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Abusive Academics By: David Horowitz and Tom Ryan
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, January 19, 2007


[Editor’s note: This is the eighth in a series of articles focusing on indoctrination curricula in American universities. Most courses offered to today’s college generation still observe the time-honored principles of scholarship and professionalism, and adhere to the scientific method which is skeptical, evidence-driven, intellectually pluralistic and open. But a disturbing trend in higher education that began in the 1970s with the advent of politically designed courses in newly created fields like Women’s Studies and Black Studies has now grown to a point that threatens the integrity of the entire liberal arts curriculum. This trend reflects an attempt to impose on students ready-made conclusions to controversial issues and specifically to indoctrinate students in a set of extreme ideas – that American society is hierarchical and oppressive, that gender and race are “socially constructed,” that criminals are actually social rebels and, lately, that America’s terrorist enemies  are actually freedom fighters. The courses described in this article are a form of consumer fraud and violate the most fundamental principles of the academic profession. Yet university administrators continue to turn a blind eye towards these infractions because they are reluctant to challenge the radicals on their faculties. Additional studies of Penn State, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Southern California will be published next week.]

Like its sister institution, Arizona State, the University of Arizona offers a menu of courses in radicalism that are political rather than academic, fail to observe professional standards, and violate established canons of academic freedom. In many courses at the University of Arizona there is not the slightest pretense of a scholarly approach to the subject or minimal respect for the academic rights of students who have enrolled expecting to receive an educational instruction, not a political indoctrination.

Feminist Political Theory

POL 433/533

Instructor, V. Spike Peterson
http://www.u.arizona.edu/~spikep/433F96.htm

 

V. Spike Peterson is a full professor of Political Science, a former MacArthur fellow and the author of Global Gender Issues, which according to her website is “still one of the most widely used texts on gender and world politics.” Peterson’s course, “Feminist Political Theory,” is explicitly designed to indoctrinate students in radical political views, without any pretense of academic objectivity or respect for different perspectives

 

Course description:

 

Because gender is socially constructed, it is instructive to study how gender ideologies--which profoundly shape today's intellectual inquiries and political realities--have been articulated in the form of political theory. In this course we will briefly review the tradition of Western political theory through a gender-sensitive lens and survey developments in feminist political theories.

 

Is gender “socially constructed?” Are the traits associated with femininity and masculinity artificial creations of a ruling patriarchy to oppress women? This extreme and radical view is announced in the course description as the unchallenged assumption of the course itself. Or rather it is not announced, but deceptively stated as though it were an uncontroversial fact. Students in this course are thus expected to take the view, regarded as fact, that gender characteristics are imposed on women by men who oppress them. They will then receive short course in the history of Western political theory as seen from the perspective of radical feminism. This is not education. It is indoctrination.

 

Course objectives:

 

The objectives of this course are to: 1) sensitize students to the social construction of gender and its implications for political theory; 2) enable students to identify gender bias in nonfeminist political theory; 3) familiarize students with debates and developments in feminist political theory; and 4) encourage students to make connections between theory and practice and understand how theorizing itself is political.

 

The objective of the course, clearly stated, is to 1) indoctrinate students in the view that gender is socially constructed; 2) teach students that the entire Western tradition of political theory is mere prejudice against women; 3) immerse students in the world of feminist ideology; and 4) indoctrinate them in the view that all ideas are self-interested and political – a view familiar as vulgar Marxism.

 

The assigned texts and readings in the course reflect its totalitarian nature: only one perspective is permitted. Among the assigned texts are; The Sexism of Social and Political Theory: Women and Reproduction from Plato to Nietzsche; The Disorder of Women: Democracy, Feminism and Political Theory; Capitalist Patriarchy and the Case for Socialist Feminism; The Radical Future of Liberal Feminism; Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black; Segregated Sisterhood: Racism and the Politics of American Feminism; and Sexual Democracy: Women, Oppression and Revolution.

