Rollin' Like Sisyphus

Clever Kids Doing Their Rich, Power-Couple Parents Proud

Posted in A Chronicle Of Decline by Huckleberry on January 28, 2015
Homosexuality is a kind of patriarchy, if you think about it...

Homosexuality is a kind of patriarchy, if you think about it…

Score 2 for the Knowledge Economy:

We are calling for an occupation of syllabi in the social sciences and humanities.

Of course you are, cupcakes.

This call to action was instigated by our experience last semester as students in an upper-division course on classical social theory. Grades were based primarily on multiple-choice quizzes on assigned readings. The course syllabus employed a standardized canon of theory that began with Plato and Aristotle, then jumped to modern philosophers: Hobbes, Locke, Hegel, Marx, Weber and Foucault, all of whom are white men. The syllabus did not include a single woman or person of color.

Modern? Hobbes and Locke predate the fucking United States of America. Hegel, Marx and Weber predate the “modern era” by anywhere from 20 to 120 years. One would think that these students, so much smarter than the average bear, would have gathered these salient details had they done the assigned reading.

We have major concerns about social theory courses in which white men are the only authors assigned. These courses pretend that a minuscule fraction of humanity — economically privileged white males from five imperial countries (England, France, Germany, Italy and the United States) — are the only people to produce valid knowledge about the world.

Italy?
Oh, you mean Greece…
The United States? Who on that list has even set foot in the United States?
Have these students read anyone with any knowledge about anything, let alone the world?
Can these students even read?

This is absurd.

I’ll say.

The white male syllabus excludes all knowledge produced outside this standardized canon, silencing the perspectives of the other 99 percent of humanity.

You’ll be happy to know, according to their maths, that the silenced perspectives come out to only 800 people, assuming that only 8 people comprise the dastardly 1%.

The white male canon is not sufficient for theorizing the lives of marginalized people. None of the thinkers we studied in this course had a robust analysis of gender or racial oppression. They did not even engage with the enduring legacies of European colonial expansion, the enslavement of black people and the genocide of indigenous people in the Americas. Mentions of race and gender in the white male canon are at best incomplete and at worst racist and sexist. We were required to read Hegel on the “Oriental realm” and Marx on the “Asiatic mode of production,” but not a single author from Asia. We were required to read Weber on the patriarchy, but not a single feminist author. The standardized canon is obsolete: Any introduction to social theory that aims to be relevant to today’s problems must, at the very least, address gender and racial oppression.

Basically, the students want to throw out everything that doesn’t tackle the very narrow topic they care about, and that doesn’t tackle it in just the way the students feel it must be tackled. Also, the students can’t read or absorb complex thoughts relayed in compound sentences, so all course material needs to be five years old or less.

We need to create classroom spaces where everyone can feel welcome.

I already feel unwelcome. But that was probably the point.

We recommend that instructors attend workshops on inclusivity in the classroom, such as those offered by the Gender Equity Resource Center.

Hey, wait a second:

Rodrigo Kazuo and Meg Perret are students at UC Berkeley. Perret is also an intern at the Gender Equity Resource Center.

Now that’s a racket.

Beyond that, we must restructure the way social theory is taught. We must dismantle the tyranny of the white male syllabus. We must demand the inclusion of women, people of color and LGBTQ* authors on our curricula.

1, 2, 3, 4… Four people on that list of eight were unabashed homosexuals.
BUT THAT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

So, if you have taken classes in the social sciences and humanities, we challenge you: Count the readings authored by white males and those authored by the majority of humanity. Then ask yourself: Are your identities and the identities of people you love reflected on these syllabi? Whose perspectives and life experiences are excluded?

You know, for all the whinging about the tyranny of White Male Thought, never once have I been offered an alternative list of scholarship that was more amenable to the SJW crowd, but I think we all know what the reason for that is.

Is it really worth it to accumulate debt for such an epistemically poor education?

Knowledge Economy for the win…

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4 Responses

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  1. Giraffe said, on January 29, 2015 at 07:32

    I think Margaret Sanger had a lot to say. People ought to know.

    • Huckleberry said, on January 29, 2015 at 13:52

      It’s funny, many Anthropology departments still include Sanger’s works — carefully navigating around the, you know, eugenics and all.
      Students of this caliber simply don’t know what isn’t handed to them directly in a Cliff Notes breakdown.
      Kind of like how students at an elite university, earnestly advocating for clearing a space for queer voices in their syllabi, demand that the works of four gay men be thrown out.

  2. Giraffe said, on January 30, 2015 at 08:29

    I can’t figure out how we got to be such dainty flowers. How did giving offense get to be the worst offense? Cowboy up people. The worst thing you can do is say something a liberal doesn’t agree with.

    • Huckleberry said, on January 30, 2015 at 13:49

      I can’t figure out how we got to be such dainty flowers. How did giving offense get to be the worst offense?

      30 years of self-esteem reaffirmation, everyone gets a trophy, and “A FOR EFFORT” programming in the schools, and it’s a miracle the whole damn world hasn’t ground to a halt already.


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