Campus: CSU San Francisco -- October 10, 2001
Attacks On Afghanistan: SFSU Faculty Experts Are Available
Members of the San Francisco State University faculty are
available to provide expert analysis on various aspects of the U.S. and
Britain attacks on Afghanistan, including Middle Eastern politics and
relations, terrorism, intelligence, global peace issues, media coverage,
propaganda, U.S. foreign policy, aspects of Islamic faith and culture,
transportation logistics of delivering aid to citizens of Afghanistan,
hate crimes against Muslims in the United States, and the geography of
Afghanistan. Faculty members are closely following events and can provide
timely commentary as well as historical and cultural perspectives. For
additional assistance in locating an expert, call the SFSU Public Affairs
Office at (415) 338-1665.
Dwight Simpson, professor of international relations, is an expert
on the Middle East, international relations and world politics.
Simpson can be reached at (415) 338-2239 (work) or (510) 527-5306 (home).
"This 'war' has no coherent plan. We don't know where we're going,"
he said. "And this 'war' also has no time limit and no exit strategy,
yet the majority of the people in this country support it. This is a question
which all of us should be focused on."
Sanjoy Banerjee, associate professor of international relations,
has closely followed the conflicts in Afghanistan and the rise of the
Taliban. Banerjee, who teaches courses on South and Southeast Asia,
is also an expert on foreign relations between the United States and
other countries such as Pakistan and India. He can be reached at (415)
338-1105 (work) or (650) 589-3224 (home).
"The crux of the story really lies not in Afghanistan itself but
in Pakistan," he said, adding that thousands of young Islamic soldiers
were trained in Pakistan. As the United States began its attacks Sunday,
Banerjee said several military generals in Pakistan resigned or were removed
from their posts. Those individuals, according to Banerjee, are Islamic
fundamentalists known to favor the Afghan Taliban government that has
aligned itself with bin Laden.
Ambassador Robert Pastorino, international relations lecturer,
was a National Security Council adviser under presidents Ronald Reagan
and George Bush. As acting ambassador in Honduras in the 1980s, he helped
aid the Nicaraguan Democratic Resistance fight for its freedom. He says
that organization can be compared to the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan
and other groups fighting the war against terrorism. Pastorino is also
an authority on terrorism and anti-terrorism measures. A former
American ambassador to the Dominican Republic, he teaches courses on international
negotiation and diplomacy. Pastorino can be reached at (415) 986-1235
Ann Robertson, philosophy lecturer, is an expert on political
philosophy and teaches a class this semester on human rights in
a global perspective. Robertson can be reached at (415) 338-3138 (work),
(415) 826-1905 (home) or email@example.com.
"I think it's important to understand why the United States is
hated all over the world," she said.
Fred Astren, associate professor of Jewish studies, can discuss
Islam faith and culture and the role of religion in conflicts in the
Middle East. He lectures frequently on Islamic fundamentalism, the
role of religion in the conflict between Israel and Palestine, and other
related topics. He also teaches a course on medieval Islamic history.
Astren can be reached at (415) 338-3152 (work), (510) 524-2394 (home)
"The immediate threat to modern secular societies coming from
militant radical Muslim fundamentalism needs to be understood and resisted,"
he said. "But also, regional and global issues that fuel the support
of these extremists by large groups of people will need to be addressed."
Donald Wood, professor of marketing, can discuss the logistics
of transporting famine relief to the citizens of Afghanistan. He co-wrote
an article titled "The Logistics of Famine Relief" for a 1995
issue of the Journal of Business Logistics. Wood can also speak on the
logistical difficulties of military transportation. Wood can be
reached at (415) 338-1427 (work) or (415) 924-2907 (home).
Doug Powell, geography and human environmental studies lecturer,
can discuss the terrain of Afghanistan. Powell spent seven months
in Afghanistan during the 1970s studying how its geography was affected
by snow runoff. Powell can be reached at (510) 843-6879 (home).
