Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Bowdoin College - Purposeful Excision of Our History

Few things are more fitting for this particular blog than the situation on the ground at Bowdoin College in Maine.

There, the Left wing of Academia, which also happens to be massive and incredibly influential, has crafted an environment that mocks the description of "learning". This college was not singled out because it is the exception, but rather due to the fact that Bowdoin exemplifies what is going on in colleges throughout the US.

Excepting a paltry few colleges in the US, obtaining a degree in History is a virtual guarantee of walking away knowing less than one did before filling out the application to attend. Gone from the required courses are staples such as US History and anything that has to do with Western Civilization.

Consider this positively scathing summary of the report on Bowdoin from the National Association of Scholars  (From the second link):

"....Before 1969, it was a college with strong intellectual traditions, a core curriculum, and a commitment to Western Civilization. But after 1969, it abolished all general education requirements and turned from what it called “collegiate” education to what its president at the time called “liberating” education. Out went the old standards and in came a new focus on race, class, gender, and the environment. Out went the old style of scholarly generalists as teachers and in came the new style of research specialists as faculty members. The new Bowdoin dedicated itself to the achievement of social justice and to reshaping America in the image of progressive politics..... "

The college has been reinvented to take enthusiastic American students and train them to think in classless, genderless, and global citizenship terms.

".....What exactly did President Mills mean when he spoke of “this nation’s democratic
traditions”? He didn’t explain in his own words but quoted approvingly, exclusively, and at
length from University of Chicago law professor Martha Nussbaum, who is a leading advocate of the ideal of “global citizenship.” This understanding of “citizenship” emphasizes identity politics, group rights, environmental justice, and commitment to transnational institutions and perspectives.

Courses in Gender and Women’s Studies investigate the experience of women and men in
light of the social construction of gender and its meaning across cultures and historic
periods. Gender construction is explored as an institutionalized means of structuring
inequality and dominance.5

Here Bowdoin flatly announces that gender is a social construct, the sole purpose of which is to subjugate women. Is gender, according to this view, entirely a social construct? “In light of the social construction of gender” seems to say so, and at the very least it forecloses any interest in other possibilities, such as biology. Individual courses on gender at Bowdoin are built on these assumptions, as is almost all public discussion of the matter."

Being a compulsive reader of any and all types of history, I often run into nice young people, some of whom are friends, who have degrees in History yet know next to nothing. I gave up long ago trying to bring up certain events, personalities, and eras for discussion simply because they have never even heard of them. Even citing Tacitus' account in the Agricola of the aggressive Roman expansion against the Caledonians, something that the Left would possibly like as it rightfully paints the Romans of that period in a less-than-flattering  manner, and you may as well have uttered a phrase in Koine Greek. What little they have been taught about Western History is so distorted and slanted against the West as to have been written by a Bolshevik Commissar. The graduate will bring up the Investiture Controversy and, instead of noting that the Pope had no choice but to struggle to regain the authority to appoint bishops, will speak of it as if his source was an anti-Catholic pamphlet from 19th century America. The ironic part is that, if the Pope had acquiesced to Henry IV, (Who understandably wanted some say in the appointment of bishops as they provided much of the structure of a medieval government) then the Papacy would have been portrayed as meekly submitting to a civil authority as occurred in the Byzantine Empire. The US? Well, need we say more? Slavery, Native Americans, subjugated women, and colonialism will essentially comprise the entirety of what the student learns at the hands of American Academia.

Here is a list of courses for first year students in 2012 (Taken from the PDF of the report):

Affirmative Action and U.S. Society Modern Western Prostitutes

Fictions of Freedom Women in the European Union

Racism Globalizing India

Music and Race in Latin America African Art and the Environment.: 1960 to the Present

Material Life in Early America Beyond Pocahontas: Native American Stereotypes

Great Issues in Science Ancient Democracy and Critics

Understanding Theater and Dance Living Downstream

The Art of the Deal Queer Gardens

Hawthorne Fan Fictions and Cult Classics

The Real Life of Literature Fact and Fiction

Sexual Life of Colonialism Public Health in Europe and U.S.

The Pursuit of Peace The Korean War

Global Media and Politics Power and Participation in American Politics

Exercises in Political Theory Political Leadership

Human Being and Citizen Utopian Communities, 1630-1997

Consumerism in Early-Modern Europe A Philosopher’s Dozen

Intro to the Brain and Behavior Fantasy and Satire: E. Central Europe

African American Children’s Literature

Conspicuously absent are are the contributions of ancient Greece and Rome, Northern Europe, Christianity, and Judaism to the ways of thinking that molded the societies of the West. As the US was created with a unique combination of all of these, the crime is even more heinous. The student is left with absolutely no idea of how we got here as a nation and a society and that is exactly how the Left wants it to be.

"But official Bowdoin on the whole shows little interest in the West. In part, this is
because focusing on the West risks elevating the West over other cultures. That, in turn, works against the all-cultures-are-equal belief that is part of the quest for the cosmopolitan outlook of global citizenship. Today, Bowdoin places little emphasis on the nation’s claims to distinction: its founding focus on human equality and freedom; its history of economic opportunity, invention, and free
enterprise; and its willingness to sacrifice to secure the freedom of others. Around campus
“American exceptionalism” is a term of derision; a student who expresses such views in a tone other than mockery is reflexively attacked.27 So there is no confusion, we say plainly that it is not only appropriate but necessary that the ideas embodied in the term “American
exceptionalism” be challenged through reasoned argument, but reasoned argument also requires the opportunity to defend these idea......

In place of the traditional focus on the West at Bowdoin, the emphasis today tends to be
on diversity and multiculturalism, which are embedded in a narrative in which the United States conspicuously and perennially falls short of its ideals. Students too often learn to concentrate their critical doubts on what they come to see as America’s false promises, and at the same time join their enthusiasm to an alternative vision in which “citizenship” is reconstructed as loyalty to the norms of racial justice, gender equity, multiculturalism, etc". 

"History majors at Bowdoin are not required to take a single course in American history; yet they are required to take several courses in non-Western history...."

The utter absence of criticism or a scientific approach at Bowdoin may be the most appalling aspect of its culture:

"At some point closed-mindedness becomes a habit. Take global warming. Mills signed
the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, wedding Bowdoin to the belief that a crisis in anthropogenic (man-made) global warming is an established fact—not just probable but certain. But what if it turns out not to be a fact? How easy will it be for a Bowdoin scientist or student to put forth views that oppose the official Bowdoin position? Closed mindedness knows no stopping point. Bowdoin has similarly staked out fixed positions on other issues, including the legitimacy of racial preferences in college admissions (Mills helped to draft an amicus brief in the 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger case). Again, when Bowdoin takes an official position on a political matter, opposing views are discouraged."

Multiculturalism, the concept of forcing learning about every culture except those upon which your country was built, is the rule in Academia today.

Please read the entire report. We will never coalesce in order to take action if we continue to turn a blind eye to what is being done to our youth.

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