Khalidi on Middle East Studies

In the midst of working on my senior honor’s thesis–on the roots of the conflict in the Middle East between Jews and Arabs, entitled From Brother to Other–I found this interesting quote in Rashid Khalidi’s book, Palestinian Identity (1998):

Without rigor, the writing of Palestinian history risks being tainted by the same chauvinism and disguised emotionalism that have already affected the writing of much other modern Middle Eastern history. These factors are partly responsible for leaving the Middle East field behind others, mired in naked partisanship, engaged in provincial debates of little interest to others, and cur off from trends that affect the wider historical community (34)

A very interesting quote, especially because some of the book reflects this very same emotionalism and, well, factual inaccuracies (he claims at one point that Zionists compare Zionism favorably to the Crusaders)–but I truly believe that no-body is perfect and at least he’s trying to acknowledge the limitations we all experience as members of certain communities. I only wish he’d speak out against the “naked partisanship” at Columbia and show people that our struggle is not about politics but about scholarly norms.

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