Savage Minds has been rather remiss in following up on the Ward Churchill affair and the results of the trial since Dustin’s post in 2007. I’ve mostly kept quite because it seemed that Maximilian Forte had the beat covered, but this recent Salon article got me thinking about it again. So here is a brief roundup of the latest news and reactions, in the interest of provoking some discussion amongst our readers and hearing what you all have to say on the matter:
- A ($1) Win for Ward Churchill Inside Higher Ed reports on the verdict: “To find in Churchill’s favor, the jury had to determine that his political views were a substantial or motivating factor in his dismissal, and that he would not have been fired but for the controversy over his opinions” which they did. I’m happy about this because while many raised what seemed like legitimate complaints about Churchill’s scholarship, it was clear from the beginning that his firing was motivated by politics. Scott Jaschik’s article is (as always) quite thorough and well worth reading – including back links for those who haven’t been following the case.
- Stanly Fish, in his NY Times blog post, writes that “if the standards for dismissal adopted by the Churchill committee were generally in force, hardly any of us professors would have jobs.” But, writing in Salon, Gary Kamiya is much harsher, asserting that “Churchill’s academic misconduct is that it brought disrepute not only upon himself, but upon the field of ethnic studies in general and Native American studies in particular.” These discussions echo Dustin’s earlier contention that this “raises serious concerns about not just Churchill’s scholarship, but about everybody’s, especially in anthropology where quite often there are only a handful of folks with specialized knowledge of a particular area.”
- In the blog devoted to the lawsuit, there is talk of whether Churchill will actually get his job back, as the university wants to pay him off to go away instead. “Churchill and his legal team have both declared emphatically that reinstatement is their sole objective.”
- And Maximilian Forte has a post exploring the rhetoric by which Churchill’s critics built their case against him, focusing on the outrage of “Good Americans” who “think of their nation as a land of freedom, despite the many institutionalized inequalities.”