‘Dirty Dozen’ of lib­eral-slanted col­lege cour­ses re­vealed

The Washington Times Weekly - - Front Page - By Brit­tney Pesca­tore

If your idea of fight­ing ter­ror­ism in­volves drop­ping bombs on al Qaeda hide-outs, chances are you’re prob­a­bly not a Swarth­more Col­lege stu­dent.

Some stu­dents at Swarth­more (an- nual tu­ition, $33,232) spent the fall se­mes­ter learn­ing how to deal with ter­ror­ism by study­ing “the dy­nam­ics of cul­tural marginal­iza­tion” and ex­am­in­ing “the rich his­tory of non­vi­o­lent coun­tert­er­ror­ist tac­tics.”

Visit­ing pro­fes­sor Ge­orge Lakey’s “Non­vi­o­lent Re­sponses to Ter­ror­ism” class earned Swarth­more a spot in the “Dirty Dozen,” a list­ing of the “most bizarre” col­lege classes in the na­tion as com­piled by the Young Amer­ica’s Foun­da­tion (YAF).

Among YAF’s picks for 2006 are cour­ses in Marx­ism, fem­i­nism and some sub­jects that can’t be ad­e­quately de­scribed in a fam­ily news­pa­per.

“The Dirty Dozen demon­strates that pro­fes­sors still have an ob­ses­sion with di­vid­ing peo­ple on the ba­sis of their skin color, sex­u­al­ity and gen­der,” said Ja­son Mat­tera, spokesman for YAF, a

Vir­ginia-based con­ser­va­tive group.

Oc­ci­den­tal Col­lege (an­nual tu­ition, $32,800) topped the list, se­cur­ing two spots in the “Dirty Dozen.”

Oc­ci­den­tal’s first-place en­try, which is sched­uled for the spring se­mes­ter, is taught by as­so­ci­ate pro­fes­sor Jef­frey Tobin in the de­part­ment of Women’s Stud­ies/Gen­der Stud­ies and in­volves such es­o­teric con­cepts as “phal­lol­o­go­cen­trism.”

Mr. Tobin, who also teaches an­other class called “Crit­i­cal The­o­ries of Sex­u­al­ity,” said Oc­ci­den­tal stu­dents are so ea­ger to en­roll in his anatom­i­cally spe­cific class that five ex­tra spots were added dur­ing reg­is­tra­tion to help meet the de­mand, and there is still a wait­ing list of more than a half-dozen stu­dents.

In ad­di­tion to Mr. Tobin’s class, Oc­ci­den­tal also snagged fifth place for its course en­ti­tled “Black­ness,” which ex­plores such top­ics as “new black­ness,” “crit­i­cal black­ness” and “post-black­ness.”

Amon­gother“win­ners”in­YAF’s 11th an­nual “Dirty Dozen”:

“Queer Mu­si­col­ogy,” Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia-Los An­ge­les: As­so­ci­ate pro­fes­sor Mitchell Mor­ris in­structs stu­dents how “sex­ual dif­fer­ence and com­plex gen­der iden­ti­ties in mu­sic and among mu­si­cians have in­cited pro­duc­tive con­ster­na­tion,” ex­am­in­ing such com­posers as Franz Schu­bert and Cole Porter.

“Mail-Or­der Brides: Un­der­stand­ing the Philip­pines in South­east Asian Con­text,” at Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity: It is taught by visit­ing as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor Fenella Can­nell, au­thor of “Power and In­ti­macy in the Chris­tian Philip­pines.”

“Tak­ing Marx Se­ri­ously: ‘Should Marx Be Given An­other Chance?’ ” at Amherst Col­lege: Pro­fes­sor Pavel Machala’s class made the “Dirty Dozen” list for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year.

“Amer­i­canDreams/Amer­i­can Re­al­i­ties,” Duke Univer­sity: Ger­ald Wil­son, dean of Duke’s Trin­ity Col­lege, taught this spring 2006 course, which ex­am­ined “such myths as ‘rags to riches,’ ‘bea­con to the world,’ and the ‘fron­tier,’ in defin­ing the Amer­i­can char­ac­ter.” Re­quired read­ings in­cluded so­cial­ist philoso­pher Michael Har­ring­ton’s 1962 book, “The Other Amer­ica,” and then-New York Gov. Mario Cuomo’s key­note ad­dress to the 1984 Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion. The course is part of Duke’s Hart Lead­er­ship Pro­gram, cre­ated in 1986 with a grant from the fam­ily foun­da­tion of busi­ness ex­ec­u­tive Milledge A. Hart III.

The cour­ses on the list are mostly elec­tives, many com­ing from the women’s stud­ies, black stud­ies and his­tory de­part­ments.

The goal of the YAF re­port is to high­light “trou­bling in­stances of left­ist ac­tivism sup­plant­ing tra­di­tional schol­ar­ship,” Mr. Mat­tera said, ex­plain­ing that the or­ga­ni­za­tion looks at thou­sands of cour­ses and hun­dreds of schools to com­pile the list.

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