by Pamela Young, Published March 18, 2014
YPSILANTI – Self-described “tenured radical” Cary R. Nelson's lecture about issues surrounding the movement of educational groups to boycott Israel has been canceled due to an accident. He was scheduled to speak Monday, March 24 at 7:30 p.m. in Eastern Michigan University’s Student Center Auditorium but is unable to fly.
The program was part of Eastern’s Jewish Studies Program lecture series.
Nelson, the Jubilee Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois, was to speak on “Bait and Switch: The Purpose of the Movement to Boycott Israel.”
Nelson is known for openly addressing political issues in the classroom. A former president of the American Association of University Professors, he has been an outspoken advocate for academic freedom.
He will discuss how, during the past year, the movement to weaken Israel through boycotts, divestment and sanctions has gained significant momentum.
For example, the American Studies Association voted to support a boycott in Dec. 2013. In January 2014, the delegate assembly of the Modern Language Association, an international organization representing nearly 30,000 members, narrowly agreed to support sanctions.
A resolution is currently being considered by the American Anthropology Association that would condemn Israel’s “violations of international law and human rights,” and to “honor the call of Palestinian civil society for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.”
Nelson has spoken out against this growing campaign, expressing concern at the movement’s success at increasing intolerance on American campuses.
A prolific author, Nelson has published 11 books, including “Manifesto of a Tenured Radical,” “Revolutionary Memory: Recovering the Poetry of the American Left,” and “No University is an Island: Saving Academic Freedom.”
His scholarship in the 1970s and 1980s dealt with modern American poetry, and since the 1990s he has focused on issues in higher education.
Nelson received his Ph.D. in English from the University of Rochester in N.Y. and an undergraduate degree from Antioch College in Ohio.
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