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Maryland Football Needs a New Academic Advisor:

This Maryland Freshman is dealing fine with life on the field, but off the field he has no idea what hit him. Who in the world thought it would be a good idea for him to take a "Women's Literature" class in the modern university?

Davin Meggett never anticipated such an adverse situation so early in his career at Maryland. After being thrown into it "cold turkey," his palms moistened, his stomach quivered and he questioned whether he might embarrass himself in front of an audience.

The toughest part of Meggett's freshman season had nothing to do with entering a football game late in the fourth quarter Oct. 25 and hauling in a 31-yard reception in the final minute to help set up a game-winning field goal on this season's most memorable drive. Meggett's agitation instead stems from the mere thought of the syllabus for his toughest class: women's literature.

"Female slavery? What?" Meggett said. "Female slavery after slavery, or something like that. It's awkward. I'm more nervous for that class than I am on the football field. Football is not hard. People try to make it seem hard."

If Meggett starts against Virginia Tech, he said he would keep the same tempered attitude, adding: "Just play ball. Isn't any different from playing ball when you were young, when you were in middle or high school. It's real simple."

As for reading "Beloved" and discussing other classics in women's literature?

"Difficult," Meggett said, sighing. "Too many perspectives, too many ideologies. Too much stuff. I just have to get through it."

I don't think this class would make too much more sense to me than to Meggett.

bornyesterday (mail) (www):
Being and NC State alum and growing up a Duke fan, I have little love for Maryland sports teams, athletes and fans, but I have to admit that I definitely feel sorry for that guy.

On a tangentially related thought, I wonder what Duke lacrosse players might think of that class.
11.3.2008 11:36am
Nathan_M (mail):
God forbid undergraduates be exposed to alternative perspectives.
11.3.2008 11:39am
BRS (mail):
I suspect that if you looked at the Maryland graduation requirements, there is some sort of "Diversity" requirement, under which undergraduates must take a history, literature, or philosophy class in which the curriculum is centered on a non-white male group. If this was indeed to fill out the literature requirement, I agree, the advisor should have told him to take Shakespeare. Then, I was an English major at one of the last strongholds of formalism, so even the Shakespeare class might have been rough at UMD
11.3.2008 11:51am
Ben P:
yeah, "X Group" Literature, or "X Group" Studies, classes tend to be silly. They're mostly the result of academics differentiating themselves from eachother to create jobs. "Oh, but I'm not just an english literature student, I'm a 'womens literature' student.

this is also exhibit A of why grad students and faculty aren't good advisers in many cases. If you want easy classes, (and no insult to the player, but as someone who was a lower level college athelete it's pretty common), you talk to people who had similar time constraints and find out whether your classses are easy or hard. it's usually common knowledge.
11.3.2008 11:59am
Lior:
A student who can't handle ordinary classes shouldn't have been admitted. A student who is challenged by a class has been placed exactly where he belongs. The quote makes it difficult to decide which of the two is the case here.

Regardless of the merits of the syllabus, if this is a typical class for Maryland undergrads then the admissions office should select students who would do well in such a class if they put in the work.
11.3.2008 12:12pm
Matt_T:
Speaking as a former English major, I think that the study of English has become a joke. Depending on which faction you align yourself with, you'll find yourself in either a graveyard for tenured scholars of largely irrelevant literature or on a farm team for race-baiting ideologues pushing the latest postmodern drivel. The English department is a microcosm of the larger problem in academia: too many professors doing makework deliberately obscurantist political BS to keep themselves employed and use public money or tuition to push agendas too silly to survive withering scrutiny when presented as plain language. The whole point of the "new" discourse was to avoid disclosing the sort of ludicrous cultural Marxist leanings held by many of grievance-generators of the faculty: a problem highlighted brilliantly by the Sokal affair.
11.3.2008 12:13pm
Sarcastro (www):
I find people who I think are wrong scary and confusing! That's why I never listen to such people.

