Tuesday, December 3, 2013

English Departments Self-Deconstruct

When you first see it you think it’s a joke. Even those of us who have severely criticized the way the Humanities are now being taught at major American universities find it hard to believe that things are worse than we thought.

Trust me, I feel no joy, no Schadenfreude and no vindication to discover that the English department at UCLA has gone over to the dark side. (Via Maggie's Farm)

Gone is the study of literature. Gone is the study of Shakespeare and Milton. Gone is the study of great poetry and fiction.

In their place students will be indoctrinated, relentlessly and mindlessly, in outmoded leftist thought.

If the leaders of the UCLA English department had any shame they would immediately cease and desist. They don’t, so they won’t.

Editorializing on the problem  Investor’s Business Daily  quoted Manhattan Institute scholar Heather MacDonald’s recent speech about the situation:

"Until 2011," she [MacDonald] noted, "students majoring in English at UCLA had been required to take one course in Chaucer, two in Shakespeare, and one in Milton — the cornerstones of English literature.

"Following a revolt of the junior faculty, however, during which it was  announced that Shakespeare was part of the 'Empire,' UCLA junked these individual author requirements and replaced them with a mandate that all English majors take three courses in the following four areas: Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Disability, and Sexuality Studies; Imperial, Transnational, and Postcolonial Studies; genre studies, interdisciplinary studies, and critical theory; or creative writing."

As Mac Donald put it, "In other words, the UCLA faculty was now officially indifferent as to whether an English major had ever read a word of Milton, Chaucer or Shakespeare, but was determined to expose students, according to the course catalogue, to 'alternative rubrics of gender, sexuality, race and class.'"

Now, the curriculum has been dumbed down to the point where no one knows how to think anymore. MacDonald offered us: “ … UCLA's official description of its post-colonial studies research grant:

"The theoretical, temporal and spatial intersections of post-coloniality and post-socialism will arrive at a novel approach to race, gender and sexuality in present-day geopolitics."

Things are not much better at Columbia, where extreme racialist consciousness has given students a pass on studying the greatest works of Western civilization:

Mac Donald recounted how a Columbia University undergraduate, required by core curriculum to study Mozart, bitterly complained the core " upholds the premises of white supremacy and racism. It's a racist core. Who is this Mozart, this Haydn, these superior white men?"
If you are tempted to think that these examples are an aberration, MacDonald points out that the Modern Language Association, the umbrella that contains all of the nation’s literature departments has similarly descended into flagrant stupidity.

IBD writes:

Next year's Modern Language Association conference, she pointed out, which brings together the country's literature faculty, will be devoted to "poverty, climate, reparations and activism in order to mobilize for change."

The next time you read about a university abolishing its English department you will think that these departments abolished themselves a long time ago. No one forced them to do it.


Anonymous said...

I graduated long before the nihilist charade began. Have read about it. It's Swift's Laputa. The old curmudgeon wouldn't be surprised. -- Rich Lara

Sam L. said...

They should delete the word "English" entirely, it being imperialist, colonialist, and hegemonist. The Horror! The horror...

Anonymous said...

Who needs to know about Milton and Shakespeare? They're dead. And their stuff doesn't sound like anyone I see on TV. Who cares? Grab me another beer, will ya?