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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 Picks
"In a bid to create new space for green industries and fossil-free energy production, greater Copenhagen wants to build an entirely new business and infrastructure district on the city’s southwestern edge."
Donald Trump ran for president saying that he would be a shrewd businessman with a propensity for making deals. Why, then, are we in the longest government shutdown on record?
"There isn’t an Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the way that many outsiders seem to think... In the Israeli view, no peacemaker can bring the two sides together because there aren’t just two sides. There are many, many sides."
"I've always wondered what fans see in her. After debating with a friend about her “merits” for over half a decade now, I thought I had found the one thing that could probably change my opinion of the pop star: the Reputation tour documentary..."
"Even if the economy is on a roll, many Americans aren’t feeling the benefit... In fact, when adjusted for cost of living increases, real wages actually declined 1.3% since the end of 2017, PayScale found."
"Cutting ties with Facebook would mean consciously cutting ties with my own community, and I can't bring myself to do it. When I asked my connections on Facebook why they were staying, their answers were very similar to mine..."
Fear of the news; fear of climate change, fear of touch screens... these New Yorker cartoons portray the modern phobias that are driving us crazy.
"Texts replaced authors as the privileged objects of scholarly knowledge, and the performance of critical operations on texts became essential to the scholar’s identity."
"When I speak to parents’ groups about kids who are addicted to Fortnite and other video games, I tell them that it is the parents’ job to limit, govern and guide their kids’ use of video games..."
"Startups like Hungry Harvest and Imperfect Produce say they're helping to reduce food waste in America. Critics say they're deceiving their customers and making the problem worse."
"Scholars are now interested in whether having a vocabulary item for a concept influences thought in domains far from language, such as visual perception."
"The much-documented anti-Semitism of the British Labor party leader is no accident... Jeremy Corbyn reminds us that anti-Semitism is not just an irrational hatred, harbored by madmen at the fringes of British society."