And I'll fight for your right never to have to deal with people I disagree with as well! Especially if you're trying to get an education!
11.3.2008 12:15pm
Oren:
You don't have to believe what's taught in the class to take the class any more than you have to believe in evolution to take a biology class. Perhaps most of the content of this class is BS, perhaps not (I don't see any commentary by students that have actually taken the class), but in either case, how hard could it really be?
11.3.2008 12:16pm
catullus:
In the University of Maryland online course catalog, this course appears to be the only lower-level Literature course that lacks a course description. However, as a professor who has spent a lifetime in academia (and thus acquired a healthy skepticism about much of what occurs within the ivied cloisters)I would not be at all surprised if this course does not peddle a steady diet of orthodox leftist, feminist cant. Yes, Nathan M, it is an "alternative perspective," but one that is tiresome, boring, predictable, and rigidly intolerant of any other perspective. Yep, that's "liberal" education these days.
11.3.2008 12:18pm
John Armstrong (mail) (www):
As a former Terp, yes, there is a "diversity" requirement. It's often cross-listed with a history or literature credit, so a student can get two general requirements done at once.

There was a group of us in the late '90s who tried to get "White-Man Studies" as an offering (Irish literature? Norse History? Germanic Mythology?) to no avail.
11.3.2008 12:22pm
Dionysius (mail):
Another example in support of scrapping the current system of intercollegiate athletic competition and hiring football players for intercollegiate play as part of the entertainment program, offering them a salary and the possibility of getting a degree (if they qualify) or, at least, taking a few classes for credit or non-credit.
11.3.2008 12:24pm
Sarcastro (www):
catullus is right to judge a liberal education by this one course. And I'm sure if he finds it tiresome, it's worthless. If we could kick out all the liberals from schools, would we finally have a balanced education system? I don't now, but I feel it and I am in torment.
11.3.2008 12:25pm
Ben P:

A student who can't handle ordinary classes shouldn't have been admitted. A student who is challenged by a class has been placed exactly where he belongs. The quote makes it difficult to decide which of the two is the case here.


So are you saying that no student should ever encounter the situation of finding themselves in a class, even an "ordinary class" that they can't handle?

I'm proud to say I never outright dropped a class in undergrad, but there are definitely cases where one can sign up for a class and find that the subject matter or teaching style in the class makes it worse than pointless.

Sure you can learn to analyze literature from a "feminist perspective." But (a) if you're never used to analyzing literature in the first place, (b) you have no interest in literature. I don't see the automatic presumption that you shouldn't have been admitted.

Perhaps it makes more sense from another perspective. If english major A, somehow gets the idea that he can take Calculus 110 rather than the "math and the natural world" math requirement, and finds himself incredibly out of his depth. But at the same time is getting perfectly fine grades in his preferred classes. Is that reason to say he shouldn't be there?
11.3.2008 12:26pm
Monty:
I don't have a problem with profs that spew political BS so long as they are willing to tollerate reasoned disent and/or debate. Maybe I have just been exceedingly lucky in my profs, but I have never encountered one that held my views against me, even when its clear that they are strongly opposed to them. Maybe it's because I actually listen to what they say and make thoughful counter aurguments, or maybe I've just gotten lucky...
11.3.2008 12:26pm
Calculated Risk:

I don't think this class would make too much more sense to me than to Meggett.


Are you proud of that or something? Seriously, you shouldn't brag about your own intellectual deficiencies.

That said, some of the writing by feminist academics is unnecessarily complex and verbose.
11.3.2008 12:27pm
Asher (mail):
More pigheaded feminism/post-structuralism/queer studies-bashing. Though yeah, it's true, like Calculated Risk says, that some of that stuff is incomprehensible. Like try reading Irigaray.
11.3.2008 12:30pm
Wallace:
Can someone link the full article?
11.3.2008 12:31pm
Avatar (mail):
The problem isn't that Todd (or any person of ordinary or even extraordinary intelligence) would fail to penetrate the core concepts presented in the class.

The problem is that those core concepts are, unless this class is extraordinarily unlike most women's literature courses, "you are a (white) man and thus evil".

