Federal funding of area studies was rightfully challenged because there is no intellectual diversity on college campuses in America, especially in the field of Middle Eastern studies, where only a small minority of professors openly support American policies.
Middle Eastern Studies is dominated by Edward Said's post-colonial theory, which says that, in the words of the Hoover Institution's Stanley Kurtz, "it is immoral for a scholar to put his knowledge of foreign languages and cultures at the service of American power."
Said is one of the most-taught authors in the field of Middle Eastern studies. Because of the predominance of post-colonial theory in the classroom, pro-American voices are excluded. When was the last time that you heard a professor say something positive about the current administration's policies? Who among our faculty openly supports the United States-Israel relationship? I know of no professors who speak out in favor of American foreign policy, but I know of many who openly disagree with it. We at the University cannot get a good education if we are only hearing half the story.
Academic freedom will not be threatened by this new legislation, but will instead be promoted. The United States government finally was convinced of this and is doing something to fix the problem of academic bias. Middle Eastern studies faculty nationwide must understand that they are blinded by their own prejudices and therefore fail to accurately explain or anticipate major developments in the Middle East.
The new legislation is already drawing much attention. Rarely does area studies make headlines, but now it is. If debate about the future of area studies is encouraged nationwide among college professors, then the legislation will have achieved its goal of promoting intellectual diversity, which right now, is nonexistent.
Daniel P. Rubenstein
Middle Eastern studies sophomore