Once upon a time, leftists purged from American academe could find a refuge abroad. Not anymore.

During the Cold War, leftist scholars purged from American academe at least had the opportunity, sometimes, to start again outside the country. That’s how Moses Finley became Sir Moses Finley, the internationally acclaimed classicist at Cambridge. That’s how Chandler Davis, aka Mr. Natalie Zemon Davis, became an internationally acclaimed mathematician at the University of Toronto. But now it seems as if even that escape route is being denied to Steven Salaita, who was unanimously recommended by a search committee for a position at the American University of Beirut, only to have the university’s president scuttle the search. There’s a petition circulating here; please sign it.


  1. Bill Michtom April 13, 2016 at 6:58 pm | #


    • Monica Mori April 13, 2016 at 8:11 pm | #

      Oh my God, no. I thought no other university could be as flat out DUMB as the University of Illinois. How does THIS university president explain himself?

  2. Philippa April 14, 2016 at 8:33 am | #

    Salaita chose to take the money rather than fight the principled battle against abusive dismissal. I was personally disappointed (and not only because I had sent him financial support), but, having thought it through, I concluded that it was indeed his choice to make. However, this does mean that he is now in a position to fund a great many years of independant research, if he can’t find a job immediately.
    Many people have been either sacked, or not employed, or not promoted over this very issue, and they didn’t win the lottery because of it.
    Salaita’s employment situation has been treated, and he made his choice. May I suggest finding a more worthy topic to agitate about?

    • Corey Robin April 14, 2016 at 9:03 am | #

      “My I suggest finding a more worthy topic to agitate about?” No, you may not. This is my blog. If you don’t like the topics I write about, go read someone else’s blog. I also find your comments about Salaita winning the lottery offensive.

  3. Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant April 14, 2016 at 9:53 am | #


  4. Jeff Rice April 16, 2016 at 12:04 pm | #

    Mr. Robin makes a claim that during the McCarthy era american left wing professors could and did get refuges abroad and cites two examples: Chandler Davis and Moses Finley (formerly Moses Finkelstein). Indeed these are true with Davis who completed his thesis in 1950 making it to Toronto in ’60 (after a decade of publishing science fiction articles and a stint in jail). Finley went to Cambridge in the mid-50s after being unceremoniously purged from Rutgers for being a red. My question is how many other stories like this are there? Was a job in another country, especially a world class university position like both Davis and Finley obtained typical or are you using two exceptional cases to make a point for the present decade? I offer no further interpretation here but leave the question intact. Was the McCarthy era in the universities a means to a successful career in exile or a ticket out of the university?

    • J. Otto Pohl April 19, 2016 at 11:51 am | #

      Owen Lattimore went to Leeds in 1963. It is difficult to connect this to his 1952 SSIS hearing and convictions for perjury, however. The vast majority of US scholars taking positions overseas have done so due to the very poor job market domestically preventing them from geting a position at home at all rather than losing a job due to their politics. But, my impression as a US citizen having done his PhD in the UK and then taught in Asia and now Africa for many years now is that the Americans lecturing at foreign universities are generally far to the right of those in the US.

Leave a Reply