Friday, December 07, 2018

Gender Studies Under Attack In Hungary and Elsewhere

First, this is bullshit, and governments need to keep their hands off of academia. This sort of violation of academic freedom is extremely dangerous.
   Way down the list of concerns, however: gender studies really is mostly bullshit. And I'm someone who (obviously) thinks there are some interesting questions about gender. In the U.S., anyway, the emphasis on gender is radically overblown. The topic simply isn't interesting/important enough to occupy 10% of all work in the humanities and soft social sciences and warrant its own department. Academic work on gender has a consistent, leftward political bias, and the methods employed are fairly consistently of the popomo variety: free association always wending and looping and wandering its way toward pre-ordained politically-correct conclusions. Like the other "x studies" departments established in the paleo-PC era, women's and gender studies departments were established to be even more devoutly political outposts in an already-politicized academy. And now we've begun to see more gestures at the authority of women's/gender studies professors when it comes to public debates. It's common on the left to deny a distinction between scholarship and activism (and between teaching and indoctrination), and many leftist scholars consider themselves scholar/activists. This means that in debates over, say, transgenderism or social constructionism, the left can basically cite its own expertise and pretend to have invoked something akin to the relatively more neutral expertise of objective scientists: scholars push some crackpot new theory that inevitably leans hard left, activists and other politicos take it up and push for legislation, it encounters rather timid opposition which is shouted down as *ist / *phobic, the left cites opinions and "results" among x studies professors as evidence in support of the theory...and the circle is complete...
   My view is that universities would be a lot better off if there were about 10% as much chatter about gender.
   Oh and: don't forget the Boghossian/Pluckrose/Lindsay Sokaling of grievance studies nonsense.
   But none of this changes the fact that this is an academic matter and governments need to BTFO.
   (Actually, this sort of thing is a PR win for gender studies in the rest of the world...)


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