Jihad Watch Vice President, Hugh Fitzgerald, discusses the continuing crisis at one of our leading educational institutions at Campus Watch.
The Edith Porada Associate Professor of Archeology, Zainab Bahrani is the author of two books, Women of Babylon (a feminist interpretation of Near Eastern art), and a second work, The Graven Image: Representation in Babylonia and Assyria on Mesopotamian art. With Mark van de Mieroop (the former chair of MEALAC), with whom she has a close association, she has translated a book on Mesopotamian history by the French scholar Jean Bottero called Mesopotamia, Writing, Reasoning, and the Gods.
Van de Mieroop, incidentally, shares Bahrani’s distaste for Israel (he has signed the same petitions on divestment from Israel), and is apparently convinced that a reasonable facsimile of the Gestapo is abroad in the land: “I know that my phone is tapped, that e-mails are read, that mail is opened. I have the sense of unease, the loss of privacy, and also the fear to speak out, to write — will what I say tonight be held against me when I have to appear in court.”
Bahrani has been much in the news, having written a number of anguished, and furious accounts of what she takes to have been gross negligence by the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. Despite her bitterness, in May 2004 the State Department appointed Bahrani as a “Senior Consultant for Culture” to the Coalition Provisional Authority, so as to help in the reconstruction of the National Museum. She attended to this but for a few months before returning to academia.
This study by necessity must quote Bahrani at great length, for it is otherwise not possible to appreciate the repetitious, banal, suffocating quality of her prose, the running-on of non-thought. The Graven Image goes for more than 200 pages. Virtually every page overflows with “discourse” and “colonial” and “postcolonial” as all-purpose lexical fillers. Her meaning is so diffuse and obscure, and at the same time so obviously modish, that to read her is an experience that cannot be conveyed by mere summary…
Go ahead, read it all, it gets better.