NEWS STORY: CUP case. (fwd)

Mon, 19 Feb 1996 09:55:03 -0800

Here's some newspaper articles that should help clue people in about the
CUP case--it's frightening stuff...Another article will follow this one
Donna Lanclos
Dept of ANthropology
UC Berkeley

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 18 Feb 1996 08:47:40 -0500
To: Multiple recipients of list H-SAE <H-SAE@MSU.EDU>
Subject: NEWS STORY: CUP case.


Publisher Drops Book On Greece, Stirring Protests

c.1996 N.Y. Times News Service; Fair Use reprint for non-profit
scholarly use only.

LONDON - Anastasia Karakasidou's first book, a 300-page study of
ethnicity and identity in the northern Greek province of Macedonia,
seemed poised for publication after surviving months of grueling
academic review at Cambridge University Press and winning high
praise from academic specialists for its insights and fairness. But
in December, Ms. Karakasidou received surprising news: The press
had decided not to publish the book after all, it said, because it
feared for the safety of its staff members in Greece. Back home in
Stony Brook, N.Y., the Greek-born Ms. Karakasidou, an assistant
professor of anthropology at Queens College, still sounds stunned.
She had appreciated that her subject was a potentially provocative
one -Greeks bristle at suggestions that residents of that province
consider themselves anything but true Greeks - but she never
expected this. ``They had my manuscript for more than a year and a
half,'' she said in an interview this week. ``I had no idea that
this was happening, and I had no way of defending myself.''

The immediate result of the Cambridge University Press' decision
not to go ahead with the book, ``Fields of Wheat, Rivers of
Blood,'' was the outraged resignation of three of its academic
advisers in anthropology, who charged that the publisher, one of
the most prestigious in the world, with violating the author's
freedom of speech and caving in to a threat that was largely
hypothetical. But what in the old days might have remained a
controlled protest by a small group of disgruntled academics has
now expanded into a full-scale offensive, via the Internet. Earlier
this week, two of the three people who resigned as editorial
advisers to Cambridge University Press - Stephen Gudeman, a
professor of anthropology at the University of Minnesota, and
Michael Herzfeld, a professor of anthropology at Harvard - sent a
battle cry to colleagues around the world, calling for scholars not
to submit manuscripts to, or review books for, Cambridge. ``By
hindering the production and reviewing of new manuscripts,'' their
message said, ``we hope to demonstrate the academic world's
collective dismay.''

Although it is too early to gauge the effects of the Internet
manifesto, it is clear that the word is getting out, fast, as E-
mail messages zoom from campus to campus. ``It's gone out to
thousands of anthropologists,'' said Herzfeld. ``I think the
historians are getting it as well.'' At the University of Florida,
Thomas Gallant, a professor of modern Greek and Balkan history,
said that he no longer wished to be published by Cambridge, even
though he was about two-thirds finished writing a book for the
publisher on the social history of modern Greece. ``I am having
legal counsel examine my contract because I think that ethically I
cannot remain committed to the press,'' he said.

``Fields of Wheat, Hills of Blood,'' is a study of three villages
in the Greek province of Macedonia that asserts, among other
things, that many of the residents speak Slavic dialects and
consider themselves Slavo-Macedonian, not Greek. The findings
challenge the official position of the Greek government, which
remains at odds with the neighboring Republic of Macedonia, a part
of former Yugoslavia, and denies the existence of a Slavic ethnic
minority within its own borders. In the past, the Macedonian
question has spurred nationalist-led violence in Greece. Ms.
Karakasidou herself was threatened by right-wing groups two years
ago after she published articles with conclusions similar to those
in her book. But, she says, she continued to live in Greece without
incident. Ms. Karakasidou submitted her manuscript to Cambridge
more than 18 months ago, sending it on a well-worn path of academic
reviews and revisions. Finally, its reviewers deemed it ready to
go, and Ms. Karakasidou, though she had no contract in hand, had
every reason to assume that Cambridge would publish it.

``It is easily the most carefully researched and balanced
assessment of the on-the-ground situation, from a historical and
ethnographic perspective, that I have ever seen,'' Herzfeld said.
But a nervous Cambridge Press decided to seek advice about the
potential for violence in Greece. Among other things, the publisher
asked for an evaluation from the British Embassy in Athens, which
sent a two-paragraph response saying no one at the Embassy had read
the book, but that its subject was potentially controversial. ``It
is impossible to judge the extent of a likely reaction, since so
much depends on the political situation at the time of
publication,'' said the letter, ``but it could take the form of
public criticism, protests and demonstrations, or violence or
threat of violence against the author or publishers.'' That was
enough for the publisher, which has about five employees in Greece.
In December, after consulting its 20-member ruling body, it decided
not to proceed with the book.

Cambridge Press says it is unlikely to change its mind. ``At no
stage was there a contract signed or a commitment made,'' said
Adrian du Plessis, the publisher's communications director. ``Given
the way we are established in Greece, it would be inappropriate for
us to publish the book. It is not accurate to say that we banned it
or censored it.''

Some of the publisher's critics charge that Cambridge was also
worried about local boycotts if the book went ahead. Cambridge has
a lucrative market for English-language books in Greece, and
administers English exams to hundreds of thousands of people each
year. du Plessis disputes this interpretation. ``I've been involved
in every discussion,'' he said, ``and at every occasion I have
never heard any economic motivation discussed. The issue was the
risk to staff.'' At the same time, the notion that the book was
bound to spur violence has annoyed Greek scholars, who say that
with the recent thawing in relations between Greece and the
Republic of Macedonia, the possibility of reprisals has ebbed
considerably. ``There really, really, was no tangible threat to the
press, its personnel, or its property,'' Gallant said. One thing
the publicity has done is to draw unexpected attention to Ms.
Karakasidou at a relatively early point in her career. Several
publishers have expressed interest and this week, the University of
Chicago Press offered her a contract. While Cambridge Press has
been forced to defend itself against irate anthropologists, it is
also even facing the wrath of some Greeks for its timidity.

Elias Gounaris, the Greek ambassador to London, sent a scathing
letter to the Guardian newspaper, defending his country's honor.
``The worst possible fate that could befall a Cambridge University
Press book on an anthropological subject in Greece would be
indifference, spiced perhaps with the odd verbal attack against it
in the column of some obscure extremist publication,'' the letter
said. ``Intolerant voices do of course exist, as in most countries,
but so far they have always dismally failed to silence anyone. In
Greece, at least.''