Reason Under Siege in the Academy

By the hard left.

Reason is under siege in the academy.

Take as one example the University of California at Santa Cruz.  Next week, UC Santa Cruz will host a “Feminist Science” event.  The ultimate objective of “Research Justice 101: Tools for Feminist Science” is to instill in researchers the knowledge of how to “practice a socially just science.”

The event will be organized by “Free Radicals,” which is described as “a Los Angeles-based feminist and anti-racist community organization of scientists[.]” The organization “aims to incorporate a critical social justice lens into science” by way of “an interactive workshop on feminist research and engineering practices.” 

According to a description of the event, “Justice provides a framework for scientists to think through the hidden assumptions in their methodological approaches, and challenges researchers to think more deeply about the political implications of their work.”

At the Feminist Science fair, participants will be “challenged to apply principles and practices of justice to their own work[.]”  They will be challenged to ask themselves such questions as: “Who benefits? Who is harmed? Who is most vulnerable?”

The workshop will supply participants with the “practical skills and resources” needed to “push their research communities to be more inclusive, equitable and attentive to social justice.” 

All of this should be expected given that the organizers of Feminist Science event self-characterize as “a collective that envisions an open and responsible science that works toward progressive social change.”

The Feminist Science event is sponsored by UC Santa Cruz’s Science and Justice Center, which seeks to capitalize on their institution’s “historic commitments to socioecological justice and strengths in science studies and interdisciplinary research.” 

The event’s presider, Paloma Medina, is a second year Ph.D. student in Biomolecular Engineering and Bioinformatics where she concentrates in the study of genetic ancestry and the evolution of sex.  Her biographical sketch relays that Medina, while working with the Science and Justice Research Center Training Program, “helped initiate the Queer Ecologies Research Cluster[.]”

Feminist science oriented toward making researchers more inclusive, equitable, and attentive to social justice, a science aimed at affecting progressive social change and that is aware of the political implications of science—it should be painfully obvious that, contrary to the conventional wisdom amongst higher education’s critics, even the sciences have been besieged by the postmodern academic left.

There is no question that the left has control over our higher educational institutions. Tufts University is typical: Of the 103 speakers who had spoken at TU on political topics throughout the academic year of 2016-2017, a mere seven of them represented “conservative” views. Twenty-nine of these speakers didn’t reveal any notable political leanings, while 67 of them were “liberal” and/or “left-leaning.”

Campus Reform, a campus watchdog organization, gathered a list of the speeches. Here are some of their titles: 

  • “Gender, Punishment, and the Making of Jim Crow Modernity;” 
  • “The School-to-Prison Pipeline;”  
  • “Globalization as a Biological Process;” 
  • “Blaq(ueer) Magic;” 
  • “The Social Role of Mathematical Proofs;” 
  • “The Making of Mass Incarceration in America;” 
  • “South Asian, Arab, Muslim & Sikh Communities in Post-911 America;” 
  • “Unruly Visions: The Aesthetic Practices of Queer Diaspora;” 
  • “Building a Wall or Digging a Hole: Donald Trump and the Latinx Electorate;” 
  • “Sustainability Innovations in Fashion and Apparel;” 
  • “Colonialism, Slavery, and the Archive;” 
  • “Between Seeing and Knowing: Blackness, Photographic Representation, and the Female Agency in Post-Slavery Morocco;” 
  • “From Flint, Michigan to Civic Science: Water, Health, Race, and Environmental Justice;” 
  • “Palestine, Israel, and the Legacy of the Obama Presidency;” 
  • “Plantation Dispossession and the Futures of Black Embodiment;” 
  • “In the Wake: On Blackness and Being;” 
  • “Colonial Memory and Trauma;” 
  • “White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide;” 
  • “Jews and the Revival of White Supremacist Politics;” 
  • “The Impact of DNA Ancestry Tests on the Worldview of White Supremacists;” 
  • “Religion’s Imperial Pasts, Global Futures;” 
  • “Palestinian Feminist;”
  • “Federalism in the Era of Climate Change;” 
  • “The Future of Environmental Protection;”

There was also presentation with the titillating title, “Fascism in the White House.”

Former running mate to Hillary Clinton, Tim Kaine, former Democratic Governor Bill Richardson, and Democratic strategists Joe Trippi and David Axelrod were among the more prominent left-leaning speakers that spoke at Tufts University.

Carleton University had an even higher liberal-to-non-liberal speaker ratio: Of the school’s 25 speakers in 2016-2017, 24 (or 96%) were “liberal” or “left-leaning.”  The remaining speaker was either an independent or apolitical. 

The titles of the topics addressed included the following:

  • “Sense and Nonsense: Clinton, Trump, and the Media in 2016;” 
  • “#OrgasmQuest: Confronting the Intersecting Stigmas Around Sexuality & Mental Illness;” 
  • “Liberation, Not Assimilation;”
  • “Movement for Justice in El Barrio;” 
  • “Why Gender and Ethnic Cultures Collide, and How to Help the Healing;” 
  • “What’s Next for the Country: Immigration, Civil & Political Rights;” 
  • “Race as a Proxy in American Kinship;” 
  • “Toward a Political Theory of Antiblackness/Antiradicalism;” 
  • “Strengthening the Movement in the midst of Extreme Hate!”; 
  • “Democracy Now!: Covering the Movements Changing America;”

There was also this jewel: “Door Knock Around Campus to Get Out the Vote with Senator Al Franken!” 

The ideal of a classical liberal arts education has fallen on hard times indeed.