Subject: URGENT REQUEST FOR AN IMMEDIATE LETTER CAMPAIGN TO UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT PATRICK CHEZAUD, ET AL., DEFENDING OUR RIGHT TO EXIST WITHIN STENDHAL UNIVERSITY.
18 June 2004
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
I have scheduled a meeting with the new President of Stendhal University, M. Patrick Chezaud, and the Vice-President of Research, Michel Lafon. The meeting is scheduled to take place on the morning of Thursday, 8 July, at which time I will argue that our center, CEIMSA, should be given one more year to establish a network with other universities, as the Ministry of Education in Paris had suggested one year ago, and as I was promised by the former University President, Mme. Lise Dumasy, last year.
It would be of great help if you would send a brief but strongly worded message to President Chezaud, expressing your support of CEIMSA and stating why, in your opinion, our research center is engaged in scientific work and indeed represents a strong and solid asset to the reputation of Stendhal University-Grenoble3 over these past three years. Please make mention of the web site, www.u-grenoble3.fr/ciesimsa and its usefulness as a research tool.
Also, please find below a brief history of the formation of our Research Center, in both English and in French languages. . . .
Our occasional criticisms of U.S.-Israeli relations is one reason for this assult against our Grenoble Center. Another reason is the fear that the subject matter is not approached scientifically, and that it endangers the reputation of the University for this reason. Protecting the reputation of the university is the justification for liquidating our Center, and until now a conservative discourse has monopolized this debate in Grenoble.
If you can write a reasoned statement of support for CEIMSA, please send it to :
and 6 Cc copies should be addressed to :
To University Vice-President of Research = Michel.Lafon@u-grenoble3.fr
To SNEsup Teachers Union President, Marc Troisvallets =
To University Vice-President of Administrative Affairs = Odile.Lagacherie@u-grenoble3.fr
To University Vice-President of International Relations = Georges.Tyras@u-grenoble3.fr
To University Vice-President of Pedagogical Affairs = Francoise.Papa@u-grenoble3.fr
To me, President of CEIMSA = Francis.Feeley@u-grenoble3.fr
Many thanks for your solidarity with our scientific work at CEIMSA.
English Version :
IN DEFENSE OF CEIMSA
(17 juin 2004)
In spring 2000 I was certified
by the CNU in Paris to occupy a
post as full professor (college A, Section 11). I had held the position as Maître de Conferences for two years at l’Université Marc Bloch, since September 1998, when I returned with my family to
After receiving this promotion in 2000, I applied for a professorial position at three universities: l’Université Marc Bloch, in Strasbourg; l’Université François Rabelais, in Tours; and l’Université Stendhal, in Grenoble. I was invited to be interviewed by the UFRs d’Anglais at all three universities, and subsequently I learned that I had been ranked as the number one choice by each of the "Commissions de Spécialistes" at these three universities.
I had taught at Grenoble as visiting professor between 1994 and 1997. My oldest daughter was born in Grenoble in 1996, and in the year 2000 my colleagues in the UFR d’Anglais were welcoming me back to join them permanently, as a tenured professor. The offer at Stendhal University was all the more attractive in 2000 because I was invited, if I chose to return to Grenoble, to create a new research center for the American Studies program at Stendhal University.
For these reasons, which were both personal and professional, I turned down the offers at the universities in Strasbourg and Tours, and accepted the challenge to teach and to create a new research center in Grenoble. My colleagues in Strasbourg and Tours expressed great disappointment, but only Grenoble had offered me the opportunity to build a new research center.
In September 2000, I arrived in Grenoble with my wife and two children. We soon bought an apartment, and I began to invest much time at the University, preparing new courses in American civilization, and developing our new research center, CEIMSA, which received formal recognition as a “new center” by the Conseil Scientifique at Stendhal University: For the first two years, I was awarded a small subsidy, in the form of a "BQR," by the University Conseil Scientifique.
After a great deal of effort on my part, and with the help of the Conseil Scientifique (then under the direction of Professor Pierre Morère) and support from Professor Lise Dumasy (who was then serving as President of Stendhal University), our new Research Center organized its first International Conference, in January 2002.
This big project was acknowledged as a great success: the two-day colloquium attracted more than 1 200 participants from local, national, and international orgins- to discuss the theme of the conference, which was: “The Social Impact of American Transnational Corporations”. More than a dozen scholars from several different countries came to present their research at this Grenoble conference in January 2002, and their papers were subsequently published in the official “Publications des Actes”, a book of more than 500 pages available free of charge on the CEIMSA web site, http://www.u-grenoble3.fr/ciesimsa/ .