"Winters there can be cold, particularly at high elevation, although
it is not a heavily snowy country," he said. "Afghanistan is
extremely rugged and highly mountainous with intervening valleys that
are highly farmed. Some of the mountain and basin ranges in Nevada, east
of the Sierras, are somewhat similar to Afghanistan: steep, with relatively
Philip Kipper, chair and professor of broadcast and electronic
communication arts, can discuss media coverage of the attacks and their
aftermaths. He is a former radio, newspaper and magazine reporter,
and his area of expertise is news writing for the electronic media. Kipper
can be reached at (415) 338-1788 (work), (415) 664-0968 (home), firstname.lastname@example.org
"U.S. television news did a great job in the days following the
Sept. 11 attacks by following the facts and staying clear of bias that
might inflame public opinion," he said. "More recently, by turning
news coverage into a 'show' with theme songs and titles, the networks
are slipping into a pattern familiar from the Gulf War, which brings into
question the reliability of the news."
Dara Williams, director of the News Watch Project at SFSU, is an
expert on diversity issues in the media and news coverage of minorities.
She is a former diversity affairs reporter for Associated Press bureaus
in San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. Williams can be reached at
(415) 405-0727 or (510) 839-2807 (work), at (510) 504-5455 (home) or email@example.com.
"As Census figures continue to show us how diverse the country
is becoming, it is becoming increasingly important that, as journalists
who believe in accuracy, we make sure that our news stories also reflect
that diversity," she said. "This is not an issue of being politically
correct. One of the highest tenets of journalism is to be fair and accurate.
If we are to uphold that ideal, that means having coverage that is inclusive
of the entire community."
Rick Isaacson, assistant professor of speech and communication
studies, is an expert on rhetoric and persuasion. He teaches a
course on rhetoric and persuasion, in which he includes discussions on
propaganda and the use of language. Isaacson can be reached at (415) 338-2921
(work), (415) 383-5421 (home) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
"The last three weeks have served as a national tutorial on the complexities
of a new brand of warfare," he said. "The language of the administration
can now entertain shades of gray that would not have satisfied the inflamed
passions and fears immediately following Sept. 11."
Christopher Waldrep, professor of history, is an expert on hate
crimes in the United States. Waldrep, who teaches a course on the
history of American violence, has written extensively on the political
forces behind vigilante violence in the United States. Waldrep can be
reached at (415) 338-2982 (work) or (925) 370-2909 (home).
"Hate crimes and vigilante justice increase whenever the U.S.
wages a patriotic war with a lot of fervor," he said. "These
crimes, of course, are mainly directed against people who share the same
ethnic background as the people are waging war against."
Minoo Moallem, chair and assistant professor of women studies,
is an expert on issues of women and Islamic fundamentalism and feminist
movements in the Middle East among Muslims. She is writing a book
on gender and Islamic fundamentalism in Iran and lectures frequently on
these issues. Moallem can be reached at (415) 338-3065 (work) or email@example.com.
She may be unavailable for interviews Oct. 11-14.
"All Muslims are not fundamentalists, and all fundamentalists
are not Muslims," she said. "Muslim women are not passive victims;
they are active agents who participate in various social movements in
Jerry Combs, professor of history, teaches a course on American
foreign relations and is an expert on the history of American foreign
policy. He can also discuss the similarities and differences between
the war on terrorism and the U.S.' past wars. Combs can be reached
at (415) 338-1246 (work), (925) 935-2404 (home) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
He requests no calls after 9 p.m.
"The issue we are facing is not like the appeasement like we saw
taking place prior to World War II," he said. "We are not facing
"Instead, we are faced with a hardcore group that is determined to
do what they want, regardless of what we do. The issue will be whether
we can adjust our foreign policy in a way that we avoid pushing moderate
Muslims into the fanatic camp. I don't consider such adjustments to be