Furthermore, without a doubt, this player is expected to peddle the same perspective back to his professor on his assignments, on pain of failing the class (and possibly forfeiting his scholarship?) Merely analyzing it rationally won't do; in fact, that could be the worst thing he could do.
11.3.2008 12:34pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
He ought to be concerned.
His deer-in-the-headlights fear comes across in the quote.
He is extremely, which is to say almost certainly deliberatelyset up, likely to say something innocent which will give the one of the Professionally Perpetually Offended cause to upbraid him, and if he argues, report him to the campus thought police.
I hope he keeps his mouth shut.
11.3.2008 12:35pm
Lighten up Kansas:
A liberal arts education is more focused on your critical thinking and comprehension skills. Are you able to see why Naomi Wolf made this point, or Morrisson made that point, and how you would defend their viewpoints if asked.

It doesn't mean you are compromising your core values or some other personal nonsense. It also doesn't mean that your teachers (who may believe every word) are trying to warp your agile minds. It means that when you go out into the working world, you will be asked to take on viewpoints that you may not have considered before. You may even be asked to agree with an idea that you don't like very much, and defend it. The critical thinking skills help to hone those skills.

I see someone like Meggett as a brain that is good at focusing and not good at thinking around a corner or changing perspectives when challenged. I was like that for a good long time and now see where I missed a lot of opportunities that hid around corners.
11.3.2008 12:39pm
pauldom:
Maryland has a "CORE" gen ed program that includes a diversity requirement, designed to "give you the chance to examine your ideas and values in the light of an unfamiliar intellectual or social context."

The course Meggett is taking appears to be "WMST255 Introduction to Literature by Women; (3 credits) Grade Method: REG/P-F/AUD. CORE Literature (HL) Course. CORE Diversity (D) Course. Also offered as ENGL250. Credit will be granted for only one of the following: WMST255 or ENGL250. Images of women in literature by and about women." The booklist is unremarkable, and does not focus on slavery, female or otherwise.

It appears that UM provided numerous and diverse options (including "white" options, John Armstrong) for meeting this core requirement. Why did Meggett enroll in a women's lit class? My guess: it fit his schedule, it took care of two core requirements at once, and "KNES287 Sport and American Society" was full.

Either that, or it is part of an evil plot by liberals to brainwash this freshman by forcing him to read an essay, a play, four novels, and selections from an anthology. In a literature class, no less--the horror.
11.3.2008 12:44pm
Tennessean (mail):
Nothing like a substance-less post to take a swipe at another academic. Very impressive.
11.3.2008 12:44pm
Houston Lawyer:
I think that this could be fixed if we required those who teach in the aggrieved studies departments to take and pass a large number of math courses.

Why don't the university's sexual harrasment courses seem to apply in the man-hating classes?
11.3.2008 12:45pm
Sarcastro (www):
Richard Aubrey accurately portrays the College experience. Those "campus thought police" are everywhere! Students are disappeared all the time.

Really, it's just like in 1984, except the "anti-sex league" is a lot more subtle.
11.3.2008 12:45pm
cjwynes (mail):
My experience was that even with topics that lent themselves to this sort of post-modern gender nonsense, my professors were all very reserved about coming out too strongly with any one view. I majored in history, and I had a 20th century Europe class with a woman who was a self-described Marxist whose personal research had centered on the roles of Italian women in some previous century. Amazingly enough, she never tried to push a feminist or Marxist worldview on us. In fact, she had us read some book about gender roles in 1920's France, had us discuss it in class while she held back her views, and only after we'd done so did she surprisingly come out *against* the book as being too much of a "cultural history" concerned more with public perception than actual reality. I got along great with her and she even wrote one of my recommendations for my law school application, so it just goes to show you can't write people off because of the ideology you think they might have. What I'm saying is, I think you'd have to sit in this women's lit class at Maryland for a couple lectures to see if it's really as bad as we're imagining it.
11.3.2008 12:47pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Hey, Sarc.
You hear about U-Delaware? See FIRE on the subject.
11.3.2008 12:48pm
A.C.:
Plenty of good books by women out there. The class could be wonderful or terrible, depending on how it is handled. I'm not overly fond of putting books by women or minorities in these ghettos -- I'd far rather see them in classes on their periods and styles -- but I do think Toni Morrison can be interesting. Not without faults, but worth discussing. If you are permitted to have an actual discussion.
11.3.2008 12:50pm
Andrew Janssen (mail):
This is just to say that "Beloved" is one of the most over-rated pieces of crap literature to come out of the 20th Century. 10 years on, I still resent having had to read it for freshman humanities. While I'm sure Mr. Megget would benefit from having his world-view challenged, I can't blame him at all if he can't get through "Beloved".
11.3.2008 12:52pm
Sarcastro (www):
Richard Aubrey's U Deleware ref was awesome! It wasn't an extreme and cherry picked example at all!

