The Chronicle of Higher Education has my new piece about universities running programs and engaging in other kinds of academic cooperation with institutions in occupied territories. In a change of pace from the ASA boycott fiasco, many schools show the Green Line is no barrier to academic cooperation.
Of course, there is a wrinkle.
Here is an excerpt:
[U]niversities in Northern Cyprus have won wide cooperation from institutions and academics elsewhere. Indeed, the growing effort to boycott Israeli institutions often coincides with a welcoming embrace of universities not just in the lands of occupying powers (like Turkey and Russia) but also established in the territories those countries occupy.
A telling example involves a conference this fall at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of the University of London. Professors from Ariel University were barred from mentioning their professional affiliations as a condition of participating, and instead were asked to come as independent scholars not representing Ariel -— a deal that they refused. The conference organizers said they could not be seen as “recognizing” Ariel. The incident was incoherent on its own terms. One might think that Ariel is problematic and illegitimate —- but there is no denying that it exists, and that it employs the scholars in question. Ironically, the conference was about Israel studies: Would scholarly papers about the Israeli presence in the West Bank that refer to Ariel U have to leave its name blank?
These dalliances are par for the course for European institutions. British institutions are particularly active in Northern Cyprus, because of Britain’s history with the island. The University of Warwick, for example, has an “official overseas center” for master’s programs at Eastern Mediterranean University. The University of Wolverhampton and University of Sunderland have joint degree programs with Cyprus International University, in the occupied part of the divided city of Nicosia. The European University of Lefke has several partnerships with British institutions. While they stand out, French, Italian, and Spanish institutions also have numerous ties. And one Northern Cypriot institution even opened a program in Washington.