Seeking to change the direction of Middle Eastern and African studies, a new scholarly organization was announced Thursday — with some big name scholars on board and some tough criticism for the discipline. The biggest scholarly names in the new group, Bernard Lewis of Princeton University and Fouad Ajami of Johns Hopkins University. are associated with support for the Bush administration's view of the Middle East, a decidedly minority opinion within Middle Eastern studies.
The Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa aims to have a full range of services — conferences, a journal, newsletters, and so forth. Its council, in addition to Lewis and Ajami, includes Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations and a veteran of the Johnson and Carter administrations, and George P. Shultz, who was secretary of state under President Reagan.
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