NEWS STORY: CUP case (fwd)

Mon, 19 Feb 1996 09:56:06 -0800

Here's the second article of two I'm forwarding to the list about the CUP
Donna Lanclos
UC Berkeley Dept of Anthropology

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 18 Feb 1996 08:49:41 -0500
To: Multiple recipients of list H-SAE <H-SAE@MSU.EDU>
Subject: NEWS STORY: CUP case

Academics, Politics Clash in Cambridge

 Advisers to Publishing House Protest Rejection of Macedonia Book
 Copyright (c) 1996 The Washington Post Co.; Fair use reprint for
 nonprofit scholarly use only
 By Fred Barbash
 Washington Post Foreign Service
   LONDON, Feb. 2 -- One of the world's most prestigious book
   publishers confronted a rebellion today among some of its academic
   advisers for canceling publication of a study about Greece because
   of fear of reprisals from nationalist extremists there. The
   manuscript -- "Fields of Wheat, Rivers of Blood" by Anastasia
   Karakasidou -- is a scholarly study of ethnicity in the Greek
   province of Macedonia and had been enthusiastically endorsed for
   publication by the panel of experts to which Cambridge University
   Press had submitted it. But a spokesman for Cambridge Press said
   that after consulting, among others, British diplomats in Greece,
   the publisher decided that the author and the subject were too
   controversial and could put at risk "life and limb" of Cambridge
   Press employees in Greece. Three academics -- Cambridge Press
   editorial board members and manuscript reviewers -- have resigned
   or disassociated themselves from the publishing house in protest
   over the decision, first reported this morning in the Guardian
   newspaper here. A fourth is reportedly threatening to quit the
   editorial board unless the decision is rescinded. Among the
   protesting academics was Michael Herzfeld, a Harvard anthropology
   professor, specialist on Greece and Cambridge Press editorial board
   member. "From the perspective of academic freedom, this is a
   serious matter of literary preemptive appeasement," Herzfeld said
   in an interview. Apart from that, he said he took strong exception
   to the notion that there was any serious potential for violence
   from publishing the book, saying the idea reflected ignorance of
   Greek affairs and represented an "insult" to Greece itself. He said
   he believes Cambridge Press was acting to protect Cambridge
   University's commercial interests in Greece, which include English-
   language book sales, language schools and a flourishing English
   proficiency examination sponsored by the university. Richard
   Fisher, a Cambridge University Press spokesman, strenuously denied
   that. He said while "there was no doubt the manuscript was
   extremely high quality," Cambridge Press had not formally
   contracted to publish it. When considering late last year whether
   to do so, he said, the board of academics that runs Cambridge Press
   decided that "as responsible employers, the potential risk to life
   and limb" did not "justify publication." It was "an incredibly
   difficult decision." Fisher said Cambridge had four or five
   employees in Greece. "None of us can remember a similar case," said
   Charles Stewart, a British anthropologist who was on the reviewing
   panel that recommended publication to Cambridge Press.
   The Cambridge Press controversy strikes a particularly sensitive
   chord in Britain because of the plight of British author Salman
   Rushdie, who still lives in semi-hiding under police protection
   because his novel "The Satanic Verses" provoked a death sentence
   from Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The very name Macedonia
   is extremely sensitive in Greece. Macedonia is a region of the
   Balkans that has been claimed in whole or part by Greece, Bulgaria
   and Serbia. It was divided after World War I between Greece and the
   nation that ultimately became Yugoslavia. But in 1991, the Yugoslav
   republic of Macedonia declared independence, calling itself the
   Republic of Macedonia. Its population is 61 percent Slavic and 21
   percent Albanian. The country borders on the Greek province bearing
   the same name, and Greece bitterly disputes the right of
   independent Macedonia to use the name, which it claims exclusively
   for its own region. Greece, as a matter of policy, has denied the
   existence of Slavic Macedonian minorities in that region and has
   sought to "Hellenize" it, linguistically and culturally.
   As described by Stewart, "Fields of Wheat, Hills of Blood"
   challenges the Greek position, based in part on interviews with
   elderly residents of Greek Macedonia who identify themselves and
   their roots as Slavic. The Greek-born author, Karakasidou, who now
   teaches at the State University of New York at Stonybrook, received
   death threats in 1993, reportedly from Greek nationalist
   extremists, after presenting her research. Stewart said he and
   others made this known to Cambridge Press when they first reviewed
   the manuscript a year ago. The company nonetheless moved toward
   publication, putting the author through conventional academic
   rigors of rewrite and revision as recommended by Stewart and
   University of Sussex historian Mark Mazower, also a Cambridge Press
   manuscript reviewer. Though Fisher said Cambridge Press received no
   threats as it progressed with the editing, Cambridge's sales
   representative in Athens consulted the British Embassy in Athens
   and became concerned, Fisher said. According to a Jan. 12 letter
   sent to Stewart and others by the Cambridge Press editor in charge
   of the book, Jessica Kuper, "the senior officers of the Press were
   in no doubt that the manuscript was of high quality, as attested by
   the enthusiastic reviews, but, understandably, they judged it
   necessary to make further inquiries on the security question, for
   Greek nationalist feelings were running high on the Macedonian
   British officials did not read the manuscript. But, according to a
   spokesman for the Foreign Office here, "we made it clear that the
   subject" of Macedonian ethnicity "arouses emotions in Greece and
   that the author faces problems as a result of her research; that
   the possibility existed of critical or perhaps violent reaction to
   the book. We did not say there would be such a reaction." Nor did
   the British Embassy advise for or against publication. "They did
   not ask us about publication of the book," said the spokesman. "The
   embassy faced a difficult question and gave an honest answer." As a
   result of the decision not to publish, Herzfeld and University of
   Minnesota professor Stephen Gudeman have resigned from the
   editorial board of the Cambridge Press's anthropology series.
   Cambridge professor Jack Goody -- the founder of the series -- has
   threatened to quit if the decision is not reversed, the Guardian
   reported this morning. And Mazower said in an interview today that
   he has told Cambridge Press "I can't have anything more to do with
   them. I'm a historian" of the Balkans. "Virtually all my work makes
   someone or the other pretty angry. Most people who work on the
   Balkans get used to that."
   Stewart, a lecturer at University College, London, is furious: "To
   my knowledge there hasn't been any terrorism on account of
   Macedonia in the 1990s. . . . If anything, Macedonia is
   progressively being put on the back burner" as an issue in Greece.
   Last September, Greece and Macedonia agreed to establish diplomatic
   relations, and Athens reopened its border and hence its ports to
   the landlocked neighbor. Macedonia's president, Kiro Gligorov, who
   was seriously injured in a car-bomb blast in October, agreed to
   change Macedonia's flag and modify its constitution. The issue of
   Macedonia's name, however, remains to be settled.