Martin Kramer, author of Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America, has a dark but realistic view of the probable effect of our current economic meltdown on the field. In an e-mail, wherein he spares neither President Bush nor Barack Obama, he writes:
A main implication [of the financial crisis] is that our universities will now be even more vulnerable to buy-outs by Middle East potentates. “Our” universities are ceasing to be American institutions anyway, as they “internationalize.” So the Bush legacy to Middle East studies will be (1) that unprecedented increase in Title VI just after 9/11 and (2) opening the academic floodgates to the Emiratis and Saudis. Gee, it sounds like just the sort of thing Obama might have done.