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Protest against AAS' choice of Wendy Doniger as keynote speaker at 2014 annual conference - Save HinduismSave Hinduism

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Protest against AAS’ choice of Wendy Doniger as keynote speaker at 2014 annual conference

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Related News : Hindus protest against AAS’ choice of Wendy Doniger as keynote speaker

March 23, 2014 (Phalgun Krushna Paksha Saptami, Kaliyug Varsha 5115)

Namaskar dear supporter of Hinduism,

It has been brought to our attention that at the 2014 annual conference of AAS (Association for Asian Studies) anti-Hindu writer Wendy Doniger will be delivering the opening “Keynote Address”. The title of her address is “Academic Freedom and Censorship: Publishing Controversial Books in India”. This conference is in Philadelphia, USA from March 27 to March 30, 2014.

As many of you know, Wendy Doniger is a professor from the University of Chicago Divinity School who has written derogatory books on Hinduism and India. Recently her book “The Hindus : An alternative history”, which insults Hindus’ Deities and leaders, was withdrawn from India by the publisher, Penguin. Doniger may be a last minute substitute to deliver the keynote address at the AAS conference after Penguin withdrew her book from India.  Please refer to the interview of Rajiv Malhotra analyzing the hindu-hatred of some western scholars, “When Westerners make fun of our Gods, they are instigating trouble”.

‘When Westerners make fun of Hindu gods, they’re instigating trouble’ – See more at: http://forumforhinduawakening.org/dharma/news/2014/02/19/westerners-make-fun-hindu-gods-theyre-instigating-trouble/#sthash.zi7jTxv9.dpuf

We have very few days to express our outrage that AAS is supporting “Hate Speech”.

In light of this, some have already initiated a protest as in the below email trail. We appeal you to join in and write to AAS to reconsider their decision to make Ms. Doniger a speaker at the conference. Feel free to use any information from the letters given below.

Let us, as soon as possible, inundate the Directors and Officers of AAS with letters or phone calls, registering our peaceful, but prompt protests. Please keep it short and be polite and professional in your comments.

Click here to sign the petition Or send email as per details below:

(Please do cc or inform us of your protest at info@forumforhinduawakening.org, as we strive to keep you updated about the progress of this protest drive.)

Here are e-mail IDs for your convenience:

To :

twinicha@wisc.edusinha@umich.eduted_bastor@harvard.edugbhers@ucsc.edu, dorisoli@uci.edu,ckaneac2013@gmail.com, Anne Grimes <grimesae@state.gov>, anne.feldhaus@asu.edu,nhungtuyet.tran@utoronto.ca, pclark@mail.wtamu.edujwassers@uci.eduann.sherif@gmail.com, AASConference@asian-studies.org

Cc :
fmir@umich.edunovetzke@u.washington.edurogersjohnd@aol.combarfield@bu.edu, rf12@cornell.edu,kerndl@fsu.edusaadia.toor@csi.cuny.eduzitzewit@msu.edu, info@forumforhinduawakening.org

Contact info for AAS:

Association for Asian Studies
825 Victors Way, Suite 310
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48108 USA
Phone: (734) 665-2490
Fax: (734) 665-3801

“Dharmo rakshati rakshitaha | (Dharma or God protects those who protect Dharma !)”

Sincerely,

Sadhaks at Forum for Hindu Awakening (www.HinduAwakening.org)

Sign the petition below:

[emailpetition id=”6″]

================= Sample Letters ================================

Letter #1 to AAS (Association for Asian Studies)

From: RS
Date: Tue, Mar 18, 2014 at 6:00 PM
Subject: Academic Freedom vs Hate Speech at AAS-(Association for Asian Studies)
To:

twinicha@wisc.edu, sinha@umich.edu, ted_bastor@harvard.edu, gbhers@ucsc.edu, dorisoli@uci.edu, ckaneac2013@gmail.com, Anne Grimes <grimesae@state.gov>, anne.feldhaus@asu.edu, nhungtuyet.tran@utoronto.ca, pclark@mail.wtamu.edu, jwassers@uci.edu, ann.sherif@gmail.com

Cc: fmir@umich.edu, novetzke@u.washington.edu, rogersjohnd@aol.com, barfield@bu.edu, rf12@cornell.edu, kerndl@fsu.edu, saadia.toor@csi.cuny.edu, zitzewit@msu.edu

Dear AAS Directors and Officers:

It has been brought to my attention that at the 2014 annual conference of AAS (Association for Asian Studies) Wendy Doniger will be delivering opening “Keynote Address”. The title of her address is “Academic Freedom and Censorship: Publishing Controversial Books in India”.