 

*

 

Gender And Politics
POL 335H
Professor V. Spike Peterson
http://www.u.arizona.edu/~spikep/335s03syl.htm

 

Course Description:

 

Examination of politics through the lens of gender hierarchy. Emphasis on how constructions of masculinity and femininity shape and are shaped by interacting economic, political, and ideological practices.

 

Is there a gender hierarchy? This controversial view is the content of another Peterson course, which is “A Radical Feminist View of the World,” not an academic course in “Gender and Politics.” Calling it “Gender and Politics” suggests to the unsuspecting that it is an academic course, which will adopt a scientific attitude towards these controversial and view them from more than one perspective, leaving students to draw their own conclusions. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is a course of indoctrination in the instructor’s extreme prejudices about gender and politics.

 

The course description continues:

 

This course is designed to examine gender, understood as a hierarchical, binary opposition of masculinity and femininity, and its intersection with power relations, understood as an expression of politics. We will examine how gender categories are constructed and how they shape our identities, our ways of thinking (concepts, worldviews), and our ways of acting (divisions of labor, institutions). We will examine how gender hierarchy is a system of differential power that intersects especially with ethnicity/race, class, and sexual orientation.

 

These assertions are sectarian claims that are a proper subject for examination not doctrines that students should be compelled to accept. The claim that power relations are an expression of politics, for example, is hardly a consensus view. The assumption that there is a gender hierarchy and that it is a system of power and that it “intersects” with race, class and sexual orientation are all extremely controversial claims that are presented in this course, falsely, as scientific facts.

 

The indoctrination program of the “Gender and Politics” course is supported by the required texts which are limited to two books which reflect the sectarian perspective of the course itself:

 

Allan G. Johnson, The Gender Knot: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1997.

 

Michael Kimmel, The Gendered Society. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

 

In The Gender Knot: Unraveling our Patriarchal Legacy, the author Allan G. Johnson informs readers that America’s patriarchal society involves “as one of its key aspects the oppression of women.” This would be news to Condoleeza Rice, Oprah Winfrey, Madeleine Albright, Martha Stewart and numerous Fortune 500 CEOS, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (a multi-millionaire politician who is third in line for the presidency), Arizona Governor Jane Napolitano, and other American women who are members of an exclusive social and political elite and individually among the wealthiest and most powerful individuals in the world. Yet students in this course would not even have the luxury of considering this paradox because of its ideological conception and the ready-made conclusions it expects students to agree to.

 

Course Objectives:

 

By examining power relations--politics--as gendered, the course illuminates 1) how the personal is political; 2) how we participate individually and collectively in the production, reproduction, and legitimation of power relations (social hierarchies); 3) how social hierarchies (of race, gender, class, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc.) are interrelated; 4) how reflective, critical analyses are essential for achieving nonhierarchical social relations; 5) and how social transformation occurs, is impeded, and promoted.

 

Every course objective listed here is an ideological agenda designed to promote the idea that American society is oppressive and hierarchical and that there is a revolutionary alternative available to end its hierarchies and injustices. This is political propaganda of a very low order. It is not an academic course and has no place in the curriculum of a modern research university.

 

*

 

Feminist and International Relations Theory
PS 461
Instructor, V. Spike Peterson

http://www.u.arizona.edu/~spikep/461f98.htm

 

This is yet a third propaganda course taught by Professor Peterson.

 

Course Objective:

 

To explore the implications for international relations theory of “taking gender seriously.” Contemporary philosophy of science understands knowledge as socially constructed, with knowledge claims inescapably based upon experience and perspective. Historically, that experience has been primarily that of men (especially elite, white, Western men in regard to IR theory). There is now an  extensive body of feminist literature documenting the "neglect" of gender (i.e., denying the significance of the sex/gender system in constituting social reality), the costs of that "neglect" for accurate understanding in the social sciences, and the need for re-constructing the very foundations of socio-political theory. Drawing upon that literature, we will take a "gendered" look at social theory and theorizing in IR.

