Thursday, December 21, 2006

When getting an "A" on your report card is not necessarily a bad thing

Young America's Foundation has released it's "Dirty Dozen": America’s Most Bizarre and Politically Correct College Courses.

1 Occidental College’s The Phallus covers a broad study on the relation “between the phallus and the penis, the meaning of the phallus, phallologocentrism, the lesbian phallus, the Jewish phallus, the Latino phallus, and the relation of the phallus and fetishism.”

2 Queer Musicology at the University of California-Los Angeles explores how “sexual difference and complex gender identities in music and among musicians have incited productive consternation” during the 1990s. Music under consideration includes works by Schubert and Holly Near, Britten and Cole Porter, and Pussy Tourette.

3 Amherst College in Massachusetts offers Taking Marx Seriously: “Should Marx be given another chance?” Students in this class are asked to question if Marxism still has “credibility,” while also inquiring if societies can gain new insights by “returning to [Marx’s] texts.” Coming to Marx’s rescue, this course also states that Lenin, Stalin, and Pol Pot misapplied the concepts of Marxism.

4 Students enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania’s Adultery Novel read a series of 19th and 20th century works about “adultery” and watch “several adultery films.” Students apply “various critical approaches in order to place adultery into its aesthetic, social and cultural context, including: sociological descriptions of modernity, Marxist examinations of family as a social and economic institution” and “feminist work on the construction of gender.”

5 Occidental College—making the list twice for the second year in a row—offers Blackness, which elaborates on a “new blackness,” “critical blackness,” “post-blackness,” and an “unforgivable blackness,” which all combine to create a “feminist New Black Man.”

6 Border Crossings, Borderlands: Transnational Feminist Perspectives on Immigration is University of Washington’s way of exploring the immigration debate. The class allegedly unearths what is “highlighted and concealed in contemporary public debates about U.S. immigration” policy.

7 Whiteness: The Other Side of Racism is Mount Holyoke College’s attempt to analyze race. The class seeks to spark thought on: “What is whiteness?” “How is it related to racism?” “What are the legal frameworks of whiteness?” “How is whiteness enacted in everyday practice?” And how does whiteness impact the “lives of whites and people of color?

8 Native American Feminisms at the University of Michigan looks at the development of “Native feminist thought” and its “relationship both to Native land-based struggles and non-Native feminist movements.”

9 Johns Hopkins University offers Mail Order Brides: Understanding the Philippines in Southeast Asian Context, which is a supposedly deep look into Filipino kinship and gender.

10 Cornell University’s Cyberfeminism investigates “the emergence of cyberfeminism in theory and art in the context of feminism/post feminism and the accelerated technological developments of the last thirty years of the twentieth century.”

11 Duke University’s American Dreams/American Realities course seeks to unearth “such myths as ‘rags to riches,’ ‘beacon to the world,’ and the ‘frontier,’ in defining the American character.”

12 Swarthmore College’s Nonviolent Responses to Terrorism “deconstruct[s] terrorism” and “build[s] on promising nonviolent procedures to combat today’s terrorism.” The “non-violent” struggle Blacks pursued in the 1960s is outlined as a mode for tackling today’s terrorism.

And to think I used to feel guilty about dropping out of college...


dag said...

If I'd dropped out I would have done well to have landed on my noggin. Is it too late?

I taught a couple of courses at the local university a few years back, one of which included my brilliant lecture on the Mithraic influences on Islam, and another equally brilliant lecture on bin Ladin as the MacBeth of post-colonialist Arabia. No one blinked. I taught an entire section on the History of the Early Christian Church without once mentioning Jesus, and no one noticed. "Funding was reallocated" because I gave a lecture on George Orwell that pissed off the Communists sitting in. They got upset with my take on free speech, and I ended up out of work! Lucky me.

As a student I find that I get a bettere education each thursday evening than I did during my too many years of university. wheree was I when I was 20 and should have been reading Thomas Sowell? Well, I recall very well where I was, and if I'd been reading Sowell then things in my life and others' would have been a lot less tormented.

To live and learn. I hope to live to be a thousand years old, by which time I hope to accumulate some real common sense. I have a giant head-start thanks to our meetings on Thursdays. Thanks very much, folks for all of it.

truepeers said...

not necessarily a bad thing?

Frankly, while I can just imagine the psychopaths who teach these courses (and psychopath may be a defensible, technical term, since what is going on here is a form of irrational sacrificial violence - the accy mob has killed the beast as the ostensible solution to a madness it doesn't really understand, and is now cutting up the phallus to distribute to all gang members in a special rite) it is a step beyond me to imagine the good professors reflecting at year's end on the student's work and assigning a grade. "Ahh yess, what a brilliantly self-castrating essay by Reginald... I wonder if he previously took that course on the Feminist New Black Man (what a sperm donor he would make)... A.... Now about that Charles... arrogant son of a... hockey player... he still thinks the class room is a site of competition where he is only embracing the feminist revolution - I was sure he was mimicing me, yes even mocking (he was nodding in affirmation without permission... because he hadn't even read Butler) - to impress Rebecca after her presentation on the anarchists who refused to sleep with their men until they mopped the floors.... You can tell by that gaze in his eyes that he is really a phallacious "bastard" who only goes all doe-y eyes as an act of residually patriarchal idolatry. His paper on the lesbophallusphobia in Tom and Jerry was an utter confusion of butchology - D.

Anonymous said...

I can see how somebody might think the academy was loopy if all they focused on were gender and race courses. Then again, I would strongly recommend that the person in question take a course on empirical methods to avoid making judgments based on an unrepresentative sample.

truepeers said...

The problem with strictly empirical methods is that they cannot be adapted to study of many human phenomena. There is no such thing as an average college course, or an empirical observation of the moment of truth in an unfolding feminist revelation of the New Black Man. If we are to judge, we must judge the particular case, in context. Having a black sheep in the family doesn't necessarily give us a basis to judge the whole family but it inevitably throws into doubt whether they are void of major weaknesses.

tiberge said...

I don't agree with anonymous' defense of the universities. The proof is in the pudding. The devastating effects of a dumbed-down system that indoctrinates the willing, the vulnerable and the already-indoctrinated can be seen everywhere in American life, from the level of popular culture, popular music, modes of dress and behavior, the appalling lack of education in our leaders, the refusal of so many women to care properly for their children and the disgusting efforts great cultural institutions have to make to attract this dumbed down indoctrinated mass known as the the "educated".

Before the '60's there were havens of sanity in the university systems - some schools had very high standards, others provided many good courses to balance out the bad stuff. But the proportion has been turned on its head and today we need a sniffing dog to find the battered remains of Western traditional coursework.

I hope to link to this post at Galliawatch, even though it's not about France, it shows the world how far down we've come and why it would be delusional to count on America for sound policy or adherence to tradition.

Anonymous said...

I can easily complete an undergraduate in the humanities without taking a loopy course on race/gender/class. People take those courses for their own reasons. Similar to the way theology students study theology for their own reasons.