Contrary to reports, Peretz will address Harvard social studies gathering

Israel/Palestine
on 6 Comments

It has been widely reported that Marty Peretz was dropped as a speaker from this weekend’s 50th Anniversary of Social Studies gathering at Harvard University. This appears to be incorrect. The Harvard Crimson reports on the official statement of the the Standing Committee on Degrees in Social Studies:

The statement reaffirmed that Peretz will be “recognized and have the opportunity to make some brief remarks” as a former Social Studies head tutor.

The statement said that while the committee is opposed to Peretz’s controversial remarks, it will use the fund donated in his name to support undergraduates studying topics “such as the study of intercultural understanding, inequality, and social justice.”

The Crimson doesn’t report another part of the statement. Not only will Peretz be speaking this weekend, but he is being invited back to speak again. From the official statement:

Since this event was originally planned, Dr. Peretz posted statements on his blog which were the diametric opposite of what we in the Committee on Degrees in Social Studies stand for. But in his blog on September 17th, Dr. Peretz apologized. He has also agreed to come to Harvard at a later date and explain his true views to an undergraduate audience.

Does anyone doubt what his true views are? You can read the official Harvard statement after the jump.


For fifty years, the Committee on Degrees in Social Studies has brought together outstanding teachers and intellectually engaged students who share not only a fascination with social science research and theory but also concerns about the pressing social, political, and economic problems facing contemporary societies. Our work is based on free inquiry into the principles of social life. At the heart of the program is a course, Social Studies 10, the very point of which is to introduce students to the widest possible range of ideas that have shaped modern society, and to open minds to the full range of human possibilities. Many of our graduates have gone on to work for social causes around the world, while others have devoted themselves to developing the ideas of freedom and equality that were central to their work as undergraduates. A group of people of this kind cannot harbor within it any form of racial, religious, or other cultural prejudice.

On September 25th, we will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Social Studies. From the beginning, the lunch on that day was intended to highlight the contribution made to the program by successive Head Tutors and (as they are now called) Directors of Studies.

Dr. Martin Peretz is one of ten such people, seven of whom we expect will be present at the lunch. They have all been key figures in the program from the point of view of the undergraduates. While they, including Dr. Peretz, will be recognized and have the opportunity to make some brief remarks, we have always intended that the principal speaker at the lunch would be Robert Paul Wolff, the very first Head Tutor.

Separately, a group of Dr. Peretz’s former students and colleagues has organized and donated an Undergraduate Research Fund in his name.

Since this event was originally planned, Dr. Peretz posted statements on his blog which were the diametric opposite of what we in the Committee on Degrees in Social Studies stand for. But in his blog on September 17th, Dr. Peretz apologized. He has also agreed to come to Harvard at a later date and explain his true views to an undergraduate audience.

We will focus the fund that was donated in his name on supporting undergraduates working on research topics which are at the heart of our program, such as the study of intercultural understanding, inequality, and social justice.

We look forward to celebrating the achievements of Social Studies over the last 50 years and to continuing our work exploring with our students the values that guide our research and teaching.

 

About Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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6 Responses

  1. marc b.
    September 22, 2010, 9:34 am

    Since this event was originally planned, Dr. Peretz posted statements on his blog which were the diametric opposite of what we in the Committee on Degrees in Social Studies stand for. But in his blog on September 17th, Dr. Peretz apologized. He has also agreed to come to Harvard at a later date and explain his true views to an undergraduate audience.

    Peretz regularly regurgitates his ‘true views’ onto the pages of his magazine. What’s to clarify?

    • Avi
      September 22, 2010, 2:07 pm

      Peretz regularly regurgitates his ‘true views’ onto the pages of his magazine. What’s to clarify?

      marc b.,

      We’re not supposed to ask such questions. We’re expected to play along as we pretend that Peretz’s comments can be chalked up to, “It was quoted out of context”.

      C’mon marc b., get with the program. Must you be so discerning and knowledgeable?

  2. Bumblebye
    September 22, 2010, 9:57 am

    “A group of people of this kind cannot harbor within it any form of racial, religious or other cutural prejudice.”!

    But despite a steady stream of rants from Peretz that can only be described as such – not only against Islam, Arabs or Palestinians in particular, but also American minorities – being brought to light, Harvard will turn its blindest eye.

    • Avi
      September 22, 2010, 2:09 pm

      Harvard, it would seem, sees the world in shades of green.

  3. Shafiq
    September 22, 2010, 4:16 pm

    One of the Economist’s blogs tackled the issue full on today and mentioned how acceptable anti-Arab / anti-Muslim bigotry had become in mainstream western society. He also mentioned how Peretz’ diatribes against Arabs became diatribes against Muslims after 9/11

    link to economist.com

  4. DICKERSON3870
    September 22, 2010, 5:29 pm

    RE: “Contrary to reports, Peretz will address Harvard social studies gathering”
    FROM JIM SLEEPER, TPM, 09/22/10:

    (excerpt)…Even those opposed to Harvard’s decision today to accept the fund named for Peretz have erred, I think, in limiting their objections to his “bigotry.”
    Peretz’s supporters, some of them his former students, seem determined not to notice what he has become in recent years. And Harvard seems determined not to notice what his battening himself onto a college he literally worships actually portends for its soul.
    What’s really appalling — but what no one seems to want to face — is the rise of people like this who, whatever their past ideals and pretensions, haven’t kept faith with liberal education (let alone scholarship) yet are buying themselves more presence and prestige on campuses. That is skewing undergraduate education in ways few understand. Peretz isn’t the worst villain, but he is a vivid example of what’s wrong…

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com

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