14.1140, Disc: Academic Boycotts

LINGUIST List linguist at linguistlist.org
Fri Apr 18 11:25:10 UTC 2003


LINGUIST List:  Vol-14-1140. Fri Apr 18 2003. ISSN: 1068-4875.

Subject: 14.1140, Disc: Academic Boycotts

Moderators: Anthony Aristar, Wayne State U.<aristar at linguistlist.org>
            Helen Dry, Eastern Michigan U. <hdry at linguistlist.org>

Reviews (reviews at linguistlist.org):
	Simin Karimi, U. of Arizona
	Terence Langendoen, U. of Arizona

Home Page:  http://linguistlist.org/

The LINGUIST List is funded by Eastern Michigan University, Wayne
State University, and donations from subscribers and publishers.

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <karen at linguistlist.org>
 ==========================================================================
To post to LINGUIST, use our convenient web form at
http://linguistlist.org/LL/posttolinguist.html.
=================================Directory=================================

1)
Date:  Thu, 17 Apr 2003 14:57:15 +0000
From:  Shalom Lappin <lappin at dcs.kcl.ac.uk>
Subject:  Academic boycotts and OT

2)
Date:  Thu, 17 Apr 2003 21:55:06 -0400
From:  Theriault Alain <theriaal at MAGELLAN.UMontreal.CA>
Subject:  Re: 14.1133, Disc: Academic Boycotts

3)
Date:  Fri, 18 Apr 2003 08:10:43 +0300
From:  "Bernard Spolsky" <spolsb at mail.biu.ac.il>
Subject:  On academic boycotts

4)
Date:  Fri, 18 Apr 2003 13:19:11 +0200
From:  "Yehuda N. Falk" <msyfalk at mscc.huji.ac.il>
Subject:  Re: Academic Boycotts

-------------------------------- Message 1 -------------------------------

Date:  Thu, 17 Apr 2003 14:57:15 +0000
From:  Shalom Lappin <lappin at dcs.kcl.ac.uk>
Subject:  Academic boycotts and OT

Dick Hudson suggests that the concern for academic freedom on one hand
and the right to engage in academic boycotts on the other be construed
as competing defeasible constraints in an OT system. This is an
interesting idea which is worth exploring. It implies that
anti-discrimination laws should be regarded as defeasible in relation
to the rights of individuals and organizations to refuse housing,
service, employment, etc. to people that they dislike. In fact freedom
from discrimination on national and ethnic (as well as racial,
religious, sexual, and other) grounds is a basic human right that is
not defeasible. This is precisely why this freedom is enshrined in
consititutions and human rights charters. Britain does not have a
written constitution; however, Britain has recently incorporated the
European Union's Human Rights Charter into its legal code rendering
principles of non-discrimination entirely non-defeasible. OT is
exactly the wrong model for thinking about human rights legislation in
academic or other domains. Defeasibility provides a cover for bigotry,
which is what this sort of legislation is designed to rule out.

                      Shalom Lappin


-------------------------------- Message 2 -------------------------------

Date:  Thu, 17 Apr 2003 21:55:06 -0400
From:  Theriault Alain <theriaal at MAGELLAN.UMontreal.CA>
Subject:  Re: 14.1133, Disc: Academic Boycotts

Hi all

Since the idea of the boycott is to express one's disagreement with a
regime, why not boycott any governement/intitution related aspects of
the individual and not the individual in particular.  Institutions
like universities depend on the exposure their researchers give
them. In return, the university give the said researcher some
advantages (salary, research facilities, etc.)

So, if I may suggest, scholars affiliated with institutions within
certain countries would not have their affiliation mentioned in any
way. For instance, a conference, or an association organises a
conference and want to invite Noam Chomsky. But, in view with the
recent events in the Middle East, feel that the USA should be
boycotted. On the programme, along with the world wide renouned
phonologist Alain Theriault from Universite de Montreal and the
universite de Nantes, there would be one Noam Chomsky without any
affiliation attached to his name. This way, you won't punish the
individual but the institution.

Scholars are free thinkers and they all contribute to the advancement
of human knowledge.  Universities, on the other side, are institutions
that are often associated with regimes. They also make their bread and
butter on their reputation and exposure is a big part of this
reputation. Though they facilitate research, they owe to their
scholars a lot more than their scholars owe them.

Cheers!

Alain Theriault
Universite de Montreal
AAI (Universite de Nantes)


-------------------------------- Message 3 -------------------------------

Date:  Fri, 18 Apr 2003 08:10:43 +0300
From:  "Bernard Spolsky" <spolsb at mail.biu.ac.il>
Subject:  On academic boycotts

The statement by Blakemore, Dawkins, Noble and Yudkins in Nature 421,
314 (23 Jan 2003) deals with this issue. I suggest linguists read it
too. It points out that "a boycott of researchers who are citizens of
another country, as a political protest against that country's
government. ... is explicitly forbidden by the International Council
for Science."


Bernard Spolsky   spolsb at mail.biu.ac.il


-------------------------------- Message 4 -------------------------------

Date:  Fri, 18 Apr 2003 13:19:11 +0200
From:  "Yehuda N. Falk" <msyfalk at mscc.huji.ac.il>
Subject:  Re: Academic Boycotts

Dick Hudson wrote:

>Maybe it would be helpful to think of the issue in terms of OT. There
>are two potentially conflicting constraints:
>AFT = Academic Free Trade: academic material - ideas, publications,
>people - should flow unimpeded.
>PP = Political Protest: we should protest against offensive politics
>by withdrawing support from those responsible.  The question is how
>these two constraints are ranked.

Here is the problem: who decides what is "offensive politics"?

There are few, if any, political conflicts on which people agree on
which side is right and which side engages in "offensive politics", or
even on the nature of the underlying issues. What right does a
linguistics organization have to adopt a particular political analysis
and impose sanctions on those who disagree?

And, of course, the list of countries in the world which engage in
what might be considered "offensive politics" is enormous. While one
certainly has the right personally to boycott, say, the products of a
country whose policies one considers "offensive" (I do, for example),
what right does an organization like the LSA have to make these
decisions?

Whatever politically-based decisions an organization like the LSA
makes, it is bound to offend part of its membership.

                            Yehuda N. Falk
       Department of English, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
                     Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem, Israel
      Personal Web Site    http://pluto.mscc.huji.ac.il/~msyfalk/
     Departmental Web Site    http://atar.mscc.huji.ac.il/~english/

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
LINGUIST List: Vol-14-1140



More information about the Linguist mailing list