S. Frederick Starr & Brenda Schaffer: Professors of Repression?





There is, undoubtedly, much to admire and respect about our fellow historian, S. Frederick Starr. He's the author of nearly two dozen books, including Red and Hot: The Fate of Jazz in the Soviet Union, 1917-1980 (1983); and Bamboula! The Life and Times of Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1995). He's had a distinguished administrative career, as Vice President of Academic Affairs at Tulane (1980-81) and President of Oberlin College (1983-94), but he has been the founding director of the Central Asia Caucasus Institute at Johns Hopkins since 1996.

Two articles by Ken Silverstein,"The Professor of Repression," Harper's, 24 May; and Silverstein,"Academics for Hire," Harper's, 30 May, are just stunning in their claims about Starr's use of the Johns Hopkins platform for active apologias on behalf of oppressive-istan regimes. Silverstein's second article also implicates Harvard historian Brenda Shaffer, who is research director of the University's Caspian Studies Program, in similar apologias. These programs appear to be largely funded by regional regimes, American oil and industrial investors in the region, and right-wing foundations in the United States. Thanks to Manan Ahmed for the tip.


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