Author: Philip Carl Salzman

Philip Carl Salzman is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at McGill University, Senior Fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and President of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.

Whatever Happened to Anthropology?

Once a field of serious academic research and study, anthropology has devolved into a virtue-signaling celebration of identity politics. The original goal of evidence-based understanding of mankind, its evolution, society, language, and culture, has long since been jettisoned in favor of advocacy for preferred populations and their particular sectoral interests. This devolution was launched at […]

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Religious Fervor Among the Woke

The “woke” haven’t only adopted the ideology of “social justice” and “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) and assertions such as “diversity is our strength” (Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau), but they adhere to these ideas not so much as preferred guidelines or scientific hypotheses, but as religious truths that aren’t to be questioned. Any misguided […]

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The Middle East Studies Association Betrays Academia

The Middle East Studies Association (MESA), the world’s major organization devoted to studying this region, has jettisoned academic impartiality and the quest for truth in favor of political partisanship and extremist activism. In 2017, MESA dropped its self-designation as a “non-political learned society” so that it could pursue an anti-Israel agenda. MESA has not yet […]

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On Distinguishing Political Attacks from Academic Criticism

When discussing academic freedom with university administrators, there arises the question of how to distinguish political attacks from academic criticism. Certainly, there is no simple answer to this question, and the practical use of such a distinction would likely draw resistance from those who wish to impose their political views. Yet universities often make such […]

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The War Against Academic Freedom

The Enlightenment ideal of the university is a community of scholars seeking the truth. The methodology of this ideal is a multiplicity of voices and views engaged in discussion and debate, in seeking and adducing evidence, and in drawing and challenging conclusions. Western universities have gradually but decisively moved away from the Enlightenment ideal. Many […]

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The ‘Diversity’ Road to Mediocrity

When you are looking for a scientist, an engineer, a designer, or an artist, if the most brilliant, accomplished, and talented candidate is a white male, reject him! White males are not “diverse,” are “privileged oppressors,” and “overrepresented,” so instead hire a member of a “marginalized. underserved minority,” such as a person of color, a […]

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Does Reverse Racism Exist?

Academics and activists (if there is any difference between them today) claim that racism is a unidirectional relationship through which whites oppress blacks. For example, the leftist Anti-Defamation League defines racism as “A combination of systems, institutions and factors that advantage white people and for people of color, cause widespread harm and disadvantages in access […]

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How Our Illiberal Universities Betray Liberal Democracy

The quest for knowledge at our universities has ended because knowledge is “settled”: science, philosophy, sociology, ethics, and politics are all settled. The time for questions is over; now is the time for action, for activism, for transforming society and culture. As John M. Ellis puts it in The Breakdown of Higher Education, “academia now […]

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Why Professors Are Canceled

The cancellation of professors is overdetermined, that is, caused by multiple influences all contributing to the end result. Anne Applebaum reviews some prominent cancellations in her lengthy account in The Atlantic, entitled “The New Puritans.” Here are some of the contributing circumstances: One is that the targets tend to be successful, high-ranking, and often popular, […]

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The False Justification for Anti-Racism and ‘Social Justice’

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by The Epoch Times on September 8, 2021 and is crossposted here with permission. All “anti-racism” and “social justice” writings and campaigns are predicated on the claim that certain races and sexes are being treated unfairly. The only evidence presented to support this assertion is statistical disparities between different […]

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What Is A University Student?

As a result of government and university policies in both the U.S. and Canada, university students are not seen as individuals with records of educational achievement and the potential for both success in higher education and for contributions beyond in the wider society. Instead, they are reduced to no more than members of census categories […]

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Brief on Academic Freedom

Editor’s Note: The following is a brief submitted by Philip Carl Salzman, emeritus professor of anthropology at McGill University, to the Commission scientifique et technique indépendante sur la reconnaissance de la liberté académique dans le milieu universitaire, Organismes liés, Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur, Gouvernement du Québec. Salzman addresses various issues related to academic freedom both in […]

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Anthropology: From Pursuing Science to Endorsing Genocidal Terrorists

Editor’s Note: This article originally stated that the Six-Day War occurred in 1968, and that the Yom Kippur war occurred in 1972. These dates have been corrected to 1967 and 1973, respectively. When I began studying cultural anthropology in 1960, anthropologists still aspired to be scientific. Leaders in the discipline wrote books with titles like […]

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Redefining Words to Obscure Facts

These days, theories are formulated, conclusions drawn, and policies shaped not by the accumulation of relevant evidence, but by redefining words, which determines the desired outcome. Let us begin with examples from the discourse surrounding the Palestine-Arab-Iran-Israel conflict. The “Science for Peace” letter, titled “Canada must condemn the violence in Gaza and the West Bank […]

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‘White Fragility’ Is a Racist Concept

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by The Epoch Times on May 17, 2021, and is crossposted here with permission. Like “black criminality,” “Jewish shrewdness,” “Italian mafiosity,” and “Irish drunkenness,” “white fragility” is a racist concept. Identifying a particular derogatory characteristic, or even a positive characteristic, with a racial or ethnic group, as if it accurately […]

