Our event on S. Sayyid’s Recalling the Caliphate is kicking off on Friday and readers interested in an appetizer can find his review of Cotton, Climate, and Camels over at SCTIW. A small sample:
The same conflict between ideology and knowledge can be seen in the so-called culture wars in US academies. The significance of these campus culture wars is more than just an account of a bloodless game of thrones that characterizes academic careers (who is promoted, who has been tenured, who blocked who, etc.), for the battle lines are drawn between those who want to promote the idea of a self-contained Western canon and those who want to decolonize it. Those who want to imagine something that transcends the Western order of things are very often admonished not to worry about the color of cats but to focus on catching mice. In other words, an “ideological” critique is invalid and the academic should undertake research and teaching that adheres to the old verities and virtues of academia, that is, disinterested pure knowledge easily accessible and unencumbered by obtuse postcolonial or postmodern thought, the assumption being that academic knowledge, done properly, would be an uninterrupted tale of a world that goes from Plato-to-NATO.