Fool U Chicago President Condemns "Encampment" on Campus

Fool U Chicago President Condemns "Encampment" on Campus

Force of a kind or kind of forcing it?

The Stopgap has an improvised etymology and technical language blog going and so unfortunately we cannot ignore the stupidity of the president of the University of Chicago, a man named Paul Alivisatos.

According to the Chicago Maroon, he sent out an email today titled “Concerning the Encampment" containing a curious argument:

“I believe the protesters should also consider that an encampment, with all the etymological connections of the word to military origins, is a way of using force of a kind rather than reason to persuade others. For a short period of time, however, the impact of a modest encampment does not differ so much from a conventional rally or march. Given the importance of the expressive rights of our students, we may allow an encampment to remain for a short time despite the obvious violations of policy—but those violating university policy should expect to face disciplinary consequences.”

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The word "encampment," as Alivisatos notes, is a military term. It derives from the Latin word campus, which meant field—just a regular field. In Latin it also meant battlefield.

In English, we most obviously have the noun and verb "camp,"—the place where the army camps for the night and what they do there, respectively (both C16th). The adjective "camp" (in the US, often "campy") is only from 1909 and a side thing. The Romans fought a lot of people at the same time as they spread their language, so descendant related nouns in European languages often sort of emphasize the military aspect, for example: Kampf (battle), Champ (field/battlefield-ish).

From the eighteenth century, and therefore somewhat later than the idea of an army temporarily lodging someplace, comes the American, neoclassical neologism "campus"—a return to the original "field" concept and first used for Princeton.

The point is that "encampment," Kampf, as in Hitler's memoir Mein, and "campus" are all the same fucking word. Even though we can say that, chronologically speaking, campus-derived words in European languages have drifted around the fields (ugh) of both education and military contact, that means nothing in terms of ideas. There's no war before horses before grass, or horses before grass before war—it's all the same field.

Glad that's over. Here's a photograph of a field in Southern Palestine taken "either by the American Colony Photo Department or its successor, the Matson Photo Service":

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Here's all the info from the Wikimedia page:

English: Succoth, Southern Palestine.

Medium: 1 negative : glass, stereograph, dry plate / 4 × 5 in (10.1 × 12.7 cm).

Title: from negative sleeve, "Taken either by the American Colony Photo Department or its successor, the Matson Photo Service."

Caption on negative: Succoth.

Guide card: Southern Palestine.

Gift; Episcopal Home; 1978.

Date: from 1898 until 1946 (??—ed)