 

The statement “contemporary philosophy of science understands knowledge as socially constructed” is both meaningless and misleading and underscores the ideological nature of the course. The philosophy of science is merely a sub-discipline of the philosophy of knowledge; there is no consensus among contemporary philosophers of science or contemporary philosophers as to the nature of knowledge let alone that it is “socially constructed.” The nature vs. nurture debate remains unresolved. Moreover, virtually the entire field of neuro-science is devoted to the opposite view, namely that the mind is not a blank slate on which society impresses its prejudices (see, e.g., Stephen Pinker, The Blank State). But students in this course will not even be made aware of these profound and unresolved differences, since no texts reflecting dissenting view are assigned, and since the very structure of the course is to train students in one sectarian doctrine.

 

This is not a course in international relations. It is a course in the application of an ideological prejudice to the field of international relations. Assigned texts like bell hooks’ essay, “Feminist Theory: A Radical Agenda” reflect the course objective, which is to create activists, not educate students. According to hooks, “…feminist theory should necessarily be directed to masses of women and men in our society, educating us collectively for critical consciousness so that we can explore and understand better the workings of sexism and sexist oppression, the political basis of feminist critique, and be better able to work out strategies for resistance.”   

 

*


The Social Construction of Whiteness
AFAS 304A
Deborah Whaley

Course Objectives:

 

To reflect upon, yet press beyond individual experience to articulate and comprehend larger and systemic race, class, and gender inter-relationships and hierarchies; to explore the interrelationship between whiteness and Africa, Asia, Mexico, the Middle East, & the Caribbean; gain a working knowledge of 19th and 20th century white ethnic histories, Critical Whiteness Studies, and Critical Race Theory;… provide skills to analyze gender, race, sexualities, class, and ability as social constructions with material consequences; gain a better understanding of the interplay between dominant power structures, subgroup identities, and subjectivity, (i.e. agency and empowerment).

 

This is a course with a racist assumption – that a white ruling caste has created  the idea of race and associated racial categories to oppress non-white people. Students are required to texts by radical ideologues, Peggy McIntosh and bell hooks and to watch a video by rapper Eminem that shows a knife through a photo of President Bush and includes the lyrics “f**k Bush;” “no more blood for oil;” and “disarm the weapon of mass destruction that we call our president.”

 

*


American Indian Studies: Asserting Sovereignty Through Cultural Preservation

595a, section 2 and 495A, Section 3

Instructor, Nancy J. Parezo
http://www.gened.arizona.edu/nparezo/cultural%20pres%20syllabus%202006.htm

  

Course Objective:

 

One of the central issues facing Native American communities today is cultural preservation. Many of the problems facing Native Nations (and indigenous peoples around the world) stem from the effects of European/American/Canadian colonialism, imperialism, and globalizing political economies based on capitalism.

 

The very title of this course is a political statement rather than a program of academic inquiry. The assertion that the problems of Native American communities stem from capitalism is an ideological proposition. The instructor’s academic training is in the field of anthropology, not political science or economics.

 

*

 

Current Struggles for Human Rights and Social Justice in Latin America

LAS 495A

Instructor, Bill Alexander

http://www.u.arizona.edu/~wla/495AFall06syllabus.doc

 

This course is a review of radical movements in Latin America taught exclusively from a radical perspective.

 

Course description:

 

In recent years societies throughout Latin America emerged from authoritarian rule, civil war, and state violence.  While the region is now largely marked by political stability and peace, new social movements have arisen seeking equity and justice in the current era as well as long-delayed justice for the victims of previous regimes. Some themes and contemporary struggles we’ll cover include:

 

- indigenous rights & autonomy

- grassroots participation

- social memory of state violence

- workers’ rights & labor relations

- gender issues & women’s rights

- environmental justice

- impact of globalization & “free trade”

- agrarian rebellion

- poverty, education & public health     

-counter-movements against state power                               

- social costs of economic restructuring

- resistance through expressive culture & the arts

 