It was all about thought police and Profs deliberately setting up students and just like what he said! It was worse than Hogwarts in Harry Potter Book 7!

Everyone should act like every school is using this discredited program right now!
11.3.2008 1:04pm
arthur:
It's understandable that a freshman doesn't realize it's kind of embarrassing to admit he can't follow a novel that was on all the bestseller lists for a year or so, by an author who millions of Oprah watchers found comprehensible. Zywicki's confession to a similar inability is another story.

I read Ghost when it came out (although I was a white male). It's exactly the kind of challenging but not impossible novel that college students should be reading. The cultural context is much more familiar than, many of the works freshmen read, e.g. Hamlet, or The Illiad.
11.3.2008 1:05pm
Calderon:
Looking back, for most people who went to run-of-the-mill public schools, there' a big shift in going from high school to college. Davin Meggett (Dave Meggett's son?) may just be expressing that feeling.

Also, especially for practicing attorneys, learning how to be fluent in opposing ideologies can be very helpful. If you can learn how to effectively make arguments you don't really believe in in college course, you're probably going to be better at advocating positions you're not 100% sure about, advocating in state courts that look more at equities than laws, arguing textual in one court versus "purpose" in another, etc. I had some courses in college where grades appeared to be partly based on ideologies and made arguments that I personally thought were ridiculous but that were well-received by the professor.
11.3.2008 1:06pm
Syd Henderson (mail):
It's kind of hard to have a course in Women's Literature without a Toni Morrison book. I don't mind Beloved, but Song of Solomon is a generally great novel. Jazz is interesting but I think this guy might have more trouble with that than Beloved.

Still, shouldn't this be an sophomore or higher level class? Start off with a more general literature class and take the more specific literature classes later.
11.3.2008 1:08pm
ahendo10 (mail) (www):
Syd Henderson,

From a student's perspective, I think the short answer to your question is no. General lit classes tend to be surveys that, although well intentioned, are frankly pretty boring. Classes like the above discussed are designed to showcase a professor's interests and to catch a student's attention with the goal of bringing them into the major. Some of the most interesting, zoomed-in classes that the William and Mary English department offers are freshman seminars.
11.3.2008 1:27pm
Zywicki (mail):
Sorry, I forgot to link the whole article. I've now done that. It is mostly about football with the description of the class at the beginning and end.
11.3.2008 1:36pm
David Warner:
Nathan_M,

"God forbid undergraduates be exposed to alternative perspectives."

Beloved is alternative? To what, Catcher in the Rye? What academic universe have you been living in?
11.3.2008 1:56pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):

I read Ghost when it came out (although I was a white male).


was?

That is quite a powerful book.

Did the reading change your gender? Or race? Both?
11.3.2008 1:59pm
arthur (mail):
I've faded a bit over the decades, so I'm not as white as I once was. Still male though. And of course I meant Beloved, not Ghost.
11.3.2008 2:17pm
LN (mail):

Why don't the university's sexual harrasment courses seem to apply in the man-hating classes?


If male professors were groping female students, everyone would be up in arms about it. So why are there women's literature classes?
11.3.2008 2:33pm
U.Va. Grad:
If he's like most big-time-program football players, the problem isn't with the class; it's with the admissions department that let him into college in the first place.
11.3.2008 2:46pm
CJColucci:
If Meggett is related to former NY Giant Dave Meggett, a women's literature course may be just what he needs.
11.3.2008 2:49pm
Aultimer:

Syd Henderson

shouldn't this be an sophomore or higher level class? Start off with a more general literature class and take the more specific literature classes later.

