The tuition at Vassar College exceeds $63,000 per year. That includes room and board and “activities fees.”
And parents are shelling out this money for a school which just last week hosted an academic from another American so-called institution of higher learning, to tell Vassar’s undergraduates that Israel is not merely guilty of the usual false claims made against it, but of committing certain practices that would even impress ISIS members for the pain and cruelty inflicted.
The story about an “academic” lecture hosted by more than a half dozen departments at Vassar College comes to us from the well-respected site Legal Insurrection.
Vassar’s chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace coordinated the talk by Rutger University associate professor Jasbir Puar on Thursday, Feb. 3. Puar’s talk was titled “Inhumanist BioPolitics: How Palestine Matters.”
Puar is in Rutgers’ department of Women’s and Gender Studies. The vast majority of Puar’s research and academic work has been in the field known as “Queer Studies.” However, in 2013 – 14 Puar was a Fellow at Cornell, working on her third (still as yet unpublished) book, “Inhumanist Occupation: Sex, Affect and Palestine/Israel.” This last literary effort appears to have been the source of the “information” provided by Puar in her talk last week
According to this lecturer, Israel engages in “biopolitical tactics,” employing “weaponized epigenetics.” The Jewish State, Puar claims, is guilty of “maiming” and of “stunting” Palestinian Arabs. In fact, Puar portrays Israel as so nefarious, it even refuses to kill its targets, preferring to engage in “will not let die.”
Israelis engage in these nefarious practices, according to Puar, in order to “render impotent any future resistance.”
Although the talk was apparently well-received by the audience, a perusal of a transcript of Puar’s talk is virtually incomprehensible. It is, however, clearly viciously anti-Israel. That must have been enough for the Vassar students.
Here’s an example of what assaulted their ears:
This lecture theorizes oscillating relations between disciplinary, pre-emptive, and increasingly prehensive forms of power that shape human and non-human materialities in Palestine. Calculation, computing, informational technologies, surveillance, and militarization are all facets of prehensive control. Further, the saturation of spatial and temporal stratum in Palestine demonstrates the use of technologies of measure to manufacture a “remote control” occupation, one that produces a different version of Israeli “home invasions” through the maiming and stunting of population. If Gaza, for example, is indeed the world’s largest “open air prison” and an experimental lab for Israeli military apparatuses, infrastructural chaos, and metric manipulation, what kinds of fantasies (about power, about bodies, about resistance, about politics) are driving this project?
Really? Is vilifying Israel in dramatic and grotesque ways the only precondition for featured speakers at most American universities now?