[This letter, originally published in the Duke Chronicle, follows an unaffiliated letter by graduate students at UNC and another by the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) and seventeen other academic societies.]

We appreciate the recent statement on academic freedom from President Price and Provost Kornbluth following the US Department of Education’s investigation of the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East studies. We also welcome the letter to the DOE from 18 American academic associations—including the Middle East Studies Association, the Modern Language Association, and the American Anthropological Association—who characterized the investigation as “an unprecedented and counterproductive intervention into academic curricula and programming that threatens the integrity and autonomy of our country’s institutions of higher education.”

The Federal investigation is the culmination of a decades-long campaign by anti-Palestinian organizations against academic programing and curricular offerings that are deemed insufficiently “pro-Israel.” This investigation targeted a Middle East center, but should concern all of us. Today, all teachers and scholars are at risk when not aligned with national policy and national security priorities. At stake, in the current moment, is the ability of Universities to operate freely and openly without the fear of censure, and the ability of faculty to determine what they “teach, how they teach it, what they choose to research or write about, or who can speak on our campus.” Duke’s continued commitment to open debate is vital. The integrity of our University demands an educational climate where free and open inquiry is encouraged and fostered, in and out of the classroom, even on the most controversial subjects.


Elizabeth Albright, Assistant Professor of the Practice, Nicholas School of the Environment

Anne Alison, Professor, Cultural Anthropology

Abdullah T. Antepli, Associate Professor of the Practice, Sanford School of Public Policy

Nancy Armstrong, Professor, English

Fadi Bardawil, Assistant Professor, Asian & Middle East Studies

Nicole Barnes, Assistant Professor, History

Amal Boumaaza, Lecturing Fellow, Asian & Middle East Studies

Guy-Uriel E. Charles, Professor, Law School

Joan Clifford, Assistant Professor of the Practice, Romance Studies

Miriam Cooke, Professor Emerita, Asian & Middle East Studies

Sheila Dillon, Professor, Art, Art History, and Visual Studies (Chair)

Prasenjit Duara, Professor, History

Katharine Dubois, Lecture Fellow, History

Jan Ewald, Professor Emerita, History

Luciana Fellin, Associate Professor of the Practice, Romance Studies

Sara Galletti, Associate Professor, Art, Art History & Visual Studies

Shai Ginsburg, Associate Professor, Asian & Middle East Studies

Erdağ Göknar, Associate Professor, Asian & Middle East Studies

Mark Hansen, Professor, Program in Literature

Didem Havlioğlu, Lecturing Fellow, Asian & Middle East Studies

Kerry L. Haynie, Professor, Political Science, Chair of Academic Council

Wesley Hogan, Director, Center for Documentary Studies

Maha Houssami, Lecturer, Asian & Middle East Studies

Tsitsi Jaji, Associate Professor, English

Andrew Janiak, Professor, Philosophy (Chair)

Vasant Kaiwar, Visiting Associate Professor, History

Nancy Kalow, Lecturing Fellow, Documentary Studies

Satti Khanna, Associate Professor of the Practice, Asian & Middle East Studies

Claudia Koonz, Professor Emerita, History

Thomas Lamarre, Professor, Asian & Middle East Studies

Pedro Lasch, Research Professor, Art, Art History & Visual Studies

Carolyn Lee, Professor of the Practice, Asian & Middle East Studies

Ralph Litzinger, Associate Professor, Cultural Anthropology

Wahneema Lubiano, Associate Professor, African & African-American Studies

Nancy MacLean, Professor, History

Abdeslam Maghraoui, Associate Professor of the Practice, Political Science

Anne-Maria Makhulu, Associate Professor, Cultural Anthropology

Jehangir Malegam, Associate Professor, History

Kathryn Mathers, Associate Professor of the Practice, International Comparative Studies

Laurie McIntosh, Assistant Professor, Cultural Anthropology

Jessica Namakkal, Assistant Professor of the Practice, International Comparative Studies

Mark Anthony Neal, Professor, African & African-America Studies (Chair)

Diane Nelson, Professor, Cultural Anthropology

Jocelyn Olcott, Professor, History and Gender, Sexuality, & Feminist Studies (Chair)

Liliana Paredes, Professor of the Practice, Romance Studies

Gunther Peck, Associate Professor, History

Leela Prasad, Associate Professor, Religious Studies

Alex Rosenberg, Professor, Philosophy

Adam Rosenblatt, Associate Professor of the Practice, International Comparative Studies

Pete Sigal, Professor, History

Harris Solomon, Associate Professor, Cultural Anthropology

Rebecca L. Stein, Associate Professor, Cultural Anthropology

Leonard Tennenhouse, Professor, English

Surya Tokdar, Associate Professor, Statistical Science

Mustafa Tuna, Associate Professor, Slavic & Eurasian Studies

Aarthi Vadde, Associate Professor, English

Priscilla Wald, Professor, English

Erika Weinthal, Professor, Nicholas School of the Environment

Augustus Wendell, Associate Professor of the Practice, Art, Art History & Visual Studies

Annabel Wharton, Professor, Art, Art History & Visual Studies

Ara Wilson, Associate Professor, Gender, Sexuality, & Feminist Studies

David Wong, Professor, Philosophy