Academic journal article Arab Studies Journal

Editor's Note

Academic journal article Arab Studies Journal

Editor's Note

Article excerpt

The Arab world and the broader Middle East offer profound lessons on the inextricability of knowledge and power. In the midst of civil war, foreign intervention, and ongoing occupation, those of us who study the Middle East or call it home confront two realities at once. On the one hand are the conditions of everyday life that range from the constrained to the unbearable. On the other are the increasingly confined possibilities of producing knowledge on these conditions.

To grasp these two realities, we have only to glance at the kind of fire, sometimes live, scholars and students have come under in the last few months alone. In January, the Turkish Higher Education Council condemned a petition that scholars in solidarity with the Kurdish region signed as "terrorist propaganda." University rectors immediately began taking punitive measures: launching investigations against and suspending scholars who were signatories. This is in addition to the prosecutions and criminal investigations scholars are facing for expressing their opinion on social media.

In Egypt, presidential decrees impinging on academic freedom (including the president's power to appoint presidents and deans of public universities) have been the backdrop for the containment of critical academics. These have included unlawful detentions and travel bans of academics, as well as most recently the torture and murder of an Italian PhD student.

However, the threat of knowledge is not confined to some easily dismissed authoritarian other. …

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