Graeber agrees to leave University

Sociocultural anthropology professor David Graeber, a self-described anarchist whose contract was not renewed by the University last spring, announced Wednesday that he has withdrawn his petition to remain at Yale in exchange for a year’s paid sabbatical.

Graeber filed a formal appeal in September alleging that the decision not to renew his contract was politically motivated. He was an assistant professor for six years before the Anthropology Department’s senior faculty voted not to extend his contract for an additional two years. The original decision would have required Graeber to leave Yale following the Spring 2006 semester, but Graeber said the University offered him an additional year on paid sabbatical to drop the appeal.

“Normally, you get a sabbatical on the condition that you come back and teach the following year,” Graeber told the Associated Press. “I’m getting the sabbatical on the condition that I don’t come back and teach.”

Yale College Dean Peter Salovey said he did not have firsthand knowledge of Graeber’s case, but he confirmed Graeber’s account of the agreement that was reached.

The Anthropology Department will lose three other professors from sociocultural anthropology after the spring semester. Professors Thomas Blom Hansen and Eric Worby are leaving the department for personal reasons, and professor Linda-Anne Rebhun, a 10-year veteran of the department, was denied tenure in November.

Salovey said the Anthropology Department is currently conducting faculty searches on both the junior and senior levels, but he said he has not yet reviewed candidates for the positions.

“If the searches in Anthropology go the way most faculty searches go, they would be bringing candidates in the spring term to our attention,” Salovey said. “It’s still too early.”

After Graeber’s contract was not renewed this past spring, an online petition protesting the decision yielded more than 4,400 signatures. Two months ago, undergraduate supporters of Graeber delivered 30 letters of protest to the Provost’s Office.

Before beginning his sabbatical, Graeber will teach “Introduction to Cultural Anthropology” and a seminar, “Direct Action and Radical Social Theory,” next semester.

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