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Letter: 62 Duke faculty respond to Department of Education directive

letter to the editor

We appreciate the recent statement on academic freedom from President Price and Provost Kornbluth following the US Department of Education’s investigation of the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East studies. We also welcome the letter to the DOE from 18 American academic associations—including the Middle East Studies Association, the Modern Language Association, and the American Anthropological Association—who characterized the investigation as “an unprecedented and counterproductive intervention into academic curricula and programming that threatens the integrity and autonomy of our country’s institutions of higher education.”

The Federal investigation is the culmination of a decades-long campaign by anti-Palestinian organizations against academic programing and curricular offerings that are deemed insufficiently “pro-Israel.” This investigation targeted a Middle East center, but should concern all of us. Today, all teachers and scholars are at risk when not aligned with national policy and national security priorities. At stake, in the current moment, is the ability of Universities to operate freely and openly without the fear of censure, and the ability of faculty to determine what they “teach, how they teach it, what they choose to research or write about, or who can speak on our campus." Duke’s continued commitment to open debate is vital. The integrity of our University demands an educational climate where free and open inquiry is encouraged and fostered, in and out of the classroom, even on the most controversial subjects.

Signed,

Elizabeth Albright, Assistant Professor of the Practice, Nicholas School of the Environment 

Anne Alison, Professor, Cultural Anthropology 

Abdullah T. Antepli, Associate Professor of the Practice, Sanford School of Public Policy 

Nancy Armstrong, Professor, English 

Fadi Bardawil, Assistant Professor, Asian & Middle East Studies

 Nicole Barnes, Assistant Professor, History 

Amal Boumaaza, Lecturing Fellow, Asian & Middle East Studies 

Guy-Uriel E. Charles, Professor, Law School 

Joan Clifford, Assistant Professor of the Practice, Romance Studies 

Miriam Cooke, Professor Emerita, Asian & Middle East Studies 

Sheila Dillon, Professor, Art, Art History, and Visual Studies (Chair)

Prasenjit Duara, Professor, History 

Katharine Dubois, Lecture Fellow, History 

Jan Ewald, Professor Emerita, History

Luciana Fellin, Associate Professor of the Practice, Romance Studies 

Sara Galletti, Associate Professor, Art, Art History & Visual Studies 

Shai Ginsburg, Associate Professor, Asian & Middle East Studies

Erdağ Göknar, Associate Professor, Asian & Middle East Studies 

Mark Hansen, Professor, Program in Literature 

Didem Havlioğlu, Lecturing Fellow, Asian & Middle East Studies 

Kerry L. Haynie, Professor, Political Science, Chair of Academic Council

Wesley Hogan, Director, Center for Documentary Studies 

Maha Houssami, Lecturer, Asian & Middle East Studies 

Tsitsi Jaji, Associate Professor, English 

Andrew Janiak, Professor, Philosophy (Chair)

Vasant Kaiwar, Visiting Associate Professor, History 

Nancy Kalow, Lecturing Fellow, Documentary Studies 

Satti Khanna, Associate Professor of the Practice, Asian & Middle East Studies 

Claudia Koonz, Professor Emerita, History

Thomas Lamarre, Professor, Asian & Middle East Studies 

Pedro Lasch, Research Professor, Art, Art History & Visual Studies 

Carolyn Lee, Professor of the Practice, Asian & Middle East Studies 

Ralph Litzinger, Associate Professor, Cultural Anthropology 

Wahneema Lubiano, Associate Professor, African & African-American Studies 

Nancy MacLean, Professor, History

Abdeslam Maghraoui, Associate Professor of the Practice, Political Science 

Anne-Maria Makhulu, Associate Professor, Cultural Anthropology 

Jehangir Malegam, Associate Professor, History 

Kathryn Mathers, Associate Professor of the Practice, International Comparative Studies 

Laurie McIntosh, Assistant Professor, Cultural Anthropology 

Jessica Namakkal, Assistant Professor of the Practice, International Comparative Studies 

Mark Anthony Neal, Professor, African & African-America Studies (Chair)

Diane Nelson, Professor, Cultural Anthropology 

Jocelyn Olcott, Professor, History and Gender, Sexuality, & Feminist Studies (Chair)

Liliana Paredes, Professor of the Practice, Romance Studies 

Gunther Peck, Associate Professor, History 

Leela Prasad, Associate Professor, Religious Studies

Alex Rosenberg, Professor, Philosophy 

Adam Rosenblatt, Associate Professor of the Practice, International Comparative Studies 

Pete Sigal, Professor, History 

Harris Solomon, Associate Professor, Cultural Anthropology

Rebecca L. Stein, Associate Professor, Cultural Anthropology 

Leonard Tennenhouse, Professor, English 

Surya Tokdar, Associate Professor, Statistical Science 

Mustafa Tuna, Associate Professor, Slavic & Eurasian Studies 

Aarthi Vadde, Associate Professor, English 

Priscilla Wald, Professor, English

Erika Weinthal, Professor, Nicholas School of the Environment 

Augustus Wendell, Associate Professor of the Practice, Art, Art History & Visual Studies 

Annabel Wharton, Professor, Art, Art History & Visual Studies 

Ara Wilson, Associate Professor, Gender, Sexuality, & Feminist Studies 

David Wong, Professor, Philosophy

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