“Academic Freedom (AF)” is also touted as “Freedom of Speech (FS)”. Wendy Doniger uses AF and/or FS and writes or speaks which is “Hateful Writing or Hateful Speech (HW and HS)” against Hindus. So, your organization is willingly supporting “HW and HS” in the disguise of AF/FS. How many times in the past you have invited speakers who have written and spoken in hateful way against Christians, Jews, Islam and African Americans? If I recollect that some time ago, an academic from Florida spoke/wrote in a “Hateful” against African Americans. You know what happened to him.

Her book – “The Hindus – An Alternate History” is full of hateful statements against Hindu. Please change Hindu Iconic names to any Iconic name from other religion and you will consider it as hateful writing.It is unique that her writing is not tainted by reality and objectivity. It is always psychoanalysis and speculations under the disguise of AF and FS.

It is not about “Academic Freedom”, it is writing “Hateful” book against Hindus and publication in India. Is this what you support?

So, I would urge you invite someone else who does not write and/or speak in hateful way against any group.

Thanks.

RS

Letter #2 to AAS (Association for Asian Studies)

From: S. K.

Date: Fri, Mar 21, 2014 at 5:31 AM

Subject: Please reconsider the theme of keynote for 2014 AAS conference and choice of keynote speaker

Dear AAS Directors and Officers:

We are in the cusp of change as many Asian states assert their own world views getting out of the slumber of colonial era and traumas of colonial loot.

I strongly urge you to reconsider your decision to make Ms. Doniger the keynote speaker of  2014 annual AAS conference. Choice of Ms. Doniger is likely to be viewed as biased and also send a wrong signal that AAS as a responsible body is allowing the forum to a member to defend her follies, instead of introspecting and independently investigating as to why the L’affaire Doniger has arisen in the first place.

It would have been appropriate in the context of the ongoing debate about Ms. Doniger’s flawed work and critiques highlighting shoddy scholarship bordering on porno, to focus on Academic responsibility and role of ethics in the pursuance of academic researches.

The nature of academic scholarship in Asian studies is a challenge given the untranslatability of many texts in many language streams. While heralding academic freedom as formulated in the 1940 statement, it has become increasingly necessary to pay attention to the social responsibility of academics to the institution they tenure for, to the community which supports the institution and the code of ethics of an Association to which a member belongs.

L’affaire Doniger has attracted attention to the issues of academic responsibility, hate literature versus free expression.

Questions of academic integrity are also likely to be raised against the AAS itself, as was done with American Academy of Religion in a recent debate related to L’affaire Doniger.

I think it will be appropriate if AAS anticipates a similar inquiry about AAS and prepares appropriately for answering questions on how AAS enforces its own code of ethics and if there is any need for revision of this code itself.

Such a review through a keynote can also include a need for revisions to approaches of Asian studies since most Asian states are now sovereign, independent democracies and sensitive to interventions by ‘outsiders’ or ‘academics’ questioning their autonomy and their decisions made according to the laws in force.

It will be outstepping AAS’ role if AAS allows the selection of keynote speaker for 2014 conf. and gets critiqued for allowing the forums of the body to interfere with the laws in many Asian states and thus interfere with the friendly and constructive relations between non-Asian Asian states.

AAS has a responsibility to ensure that harmful material as defined in US Penal Code is not encouraged which is likely to arouse the prurient interests of minors since AAS studies ultimately percolate down to the middle school level in many regions and school curricula.

Thanking you for your consideration,

S. K. , Ph.D.

Letter #15 to AAS (Association for Asian Studies)

From: NA
Date: Sat, Mar 22, 2014 at 3:45 PM
Subject: Keynote Speaker

To: twinicha@wisc.edu, sinha@umich.edu, ted_bastor@harvard.edu, Gail Hershatter <gbhers@ucsc.edu>, Charles Armstrong <ckaneac2013@gmail.com>, Anne Grimes <grimesae@state.gov>, anne.feldhaus@asu.edu, nhungtuyet.tran@utoronto.ca, pclark@mail.wtamu.edu, Jeff Wasserstrom <jwassers@uci.edu>, Ann Sherif <ann.sherif@gmail.com>, fmir@umich.edu, novetzke@u.washington.edu, rogersjohnd@aol.com, barfield@bu.edu, rf12@cornell.edu, kerndl@fsu.edu, saadia.toor@csi.cuny.edu, zitzewit@msu.edu

Dear AAS Directors and Officers:

Wendy Doniger will be delivering the opening “Keynote Address””:”Academic Freedom and Censorship: Publishing Controversial Books in India” at the 2014 Annual Conference of AAS.

“Academic Freedom (AF)” is also touted as “Freedom of Speech (FS)”. Wendy Doniger uses AF and/or FS as a garb to cover writing or speech which is “Hateful Writing or Hateful Speech (HW and HS)” against Hindus. So, your organization is willingly supporting “HW and HS” in the disguise of AF/FS. 

How many times in the past you have invited speakers who have written and spoken in hateful way against Christians, Jews, Islam and African Americans?

If I recollect that some time ago, an academic from Florida spoke/wrote in a “Hateful” against African Americans. You know what happened to him.

