- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 26, 2005

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - By all accounts, Yale anthropology professor David Graeber is one of the brightest minds in his field. His books are taught worldwide, and the London School of Economics recently asked him to give a lecture reserved for the most promising young anthropologists.

But he’s about to be unemployed.

Yale’s anthropology department recently voted in private not to renew Mr. Graeber’s contract. University officials won’t give the reasons, but Mr. Graeber’s supporters point to politics.

Mr. Graeber is an anarchist who has been arrested during anti-globalization protests.

When Yale told Mr. Graeber not to return next year, it touched off a letter-writing campaign from professors worldwide.

Mr. Graeber, who has taught at Yale since 1998, appealed the decision. University spokesman Tom Conroy said the university is negotiating an informal settlement, but would not discuss the reasons behind the contract decision.

Dozens of the 250 nontenured professors come up for renewal each year, Mr. Conroy said, and it is not unusual for them to leave for other universities or for personal reasons. Some are just not renewed.

Mr. Graeber, 44, is not shy about his disdain for the Yale faculty who showed him the door.

“I’m both more productive intellectually than they are, and I’m having more fun. It must drive them crazy,” he said.

Mr. Graeber said he got along with colleagues at first and passed a three-year review before leaving for sabbatical in 2001. While on leave, he joined groups such as the Direct Action Network and Ya Basta and appeared at anti-war and anti-globalization protests and in newspaper articles.

When he returned to Yale, he said, things changed. He thinks he made more enemies when he objected to colleagues who wanted to kick out a student trying to unionize graduate students and prepare a strike.

Andrew Hill, chairman of the anthropology department at Yale, told the student-run Yale Daily News that professors should not assume they will be rehired.

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