Thursday, February 26, 2009

david horowitz vs. women's studies- - or, david horowitz accidentally validates women's studies

david horowitz, who has written such gems as Indoctrination U:The Left's War Against Academic Freedom, How to Beat the Democrats and Other Subversive Ideas, Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left, and The Race Card: White Guilt, Black Resentment, and the Assault on Truth and Justice is coming out with a new book and setting his weirdo conservative target on women's studies.

"101 most dangerous academics in america"(2006) named 101 academics that horowitz believed/believes to be anti-american and working actively to push a left wing agenda. in other words, horowitz believes that these academics are guilty of actively trying to indoctrinate students. horowitz seems to think that the humanities and social sciences are particularily suseptible to being infiltrated by these "radicals" because the professors he targets are from a wide range of humanities and social sciences: sociology, political science, african american history, history of the middle east and south asia, media studies, literature, linguistics, middle eastern studies, jewish studies, history of islam and christian-muslim relations, and feminist/women's studies.

considering who horowitz is, it's kind of an honour to be placed on his list because it means you're definitely doing something right. Some of the higher profile names on his list include bell hooks, angela davis, eve kosofsky sedgewick, priya parmar, bill ayers, and gayle rubin.

bettina teaches feminist studies at UC Santa Cruz and was placed on the list because:

"aptheker describes her teaching philosophy as a 'revolutionary praxis.' The crux of this approach, she has said, is to subvert the traditional mission of the university by breaking down the distinction between subjective and objective truth, what aptheker dubs 'breaking down dualisms.' This approach is especially relevant to women's studies, aptheker notes, because it allows her to inject a 'women-centered perspective' into the curriculum. ..."1

for anyone who has taken women's studies this doesn't seem that far out there. actually, for most people who have taken university courses or who are, you know, conscious this doesnt seem too far out there.

In his most recent book, One Party classroom, horowitz lists 150 of the "worst courses" at american universities of which approximately 59 are in women's studies or feminist studies. according to jacquelyn litt(chair of the missouri university women's studies department) horowitz doesn't believe that women's studies counts as a "legitimate academic discipline"2 and although horowitz has also written that middle eastern studies was one of the greatest threats to american higher education he describes women's studies as the newest and most imminent threat.

"many of the women's studies courses are criticized for things that -- to women's studies scholars -- aren't exceptional. For example, horowitz's criticisms of the University of Missouri program note that its mission statement embraces the idea that gender and sexuality are "fundamental categories of analysis," which Horowitz does not consider to be true. One course in the department -- "The Female Experience: Body, Identity and Culture" -- has a course description that says classes will examine "institutions in U.S. society that exert social control over women's bodies, especially the media, the legal system, and the medical professions." horowitz writes that this is an "extreme claim" and a "radical view," which shows that there is "little chance that students will be exposed to alternative perspectives."3

according to Horowitz, women's studies is "the most egregious example" of a discipline that attempts to indoctrinate students. "4

"Horowitz said that he does not rule out the possibility of academe having a women's studies program he would support. But while he cited the African-American studies programs at Harvard University and Washington University in St. Louis as "clearly scholarly departments" (praise he doesn't offer to many other programs in that field), he said he didn't know of any women's studies programs worthy of such respect."5

Apparently women's studies is flawed because it views gender as a means of analysis and that we dangerous women's studies scholars "explicitly state that [we] hope to change society"6 and that this attitude is inappropriate for and in the classroom.and that this demonstrates an attitude that is inappropriate in the classroom. people actually still believe that gender isn't a valid category of analysis? how do people even exist in the world and deny this? does he constantly walk around with not only a bucket over his head but also a big huge stick in his hand with which he batters said bucket?

he is clearly nuts. however, nutty people write books and other nutty people read them and subscribe to their ideas and values.

so the book is being refuted on something that nutty, conservative, sexist, racist assholes claim to hold dear: methods!

the research methods horowitz uses are dubious: he basically googled women's studies courses, read course web pages, reviewed syllabus and reading lists. horowitz did not attend one of the courses that he placed on his list.

in response to questions on the validity of his research he asked : "do I have to take a course on how to design a revolution to know that this course isn't going to look at books that refute the left wing?" 7

i think i speak for a lot of people when i say: you should probably take that course if you're going to write a book claiming some kind of authority on it.

interestingly, horowitz was once a marxist as well as a member of the new left in the 1960s.

in"Empire and Revolution"(1969) horowitz wrote:
"More than ever before, for humanity to live under capitalism, is to live on borrowed time."

and in a debate in 2001, he voiced the opposite:
"commodity fetishism is the key to the prosperity and efficiency of the capitalist economy and to the relative peace of capitalist states. It is what makes us work together."

talk about indoctrination..

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