Friday, May 4, 2012

Boldly Speaking Truth to Not-Power

Via Crooked Timber an awful article in the Chronicle of Higher Education:
The Most Persuasive Case for Eliminating Black Studies? Just Read the Dissertations.
April 30, 2012, 10:24 pm
By Naomi Schaefer Riley

You’ll have to forgive the lateness but I just got around to reading The Chronicle’s recent piece on the young guns of black studies. If ever there were a case for eliminating the discipline, the sidebar explaining some of the dissertations being offered by the best and the brightest of black-studies graduate students has made it. What a collection of left-wing victimization claptrap. The best that can be said of these topics is that they’re so irrelevant no one will ever look at them.

That’s what I would say about Ruth Hayes’ dissertation, “‘So I Could Be Easeful’: Black Women’s Authoritative Knowledge on Childbirth.” It began because she “noticed that nonwhite women’s experiences were largely absent from natural-birth literature, which led me to look into historical black midwifery.” How could we overlook the nonwhite experience in “natural birth literature,” whatever the heck that is? It’s scandalous and clearly a sign that racism is alive and well in America, not to mention academia.
A helpful comment followed:
Once again, [Naomi Schaefer Riley] makes definitive evaluations of academic research without having bothered to read it. Or the dissertation proposal; or any of the chapters done so far (since it seems this is work in progress by students in the dissertation writing phase). She is clairvoyant, and can judge it in advance. The Queen has delivered her verdict, judging it in advance. There's a word for that: prejudice.

Chuck Kleinhans
Burned. From the follow-up:
Finally, since this is a blog about academia and not journalism, I’ll forgive the commenters for not understanding that it is not my job to read entire dissertations before I write a 500-word piece about them.
Oh joy. What might editors at the Chronicle of um...wait a minute...oh yes, Higher Education think of such things?
Many of you have asked The Chronicle to take down Naomi Schaefer Riley’s recent posting, “The Most Persuasive Case for Eliminating Black Studies? Just Read the Dissertations.” I urge readers instead to view this posting as an opportunity—to debate Riley’s views, challenge her, set things straight as you see fit. Take a moment to read The Chronicle’s front-page story about the future of black studies, written by Chronicle reporter Stacey Patton and weigh in.

Please join the debate.
I shit in your breakfast! What do you think about that?

11 comments:

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

It began because she “noticed that nonwhite women’s experiences were largely absent from natural-birth literature, which led me to look into historical black midwifery.”

Heaven forfend that any light be shed into this unresearched aspect of American history, especially in light of the fact the upper class white families often employed African-American domestic help involved in child rearing.

Shit, it's like Riley doesn't know that every doctoral dissertation focuses on extremely specific, under-researched topics.

Substance McGravitas said...

But will that sell? How can you make money off such things?

fish said...

Article title: “The Most Persuasive Case for Eliminating Black Studies? Just Read the Dissertations.”

Author's response to criticism:"Finally, since this is a blog about academia and not journalism, I’ll forgive the commenters for not understanding that it is not my job to read entire dissertations before I write a 500-word piece about them."

Shorter: Wait, what did I just say?

mikey said...

Soon I will publish my own article, this in the Scholarly Journal of Important, Serious Stuff, entitled "The Most Persuasive Case for Eliminating Blatant Right-Wing Misinformation? Don't Watch the TeeVee Commercials. I hope you'll buy the eBook and make me very rich and famous...

tigris said...

Sure, she could have titled it "The Most Persuasive Case for Eliminating Black Studies? Just Peruse the Titles and Minimal Descriptions of the Dissertations and Decide What's Valuable Based on Zero Knowledge of the Field in Particular and Doctoral Dissertations in General and Overvaluing One's Own Ignorant Preconceived Notions of What is Important or Acceptable" but that is a little unwieldy.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

tigris, how about, "blah studies? still a waste of time on an inferior race".

Seems like the dog whistle era of American politics is going away, at last.

We're back to people just shouting "Ni-CLANG!"

P.S.

This country's entire right-wing, for the last 4 years.
~
ifthethunderdontgety 1 month ago


/ youtube comments
~

Another Kiwi said...

Longer shorter:Do I gotta read stuff now? WTF is the point of being a reviewer if you gotta read stuff.
Plus it is about icky black people, really.

wiley said...

She didn't like "the personal is political" and likes "the political is personal" even less. She's a cheerleader for the status quo who doesn't think that the study of others should receive accreditation for filling in the blanks of our collective memory.

Researching social histories of peoples who have been left out of the historical record by the dominant culture is "victimology"? Really? We got some fine victims in this country. I'm real proud of 'em.

mikey said...

Oh yeah!

The oppression of white christian males in America is well documented, as is the marginalization of religion and the blatant jihad against gun ownership rights.

Your expectation of tolerance infringes upon my gawd given liberties!

Kathleen said...

I am so angry about it that I kind of feel sick. One idiot making that blog post I can understand. There are lots of idiots around. But the CHE responses, which represent the reactions of multiple people, are so bad and wrong, I am just enraged.

Also, I will also say that this isn't the first "conservative lists dissertation titles to mock academia" bit that I've read, and I always read the list and think "I'd read that, and that, oh that sounds fascinating!" Like there was one this one time about Silent Movie Era Hollywood and the market for Spanish-speakers, since changing out the titles was so simple. FASCINATING

So in short, I am awesome and conservatives are small-minded idiots.

Substance McGravitas said...

I agree with everything.