November 11, 2003

ACADEMIA IN ACTION: A reader notes these calls for papers from a planned meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology on "The Political Psychology of Hegemony and Resistance:"

The events of September 11, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and their aftermath continue to affect the political situation in the world. The role of the US as a hegemonic power brings into sharp focus the political psychology of hegemony through the exercise of power over politics, media and discourse. At the same time we are seeing increasing contestation of such hegemony among both Western and non-Western societies, as witnessed through terrorist activities, popular resistance, nationalist/religious politics, cultural diversity and through the growing importance of the politics of recognition. Submissions that address any aspect of these themes, as well as those which address the full range of theory and research in political psychology, are welcomed.

Then there's this:

The failure of the Bush administration's facile assumptions about the ease and speed with which post-invasion Iraq could be transformed into a secure democratic state and thriving free market economy was painfully apparent by late summer, 2003. Especially egregious was the lack of serious planning for nation building in Iraq where all eyes were on the United States that could not walk away as it had in previous military adventures in Lebanon in 1983 or Somalia in 1993, or get away with quarter measures in Afghanistan in 2002 and 2003. Opponents of American hegemonic policies used the weapon of the weak, terrorism, to great and depressing effect. The long apparent ideological difficulty of European Zionism to recognize the moral and psychological requirements for a humane accommodation of the Arab inhabitants of Palestine continued to exact a costly and bloody toll on Jews and Palestinians alike. The United States bore heavy responsibility in the eyes of the world - but especially Muslim - opinion for the failures of Arab-Israeli peace diplomacy. The terrible attacks by Arab terrorists on the New York World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, were powerful evidence that American engagement in the Arab and Muslim world had to be reconceived. Moral debts incurred by successive Washington governments as they fought the Cold War with the Soviet Union and ignored the implications of alliances of convenience with corrupt and authoritarian regimes required a reckoning.

The failed foreign policy of the Bush administration based on Hubris called for a major transformation in American domestic thinking on the way to enhance regional and international security through respectful collaboration with the UN and other multilateral organizations, through extending the rule of law, including the International Criminal Court, and recognition of the complex tasks of nation building and transformation of brutalized political and economic systems in post-conflict and recovering nations.

This workshop invites submissions on the flawed thinking behind hegemony and the institutional political, economic and moral dimensions of a caring community of nations. It also welcomes prescriptions on the most creative and effective role the United States could play in working toward this vision of a caring international community.

Those beastly Zionists. They're behind everything! And their hubristic American lackeys!

Bear in mind that this isn't an opinion piece -- it's a call for papers. The International Society of Political Psychology is, according to its constitution, "a nonprofit scientific, educational, and non-partisan organization." Sounds kind of partisan to me.

But, hey, this is just one conference. Perhaps next they'll sponsor a symposium on "Academics' Tendency to Identify with the Enemies of Civilization: Treason, Psychopathology, or Entirely Justified Self-Hatred?"

Now that would be interesting.

UPDATE: Is it an educational quagmire? I think it may be.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Jim Hogue emails:

“The terrible attacks by Arab terrorists on the New York World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, were powerful evidence that American engagement in the Arab and Muslim world had to be reconceived.”

Huh? I thought that was what our military action in Afghanistan and Iraq were all about, “reconceiving” our engagement in the “Arab and Muslim worlds.”

Personally, I’d like to continue “reconceiving” in Saudi Arabia and Iran next!

Yes, "root causes" analysis was supposed to produce inaction, not action. . . .