From gender issues to environmental justice to rebellion movements and indigenous rights, the breadth of topics covered in this course make a professional academic consideration of them impossible. Even for an assistant professor of anthropology like the course instructor, Bill Alexander. On the other hand, the perspective from which these subjects are viewed is relentlessly one-sided. According to the course, radical movements, despite their long history of totalitarianism and violence seek “equity and justice.” When they do resort to violence and terror, they are forced to do so by their capitalist oppressors. Thus one of the two required texts for the course, Basta!: Land and the Zapatista Rebellion in Chiapas, explains the Zaptista movement of Marxist guerrillas “is a poignant case study of how neo-liberal economic restructuring reaches into the very heart of communities, enriching the few while impoverishing the many: ultimately turning neighbor and neighbor and leading inexorably toward violent confrontation.” Mexico, of course, is a political democracy, which hardly makes violent and lawless confrontation inevitable. But this makes no difference to ideologues like Professor Alexander.

 

*


Feminist Theories
Women's Studies 305

Instructor, Kari McBride
http://www.ic.arizona.edu/ic/mcbride/theory/ws305.htm

 

Kari McBride is an Associate Professor of Women’s Studies and the Director of the Women’s Studies Department. “Feminist Theories” is not a course to examine feminist theories, which would require considering a variety of approaches to the subject of women. Instead, it is a course to train students to be Marxist feminists, with assignments like the following:

 

Thu 3 Feb
For class: Read an “Introduction to
Marxism.” Read two excerpts from Karl Marx’s Wage Labour and Capital: "What Are Wages?" and "The Nature and Growth of Capital."

Thu 14 Apr
For class: Read Donna Haraway,
"Socialist Feminist Manifesto for Cyborgs". 

 

Since there are no critical texts provided that would provide a framework for students to evaluate the discredited doctrines of Marx or the socialist views of Harraway, these readings do not serve as the occasion for academic analysis but to promote a political agenda. This political agenda is overt as the following excerpt from Donna Haraway’s “Socialist Feminist Manifesto” makes clear:

 

Socialist feminists could do good work in alliance with the Congressional Black Caucus, and California Congressperson Ronald Dellums in particular, helping to formulate alternative budgets, national and international analysis of social meanings of biotechnologies and communications sciences, and agendas for race/gender/class sensitive science and technology policies to encourage wide public debate.

 

The “Introduction to Marxism,” which students are instructed to read is authored by the course instructor, Professor McBride.  In it, she explains that, “…a capitalist system is dependent on ideologies like meritocracy (‘anyone can grow up to be president’) that mask the realities of exploitation and privilege and keep the proletariat (working class) subjugated to the bourgeoisie (middle class) who grow rich on the surplus value of lower class labor.” In other words, the instructor is herself a crude Marxist ideologue. Moreover she lacks any academic credential for teaching Marxism. Her Ph.D. is in English Literature. This yet another example among many of the consumer fraud practiced on Arizona students by a university that appears to have no professional standards governing its curriculum.

 

*

 

Suffragists, Sistahs, and Riot Grrls: An Introduction to Women’s Studies

Women’s Studies 240

Instructor, Kari McBride

 

Course Description

 

This course will introduce you to the essential history, writings, and vocabulary of the women’s movement and feminism in the 19th and 20th centuries.

 

In other words, this is not an introduction to the study of women, but a presentation of the history and perspective of radical feminism. In addition to being an ideologue, Professor McBride is also a political activist, whose teaching is her activism. The class notes to the course mention in passing that one class period started late due to a pro-choice rally, and that extra credit was offered for a write-up on the rally. This is not an academic course; it is a political program.