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Let’s Hire China to Run Our Schools and Universities

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by The Epoch Times on May 8, 2021 and is crossposted here with permission. The internationalization of labor has been a longstanding policy of government and business. The main reason is the low cost of labor in developing countries such as China, compared to the cost of labor in modern […]

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Legislatures: It’s Time to Defund Universities

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by The Epoch Times on May 5, 2021 and is crossposted here with permission. Our universities have been uniformly corrupted by neo-Marxist political ideology. They no longer teach the great wealth of knowledge of Western Civilization, or engage in research to advance that knowledge. Instead, they indoctrinate their students […]

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Academia Becomes More Ideological, More Coercive

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by The Epoch Times on April 30, 2021 and is crossposted here with permission. Universities as a community of autonomous scholars delving into knowledge and seeking to expand it is a model long out of date. With the explosive growth of university, scientific, and granting agency bureaucracies, coercive oversight and […]

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Where Can You Send Your Children to University?

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by The Epoch Times on April 19, 2021 and is crossposted here with permission. Liberal arts education, as I experienced it at Antioch College in the late 1950s and early 1960s, was aimed at opening students’ minds to the intellectual life of Western culture. Students were asked to consider […]

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How ‘Inclusion’ in Canadian Universities Becomes Exclusion

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by The Epoch Times on March 27, 2021 and is crossposted here with permission. The foremost advocates of racism and sexism in Canada are our universities. No longer are individuals treated as individuals according to their achievements, potential, and merits. Rather, under the label “diversity, inclusion, and equity,” students, […]

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From Postcolonial Theory to Toxic Masculinity: What Students Learn at Canadian Universities

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by The Epoch Times on March 22, 2021 and is crossposted here with permission. Did you know that all of the evil in the world was brought about by Western imperialism and colonialism? That is the message of “postcolonial theory,” the dominant narrative in university social sciences, humanities, and […]

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The Woke War Against African Americans

Editor’s Note: A shorter version of this essay was originally published by The Epoch Times on March 16, 2021. The purpose of the woke “antiracism” movement launched by some members of the educational, media, and political elite, together with race activists, has always been to elevate its proclaimers above other members of the elite. In other […]

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Who Made Our College Students into Ideological Monsters?

During my fifty years teaching anthropology at McGill University, my impression of undergraduate students was of reasonable young people, many of whom were seriously engaged in learning about the world and its peoples. Graduate students were fiercely focused on gaining professional status, were more ideologically militant than undergraduates, and were consistently on the wrong side […]

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Identity Cancels Reality

Our current monomaniacal obsession with identity was midwifed by postmodern theory. In the past, students of society and culture emulated science in theory and methodology, striving to offer objective, disinterested, and impartial knowledge about human life. Postmodernism attacked science and rejected the goal of objective knowledge about people, arguing that objectivity was impossible and that […]

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An Open Letter to Students

Students in colleges and universities across America and Canada have recently taken to writing “Open Letters,” such as here, here, and here, in order to “take a stand” on an ideological issue and, just as important, to vent their fury on one or more professors or administrators who are deemed to have deviated from ideological […]

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We Love Diversity, But Hate Differences

Every institution in the United States and in Canada has endorsed diversity as a fundamental value and goal, and has formally committed to sex, race, sexuality, and ethnic diversity in its personnel. This is seen at every level, from national governments to universities to primary schools, from international corporations to the media to street corner […]

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Systemic Racism and Sexism Are Now Mandatory

I must apologize at the outset for offering to the reader what is by now a truism known to everybody who has had even short periods of sobriety during the last decade. Whatever imaginings the reader may have had during the twentieth century about being a unique individual and about treating others as individuals, the […]

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Do Our Woke Universities Live Up to Their Own Values?

Each of our great universities used to have official mottos that were meant to stand for their values. For example, McGill University’s was “Grandescunt Aucta Labore,” ‘by work, all things increase and grow’; Western University’s was “Veritas et Utilitas,” ‘truth and usefulness’; Queen’s University’s was “Sapientia et Doctrina Stabilitas,” ‘wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times’; […]

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The New Anthropology

In their recent “Open Letter Demanding the Overhaul of McGill’s Statement of Academic Freedom,” the Anthropology Students Association and the Anthropology Graduate Student Association of McGill University have schooled us about the new anthropology. Here are some of its dimensions: The benighted old anthropology began with questions and engaged in research to find answers. Cultural […]

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Why the Wokerati Are Cultural Marxists

In an otherwise excellent article ridiculing another journalist who was “canceling” restauranteurs with the wrong ethnicity for the ethnic food they were producing, Jonathan Kay expressed his perplexity about the meaning of “cultural Marxism.” “These battles [such as those about ‘cultural appropriation’ of cultural features by people with incorrect genes] are often described in left- […]

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