At the Modern Language Association, one panel of professors discussed a thirty-year-old book and one professor encouraged the Left to stick together in a post-Donald Trump America.
Christopher Castiglia, a Penn State professor specializing in English, Women’s and Gender Studies, went overtly political with some of his remarks during his panel. He warned that “The Left not devour themselves” in a post-Trump world. He said, “We need to take up the challenge of affirming what we do believe in…not only to sustain ourselves in debilitating times.”
Dana Nelson, an English professor at Vanderbilt University, criticized the book “Visionary Compacts” for focusing too much on the “collective tyrannical homogeneity” of the American masses. Using Donald Pease’s (the author) own words, the “Cold War crisis mode” was supported by the “disconnect between cultural and political dimensions.” Nelson thought that in losing resources, Americans will lose “self-government.” With more academic collaboration and research, Nelson hoped that “more sustainable, common projects” will continue in the civic mindset of Americans.
One of Pease’s protégés, James Dobson, is a lecturer at Dartmouth College. He team-taught with Pease at one point, and praised the importance of partnering a senior faculty member with less-experienced faculty members for mentorship reasons. He added, “Liberal arts classrooms are where [liberal arts students] are cultivated.”
Donald Pease, a professor of English also at Dartmouth College, was present to rebut some of the co-panelists’ criticisms and pointed out that the book was published in 1986 and reflected the times. He said that he wrote it then “to become the material for subsequent political activity.”