(Pandora’s Box) Should Jewish Studies Boycott American Studies Association?


Now that American Studies at Brandeis University has pulled itself out of the American Studies Association, I would like to run a little thought experiment. It;s just a thought experiment. Here’s how it plays out.


Assuming that: colleagues and resources at Israeli universities, as well as Israel Studies as a sister discipline, are integral to the practice of Jewish Studies.

That would mean that: the blanket boycott of Israeli universities represents a direct and negative impact upon the study of Jewish Studies.

Should: Jewish Studies therefore  boycott American Studies Association, and all colleagues or programming linked with that one particular academic body? Out of political self-interest?


A small for-instance:

As director of the Jewish Studies program at Syracuse University, I am often asked to host speakers and to co-sponsor events with other academic units.

Would it be within the moral or even legal purview of the program faculty to direct its director to cease co-sponsoring events or hosting scholars with direct, institutional ties to the ASA?

The boycott would not apply to individuals but only to representatives of the organization or those acting under its auspices, as long, of course as they do not demonstrate their opposition to the BDS


“One has to start somewhere.”

Welcome to Pandora’s Box.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
This entry was posted in uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply