The Open University Project
The Open University Project works to encourage, enable, and defend university-based teaching, learning, and discussion on matters of particular contention. The Project's main purpose is to nourish a diverse intellectual community in which teaching, learning, and academic research flourish, where any particular intellectual orthodoxy is eschewed, and where we encounter and encourage ideas that challenge settled notions of truth. The Project strongly condemns legislative efforts that would censure, or worse criminalize, student protest or disruption on campus, or that threaten to defund student groups or faculty research and participation in professional organizations on account of the political positions those students, faculty, or organizations have taken on matters of public concern. The effect of these measures would be to radically undermine the robust campus environment where ideas are hotly debated, contested, and argued in the name of eliminating any “disturbance.” Efforts to vanquishing disturbance from our campus mirror similar policies that impose civility norms on academic inquiry and debate. In the Project's view, one of the primary aims and methods of a liberal arts education is to disturb well-settled beliefs, opinions, and notions of truth through reasoned and rigorous interrogation.
One of the focuses of the Open University Project is the history and politics of Israel/Palestine. Led by prominent faculty with expertise in Middle East studies, as well as student leaders and activists, the Open University Project utilizes scholarly analysis to explore the terms and meanings of political Zionism, the tensions inherent in the founding of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, and the nature of Palestinian claims to sovereignty and self-determination. In addition to the development of study materials that explore these challenging issues of ethics, politics and law, the Open University Project works to defend academic freedom and to resist censorship of or orthodoxy toward particular viewpoints on notions of dispossession, belonging, and justice in Israel/Palestine.
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