From Classroom to Courtroom
From Classroom to Courtroom tells the story of how fifteen American university academics in a Middle Eastern Studies department got embroiled in serious unacademic conflicts with serious consequences. From 1994 onward, these academic colleagues made or faced official complaints and allegations of favoritism, intimidation, abuse, harassment, and racism, and charges of prevarication and dishonesty, and ethnic, religious, and gender discrimination. They initiated three or four faculty grievances. An exodus of graduate students from the department consequently took place. Five or six faculty careers ended in the process, which culminated in a law suit.
From Classroom to Courtroom details behavior of the author and six or seven of his departmental colleagues and two university administrators in conflict situations within, between, and among the department's Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish sections. The author develops this part of the narrative mostly through a paper trail of official letters, reports, memoranda, e-messages, and court deposition testimony
In highlighting cross-cultural dimensions of cited conflicts, From Classroom to Courtroom suggests arguably culture-specific behavior on the part of departmental colleagues, only two of them born in America. Such behavior, the book implies, may derive from cultural conflicts between some academics of Arab, Iranian, and Israeli origin, on the one hand, and American academics of European origin, on the other, between some Muslim and Christian Arabs and some Jewish Israelis, and between some Middle Eastern and American men and some Middle Eastern women.
In its chronological narrative leading up to a law suit filed by an Arab Muslim woman academic against her department and college, From Classroom to Courtroom also tells the story of the book's author and first-person narrator, describing the daily life of a Middle East language/literature professor at a large state university, a life of teaching, writing, departmental politics, family, and travel.