I got a large response from my latest whimsical Tweet yesterday:
But who needs it, since most of the scandals of higher education today are out in plain sight?
Such as this announcement for a brand new “Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Minor” at the University of Denver, which reads like a parody:
The new Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (CRES) minor brings together the best of what the University has to offer. Drawing from faculty across campus, courses in the minor explore the arts, humanities, and social sciences through interdisciplinary and intersectional perspectives. . .
Kaity Young, an English and Communication Studies double major, was seeking deeper ways to explore her interests when the minor was announced.
“I was excited. This was an opportunity to study, converse, and dialogue about topics such as intersectionality, the prison industrial complex, the war on drugs, and environmental racism that I was exploring in my communication studies major.”
Young was part of a pilot project for the Communication Studies Department, which included the course “Identities in Dialogue.” In this experiential learning environment, Young says she could “explore questions about identity, positionality, and marginalization that can be uncomfortable to ask about and share in other spaces.”
To have an academic space dedicated to such conversations allowed Young to self-reflect. “For me, this was pivotal in placing my white, cis, woman positionality in the context of privilege and oppression, which I believe has allowed me to think more critically and converse openly in other courses.”
This last clause gives away the whole game. “Other courses” is a euphemism for other social science disciplines—like political science and economics—that aren’t fully “woke,” and therefore stand in need of correcting. (As I noted here back in 2015, the wokerati have started protesting and disrupting panels at the annual meeting of the American Economics Association for its lack of curricula on “race, class, and gender” perspectives.) The irony is that for a radical persuasion that goes on about “colonialism,” it misses the academic imperialism of its own doctrines.
Postscript—This news item descends further into parody territory the more you read:
But her most impactful experience was during [Young’s] study abroad in Cape Town, South Africa. “I was interested in learning more about pre-and post-apartheid and being able to compare that to my studies of oppression within the American context. It was a valuable experience for me to unpack the post-apartheid narrative, while still being aware of my positionality as a white American.” . . .
Young reflects on her experience in the CRES minor so far, emphasizing how it has greatly broadened her engagement with other disciplines, while deepening her understand of herself. “I’m fascinated with cultural criticism which, for the first time, made me feel like I could enact radical change. This allowed me to become more self-aware of my privilege in the context of my personal life, my identity as a DU student, and as an American.”
Over to you, Titania McGrath.