Her book – “The Hindus – An Alternate History” is full of hateful statements against Hindu. Please change Hindu Iconic names in her writing to any Iconic name from another religion and you will consider it as hateful writing. It is unique that her writing is not tainted by reality and objectivity. It is always psychoanalysis and speculations under the disguise of AF and FS.

It is not about “Academic Freedom”, it is writing “Hateful” book against Hindus and publication in India. Is this what you support?

So, I would urge you invite someone else who does not write and/or speak in a hateful way against any group.

Thanks.

NA

Letter #16 to AAS (Association for Asian Studies)

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: CR
Date: Sat, Mar 22, 2014 at 6:03 PM
Subject: Wendy Doniger as Keynote Speaker at AAS National Conference 2014

To: “twinicha@wisc.edu” <twinicha@wisc.edu>, “sinha@umich.edu” <sinha@umich.edu>, “ted_bastor@harvard.edu” <ted_bastor@harvard.edu>, “gbhers@ucsc.edu” <gbhers@ucsc.edu>, “dorisoli@uci.edu” <dorisoli@uci.edu>, “ckaneac2013@gmail.com” <ckaneac2013@gmail.com>, “\”Anne Grimes\”” <grimesae@state.gov>, “anne.feldhaus@asu.edu” <anne.feldhaus@asu.edu>, “nhungtuyet.tran@utoronto.ca” <nhungtuyet.tran@utoronto.ca>, “pclark@mail.wtamu.edu” <pclark@mail.wtamu.edu>, “jwassers@uci.edu” <jwassers@uci.edu>, “ann.sherif@gmail.com” <ann.sherif@gmail.com>
Cc: “anne.feldhaus@asu.edu” <anne.feldhaus@asu.edu>, “fmir@umich.edu” <fmir@umich.edu>, “novetzke@u.washington.edu” <novetzke@u.washington.edu>, “rogersjohnd@aol.com” <rogersjohnd@aol.com>, “barfield@bu.edu” <barfield@bu.edu>, “rf12@cornell.edu” <rf12@cornell.edu>, “kerndl@fsu.edu” <kerndl@fsu.edu>, “saadia.toor@csi.cuny.edu” <saadia.toor@csi.cuny.edu>, “zitzewit@msu.edu” <zitzewit@msu.edu>

Dear Directors and Officers of AAS,

This letter concerns your decision to invite Professor Wendy Doniger to be your keynote speaker at the forthcoming National Conference of the Association of Asian Studies. 

I understand her talk is titled “Academic Freedom and Censorship: Publishing Controversial Books in India.” 

In the first place it strikes me that “academic freedom” applies only to works that merit the label “academic.”  Wendy Doniger’s Alternative History is not one of them. 

A book in any other field of religion studies of its caliber would have to be filed under the Fiction category. The book would not even merit the description of being “controversial” – because there would be no controversy about it being just plain “awful.”

The study of Hinduism is unique in the field of American anthropology in that outsiders are deemed to know the religion better than its practitioners.  

How else does one explain a phenomenon like Wendy Doniger, operating in an environment that seeks input even from college students on the quality of teaching, who remains completely impervious to meticulous and devastating analyses of her output? How else may we explain her studied indifference to civil requests for dialogue from scholars and public intellectuals who find her work deliberately mischievous, misleading and offensive?   

Wendy Doniger is culturally opaque to her field of study, takes wild liberties with conjecture, and is completely tone deaf to correction and dissent.   

Most troubling of all, she seems to revel in the effect her so-called “academic freedom” has produced, as evidenced by her gloating essay in the New York Times, crowing about how the fallout from Penguin India’s withdrawal of her book has driven up sales on Amazon! She says not one word about the substantive page-by page critique of her book published online, nor addresses the points raised by her detractors except to caricature her opponents as bumbling fundamentalists. 

What better proof of the agenda-driven nature of her work, or of the double standards and parallel ethics of a system that hands her a pedestal and a podium as reward for her antics?

Professor Doniger aspires to be the Miley Cyrus of Hinduism Studies. Ms Cyrus has a perfectly good singing voice, but that is not all that she is widely known for.  

Similarly, whatever might have been Prof. Doniger’s starting point, she has gone on to pursue an insidious attention-seeking agenda that disrespects and distorts one of the most ancient religious traditions in existence.

Considering the scale of academic ineptitude and dishonesty that her “Alternative History” represents, I am shocked and repelled by the prospect of AAS giving Prof. Doniger a platform to stage her martyrdom act.  True academic freedom would entail the courage and willingness to hear from both sides. AAS ought to invite a representative from the dissenting side to present alongside Prof. Doniger. Anything less renders her pious hand-wringing about “freedom” at this forum farcical.

Please know that I mean the addressees of this email no offence.  I hope you will introspect seriously on the issues I have raised.  Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

CR, Writer

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