Occidental College: Stuck on “Stupidity”

, Alex Nitzberg, 8 Comments

While universities notoriously serve as Petri dishes that cultivate the doctrines of social justice and inculcate students with its dogmas, Occidental College actually offers an undergraduate degree program in “Critical Theory and Social Justice. (CTSJ)”

Describing the program as “interdisciplinary,” the syllabus explains:

“‘Critical’ refers to various bodies of theory and method: Marxism, psychoanalysis, the Frankfurt School, deconstruction, critical race studies, queer theory, feminist theory, postcolonial theory, and intersectionality that interrogate the essentialist assumptions that underlie social identities. ‘Social justice’ refers to an extra-juridical concept of fairness that is focused on exposing and ending social inequalities. The aim of the CTSJ Department is to promote understanding of how categories such as ‘race,’ ‘sexual orientation,’ and ‘nationality’ help people recognize and combat some injustices and hinder them from recognizing and combating others.”

Some of the numerous CTSJ courses listed in Occidental’s academic catalog include, “Marx, Freud, and the Frankfurt School,” “Children, Poverty, and Public Policies,” “Immigration and Education,” “Whiteness,” “Critical Blackness,” “Critical Theories of Sexuality,” “Materialist Feminism,” “Fundamentals of Queer Theory” and “Stupidity.”

Occidental College’s CTSJ course about “Stupidity” contains the following course description:

“Stupidity is neither ignorance nor organicity, but rather, a corollary of knowing and an element of normalcy, the double of intelligence, rather than its opposite. It is an artifact of our nature as finite beings, and one of the most powerful determinants of human destiny. Stupidity is always the name of the Other, and it is the sign of the feminine. This course in critical psychology follows the work of Friedrich Nietzsche, Gilles Deleuze, and most recently, Avital Ronell, in a philosophical examination of those operations and technologies that we conduct in order to render ourselves uncomprehending. Stupidity, which has been evicted from the philosophical premises and dumbed down by psychometric psychology, has returned in the postmodern discourse against nation, self, and truth, and makes itself felt in political life, ranging from the presidency to Beavis and Butt-head. This course examines stupidity.”

As an internet search will attest, Occidental is not the only institution offering social justice-related programs. A list produced by The College Fix (whose report did not include Occidental’s program), includes a number of institutions with social justice-related programs at various levels of academia, including minors and majors.

Occidental is a historically significant school because the future President Barack Obama spent two years attending the institution from 1979-1981.

Alex Nitzberg is a freelance conservative journalist and commentator and the host of “The Alex Nitzberg Show” podcast. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.