Thursday, April 09, 2009

Where's Piot's "KC - Shut Up?" ( A Repost)

Readers Note: On the thread of a post at KC Johnson’s Durham-in-Wonderland a number of commenters reference Duke Professor Charles Piot’s Feb. 12, 2007 reading of what he purported was carefully researched analysis of the role of blogs in the Duke lacrosse case,

I attended the public event at Duke during which Piot read his paper which was, in fact, almost entirely a reckless, error-filled ad hominem targeting KC.

I posted a number of times concerning the content of Piot’s paper as read by him, the email exchanges I had with Piot, and an airbrushed version of his paper published months later.

Below is a reposting of Where’s Piot’s “KC – Shut Up?” which I posted Oct. 15, 2007.

You’ll see the post ends with a copy of an email I sent Piot. I express the hope I’d soon hear from him. I never have.

Is anyone surprised?

Here’s Where’s Piot’s “KC – Shut Up?”

Charles Piot is associate professor in the Department of Cultural Anthropology and interim director of the Department of African and African American Studies at Duke University.

The journal Transforming Anthropology recently published Piot’s "KC's World,” an ad hominem targeting historian, blogger and Brooklyn College Professor Robert KC Johnson. You can read Piot's ad hominem here.

KC Johnson has been a leader in the fight for justice for Duke students victimized by now disbarred former Durham DA Mike Nifong, certain Durham Police officers and others who conspired to frame the students with enablement from many, including some at Duke.

If you're an intelligent, fair-minded person familiar with KC's work and haven't yet read his response to Piot, you're expecting it to be carefully organized, fact-driven, and effective in refuting bogus claims and manufactured facts.

You're right as you’ll see if you read KC’s response to Piot's attack here.

Example of KC responding: Piot claims the intent of Duke faculty's Group of 88's now discredited "Listening Statement" was “was never to speak to the events at the lacrosse party.”

KC counters that false claim by noting and linking to the text of Professor Wahneeema Lubiano's email to colleagues soliciting their support for the "Listening Statement."

Lubiano's email begins: “African & African-American Studies is placing an ad in The Chronicle about the lacrosse team incident.”

I hope you read what both Piot and KC say.

The rest of this post contains first, excerpts from a February 19, 2006 JinC post concerning a statement Piot made when reading a paper at a panel forum I attended on February 12; and second, a copy of an email I've just sent Piot in which I ask him why he left the statement - "KC - shut up and go back to teaching" - out of his journal article which he told me in an email last February would contain the text of the paper he read at the Feb. 12 forum.

Now the excerpts from the Feb. 19 post, PIOT HURT HIMSELF , which begen with a correction.

CORRECTION: I say in the post that Professor Piot is a signatory to the Group of 88's statement. He's not.

I apologize for my error.


[...] On Feb. 12, 2007, in what was advertised on the Internet as a panel presentation on Duke’s West Campus to which the public was invited , African and African American and Cultural Anthropology professor Charlie Piot, a signatory of the now discredited Duke faculty Group of 88’s “listening statement,” attacked historian, Brooklyn College professor and blogger Robert KC Johnson, one the statement’s leading critics.

Piot ended his attack with: “KC – Shut up and go back to teaching!” [...]

Piot clearly meant his “Shut up” line to be one of the most important in his lecture. It was his crescendo and climax, delivered with deliberate emphasis. It drew long and sustained applause from his audience which included a number of Group of 88 signatories and their students.

As regards all of that, Piot’s “Shut up” closer was well-chosen and successful. It expressed in a few words exactly what Piot, the majority of the “88,” many of their students and some others at Duke would like Johnson to do.

But did Piot’s “Shut up” do him much good beyond “the world of ‘88’ and its satellites?”[...]

Did Piot want people to view his lecture as a scholarly disputation?

If he did, ending with “KC – Shut up and go back to teaching” was a mistake.

Telling another academic to “Shut up and go back to teaching” is the way you end an ad hominem, which is just what Piot’s “lecture” was. (Taping of Piot’s remarks was not permitted except for an “official” taping by panel sponsors who haven’t released it. Piot told me in an email he couldn’t release text copies of his remarks because he’s promised them to a journal editor who’s agreed to publish them, a proviso of which is that Poit’s remarks not be released pending journal publication.) [...]

Faculty who value open debate and free expression, and that’s most Duke faculty, scorn those demanding an academic “Shut up and go back to teaching.” [...]

They’ll instead identify with what Economics Professor Roy Weintraub, a faculty member for thirty-seven years and twice chair of the academic council said in a Feb. 14 letter to The Chronicle ( “Disagreement is not McCarthyism” )

”I don't ask the panelists to shut up and teach. I ask them instead to understand that for various Duke faculty, staff, administrators, students, parents and alumni to disagree with them in public or in private is neither McCarthyism nor an academic travesty and betrayal of the values of our institution, but is rather an expression of their believing otherwise.

I've just sent Professor Piot the following email.

Dear Professor Piot:

I first contacted you on February 13 of this year concerning a paper you read the previous night in the West Union Building on West Campus. Taping of your reading was not permitted and you didn't distribute print copies of your paper. I asked where I could link to your paper.

In an email response you explained: "I've promised my piece for publication in an academic journal, with the proviso that it not be published elsewhere beforehand. I'll certainly let you know when it comes out."

Your paper has now been published in Transforming Anthropology. It differs in significant respects from what I reported in posts last February based on notes taken during your reading.

For example, as you surely recall, you ended your Feb. 12 reading with: "KC - shut up and go back to teaching." I posted concerning it in PIOT HURT HIMSELF and sent you a link.

However, the Transforming Anthropology version of your paper omits your "KC - shut up and go back to teaching" statement.

Forum attendees were not permitted to tape your reading but there was, as you know, a videotape made by Duke AV people of it at the behest of the forum organizers.

I understand the videotape is now in the possession of the Department of African and African American Studies which has so far not made the tape available to the public despite requests that it do so.

I am requesting that you now make that tape publicly available at an internet site.

You accuse bloggers, especially KC, of McCarthyism. Yet KC linked to your Transforming Anthropology article as part of his response to you. I'm sure he would have linked to the videotape of your paper reading had it been available.

But he can't.

You’ve given KC no chance to respond to the paper you read Feb. 12 which was the most vicious, and possibly slanderous, ad hominem I've ever heard one academic deliver against another in public.

You've done that by acting much like Senator McCarthy himself. Recall he made that speech in Wheeling, WV attacking "Communists in the State Department" but never produced the actual speech, and instead began offering versions of it.

Professor Piot, fairness demands you make the videotape available to KC and the rest of us.

I look forward to your response, which I’ll publish in full at JinC.

Here’s a link to a post which includes this email as well as background concerning it:


John in Carolina


Danvers said...

Piot needs his AAAS kicked!!!

Anonymous said...

What an embarrassment to Duke! Do the trustees care?

Anonymous said...

Do the trustees care?

Absolutely not! If they cared, there would be no Group 88 having their implicit support for publicly defaming their own students. If they cared, Brodhead, et al would be long gone. If they cared, Nifong would have been stopped in his tracks after the first batch of DNA test results were made public. The bottom line is the trustees are there to pat either other on the back and raise money for the institution. Students come and go. They don't care.

Anonymous said...

Can Duke graduates sue the trustees?