Gender Studies Tyranny

Progressive orthodoxy must be upheld.

9 Comments for “Gender Studies Tyranny”

  1. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    Listening to conservatives, you would think that none of them ever encountered a college course that half or better of the students in that class thought was utter nonsense. I don’t know what schools conservatives attended to avoid that common experience. Maybe none of them were listening.

    I can remember the shock most of my fellow law students felt when Richard Posner, then a professor rather than a judge, introduced the basic principles of law and economics in our tort class.

    An example Posner used was a case that considered the duty of a railroad to fence tracks in areas where children were abundant and getting run over with unfortunate regularity. Posner rather cold-bloodedly pointed out the trade off — the payoff costs to the parents of the children killed versus the cost of installing and maintaining fences — and then pushed us to think through the proper the balance. Posner met a lot of resistance, but in the end, I think that he convinced most of us that dead kids are is an inevitable cost of running a railroad that is able to move goods at an economically reasonable cost, and that courts should take economic realities into consideration when deciding cases.

    It is the teacher’s job to make the case for whatever the teacher is teaching. It is the student’s job to think it through, make a decision about whether the teacher is right or wrong, and develop an articulate, well reasoned counter-case if the student, after thinking it though, remains convinced that the teacher is teaching nonsense.

    • posted by Jorge on

      You are displaying your ignorance, Mr. Miller. Someone’s confusing teaching with indoctrination, and it’s not the author. Resistance is the vocabulary that’s used in the helping professions to describe acting against the helping work, and when teaching about supervision in the same. It is a more objective and fairer way of looking at the situation than calling people stupid.

      Resistance, whether silent or vocal, happens for reasons that are logical. For that reason, you want to encounter, notice, and respond to it over the course of your profession in order to do you best work over time.

      Drawing the other person’s attention to their own resistance in a helpful way is an advanced skill..

      • posted by Jorge on

        (I knew that comment would end up in the wrong section…)

      • posted by Tom Scharbach on

        (I knew that comment would end up in the wrong section…)


    • posted by MR Bill on

      My alma mater, Young Harris College(a little Methodist school, Oliver Hardy, class of ‘04 it’s most distinguished graduate), had a course, taught by the dean of students, that all students were supposed to take, with Ayn Rand acolyte Nathaniel Brandon’s “Psychology of Self Esteem” as the text: it was much mocked and reviled. as I had come straight from my senior year of High School on the basis of my SAT scores mid year (yes, I never graduated High School), I dodged it. Late in my freshman year, that dean left under a cloud after he had an affair with a student, much to his wife’s consternation…the much mocked and reviled course disappeared and was never spoken of again…

  2. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    Jorge, thanks for pointing out that the term “resistance”, as used in the context of the linked article, is a technical term-of-art in the teaching/helping professions. I didn’t know that. Your observation prompted me to look at other articles describing teaching strategies designed to overcome student resistance, and I can look back and see how various teachers over the years (including Richard Posner in the instance I mentioned above), used one or more of those strategies to open our minds to considering different perspectives than our own tightly held preconceptions.

    Along those lines, I was thinking this morning about a college class I experienced many years ago, and examination of the Book of Job.

    As you will recall, Job was a good man, observant and righteous. His world went completely to hell for no reason at all, and he lost everything. Sitting mute in his despair, Job is visited by three comforters, each of whom offers up a different, but standard, religious explanation for Job’s suffering. None of the three standard religious explanations makes any sense at all in Job’s case, and in the end, Job is left alone in his despair. Job eventually demands an answer from God, and is spectacularly flattened for demanding an answer to a question for which God will give no answer, simply because God is God and Job is not.

    The reason that I was thinking about that class was my memory of the intense resistance evident in a few students, deeply religious and tied to one or the other of the standard religious explanations by a lifetime of inculcation in their churches. Looking back, I can remember the closed, tight faces, and the discomfort that surfaced in classroom discussion. Their resistance to thinking about the problem of suffering in any context other than the one which they had been taught in their churches was palatable.

    I imagine that at least some of those students, forced to consider other perspectives, experienced that class (in which the teacher insisted that they consider perspectives that ran contrary to their religious beliefs) as a form of “tyranny”.

    I guess that must be the sense in which Stephen is using the word “tyranny” in this post, assuming that he understood what the article he linked was about. But “tyranny” seems misplaced and overwrought. Stephen loves to point out examples of left/progressive closed-mindedness. He might want to consider whether the shoe fits in his case as well.

    • posted by Jorge on

      That was an intriguing and powerful analogy. I will think about that one.

      I can’t really tell much about this article because I only have access to the abstract.

    • posted by Tom Scharbach on

      I wasn’t able to read the article, either, just the abstract.

      To my mind, the most interesting sentence in the abstract is: “Dealing with student resistance might increase some students’ critical thinking, while simultaneously frustrating progressive students.” That suggests that in confronting one set of closed minds, the teacher runs head on into another set of closed minds. Teaching is a hard thing to do.

  3. posted by Matthew on

    You can’t call yourself either a feminist or a gay ally if you do not call for the top-to-bottom abolition of the cult of jenn-durr and all the sexist homophobic stereotypes it stands for.

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