I’ve been a professor in the Anthropology Department at UCLA since 1996; I received tenure in 2000. My research has spanned topics ranging from nonhuman primate behavior to human personality variation. For decades, anthropology has been notorious for conflict between the scientific and political activist factions in the field, leading many departments to split in two. But UCLA’s department remained unusually peaceful, cohesive, and intellectually inclusive until the late 2000s.
Gradually, one hire at a time, practitioners of “critical” (i.e. leftist, postmodernist) anthropology, some of them lying about their beliefs during job interviews, came to comprise the department’s most influential clique. These militant faculty members recruited even more militant graduate students to work with them.
… Also typical of elite U.S. universities, UCLA is awash in Jew-hatred thinly disguised as anti-Zionism. In May 2019, one of my colleagues, Kyeyoung Park, invited a guest lecturer, San Francisco State University professor Rabab Abdulhadi, to her class to proclaim that Zionism is a form of white supremacism. Unlike Rust, Enstrom, Fink, Klein, Brantingham, Park was celebrated by the faculty and administration as a courageous, embattled exponent of academic freedom. The Anthropology Graduate Students Association chimed in with a resolution agreeing with Abdulhadi. More recently, the Asian-American Studies Department posted to its website a statement accusing Israel of settler colonialism, racial apartheid, and so on.
…A 2019 article by Liel Leibovitz, titled “Get Out,” argued that the increasingly open hostility of American universities toward Jews is inseparable from the universities’ increasingly brazen rejection of two values that, during the 20th century, made them into places where Jews specifically, and ambitious and open-minded people generally, could thrive: meritocracy and free debate. In 2019, I thought that Leibovitz was exaggerating and rather overwrought. Everything that’s happened since has shown that he was spot on.
The rise of alternative institutions, like the University of Austin and Ralston College, are very hopeful signs even though the work is slow-going. But until those new schools are built, I can’t bear to spend one more moment in a place that’s morally and intellectually bankrupt.
That’s it: I’m getting out.
Joseph Manson | “Why I’m Giving Up Tenure at UCLA” | July 7, 2022
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