have they ever complained to publishers implementing it?
3. Suppose an author affected by late-dating simply sticks to the actual publication year (rather than copyright year) in all their publication lists (bibliographies, CV): Does this clearly violate disciplinary conventions? And if so, would it violate conventions in a way that is ethically problematic?
Speaking of unchecked punitive impulses: responding to this post, David Velleman advises on Facebook: "The key is to stop visiting Leiter's site and adding to his traffic stats. It only encourages him -- and adds to his income." I think Velleman, a "moral" philosopher, is now the first person to suggest that my speech warrants a financial penalty as well! But what percentage of my income is a proportionate remedy for my speech concerning punishment and proportionality?
ADDENDUM: Velleman offered this boycott proposal several days ago; yesterday, the blog had over 14,000 visits. Go figure?
I was astonished to learn that some people thought it was inappropriate for Peter Ludlow to be an evaluator in the current PGR. Ludlow has been a regular respondent to the surveys for many years; we have always invited past participants (except when they ask to be removed), and we did so this year as well (including, for example, those who signed the boycott statement--many of them did, in the end, participate happily). On what basis could Brit and I take the punitive measure of excluding him as an evaluator because of misconduct and allegations of misconduct unrelated to his philosophical competence?
In an earlier thread on the controversy about an administrative decision to deny Colin McGinn a visiting position at East Carolina University, a young philosopher wrote, in response to the question I posed:
"Should loss of a job for sexual misconduct bar someone from any future academic appointment?"
Uh - YES. Is this a serious question?
John Gardner, the Professor of Jurisprudence at Oxford, then weighed in with the following comment that deserves some serious consideration from those with unchecked punitive impulses:
Of course it's a serious question. We need to begin by asking whether the refusal to hire is punitive, and if so whether the punishment is porportionate to the offence. Or whether the refusal to hire is preventative, in which case whether there are ways to prevent that do not destroy someone's life so completely. If the answer is 'both', we need to know in what proportions, so that we can work out whether the constraints on each goal are being sensibly applied. If the answer is 'neither - we're just trying to send out a signal' (see David Sobel below), then I invite you to consider whether it's morally acceptable to use a person, any person, to do that. Unpleasant narcissists are people too and it's not open season when one of them gets exposed for what he is. It still matters how we treat him. It shocks me that anyone would doubt whether 'How should we treat a wrongdoer in such a situation?' is a serious question.
It is shocking.
UPDATE: A philosopher elsewhere writes:
I wonder if people think being disciplined for sexual misconduct should bar someone from employment of ANY kind?
Or is it any employment with supervisory responsibilities? Or any employment that involves interactions with other people?
And while we are at, what about other offenses? Other crimes against persons? Property crimes?
Should people with a criminal record be allowed to hold jobs?
If not, should they be eligible for public assistance?
My former colleague, the moral philosopher and former editor of Ethics, John Deigh (Texas) wrote:
I regret that so many...are unable to separate your private email correspondence from your editing the PGR and to see that what's deplorable in all this is the behavior of the two individuals who made public, without your consent and with the intention of harming you, private correspondence you sent them. That this behavior was called by one of your detractors courageous is mind-boggling. Both individuals are full professors with tenure at well-respected research universities. What possible danger to their professional standing could they be in from having earned your scorn? Academic highmindedness at its worst.
I've heard from a lot of philosophers who have the same view, and I'm grateful to John for permission to quote him.
Robert Townsend, Director of the Washington Office of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, kindly sent along this new data. He writes:
Instead of the usual calculations, I purchased numbers for the time students spend in the program that confers their degree, which more accurately reflects the focus of many recent reform efforts. The key findings are 1) that even by this more precise measure, the median time humanities PhDs spend in their programs is a year longer than any other field (6.9 years in 2012, as compared to 5.9 among all new PhDs), and 2) the difference between the fields seems to occur at the coursework/exam stage—not the dissertation stage, as many reformers have assumed. Sadly, we could not purchase numbers specifically for philosophy, but I hope you will find the broad trend for the humanities of interest.
In talking to philosophers elsewhere regarding the smear campaign earlier in the fall, I realize that several never saw my reply to Simon May (Florida State), who had given the most cogent statement of what the connection was supposed to be between my response in private to two critics (to one, Carrie Jenkins, I sent a derisive e-mail, to the other Noelle McAfee, I was more aggressive, given that she had been a serial dissembler and defamer of me over many years) and my work on the PGR. The reply was an update to an earlier post, but here it is in full:
THE 'PGR AURA': The worry that some have, as I understand it, is that "the PGR aura" gives my criticisms a weight and importance they would otherwise not have. Simon May (Florida State) gave the most cogent statement I've seen from any of the boycotters, though in my view the weaknesses of his argument are also illuminating (more on that in a moment).
Here is what I take to be the core issue. I respond aggressively with only a miniscule fraction of my critics out there in the world. (The Internet is awash with literally thousands of criticisms of my rankings, my views, and me, and 99% of their authors have never heard from me--contrary to those falsely asserting a "pattern" of my targetting "vulnerable" people--even in the cases at hand, the "targets" are tenured professors at major research institutions. This is one of many reasons why the description of any of this as "bullying" is absurd). Do such aggressive responses raise questions about the work I have done for many years as editor of the PGR? Simon May thinks it does. He writes:
[T]he point is that Prof. Leiter’s status as the editor of the de facto or quasi-official rankings of philosophy departments indicates the community’s endorsement of his behaviour as within the bounds of acceptability.
