Edward W. Said, the late professor of English at Columbia University and noted literary critic credited with helping found postcolonial studies, was a prominent advocate for the Palestinian people. So it makes sense that finalists for the new Edward Said Professorship in Middle East Studies at California State University at Fresno might be interested in Palestinian issues; indeed, the job ad circulated this fall listed preferred qualifications as including "active scholarship in the candidate's area of expertise with a special focus on Edward Said's intellectual legacy."
Despite settling on a group of finalists for the position who met that criterion and others, Fresno State has canceled the job search for this year, saying it will try again in 2018. The university cites unspecified procedural errors in the current search. But some scholars are crying foul -- saying the move was influenced, in part, by pressure from individuals and groups dissatisfied with candidates' Middle Eastern backgrounds and Palestinian research interests.
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