The Victims' Revolution

The Victims' Revolution

The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind

Book - 2012 | 1st ed.
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The 1960s and 1970s were a time of dramatic upheaval in American universities as a new generation of scholar-activists rejected traditional humanism in favor of a radical ideology that denied objective truth. In The Victims' Revolution, critic and scholar Bruce Bawer provides the first history of this radical movement and a sweeping assessment of its intellectual and cultural fruits. Once, Bawer argues, the purpose of higher education had been to introduce students to the legacy of Western civilization. The new generation of radical educators sought instead to unmask the West as the perpetrator of global injustice. Age-old values were mere weapons in the struggle of the powerful against the powerless. Shifting the focus to the purported victims of imperialism gave rise to a series of identity-based programs. Bawer concludes that the influence of these programs has impoverished our thought, confused our politics, and filled the minds of their impressionable students with politically-correct mush.--From publisher description.
Publisher: New York : Broadside Books, c2012.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780061807374
Branch Call Number: 320.973 BAWER
Characteristics: xvi, 378 p. ; 24 cm.


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Oct 19, 2014

In the 1987 book "The Closing of the American Mind" Allan Bloom wrote about how open relativism was, paradoxically, leading to university students who look at things from narrow constructs instead of openly challenging taught doctrine. In this book, author Bruce Bawer suggests Bloom's nightmare has come true.

His focus is on anything with which you can append the word "studies" - Women's Studies, Black Studies, Latino Studies, Gay Studies, etc. - and what you find is all take the approach of being the victim and never looking at the group's shortcomings over time, and that to look at the subject other than the sliver that is taught, often Marxist, is to be a traitor to that group. Particularly offensive is the notion held by many Woman's Studies professors that one cannot be a true feminist if she is not a lesbian.

More perplexing is that these groupings try to teach using the scientific method of natural and social sciences, when these fields properly belong in the humanities which is much more abstract and where right and wrong isn't always clear cut. What Bawer warns is that this narrow-mindedness in teaching is leaching into traditional areas of education, such as political sciences and sociology, and students who should be taught critical thinking skills are being taught precisely the opposite and in so doing the entire point of a university education is being undermined.

The examples cited in the book tend to be ones of the extreme in each of the discussed fields, but the point is made and one has to be asked if it is too late to change things simply by pushing back at these narrow-cast programs.

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