 

*


Feminist Theories and Movements
WS 539

Instructor, Laura Briggs
http://www.u.arizona.edu/~lbriggs/Courses/WS%20539.html

 

Laura Briggs is an Associate Professor of Women’s Studies with a degree in American Civilization from Brown University. She is also a radical ideologue. Her “academic” publication is a book called Reproducing Empire: Race, Sex, Science and U.S. Imperialism in Puerto Rico, which describes the contemporary Puerto Rican family as “an axis of colonialism.”  Puerto Rico is of course a commonwealth of the United States whose citizens enjoy the rights of Americans under the U.S. Constitution and whose status was ratified in a popular referendum in the 1990s in which 96% of Puerto Ricans voted to affiliate with the United States as a commonwealth or as a state. In other words, Professor Briggs’ extreme views are shared by approximately 4% of the Puerto Ricans themselves.

 

Course Description

 

This course will provide a survey of some of the major issues, debates and texts of feminist theorizing. It will situate feminist theories in relation to a variety of other politically significant theories (including Marxism, poststructuralism, critical race theory and postcolonial theory). It will also explore the role of theory in social movements and focus on theory-making as itself a political practice.

           

This is not a course to examine feminist theories and movements from an academic perspective which would include a critical view of these subjects. It is a course in feminism. It is is concerned to “situate” its radical theories among other radical theories. Liberal and conservatives theories are excluded. Like other courses designed to indoctrinate students in feminist and radical views at the University of Arizona, it is also designed to recruit them to radical and feminist causes. Every text assigned for the course is a text by radical feminists, radical race activists and “queer theorists.”

 

*

 

Transnational Feminisms
WS 586
Instructor, Laura Briggs
http://www.u.arizona.edu/~lbriggs/Courses/WS%20586.html

 

Course Overview

 

This field, to the extent that it is a field, takes up the contemporary challenge to think across national borders in relationship to feminist politics and the insights that feminist analysis offer. More than in some other realms of feminist endeavors, it has been a richly theoretical field that has drawn on Marx, Freud and their European successors–Althusser, Lacan, Foucault–as well as those alternate, Third World Marxist and Freudian traditions embodied by, for example, C.L.R. James, Aimé Césaire, and Franz Fanon. At the same time, it is a field that has been provocatively engaged with political movements. To this end, the course will traverse complex theoretical as well knotty political ground.

 

This totally one-sided Cook’s tour of radical ideologies is a political training and recruitment program in behalf of the feminist international. It has no place in an academic curriculum. The course description itself reveals how American university departments are integral components of a radical movement that is international in scope:

 

The intellectual and political field of "Transnational Feminisms," although almost instantly institutionalized from the moment of its articulation, is still very much a field-in-formation. There are a lot of ways to articulate its roots and relationships, but this course frames its interlocutors as feminist anthropology, ethnic studies, women’s studies, history (particularly subaltern studies and the emerging history of U.S. imperialism), and postcolonial studies. Hence, we will be reading "around" the field as much as in it, not so much with the goal of being exhaustive, but with an eye toward general trends and webs of relation.

 

*

 

Collective Behavior and Social Movements

SOC 313

Instructor, Jeff Larson

http://www.u.arizona.edu/~jlarson/Soc313/


Jeff Larson is a graduate student, writing his PhD on Che Guevara. This course is a thinly concealed program to recruit students to radical political organizations. Students enrolled in the course can earn points for participating in protest rallies or movement events and writing about them for credit. Here is one of the instructor’s assignments:

 

activist-for-a-day (or two)

october 27 (200 points)

 

Here it is, activism for credit. Give four hours to a social movement organization and I'll give you 200 points. Of course, I also want to hear a little about what you've done, so you'll have to summarize your experience too. It's a small price to pay. What better way to learn about movements than to be in one?

 

Instructions: I'll leave it to you to choose a social movement organization (SMO) that interests you. Suffice it to say that volunteers are a valued resource for most SMOs, particularly professional ones. Call them up, arrange for one or two days - a minimum of 4 hours - that you could work with them. You might be stuffing envelopes, setting up an event, doing research, making phone calls, or any number of things. Most importantly, you'll be seeing the inner workings of a genuine, real life SMO. Summarize your volunteer experience in 1 1/2 to 2 pages.

