Until 2011, UCLA students English had to take a course in Chaucer, a couple in Shakespeare, and one in Milton as the fundamental works of English literature. Some junior faculty revolted, and UCLA promptly changed its course to studying compulsory papers in “Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Disability, and Sexuality Studies; Imperial, Transnational, and Postcolonial Studies; Genre Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Critical Theory; or Creative Writing.”
According to the course catalog, giants of English literature were irrelevant. but students must study “alternative rubrics of gender, sexuality, race, and class.” UCLA’s undergraduates, therefore, had to choose among courses like, “Women of Color in the U.S., Women and Gender in the Caribbean, Chicana Feminism, Studies in Queer Literatures and Cultures, and Feminist and Queer Theory.”
Likewise, at Columbia University, a black music undergraduate rebelled against the classics. “Why did I have to listen in music humanities to this Mozart? My problem with the core is that it upholds the premises of white supremacy and racism. It’s a racist core. Who is this Mozart, this Haydn, these superior white men? There are no women, no people of color.”
The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America – Timothy Snyder.
Tim Duggan Books, 2018.
Hardcover, 368 pages, $27.
In sum, Snyder’s central thesis is that Russia is a nationalist, hyper-masculine, reactionary great power that wants to return to an age of soft imperium and spread Christian social-conservative ideas across a postmodern, effete, liberal, and secular Europe. This is the cause of Brexit, of European disintegration, the war in Ukraine, the election of Trump, and the overall terrible misfortune of humanity.
This thesis is as simplistic as it sounds and is based purely on conventional wisdom and current liberal narrative. It also suffers from the notable disadvantages of being empirically inaccurate and wrong.
Read the full review HERE.
I recently attended a colloquium at Christ Church, Oxford, which was organised in utter secrecy, without any social media promotion. It was a fairly normal conference, without any protest, perhaps due to the secrecy beforehand.
I wrote about it, in The Federalist.
Nevertheless, the secrecy is what was the key takeaway from the colloquium, and perhaps a sign of things to come in Western academy. The Brits lack the enforceable legal right to free speech Americans enjoy. But as Joy Pullmann pointed out, this decolonize madness has now spread to Yale and Stanford, after Cambridge. Statues will be toppled and disciplines ruined, because of historical revisionism, and the whims of a certain section of scholars and academics who choose to act like Soviet commissars.
Oxford especially is under constant assault, as it remains the bastion of free speech, meritocracy and open research and has so far refused to cave in to egalitarian demands of affirmative action and censorship. But as revolutionary and activist tactics spread, secrecy seems to be the only option to continue research without the worry of mob violence.
I also had an opportunity to take an interview of Dr Nigel Biggar, when I was there, for Quillette Magazine.
It is now highly unlikely that I will choose to involve any of the signatories in the project, since I have no confidence in their readiness to engage in the reciprocal and forbearing exchange of reasons.
What is more, if I want to hold lectures or seminars on the topic of empire, I will do so privately, since I cannot be sure that my critics will behave civilly. On one occasion recently, I held a day-conference to discuss Bruce Gilley’s controversial article, “The Case for Colonialism,” and found myself having to use pseudonyms to hide the identities of some participants. One young scholar only attended on condition that his name nowhere appear on print, nor his face on any photograph, lest his senior colleagues find out and kill his career.
Apologies for I have been busy, with some big publications which are out.
The first one, is a result of a thorough case study, where I highlight how the institutions of media, academia and even armed forces are under the attack from the forces of intersectionality. The operational tactics are Infiltration, Subversion and Coercion.
Read it here. “Intersectionality and Popper’s Paradox“. In Quilette.
The second essay deals the flawed priorities of Western Conservatives, as they neglect the two most sacred duties of any conservative government, security of the realm and law and order in the streets.
Read it here. “Jihadist Insurgencies and Conservative Priorities“. In American Greatness.
The third essay is in the same publication, highlighting the changing character of EU and the imperial dilemma it faces.
Read, “Europe’s Imperial Dilemma“.
Finally, in my first essay for Claremont Review of Books, I talk about something which I have been writing about for a while, on how Islamism is now morphing to a simmering insurgency.
Read here. “The Character of Insurgency“. Claremont Institute, CRB.
That’s enough to keep you occupied for a while!
Until next time.
(Originally published by the Centre For Land Warfare, New Delhi, India. Republished here, with added links.)
I don’t want to pile you with cliches, but the unthinkable happened.
Now, I have decided to focus on some other areas of my expertise, and my research…just because there are so many interminable, paranoid, hot takes going on, like this one for example…with nothing concrete, just peddling fear.
Anyway, I wrote two articles…first one for Quillette Magazine, where I critique this hysteria after Trump’s win.
Second one for National Interest, where I chart the foreign policy course for Trump in the near future, and the structural limitations he might face.
Have a read and let me know what you think!
Book Review : “From Washington to Moscow: US–Soviet relations and the collapse of the USSR”
My review of Louise Sell’s “From Washington to Moscow” published in Chatham House’s International Affairs journal.
To cite: Maitra, S. Review “From Washington to Moscow: US–Soviet relations and the collapse of the USSR. By Louis Sell” International Affairs, Volume 92, Issue 6 November 2016 Pages 1520–1521 available online, DOI: 10.1111/1468–2346.12759