The following academic year, 2002-2003, CEIMSA continued to organize small local conferences (all of which are described on the center’s web site). At the end of this academic year, our center again organized a large International Conference, using funds that had been awarded by the CS, in the form of BQR. It was in May 2003 that Howard Zinn and John Gerassi came to Grenoble, joining several French specialists in a two-day “Journée d’Etudes” organized around the theme of “L’Autre Côté de l’Amérique”, where discussions of contemporary dissident movements in the US attracted more than 2 000 participants over a two-day period.
Again, the following academic year (2003-2004) CEIMSA held a series of small local conferences around such topics as the African American writer, Richard Wright, and the early labor union movement in the
In addition to organizing this large International Conference, CEIMSA took on the project of directing the French translation of Jim Hightower’s famous book, “Thieves in High Places”, 460-page book which was published shortly before the April conference and is now on sale throughout France, Belgium, and in Canada.
Since the inception of CEIMSA, in 2000, a new vice-president as taken office at the Conseil Scientifique, and more recently the former university president has been replaced. Today, Vice-President Michel Lafon (at the Conseil Scientifique) and University President Patrick Chezaud have adopted a strategy that will completely liquidate our research center, CEIMSA, despite its three-year history of out-standing successes.
Last year, in January 2003, my application for formal recognition by the Ministry of Education was rejected, on the grounds that CEIMSA had too few members -1 professor, 3 maitres de conferences, and 1 doctoral student. (I was the only member of this center who was publishing scientific work on a regular basis.) However, the Ministry, at the same time that it delivered its “avis defavorable” took the initiative to suggest to President Dumasy that CEIMSA appeal this decision offering evidence that a permanent network was being created between CEIMSA and other French universities. Such a network would serve to assure the Ministry that in the future a larger number of research activities would result in a larger number of publications by our center in Grenoble.
However, the time that I was given to make this appeal was very short, and I was unable to do it before the deadline. As a result, President Dumasy offered me three options: (a)I could dissolve my research center. (b)I could merge with another research center. Mme. Dumasy suggested the equipe directed by Michel Lafon, Institut des Langues et Cultures de l’Europe (l’I.L.C.E.), would be the most appropriate affiliation. Or (c)I might continue as an independent center for two more years (2003-2004 and 2004-2005) and work to develop a permanent network with other French universities in the region. I chose to pursue the third option, and have been working to establish such a network. Two American civilization scholars, Professor Larry Portis (from the University of Montpellier) and Jean-Mari Ruiz (MC from Chambery) have come to work closely with CEIMSA, both of whom presented papers at the April Conference this year, and both Professor Portis’s paper on the priveleged relationship between Israel and the US, and Professor Ruiz paper on Michael Moore will be published by CEIMSA this summer.
Despite the administrative agreement between President Dumasy and myself in 2003, and despite the fact that CEIMSA has been working in good faith to establish a regional network that is legitimate and can be presented to the Ministry in 2005, and despite the series of significant successes which our unique American Studies Center in Grenoble has enjoyed over the past three years, the current administration at Stendhal University has declared its intention to disolve this center immediately, thereby breaking the promise made by former President Dumasy that CEIMSA could continue to exist independently, as a local center, until an appeal could be made at the Ministry in 2005, an appeal based on firm evidence that a permanent network had been created and that CEIMSA was at the center of this network.
The liquidation of CEIMSA represents a violation of an administrative promise made in the spring of 2003. It also represents a decision to reduce the American Studies program at Stendhal University, at a time when it is growing and attracting more Ph.D. students to complete their studies in Grenoble, and, at the same time, developing an international reputation. The most recent evidence of this is the fact that the University of Texas in Austin has specifically requested that Professor Francis Feeley, the Director of CEIMSA in Grenoble, teach a course in
In brief, the administrative decision this summer to liquidate CEIMSA comes at a time of its greatest success, base on three years of intense activities and a series of conferences from which many scientific publications have appeared.
The University of Stenhdal and the students of American civilization in Grenoble will be the big loosers if this irresponsible decision is put into action.
For these reasons, I request that this decision to terminate the research center, CEIMSA, be rescinded and that CEIMSA be awarded the necessary financial support to continue its activities, its growth, and its important pedagogical and scientific functions at the University Grenoble3.
Version française :
Plaidoyer pour le CEIMSAAu printemps 2000, j'ai reçu par le CNU à Paris la qualification pour un poste de professeur titulaire (college A, section 11). J'avais précédemment été Maître de conférences pendant deux ans à l'Université Marc Bloch de Strasbourg de septembre 1996 à septembre 1998, à mon retour des Etats-Unis.