Responsibility in Crisis: Knowledge Politics and Global Publics


* Superscripted numbers refer to endnotes to the original position paper completed in May 2002 and discussed at the International Institute's seminar in August 2002. Subscripted numbers refer to seminar participant interventions designed to address critical contentions and omissions in the engagement of national universities and global publics. These interventions include those produced explicitly for this volume as well as others adapted from briefs written by visiting scholars before the seminar or based on syntheses of workshop discussions.

1. See <>.

2. See <>.

3. See <>.

4. Of course, the same research universities that were geared to these promises have faced unanticipated difficulties: the high cost of sustaining cutting-edge technology and the challenges of dealing with hacking, spam, plagiarism, the oversight of hate speech and employment of networks to deal in illicit materials, and the pressures from states and other bodies to limit "freedoms" through filtering and controlling access to the networks. Such networks became new sites for more volatile conflicts over what constitute public and private goods within the American setting, with such conflicts moving via these very networks onto the global stage. At the same time, overseas-based initiatives have been able to devise and use new channels of access to the American academy.

5. Even the active policing of patents and copyrights, especially in the medical sciences but also in a range of new media, which would suggest a national tide against globalization, has involved the university in the active exploration of the contours of international legal debates and processes regarding the circulation of ideas and materials around the globe.

6. Of course, the unfolding of this idea of the university was more arguable with the end of the Cold War and the "forgetting" of the persecutions and the disappearances of left-wing and radical scholars from the academy. And one could bracket the attacks on "tenured radicals," the many racial incidents, the savaging of right-wing campus speakers, and the efforts of legislatures and donors to influence the shape of instruction, research, and the campus environments as not quite deforming the ideal of the university as an open and protected sphere. Indeed, the university appeared to have an inner quality quite capable of surviving a range of insults to the ideal.

7. Reflected here was the influence of the critique of orientalism. In the wake of Edward Said's powerful work, institutions, scholarship, and teaching sought distance from the orientalist traditions in the West's address to the wider world. Edward Said, Orientalism (New York: Pantheon, 1978).

8. Grant H. Cornwell and Eve W. Stoddard, "Globalizing Knowledge: Connecting International and Intercultural Studies," Association of AmericanPage  44 Colleges and Universities, 1999.

9. The notion of "microcosm" seems relevant to this idealization, the intersection between a model in the present and the desire for a more open and tolerant society in the future.

10. Of course, it was often self-evident to university administrators in the United States and overseas that such connections tended to be uneven, asymmetrical, that symmetry required quite extraordinary negotiations and contracts between and among institutions. Even in the simple equation of one-for-one international student exchange, the result was not two more identically formed students, but rather two individuals whose respective international study experience meant entirely different things for each in the respective home countries.

11. See William Bennett's Americans for Victory over Terrorism at <>.

12. See <>.

13. And, of course, what risks did overseas colleagues now face in situations where alignments with the United States could be deadly?

14. Of course, in attending to the powers of uncertainties here we assume a position different from that of President George W. Bush, who has remarked that "The course of this conflict is not known; yet its outcome is certain. And we know that God is not neutral." As reported in The Daily Mail & Guardian, a South African newspaper.

15. The thread through genocide opens another range of questions regarding intent and the challenge of comprehending intent. The 1949 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide includes the defining stipulation of an "intent to destroy" a people (see Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, <>). What are the possibilities, within public discourse, scholarly research, or available juridical resources to get at the intent of people and organizations here defined as "terrorist"? And what are the risks of examining the "intent" of those perpetrating the September 11 violence beyond the most simplistic representations and allegations? Are the long-established scholarly protocols for close examination of intent and motivation in the histories of such events now relocated into the category of "the heretical"?

16. Now, the recent U.S. renunciation of its signature to the Rome StatutePage  45 on the establishment of an International Criminal Court has been compounded by a U.S. announcement that it will refuse to cooperate in any foreseeable way with the new Court, from information sharing onwards. Neil A. Lewis, "U.S. Rejects All Support for New Court on Atrocities," New York Times, May 7, 2002.

17. See Defending Civilization: How Our Universities Are Failing America and What Can be Done About It, a report issued by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni in November, 2001, and revised and expanded in February 2002 (<>). Commenting on Defending Civilization, Lewis H. Lapham writes: "Proceeding from the assumption that the nation's universities—all the nation's universities—wander in a desert of ignorance, the report sets out to show that the nation's universities—all the nation's universities—failed to respond to the provocation of September 11 with a proper degree of 'anger, patriotism, and support of military intervention.' Right-thinking people everywhere else in the country were quick to recognize evil when they saw it, prompt in their exhibition of American flags, wholehearted in their rallying to the cause of virtue. 'Not so in academe.' Most university professors succumbed to 'moral relativism'; 'Some even pointed accusatory fingers,' not at the terrorists but at their fellow Americans. So monstrous was the betrayal that 'the message of much of academe was clear: BLAME AMERICA FIRST.'" Lewis H. Lapham, "Mythography," Harper's Magazine, February 2002.

18. Such as seemed being constructed within the process of the Durban Conference of 2001.