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Education and its discontents

Reader comment on item: A Prof [Hamid Dabashi] Tangles the Truth

Submitted by Jacob (United States), Mar 31, 2005 at 23:49

Hello Dr. Pipes,

Your coverage of the Hamid Dabashi syndrome- both from your own experiences with him as well as other public displays- provides a more intimate look at a trend that is so prevalent and contagious on many campuses.

As a student of Classical Islam, I think it so egregious that those celebrity scholars of Islamic history and politics rarely have credentials of historians and, in most cases, claim expertise in a certain field simply because of their own upbringings in a particular country. Edward Said, a comparative literature professor, was a case in point. So, in a somewhat different sense, is Noam Chomsky, a linguist.

Concurrently, for my own personal journey through Qur'anic exegesis and Islamic thought, I find it often frustrating that interesting insights come from interpreters who choose to extend their scriptural familiarity to the political sphere-- a place where, I think, they do not belong. What is keeping the public from recognizing these contradictions?

All the best,


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