[INDOLOGY] the debacle at Harvard

Robert P. GOLDMAN rpg at berkeley.edu
Tue Mar 5 19:06:23 UTC 2024

Dear Matthew,

Thanks for your message. A letter to the Provost is, I think, exactly what we should do.  (I am working on mine right now) I had suggested it yesterday on Indology. Frankly, it is about all we can do but we should stress that if this situation is not investigated and remedied it will be become a serious academic scandal for Veritas.com <http://veritas.com/>   in that that the head of the project may well have been pressured by donors and others  connected with right wing groups to undermine one of the most significant ongoing humanistic publication series on South Asia of our generation.


Dr. R.P. Goldman
William and Catherine Magistretti Professor of Sanskrit Emeritus
Professor in the Graduate School
Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies 
Berkeley, CA 94720-2540

> On Mar 5, 2024, at 8:46 AM, Matthew Kapstein <mattkapstein at proton.me> wrote:
> Dear Bob, Patrick, Philip, Jack, Brendan, and David,
> I hope this finds you all very well.
> As I mentioned in a post to the Indology list, I imagine that the interim provost at Harvard has other fish to fry just now, besides Indian pomfret. But what's happened with Murty appears to be quite disturbing, and a transparent inquiry seems essential. One rumor that reached me suggests that the donors may have had a role in all this, but one of the reasons for which a genuine inquiry is essential is so that the field is not soon awash in rumors. And above all, it would be good to see the project on its feet again in a fully credible fashion.
> I don't really think that there is very much that those of us not directly involved can usefully do here. But one thing that did come to mind is to begin a write-in campaign to the Harvard provost's office, with the aim just of demonstrating that there are concerned parties who are watching what transpires. I would be pleased to draft a boilerplate call for a fully transparent inquiry, to circulate for those who might wish to submit such a message.
> Before so doing, however, I wanted to ask your thoughts about whether this seems a useful gesture and, if so, what suggestions you might have for it. Brendan rightly emphasized that censure and accusation based on partial accounts must be avoided. Under the circumstances, it does seem to me that Harvard has an interest in clarifying just what's been going on.
> In all events,
> grateful for your thoughts,
> Matthew
> PS. I should just perhaps mention that my own interest, besides knowing almost everyone involved, is in part due to my having a proposal to the series in preparation, and that is now definitely on hold.
> Matthew T. Kapstein
> Professor emeritus
> Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, PSL Research University, Paris
> Associate
> The University of Chicago Divinity School
> https://ephe.academia.edu/MatthewKapstein
> https://vajrabookshop.com/product/the-life-and-work-of-auleshi/
> https://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/9781501716218/tibetan-manuscripts-and-early-printed-books-volume-i/#bookTabs=1
> https://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/9781501771255/tibetan-manuscripts-and-early-printed-books-volume-ii/#bookTabs=1
> https://brill.com/edcollbook/title/60949
> Sent with Proton Mail <https://proton.me/> secure email.

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