From Edmund Burke to Donald Rumsfeld to "Shibrum-Shibrum"

[A bit of an academic links round-up this morning]

Nick Robins is about to release a book critical of the East India Company. He has a piece in the New Statesman where he tears apart their business policy, as well as some 'heroes' of the British Empire. Robert Clive comes in for a special bashing.

It's also always a pleasant surprise to be reminded about the Trial of Hastings. It's a gloomy December morning in Connecticut, and the image of Edmund Burke preaching that Morality Must be Universal for four days straight is somehow cheering.

Chapati Mystery has a nice post on the need for academics to disseminate examples of good academic writing as an antidote to the "shibrum-shibrum." It might also help us when we are attacked (as most recently by Mark Bauerlein) for being bad writers.

Juan Cole links to an article in the Daily Princetonian, about the tension in the Princeton Middle East Studies department. Under the influence of Bernard Lewis and now Michael Doran, the department is considered highly conservative, though some graduate students are trying to rebel against its senior leadership. The piece, which laboriously explains the famous conflict between Bernard Lewis and Edward Said, is a little long-winded. But the quotes from Rashid Khalidi are pretty good. And the flame-up at a recent dissertation defence makes for some high academic drama...

Donald Rumsfeld is in India, talking with the PM Manmohan Singh about things like how to further peace prospects with Pakistan, and how much those F-16s are gonna cost. I didn't realize the Secretary of Defense was also a missile and planes salesman!