Tucson has a bunch of great organizations that could use your help. For example, Wingspan has loads of things you can do for lesbians, gay men, transgendered and bisexual people right here in the Old Pueblo. Maybe you're more interested in endangered species and ecosystem protection - check out the Center for Biological Diversity, an important and influential organization that just happens to be based in Tucson. Consider the Brewster Center, Society of Friends (Quakers), Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Border Action Network, Humane Borders, or Food Not Bombs. You might look into campus SMOs or organizations listed on the Tucson Peace Calendar or Arizona Indymedia Center.

 

Your summary should report the name of the organization, a little bit about its history, goals, tactics, campaigns, and structure (large or small, centralized or decentralized, bureaucratic or informal?). Also, tell me what you did there. What was it like? What did you learn? What kinds of things does this SMO need to improve its effectiveness? Be thorough, but concise.

 

The organizations recommended are radical groups whose agendas reflect the political prejudices of the instructor which are “to knock the rich and powerful from their leather-lined perches and give the historically exploited and degraded a seat at the sustainably harvested, round table of autonomy…” On his professorial blog, Larson recently wrote, “Let's bomb the White House this year with calls to end this despicable war.” This primitive course in activism is hardly appropriate for a taxpayer-supported institution or a modern research university.

 

*


The Politics of Difference: Ethnicity/Race, Class, Gender, and Sexualities
INDV 101
Professor V. Spike Peterson
http://www.u.arizona.edu/%7Espikep/101s03syl.htm

The course “Gender and Politics” described above is part of a university requirement called the Gender, Race, Class, Ethnicity, or Non-Western Area Studies General Education requirement. The courses included in this requirement are ostensibly “designed to foster independent, creative, and interactive learning, inspiring students to think about themselves, others, and social organizations in new and insightful ways.” A second tier requirement includes courses designated as “Individuals & Societies (INDV).” Students must take a total of three INDV courses to meet their combined Tier One and Tier Two requirements.

 

Course Description:

 

This course will examine the politics (understood broadly as differential access to and control over material and symbolic resources) of difference (understood as institutionalized social hierarchies that oppress individuals).

 

In other words, this is another course by Peterson in extreme radical politics. Politics is defined for students in this course as a system of unequal power relationships that reflect “institutionalized social hierarchies that oppress individuals.” In fact, this definition is disingenuous since Peterson believes in group oppression – women are oppressed as women, blacks as blacks, gays as gays, proletarians as proletarians. The social hierarchies the course refers to do not oppress white males.

 

We will focus on four key structures of difference and their interaction: ethnicity/race, class, gender, and sexuality. We will pay particular attention to how gender dynamics shape individual identities, group structures, and the reproduction of multiple social hierarchies of difference.

 

The politics of additional structures of difference (along the dimensions of religion, physical ability, age, etc.) are understood to interact with our key structures and to constitute significant forms of oppression. These dimensions of differences will be acknowledged and integrated into our discussion whenever possible. Due to time constraints, however, this course focuses on the construction of ethnicity/race, class, gender, and sexuality--and their interaction--as experienced and analyzed in the United States.

 

This is yet another chapter in the oppression studies curriculum political science professor V. Spike Peterson has developed at the University of Arizona to teach students that a white patriarchal ruling class has its boot heel on the neck of everyone else.

 

Course Objectives:

 

The course has three purposes. The first is informative: students will become familiar with empirical indicators of how individuals' lives are materially and symbolically marked by difference. Empirical evidence substantiates the asymmetrical power, that is, politics, of these markers.

 

No they don’t. The fact that some people earn less money than others does not indicate – let alone substantiate Professor Peterson’s preposterous claim that the source of this inequality is “asymmetrical power” based on “institutional hierarchies.” Some people are just smarter than others and earn more money that way, for example. Invent a better mousetrap….

 

Historical-empirical studies help us to understand how the social hierarchies are made in specific contexts, not simply ‘found’ in nature. 

