Monday, October 23, 2006

Why Kevin Barrett Doesn't Have Tenure

Kevin Barrett is often called a professor, but in fact he is just a lecturer, part-time without tenure of any type. He demonstrates why in this editorial in the University of Wisconsin student newspaper.

First of all, I am just amazed by a "professor" who is supposed to be a specialist on Islam, who, aside from not understanding how to use "sic", doesn't even seem to understand the basic terminology in the field, referring to the usage of the term "Islamist".

Setting aside Carnes’ linguistic brutalities, it sounds like it is Carnes, not me, who wants to politicize what is supposed to be a religious studies class. Substitute Buddhism, Hinduism or Native American religion for Islam in the above paragraphs and you will see how ridiculous Carnes’ idea of what an introduction to a religion is supposed to be: “Buddhicists have been battling over controversies surrounding Buddhistic study: Is Buddhism locked in a clash of civilizations … ?” Or try substituting “Judaism” for “Buddhism” to get a sense of the implicit bigotry that informs Carnes’ outlook on Islam.

Islamists, is in fact a widely accepted term, here is a definition from PBS Frontline, hardly a neo-con source:

Islamist is a term used to identify a Muslim fundamentalist.

If Barrett is not aware of a Muslim fundamentalist movement, then he definitely should not be teaching at a major public university. Comparing this to "Buddhicists", is a particularly specious argument. Is anyone aware of a major international movement by Buddhists using violence to compel others to convert to their religion?

Barrett then goes on to use that famous academic research method, the newspaper opinion poll, and he even distorts that.

Doubting the official conspiracy theory of 9/11 is not a peculiarity of Muslims. A recent New York Times poll showed that only 16 percent of the American people believe the official story, meaning that 84 percent do not.

As we have already shown, this is a deliberate distortion of the poll by the conspiracy theorists.

The best comment on this article is by a student, supposedly from his class:

This isn't really related to Barret's views on 9/11, but...

The Pope's quoting of the Byzantine Emperor was brought up four or five times in class, and it took this many times of discussion before Barret conceded that, in fact, some Muslims reacted violently. Most of the time was spent ridiculing the Pope. This shows where he stands. He'd rather poke fun at the Pope for quoting a man that criticized Islam and Mohammed, than comment on members of his own faith gunning down a nun in Mogadishu, blowing up churches in Palestine, and calling for the death of the Pope throughout the world.

No, I don't think he should be fired for his "views", but he raises serious questions whether he is even qualified to hold the position in the first place. There is no constitutional ammendement protecting your right to be incompetent.


At 23 October, 2006 18:13, Blogger Triterope said...

There is no constitutional ammendement protecting your right to be incompetent.

When I read this, I immediately pictured some relieved department head in a small office in Madison, Wisconsin saying "Eureka! We can fire him for incompetence! God, why didn't I think of that before?"

At 23 October, 2006 18:14, Blogger shawn said...

Nice I know more about Islam than a lecturer on the subject.

Frontline's definition is a little too vague for my tastes. Islamism is a belief that Islam is a political system in addition to being a religion. There are certainly fundamentalists who don't feel the same way.

At 24 October, 2006 09:50, Blogger The Artistic Macrophage said...

Is "Buddhicist" a real word? Comes up blank when searching


At 24 October, 2006 12:00, Blogger Triterope said...

Is "Buddhicist" a real word?

No, it isn't. "Islamist" is a real word, but Kevin Barrett acts like it's something his on-campus opponents made up to discredit him, and that the -ist suffix can be equally applied to any religion. And this man is teaching a religion class at a university?

Somebody in Madison needs to grow a spine and eighty-six this weirdo before he embarasses the school any further.

At 24 October, 2006 13:46, Blogger Alex said...

Well he picked a really bad example because "Buddhist" IS a word. He just threw in an extra "ic" for no apparent reason.

At 25 October, 2006 10:27, Blogger shawn said...

He just threw in an extra "ic" for no apparent reason.

What he was doing was making it Buddhic so that it would be like Islamic so he could add the ist with it looking like a different word.

Not only did he do it wrong, but it makes for a word that is ungainly and doesn't exist.


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