LINGUIST List 14.1145

Sat Apr 19 2003

Disc: Academic Boycotts: Penultimate Posting

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <>


  1. Pauline Jacobson, Academic Boycotts
  2. Dick Hudson, academic boycotts

Message 1: Academic Boycotts

Date: Fri, 18 Apr 2003 12:51:51 +0000
From: Pauline Jacobson <>
Subject: Academic Boycotts

I don't understand several of the recent postings on Linguistlist on
the subject of Academic Boycotts. Several posters have framed the
discussion in terms of boycotts of governments or other institutions
directly responsible for immoral practices. (For example, Dick Hudson
frames the question in terms of the relative priorities of 'Academic
Free Trade' vs. 'Political Protest', which he defines as follows: 

PP = Political Protest: we should protest against offensive politics
by withdrawing support from those responsible.) In this light,
several posters have argued that it is quite legitimate to boycott
governments or other institutions directly responsible for immoral

 I completely agree with this, but this is not what the LSA
resolution (which was the original topic of the discussion) is about.
It specifically protests the boycotting of individuals solely on the
basis of their religion, ethnicity, or country of origin or
employment. The resolution does not in any way condemn boycotts in
general; it condemns the boycotting of individual scholars who bear no
responsibility for the policies of their government.

 Here is the full text of the resolution, copied from the LSA web site:
WHEREAS there have been calls for and instances of boycotts of
individual scholars (faculty, students, and administration) and their
universities, in response to the actions and policies of the
governments of the countries or regions where these scholars work, or
to the scholars' religion or ethnicity, LET IT BE RESOLVED that the
Linguistic Society of America opposes all discrimination and political
sanctions against scholars in any aspect of professional life (such as
employment, publications, promotion, conference participation,
educational exchanges, and research collaboration), where such
discrimination is based not on the conduct of the scholars themselves,
but solely on the scholars' religion or ethnicity, or on the actions
or policies of the countries or regions in which these scholars live
and work, or of which they are citizens. Such boycotts violate the
principle of free scientific interaction and cooperation, and they
constitute arbitrary and selective applications of collective
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Message 2: academic boycotts

Date: Fri, 18 Apr 2003 21:39:40 +0100
From: Dick Hudson <>
Subject: academic boycotts

Re Linguist 14.1140

Shalom Lappin argues that anti-discrimination laws are absolute. But what 
if the small discrimination of an academic boycott is a protest about a 
much greater discrimination by a state against a whole population? 
Absolutes aren't much help when two absolutes conflict.

Dick Hudson

Richard (= Dick) Hudson

Phonetics and Linguistics, University College London,
Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT.
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