 

Oh yes they are. Are Barry Bonds and Michael Jordan multi-millionaires because of asymmetrical power relations and institutional hierarchies that favor them? If Barry Bonds is a multi-millionaire it is the result of natural talents and determination, i.e., character. The same is true of other billionaires like Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart and Bill Gates. The perspective imposed by Professor Peterson on students in this course is just her tedious Marxist clap-trap.

 

The second [course objective] is analytic: we will study theories that purport to describe and explain how and why these structures of difference are so powerful, how we are taught to think about and respond to 'differences,' and how asymmetries of power are rendered invisible (by being made to appear natural or inevitable).

 

In other words what students will not study in this course is any perspective that would challenge Professor Peterson’s extreme leftist views. This is indoctrination not education.

 

The third [objective] is normative: as we study hierarchies of power, we will consider the goals of individuals and societies, asking ourselves ‘What kind of individuals and societies do we seek?’ and ‘How can we move beyond the oppressive dynamics of racism, classism, sexism, and heterosexism (homophobia)?’…

 

In sum, upon completion of the course, it is expected that students will … become more effective agents of social change…

 

In other words this is a complete course in radical agendas, including the utopian delusion that “another world is possible” -- a society that is classless, raceless and gender-free. The quest for this socialist utopia resulted in the murder of a hundred million innocents by radicals in the 20th Century. But some people never learn.

 

*

 

Freshman Composition
English 101

http://www.u.arizona.edu/~sung/english101/#Syllabus

 

Freshman students at the University of Arizona are also required to take a Freshman composition course, which is part of the General Education requirement component that purports to build “a foundation in certain skills.” The purpose of a freshman composition course one might assume would be to develop writing and grammatical skills. But one would be wrong. Instead, English 101 as taught by Sun Ohm, a doctoral student in English, is designed to equip students with a proficiency in anti-capitalist and anti-American rhetoric.

 

Students, for example, are required to read a Howard Zinn essay on the Iraq War, titled “An Occupied Country.” An example of Zinn’s prose: “The so-called war on terrorism is not only a war on innocent people in other countries, but it is also a war on the people of the United States: a war on our liberties, a war on our standard of living. The wealth of the country is being stolen from the people and handed over to the super-rich. The lives of our young are being stolen. And the thieves are in the White House.”

 

Students also are required to read an essay by another American radical who thinks America’s enemies should win the war in Iraq, Robert Jensen: “The consequences of this imperial project have been grim for many people around the world—those who have been the targets of U.S. military power; those who have lived under repressive regimes backed by the United States; and those who toil in economies that are increasingly subordinated to the United States and multinational corporations.”

 

Another text is an interview with Hezbollah enthusiast, Noam Chomsky. How is an interview with a political extremist a guide to writing skills? It isn’t. But it does supply the requisite politics.

 

It is hardly surprising, then, that students are required to read the Communist Manifesto, a text not even written by an English speaking author.

 

English 101 is a pretext for indoctrinating students in leftwing agendas. Every “alternative media website” recommended to students by the instructor is on the far-left fringe of the political spectrum: AlterNet; Common Dreams News Center; Democracy Now News; Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting; The Independent (U.K.); Independent Media Center; The Nation; The Progressive.

 

This list comes with gushing comments by the instructor: “Some of the best reporting on the war and terrorism. Articles by Robert Fisk are among the finest in the world;” “excellent, readable articles on the war and loss of civil liberties;” “immediate reporting of anti-war protests and resources for linking the current crisis to issues of global inequality.”

 

University of Arizona’s English 101 is a travesty. It would be an appropriate introductory training course offered by any number of activist organizations on the left. It has no place in the curriculum of a modern research university.

*    *    *

The preceding descriptions are only a small sampling of courses at the University of Arizona. Each of them is an offense to the very idea of a university. Recruiting students for sectarian causes is not the proper goal of any taxpayer supported institution let alone one that claims to be an institution of higher learning. These courses are a blight on the University of Arizona. Unfortunately they reflect a problem that is not isolated but systemic.

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