Inside The Ivory Curtain

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

If students feel obliged to refrain from relaying tales of campus indoctrination, the dwindling ranks of conservative professors abide by an even more restrictive code of silence: Their livelihood is at stake. “The profession that specializes in studying the ‘marginalized’ has no problem marginalizing certain colleagues, specifically by denying careers and respect to those few remaining conservatives and moderates in their midst,” Mary Grabar writes in a compilation she edited entitled Exiled.

Grabar teaches at Emory University. “Today’s specializations, as indicated by a list of prospective incoming graduate students at the university where I work as an adjunct, show that their future students will not be studying the moral stories of Nathanial Hawthorne, the tragedies, comedies, and sonnets of William Shakespeare, or the metaphysical investigations of romantic and Godly love of John Donne, but the Marxist banalities of gender, post-colonialism, race and class,” Grabar writes. “The implications for the future hit me in February 2012 when I came across the posted list of specializations of prospective graduate students.”

“These are the topics as I copied them down: ‘water,’ ‘fat studies,’ ‘disability studies,’ ‘trauma,’ ‘addiction,’ ‘voyeurism,’ and ‘shell shock.’” Grabar knows whereof she speaks when it comes to Marxism in theory and practice: Her parents escaped with her in tow when she was two from Slovenia, then part of Marxist dictator Josip Broz Tito’s Yugoslavia.

“Another mark of the state of affairs: My former English professor at Georgia State University, from whom I took a T. S. Eliot seminar, now devotes his scholarship to animals; the disdain he felt for Eliot that I saw in his class in 1993 has now turned to contempt for all poetry or products of human language,” Grabar relates. “He now specializes in interspecies ‘communication’—part of a growing subspecialty in English departments: ‘animal studies.’”

Grabar’s book, subtitled Stories from Conservative and Moderate Professors Who Have Been Ridiculed, Ostracized, Marginalized, Demonized, and Frozen Out, features the recollections of half a dozen scholars. “I myself have watched as professors fail to speak up at meetings where outrageous ideas, like teaching the vile lyrics of rap artist Tupac Shakur as poetry, are proposed,” Grabar notes.

As you might expect, most of the tales related by the authors assembled in her volume are not happy ones. For example, Martin Slann writes, “Through all of this, I’ve learned that some academics are ideological and political bigots. “That realization didn’t bother me as much as the thought that each of these same people are teaching hundreds of students each year to embrace a grotesque combination of Islam, Marxism, and contempt for democratic values. Some will do this for decades to come.”

Nevertheless, Slann, who teaches Political Science at the University of Texas at Tyler, is a bit more resilient than many. “I’ve recently revised a textbook I use in my introductory political classes,” Slann writes. “I’ve updated a lot of the material and compare the totalitarian aspects of Islamism with fascism and communism throughout the manuscript.”

“After all, I can also teach hundreds of students a year.”

Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.

If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail mal.kline@academia.org.

 

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