Back in my day as a Terp, WMST2xx indicated a sophomore class, generally with some WMST1xx prereq (probably not the case for a core requirement-filling class though). Things may have been different then, as we had a monarchist student government.
11.3.2008 2:56pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Dorothy Dunnett
Strong female characters.
Best writing going.
11.3.2008 3:28pm
Ming the Merciless Siamese Cat (mail):
Calculated Risk:

I can't speak for Todd Zywicki, but as for myself, I am indeed proud to declare that modern feminist theory appears absolutely nonsensical to me. If you're perplexed by that, see Hans Christian Andersen, The Emperor's New Clothes.

Thanks for the belly laugh with this one though:

That said, some of the writing by feminist academics is unnecessarily complex and verbose.


Yeah, in the same way that some subprime lending practices didn't quite measure up to best practices.
11.3.2008 3:40pm
GMUSL 3L:
"Too many perspectives, too many ideologies" does not sound like "I am infuriated that the professor is pushing her anti-male agenda on me" but more like "oh fuck, lots of reading of stuff I don't know about already."

And no one has yet confirmed whether or not it *is* actually one of the easier courses to fulfill that gen-ed requirement, since there were some options there. Agreed with pauldom that the course's booklist is unremarkable, pretty basic survey-of-women's-lit with no clear agenda, though a prof could present it with one, of course.

Yeah, the class would be easier to tolerate if it were something he already had an interest in... I got stuck in a couple uninteresting classes myself, mostly freshman-level surveys. But it doesn't seem like an unusually heavy reading load for an intro lit class. If the football players can't manage to get through a normal class load, even a boring one, perhaps they should not be enrolled as normal students.
11.3.2008 3:48pm
Syd Henderson (mail):
ahendo10

I was thinking about it, and the freshman students here must have the option of taking a course in a particular area of literature. My neighbor took a class in the 18th century novel (with the teacher reading from a incomplete novel from the period), and there were freshman in the class.

I'm not sure I'd like a class in women's literature, but who knows. In the 18th century there were more novels written by women than men, but you'd never know it from most literature courses.

The feminist science fiction writer Joanna Russ wrote a book, "How to Suppress Women's Writing" which is very readable and also gives you insight on how literature of minorities disappears from the canon. (Or is reclassified into children's literature.)
11.3.2008 3:55pm
Mark Rockwell (mail):
I hate how there are never any courses that touch on the singular awesomeness of the wealthy white male. Will no one ever learn what we think of our world?

Woe are we, oppressed white men!
11.3.2008 4:06pm
badimitation (mail):
Where are the trial lawyers? What's obviously going on here is that an african-american male's opportunity for a real education is being stolen through the indifference of a university accustomed to meeting the acadamic non-needs of upper-middle class whites who have nice jobs waiting for them irrespective of what their transcripts look like. I don't know what Maryland's public immunity statutes look like, but this should be a case for Willie Gary.
11.3.2008 4:32pm
Happyshooter:
In undergrad I thought I scored by taking a Roman lit class taught by classics profs that met all my english reqs. Much much better than wading through all that critical-x garbage with english profs.

Then I got my diversity credit in a barn class with 200 others. The prof was a wacky as you would reckon, and mega proud of the fact she had once been married to a turk. I got to make snarky comments the whole time and still get the A by writing garbage.

My winning streak came to an end in a soc seminar, where the woman prof was proud as all heck of her columbia PhD and shoved Susan Sontag down our throats.

I don't normally call for the death penalty for bad writers with a worse agenda, but I was close with Sontag. The world did not suffer a loss when she passed on.

I expect with the net being mature it is easier to avoid classes like that.
11.3.2008 5:11pm
Sagar:
Nathan, Sarcasto, et. al.

May be one such course to get a different perspective or whatever ...

but people majoring in these disciplines, what do they do with it? i mean from a marketable job skill point
11.3.2008 5:27pm
Alligator:

He ought to be concerned.
His deer-in-the-headlights fear comes across in the quote.
He is extremely, which is to say almost certainly deliberatelyset up, likely to say something innocent which will give the one of the Professionally Perpetually Offended cause to upbraid him, and if he argues, report him to the campus thought police.
I hope he keeps his mouth shut.


