The American Studies Association plans to hold a discussion this weekend at its annual meeting about a proposed resolution that calls on the group to endorse a boycott of Israeli academic institutions, and the resolution is stirring up debate online.
The resolution was submitted by the association’s Caucus on Academic and Community Activism. An online petition seeking to gather support for the resolution has attracted more than 200 signatures.
But the resolution has also spurred opponents of such a boycott to introduce their own online petition, stating that the adoption of an academic boycott would be discriminatory and would violate the principles of academic freedom. The opposing petition has also gathered more than 200 signatures.
An item on the association’s website about this weekend’s discussion says that the event will address questions such as “How should the ASA respond to Israel’s ongoing occupation of Palestine? Should the ASA join the academic boycott? Are there compelling reasons for focusing on Israel in particular? What are the implications of an academic boycott for academic freedom? Should the ASA consider alternatives to an academic boycott?”
The item states that members of the association’s National Council will attend the event before a meeting on Sunday “to decide upon a formal plan of action.”
The Caucus on Academic and Community Activism also posted this week a collection of resources for association members who are seeking to support the resolution or to learn more about the boycott campaign. Claire Potter wrote on the Tenured Radical blog that the caucus had failed to offer arguments against the boycott in the links it provided, but Curtiz Marez, the association’s president, said in an email to The Chronicle that the page featured the views of both sides in the debate.
“While the caucus is the group that submitted the resolution to the ASA, its page about it includes numerous comments, both for and against, often with extensive footnotes and links to more resources,” he wrote. “While clearly the members of the caucus support the resolution, their page has nonetheless extensively incorporated dissenting views.”
Correction (11/22/2013, 10:45 a.m.): This post originally misstated who posted resources about the boycott debate online. Those resources were posted by the ASA’s Caucus on Academic and Community Activism, not the association itself. The post has been updated to reflect this correction, and to include comments from Curtiz Marez, the association’s president.