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Thursday, September 21, 2017

“Let me just say that nearly every academic I know — this includes feminists, progressives, minorities, and those who identify as gay or queer — now lives in fear of some classroom incident spiraling into professional disaster,” Kipnis writes in her book. “A tenured female professor on my campus wrote about lying awake at night worrying that some stray remark of hers might lead to student complaints, social media campaigns, eventual job loss, and her being unable to support her child.”


Thomas said...

This is it exactly. Sometimes I think everyone with any institutional power right now has to go out and actively offend the shit out of all their undergraduates to lift this burden off professors like the one Kipnis mentions. Or just everyone, powerful or not. Just go into your class and present the most offensive on topic idea you can. Not as your idea. But as an idea that someone, once, actually had. Make the students debate it. Ridicule the students who are too fragile to engage. It's an IDEA people. It's not going to kill you.

Anonymous said...

I am just tenured faculty and I don't have that kind of power, Thomas, I am sorry.

I was called on the carpet for teaching Borges, because it was "marginal science fiction" and he was not a major author. I did give a rather ironic response to the student who complained and to my chair, and was then reprimanded for being intimidating (making people feel less intelligent).

Yes it is ridiculous, but these kinds of incidents can be blown into juggernauts you can't control. I see it happen all the time. Remember "religious freedom" too -- there are students who have the right not to read/see certain things. You have to be really careful. I am sorry that this is the situation, but it is.

Anonymous said...

Ah and yes, I forgot to say: Borges was offensive because (a) his use of the fantastic bends minds and is disturbing and (b) in Emma Zunz, the character has some very unromantic sex that is shocking to her, and does it on purpose (has Reasons). TOO shocking for a young man who is considering seminary, inappropriate, etc.