Category: Education

Seriously, What Did You Think Was Going on at the Universities?

I saw this story the other day and thought that it wasn’t worth comment, but apparently it’s making traction in the blogosphere and I’m feeling lazy today, so here it is:

The “progressive stack” is a method to order speakers and participants by race and gender along a “social justice” hierarchy. Women “of color” come first, men “of color” next, then white women, and at the back of the line, white men.

The progressive stack is all over the news the last few days because a graduate student Teaching Assistant at the University of Pennsylvania, Stephanie McKellop, bragged on Twitter about using the progressive stack in class, as we reported in U. Penn Teaching Assistant Calls on White Male Students Last, Because “Social Justice”:

Are we just looking for blogging fodder at this point? This kind of thinking has been around for a very long time, even if it didn’t have a name until a few years ago. Of course it’s moronic and self-defeating; that’s what they do at the universities.

Incidentally, I was wondering about something the other day. If universities have classes in, say, African American Literature, doesn’t that create a situation in which black authors are permanently relegated to a boutique status within the academy? There are students who silently take their diversity mandated class who strongly suspect that the authors picked for such a class are lauded for nothing other than the color of their skin. In turn, this harms the authors on the diversity list, because they are relegated to their own canon, which can only be compared negatively to the broader (read: white) canon.

It will not get better. The left can only out-left itself, and with Republicans controlling the government we are about to see a level of wackiness likely not seen since the late 1960s. They glimpsed the Promised Land with Obama, who began instituting every silly idea that grad students in Inrersectional Lesbian Studies wanted, only to have it all ripped away by Cheeto Hitler.

Oh well. It’s fun to laugh at them.

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My Friends Got Drunk and Watched Reality TV

If you liked autoethnography, prepare for exo-autoethnography:

Exo-autoethnography is the autoethnographic exploration of a history whose events the researcher does not experience directly, but a history that impacts the researcher through familial, or other personal connections, by proxy. It is an approach to research and autoethnographic writing that seeks to analyze individual and private experience, as directed by the other’s experience or history, to better understand: a history that affects the researcher indirectly; and personal and community experience as it relates to that history.

Writing a diary about watching The Bachelor with your gal pals is so 2016. The new hotness is interviewing one of your gal pals who watches The Bachelor, and then writing about yourself conducting the interview.

College degrees are becoming worthless because A) So damn many people have them and B) The subject matter is often moronic. Now people can get advanced graduate degrees writing about their feelings. Is there any way, apart from a total overhaul of the educational system, that this ends well?

PhD in Butthurt Studies

I’m not sure where or when the “autoethnography” trend in higher education began. It’s possible that there is simply nothing else to write about in the Humanities and Social Sciences: let’s face it, there are only so many self and other binaries that one can deconstruct. It was only a matter of time then before the practice went meta:

This essay seeks to fill the gap in the literature and make a contribution to the discourse on autoethnographic research. Writing autoethnographically, I share my experience of discovering vile, misogynist, and cruel trolling of autoethnographers and their work on the social media platform Twitter. I reflect on the online hatred I received when I raised the issue publically. Many of the messages I received focused on my perceived inability to cope with opinions other than my own.

Part of me hopes that there is nothing more to research, and that university departments realize it and make necessary changes. It’s far better to have deep knowledge of certain subjects than it is to be original; I would rather a Shakespeare professor know The Merry Wives of Windsor like the back of his or her hand than know a massive catalog of secondary criticism about a single line from Hamlet.

Of course, there’s no use in being optimistic about it. These are the people that gave Gilles Deleuze and Slavoj Zizek a career.

Thanks to Real Peer Review for the inspiration.