Academic Rebels Far from Home

By Maloney, Wendi A. | Academe, September/October 2004 | Go to article overview

Academic Rebels Far from Home


Maloney, Wendi A., Academe


Fleeing death threats and dangers at home, scholars encounter new difficulties in adjusting to American academic life.

When history professor José Portillo returned to his car parked on the campus of the University of the Basque Country one afternoon in December 1998, he found that it had been set on fire. He immediately suspected that the ETA, the Basque separatist movement, was responsible. "I was a university professor," Portillo explains, "but I also wrote newspaper articles criticizing radical nationalism." A specialist in modern and contemporary Spanish, Basque, and Latin American history, Portillo had taught at the university since 1989. He was also active in a group called Basta Ya (That's Enough) that encouraged citizens to protest the violent acts of the ETA.

Founded in 1959, the ETA aims to establish an independent socialist Uasque state spanning an area of northern Spain and France's southern Atlantic coast. During its campaign, the organization has killed more than eight hundred people, including journalists, academics, police officers, judges, politicians, and businesspeople. The group's favored techniques are car bombings and assassinations.

Fearing for his safety following the attack, Portillo accepted a visiting professorship in the law school at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid. In November 1999, he returned to the University of the Uasque Country to address a conference. While he was speaking, he heard an explosion. Colleagues soon informed him that a bomb had destroyed his parked car. This time, a note warned him that he had better leave the country. He and his university concluded that it would be best for him to take a sabbatical outside Spain.

Portillo thus began a journey that would take him to three U.S. universities over a four-year period. "Most academics in the United Status expect their work to draw comment, criticism, and controversy," says !Robert Quinn, director of the Scholars at Risk Network (SAR), which arranges temporary research and teaching appointments, mostly in the United States, for scholars forced to flee their countries for political reasons, "Iiut scholars in many other parts of the world often risk much worse: censure, prosecution, imprisonment-even torture and death."

Since its founding in June 2000, SAR has received more than 500 requests for assistance from scholars from 90 countries around the world. It has intervened in more than a hundred cases and arranged positions for more than five dozen of the most seriously threatened scholars. Many of those assisted received fellowships from the Institute of International Education's Scholar Rescue Fund, which often works with SAR in helping scholars. "Together, the fund and SAR offer scholars safety and a way to remain productive until conditions improve at home," says Quinn, "with the hope that they will then return and contribute to rebuilding their society."

The United States has a history of welcoming foreign scholars forced to flee their home countries. Some intellectuals have chosen to remain in this country; among them, Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt, and Thomas Mann. Political conditions have prevented others who wished to return home from doing so for many years, even decades.

In spring 2003, SAR convened a conference at the University of Chicago to assess its progress to date. Scholars in attendance whom SAR had assisted voiced their appreciation for the help they had received. But some described experiences in the United States that were far from easy, underlining the many difficulties involved in trying to transfer an academic career from one country or culture to another, even temporarily. The barriers to success that the scholars noted at the conference and in subsequent interviews with Academe included lack of fluency in English, unfamiliarity with U.S. academic culture, and conflicts with immigration law. Their problems suggest limits to the assistance that can be provided to scholars willing to risk their lives and livelihoods for the freedom to say and teach what they believe. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Academic Rebels Far from Home
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.