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“However inclined by their training to vacillate, scholars in the humanities are increasingly being asked to take sides. Should they support or oppose their students’ efforts to ban a reactionary speaker from campus? Should they defend the feminist philosopher who affirms the possibility of transracial identity or join those demanding her article be retracted? Should they remove an influential writer from the syllabus because of his fascist sympathies? Should they sign the petition urging their professional organization to join the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign against Israel?
So much of academic life seems colored by high-stakes political struggles, and so many decisions large and small are now treated as gestures of allegiance to particular ideological camps and as betrayals of others. It’s difficult to even list these polarizing campus scenarios without attracting political labels.
Literary scholars will very likely regard this situation as nothing new. Their discipline, after all, has been insisting for decades that everything is political. As far back as 1968, a group of radical scholars sought to take over the Modern Language Association’s annual conference. Louis Kampf was arrested for taping a poster to the wall of the conference hotel announcing that “The Tygers of Wrath are Wiser than the Horses of Instruction,” and Noam Chomsky led a Vietnam War teach-in with 500-plus attendees.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"THE CAPTURE of the last territory controlled by the Islamic State on Saturday was far from a final victory over the movement, as U.S. commanders and diplomats were careful to emphasize."
"How a Gay Teen, an Internet Nazi, and a Late-Night Rendezvous Turned to Tragedy. When self-loathing meets the new age of online extremism."
"Benjamin Netanyahu ignored the intelligence operations of Beijing and Moscow for too long. Now, the Israeli government is finally paying attention, but it could be too late."
"Former Nick Jr. kids are now reckoning with this all-grown-up intrepid explorer, whose obstacles are a lot bigger than Swiper the Fox. And that is a hard pill to swallow."
"At the end of last week, the three-month Treasury bills' yield rose above the yield for 10-year Treasuries for the first time since 2007, prompting warnings that the U.S. is headed for recession later this year or in early 2020."
"A team of researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology attempted to answer some questions about voting with the help of artificial intelligence (AI)."
"The experts I spoke with all said that the internet had changed the way conspiracies spread, but conspiracies, both dangerous and petty, have always been with us."
"Pop culture today is obsessed with the battle between good and evil. Traditional folktales never were. What changed?"
"Trustful parents allow their children as much freedom as reasonably possible to make their own decisions. They trust their children’s instincts, judgments, and ability to learn from mistakes."
"Arugulagate. In 2007, Barack Obama was in Iowa, speaking as a presidential hopeful to a group of farmers who were worried about the stagnation of their crop prices while America’s grocery bills continued to rise."
"To say that information exists in and of itself is akin to speaking of spin without the top, of ripples without water, of a dance without the dancer, or of the Cheshire Cat’s grin without the cat."
"Ted Cruz replaces the Democrats’ muddled manifesto with a clear and unequivocal exploration of the hatred of Jews and its particular evils."