Beshara Doumani, a historian and scholar of Palestinian studies, says he has devoted his career "to studying the history of peoples, places and time periods that have been ignored by mainstream scholarship on the Middle East."
Not everyone is celebrating the milestone. A.J. Caschetta, a principal lecturer in the English department at Rochester Institute of Technology and a fellow with Campus Watch, an initiative that critiques Middle East studies programs, particularly over some professors' criticism of Israel, published an article in July accusing Brown of trying "to indoctrinate students and 'inform the community' about the evils of Israeli colonialism, while stamping its imprimatur on the virtues of the Palestinian cause."
"At a time when the foreign policy of the U.S. and much of the Arab world has diminished its support for the 'Palestinian issue' (a euphemism in its eighth decade), academia presses on, firmly in the Palestinian corner," Caschetta wrote. "Brown University's effort to out-Palestine Columbia University is just another indication of this trend in higher education. What great institution will next try to out-Palestine Brown and how? Perhaps we will soon see one of them endow a Yasser Arafat Chair."