It'll be good practice for life, where you find yourself working or interacting with with the perpetually offended. Radical perspectives are hardly confined to academia -- they're just concentrated there.

I'm female and pretty liberal compared to the rest of the country (as I perceive it), although somewhat conservative compared to much of NYC (where I live). I nonetheless avoid Women and [academic subject] classes like the plague, even though the professors who teach those classes tend to make it easy to get an A by having obvious and usually uncompromising beliefs on the subject, because they become tedious once you've learned to deal with people who disagree with you.

That said, dealing with an opposing viewpoint is an important skill that everyone should learn, and these kinds of classes are a great way for that. Isolating yourself from people who push a pro- or anti-whatever agenda is rarely an option in life.
11.3.2008 5:46pm
alonzo portfolio (mail):
Read the letters of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. She doubts that women will end up justifying the efforts to secure them the franshise.
11.3.2008 6:23pm
byomtov (mail):
Meggett's complaint doesn't seem to be that the subject matter is foolish, or that the teacher is just pushing some agenda. It's that he finds the material difficult. OK. I can believe that.

"College Freshman Finds Course Demanding"

What's the big deal?
11.3.2008 6:39pm
Borealis (mail):
The great thing about Womens Studies classes is you always know what the ultimate answer is to every question. If you just learn some of the jargon and blame men for everything, then you are sure to get at least a B.

Conservatives and libertarians should take one class like this. Seriously. It does help one understand the academic world a lot better. And the mental exercise of seeing the world through this perspective is an intellectually valuable exercise.
11.3.2008 6:50pm
Calculated Risk:
Ming the Merciless Siamese Cat,

Well, if that is your position, I would class you as both an ignoramus and a fool.

That some writing in a field is unnecessarily complex does not mean that all writing in that field has that same characteristic. Further, just because writing is unnecessarily complex, that does not mean it does not express valuable ideas.

Overall, your dismissal of an entire field because you happen to disagree with a subset of it verges on mentally retarded.
11.3.2008 7:02pm
Calculated Risk:

If you just learn some of the jargon and blame men for everything, then you are sure to get at least a B.


Maybe in the second-rate courses you have taken. Yeah, if you take "Women's Studies for Losers," I suppose you can get by with extremely simplistic arguments and reasoning.

Overall, what strikes me about many of the critics here is there appalling ignorance. When I do not know much about something, I am usually smart enough not to have excessively strong opinions based on mere anecdotes.

Alas, the reasoning skills demonstrated by many here do not meet any sort of standards of rigor.
11.3.2008 7:05pm
Calculated Risk:
Sagar,

What do people who major in philosophy or English, long established and traditional fields, do with their degrees?

People choose their major for different reasons. Some choose a major based on the desire to acquire a specific marketable skill-set. Others choose their major because the particular subject is of great interest to them. Just because you would choose a major merely based on your desire for a specific skill-set does not mean you should denigrate those who would choose differently. Likewise, those who want a more liberal arts education should not denigrate those who have a intend to gain a more specific and marketable skill-set. Both choices are valid.

If we all made the same choices in life, this world would not be a very interesting place. Not only that, if everyone chose the same practical major you would, you could expect salaries in that major to plummet as the supply increased. You should be grateful to those whose different interests than yours mean that they will not be competing with you for the same job.
11.3.2008 7:10pm
Syd Henderson (mail):
I think English majors tend to write intellectual novels in the present tense that sell 5,000 copies, a quarter of which are read and another quarter partially read. Or maybe that's just English professors and the majors collect rejection slips.
11.3.2008 7:23pm
Borealis (mail):
Name an "X Studies" academic discipline that honors or rewards an academic who disproves an "X Studies" theory, or creates a new theory, that is not considered in the political interest of group "X".

The implications of that for an "academic" program are profound.
11.3.2008 7:38pm
Pauldom:

Name an "X Studies" academic discipline that honors or rewards an academic who disproves an "X Studies" theory, or creates a new theory, that is not considered in the political interest of group "X".

