chapter  4
12 Pages

Policy and the Academy

WithMartin Kramer

Much of the academy is left of center, distrusts anything that smacks of national security, thinks of itself in opposition to power, and imagines that the slightest contact with agencies of policy might infect and corrupt the agencies of thought represented by the academy. Elie Kedourie, professor of politics at the London School of Economics (LSE), was the most formidable practitioner of a dissident historiography of the Middle East. Had Kedourie been an economic or social historian, his ideas on foreign policy and the academy might be brushed aside. In detailed studies of British diplomatic history, Kedourie attributed the failure of British imperial will in the Middle East to romantic illusions about the Arab-Muslim world. In his studies of Middle Eastern politics, he documented the importation of radical nationalism that ultimately transformed the Middle East into what he called "a wilderness of tigers". He was first and foremost a diplomatic historian.