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The Forum > Article Comments > Untenurable: the firing of Ariella Azoulay > Comments

Untenurable: the firing of Ariella Azoulay : Comments

By Neve Gordon, published 12/10/2010

The cultural theorists are right: everything is indeed political.

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Yes, pushing the wrong political line, even inadvertently, can destroy careers. Back in the early nineties, nine or ten staff members at one Aboriginal and Islander Studies Centre at one university, were effectively sacked by not having their annual contracts renewed: one reason seemed to be that they were not working in Aboriginal-oriented studies areas, but with Aboriginal and Islander students enrolled in mainstream courses. It seemed clear that a policy of channelling Indigenous students away from mainstream courses and into Indigenous-oriented courses could have been responsible and by implication, Indigenous students who dared to enrol in 'white' courses [the term actually used] would not get the support that students enrolled in 'Black' courses were entitled to.

Another wave of sackings seemed to take place around the end of 2005, as enrolments in Indigenous-focussed awards were collapsing: but since then, with almost all Indigenous students enrolling in mainstream ['white'] courses, enrolments have been at successive record levels each year. So the horse has bolted: attempts to control Indigenous students in that way are already far too late.

To work in Indigenous programs often means that you stick your neck out, you go out on a limb. It has been all too easy to cut off that limb, even on what sound like 'politically radical' reasons, and, in the process, create many very disenchanted erstwhile-supporters.

Universities should be sites of difference of opinion, and that means the units within universities. They, and the universities, are all the poorer for the destruction of the careers of those who do not toe the party line.
Posted by Loudmouth, Tuesday, 12 October 2010 11:43:37 AM
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I am once again impressed by Neve's impeccable logic and academic genius.

The qualification of his whole article: "the protocols of the university committees that reached this pitiful decision have not been made public".

Yet, despite not being made public, he is quick to publically lambast the rationale behind the decision.

This reads like a convenient political reading of an agenda he is blindly determined to pursue?

Might Azoulay share this same political agenda? If so, I hope that his academic integrity is more evidenced based that Neve's own.
Posted by Brian Kollin, Tuesday, 12 October 2010 11:58:17 AM
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I think it can be taken as read that virtually all universities are only radical to a point; to the point beyond which self-reflexivity foments social unrest rather than palliating it. Cultural studies (and kin) has long been a conservative institutional organ rather than anything properly political. That is, universities patronise the radical element, giving them a semblance of progressive/objective integrity, while at the same time effectively vaccinating society against genuine radicalism. Institutional radicalism is nothing more than first-aid, or better still, pre-emptive care. History shows that as soon as institutional dissent reaches the point of sincerity (militant action), most of the cohort withdraws and the institution sounds the alarm, rendering the whole exercise completely safe, even banal and salubrious overall. Cultural studies, and other ostensibly political humanities, opperate like controlled burns; if the situation looks like getting out of hand the fire brigade (repressive state apparatuses) takes over, which is where Israel is at with Azoulay; she seems to be taking everything far too seriously.
Of course Israel is nearly a rogue state, at least diplomatically, and so the international community is obliged to feign disapproval at the terrible abuses of our internationally cherished human rights (lol). All cant and moonshine of course; Israel is the toast of the US, Australia et al; which countries must, however, keep up appearances. Israel is scapegoat, scapegrace and diversion. Azoulay is busy keeping Israel honest while the rest of the dastardly crew (the west), palms pressed together in meek supplication, pursue their own devious and dastardly agenda's unmolested.
Meanwhile the culturalists are fighting for equal rights for gays etc. etc., thereby maintaining institutionalised living and the status quo..
CDF really..
Posted by Squeers, Tuesday, 12 October 2010 8:29:21 PM
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