I'm not, by any stretch, an expert in "X" studies. But I note that Camille Paglia has done pretty well for herself.
11.3.2008 7:54pm
Sagar:
Calculated Risk,

I was not denigrating anything in the above post. I just didn't know what people with these type of majors did for a living. If this is purely for pursuit of knowledge or such, then it is up to them. English and Philosophy majors may end up teaching, going for an advanced degree, getting into IT, business, management, or joining the military (these are some of the things I have seen/known). I do not know anyone who has majored in gender studies or african-american studies. So, I wanted to see if anyone could shed some light on it. If you say people can do whatever they want, that is OK.

But I am sure that if so many colleges offer such majors, and thousands of students gradulate with these majors, there must be an expectation (in the minds of these students) that they will get decent paying jobs due to their degrees and they can payoff student debts and make a living. Are these expectations realistic? That is what I wanted to know, since surely not all of them are in it for kicks.
11.3.2008 7:58pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Paglia thinks she could teach at a higher-level school if she were less of a pariah. She may think she's done as well as she, considering her choices vs. the environment, could be expected to do. But she thinks her choices restricted her advancement.
11.3.2008 8:23pm
Pauldom:

But I am sure that if so many colleges offer such majors, and thousands of students gradulate with these majors, there must be an expectation (in the minds of these students) that they will get decent paying jobs due to their degrees and they can payoff student debts and make a living. Are these expectations realistic? That is what I wanted to know, since surely not all of them are in it for kicks.

Sagar, where I work (a large public university with more than 50,000 students), we appear to have about 12 women's studies majors. I'm not sure what these students expect, but I do know that some jobs require a college degree but aren't particular about just which degree that is. They hire based on writing ability, interview, etc.

At least one of the 12 is earning more than one major (business and women's studies, she told me), which will broaden her options. Probably a couple have set their sights on graduate school--who knows, maybe even law school.

Afaik, it's much more common for students to take a course or two in women's studies than for them to major or even minor in it. Most of the women's studies courses, in fact, are offered within a more traditional discipline, e.g., psychology, sociology, history, literature, or whatever, and most students enrolled in them are majoring in that discipline, not in women's studies.

If my university is typical, and I believe it is, the size and influence of women's studies and other such programs is dwarfed by the popular condemnation of them.
11.3.2008 8:28pm
Skorri:
I'm pretty sure most or all of the commenters here disparaging the state of education in America today have never actually taken a women's studies course, or any other "group x" course. They just aren't that big of a big deal, or some kind of "liberal brainwashing."

How is a Women's Lit course *not* a perfectly reasonable course? Following the development of female authors through different periods of time will shed light both on how literature in general has developed as a result of social forces, and how women's status in society is reflected in their writings. ... Try as I might, I can't figure out why that's worth getting worked up about.

In terms of preparing you for the future, a major in Womens' Studies is no more or less marketable then one in English, psychology, religious studies, or probably a dozen others. Whatever subject you choose, you're going to have to learn how to research, write, and think about something in an academic fashion.
11.3.2008 9:40pm
David Warner:
CJ,

"If Meggett is related to former NY Giant Dave Meggett, a women's literature course may be just what he needs."

Unfortunately, the ones susceptible to the cure are already well. Swing at a chauvinist, hit a mensch. And so it goes.
11.3.2008 9:55pm
Steven Maloney (mail) (www):
I took this course at Maryland as an undergraduate and it was wonderful. I am eternally grateful that I was exposed to Jean Rhys' "Wide Sargasso Sea" - which lead to a deeper appreciation of not only contemporary literature, but also the Bronte Sisters. Yes, it was a tough course, and yes I was one of two men in the course--but it was one of my favorite classes at Maryland. Obviously, the issues in the stories were more female-centric than the regular intro lit. course (where I read ZERO female authors, btw) but mostly we just read really good books and studied them with a critical eye.
11.3.2008 11:21pm
Matt_T:
In terms of preparing you for the future, a major in Womens' Studies is no more or less marketable then one in English, psychology, religious studies, or probably a dozen others.

Yes, being prepared to be a professional grievance-monger puts you on exactly equal footing with people that develop critical thinking and writing skills!
11.4.2008 8:53am
Sagar:
Pauldom,

Thanks! That was informative.
11.4.2008 1:07pm