James Hankins is professor of history at Harvard. He is a distinguished intellectual historian of the Renaissance and the author, most recently, of Virtue Politics: Soulcraft and Statecraft in Renaissance Italy.
I happened on to Professor Hankins through the Claremont Review of Books, as in his Spring 2021 essay “Political Thought in an Age of Conformity” (more here). Paul Rahe reviewed Virtue Politics for the CRB in “The Petrarchan moment.”
First Things has just posted Professor Hankins’s column “The honor deficit.” It is of course worth reading in its entirety, but let us focus on this paragraph:
Fresh in my mind is the story of a student in my department who recently graduated summa cum laude with a prize-winning senior thesis and the best overall record in Harvard College. He was, in other words, the top student at a university that claims to be the best in the world. He applied to graduate programs in his field of interest. He was rejected by Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Stanford, and MIT. Through contacts I investigated this shocking outcome, inconceivable even five years ago, and was told that while the student was clearly top-notch, it was just a bad year for white males.
Somewhat unsurprising but, shall we say, noteworthy and evil. Read the whole thing here.