The Young America’s Foundation has reaped well-deserved publicity on its “Dirty Dozen: America’s Most Bizarre and Politically Correct College Courses” (first noted here by Candace de Russy). (Congratulations to Occidental College, whose course “The Phallus” is ranked number 1!)
In “I Got an A in Phallus 101,” Charlotte Allen critiques the dirty dozen and concludes:
“The problem that the Young America’s Foundation list, first issued in 1995, highlights isn’t simply the hollowing-out of the traditional humanities and social sciences disciplines at colleges and their replacement by crude indoctrination sessions in whatever is ideologically fashionable — although that’s a serious issue. At Occidental, for instance, it seems nearly impossible to study any field, save for the hard sciences, that doesn’t include ‘race, class and gender’ among its topics. Even the Shakespeare course at Occidental this semester focuses on ‘cultural anxieties over authority, race, colonialism and religion’ during the age of the Bard.
“The bigger problem is that too much of American higher education has lost any notion of what its students ought to know about the ideas and people and movements that created the civilization in which they live: ‘Who Plato was or what happened at Appomattox?’
“Instead of the carefully crafted core programs that once guided students through the basics of literature, philosophy, history and the social sciences, most colleges now offer smorgasbords of unrelated classes for their students to sample in order to fulfill requirements. And the professors stock the smorgasbords with whatever the theorists they idolize tells them is the new new thing.
“Why not take a course in ‘The Phallus?’
“You can get the same credit for it as for a course in Greek tragedy.”