I would have thought that participation in the PGR indicates that people think I and the Advisory Board have done a good job running it as a useful service for students and departments. It constitutes an endorsement of my extramural statements to critics as little as it constitutes an endorsement of my atheism, my left politics, or my contempt for Jacques Derrida and Ayn Rand. Perhaps, though, "endorsement" is the wrong word: the issue is whether participation in the PGR constitutes "toleration" of conduct that should not be tolerated?
A lot of Simon's case turns, as he correctly acknowledges, on his judgment that my e-mails were "abysmal and utterly unacceptable." This is strong language, melodramatic in my view, but perhaps not in the view of others. There are no doubt great differences of style and temperment between me and Simon, partly due to culture, to professional background, and to life experiences. I do not think anything I did was "abysmal and utterly unacceptable," even as I regret, as I've said repeatedly, sending the e-mail to Prof. Jenkins. (Although I would have written them slightly differently in retrospect, I do not regret the thrust of the other e-mails to a malevolent and persistently dishonest critic over a period of many years [McAfee], one who has repeatedly walked the line on defamation and who even took to vandalizing my Wikipedia page under a pseudonym.) But I understand why some people would prefer I not send intemperate e-mails or assert what I take to be my legal rights so aggressively. I will no doubt do it less often in the future, and think more carefully before doing so. (I am hopeful that if I step down from the PGR, there will be fewer outbursts directed my way, and so less need for any kind of redress.)
As things stand, as uncontested PGR editor, Prof. Leiter has relatively free rein to act in as belligerent a manner as he might wish towards any member of the community.
This is also not true. I have "free rein to act in as belligerent manner as" I might wish because I am a citizen of a free society, in which I can speak my mind. Simon's worry, I take it, is that the "PGR aura" enhances the effect of a belligerent critique. I am not sure it does, but maybe there are cases where it does.
A propos the question of universities indemnifying complainants about sexual harassment and misconduct, an experienced lawyer (who is also a philosopher) wrote to ask whether the proposal was to indemnify only for litigation costs, or also for adverse judgments? I guess I was thinking only for costs, but I'm curious, what do readers think?
While hundreds of philosophers were filling out the PGR surveys, various SPEPPies and hecklers were ranting and raving about the PGR in cyberspace (though without saying much new). Since the PGR is so obviously a sound ranking system (as the actual research and analysis done by Kieran Healy has shown, though the amateur critics ignore it), as well as being so obviously useful to the profession and to students, it's really astonishing to see otherwise intelligent philosophers declare the opposite (it's less surprising when it comes to the unintelligent ones!). Why the visceral and largely irrational response to being evaluated by one's peers? Someone should research this!
UPDATE: A note of caution to students: do not be misled by philosophers who teach at or took their PhDs from poorly ranked departments (or unranked departments) who profess with great certainty and earnestness that there are serious methodological problems with the PGR: there are not, and no one serious who has studied it thinks there are. It has been hugely influential with students, faculty, and administrators because it is basically sound at what it does, though, as the Report itself says, there is much else to consider in choosing a PhD program. Not all critics of the PGR have transparently self-serving motives, but most do. I gave up long ago trying to reason with them, since they hold their views for reasons other than the transparently flabby ones they proffer. As I've written in the past (see the last paragraph), the PGR has always brought noxious behavior out of the woodwork from alleged "professionals," and I have to confess to being glad not to have to deal with the PGR after 2014 for this reason in particular.
A brief account here. Just to be clear (given the the number of legal actions growing out of this affair), this lawsuit was an action solely against the university alleging failure to comply with Title IX in its handling of the student's initial complaint about Professor Ludlow. The student has also sued Ludlow personally, and Ludlow has sued the student and the University--those matters are still pending to the best of my knowledge.
I agree with Jennifer Lackey that universities which really want complainants about sexual harassment and misconduct to come forward should, as a matter of course, indemnify them for subsequent legal risks, but I did think this proposal was rather startling and dangerous, as did others (complete with the overused word "bullying"!).
A nice aspect of the briefly overboard smear campaign back in September was that I got tons of e-mails from friends, colleagues, students, former students and former colleagues offering sympathy, praise, words of appreciation, and so on. But one theme that came up a lot was the alleged similarities between the (partially successful) campaign to oust me from the PGR and what the University of Illinois did to Steven Salaita. At first, I didn't give this much thought, because of the two obvious differences: Salaita lost his livelihood, whereas the smear campaigners targetted only my editing the PGR, not my livelihood; and Salaita's "offensive" speech was on matters of public concern, whereas mine was not. But as more correspondents raised it, it did seem to me there were some moderately interesting similarities: first, the critics of both Salaita and of me were convinced of the utter rectitude of their objections to the "offensive" speech; and second, the critics were not content simply to criticize and denounce, they wanted to exact a tangible "punishment," or what they perceived to be such a punishment. The combination of sanctimonious rectitude and a desire to exact punishment for offensive speech makes a dangerous brew, far more dangerous in the Salaita case obviously.
Local news story here (including the "Notice of Claim" letter from Barnett's lawyer, which is quite damning about the University's conduct if accurate). The response of the University official is quite snide, and fails to note that, in fact, Ward Churchill prevailed with a jury in his lawsuit against Colorado.
Continental Philosophy Farhang Erfani, a philosopher at American University, provides a useful set of links to news, events, interviews, reviews, videos, etc. related to "Continental philosophy" (broadly construed)