Wednesday, July 02, 2008

No Leftists Here: UK "women and genders studies" makes excuses for itself

Dontcha love those headline writers? In Monday's Lexington Herald-Leader, a story about the build up of left-wing activism in the University of Kentucky's "women and gender studies" department was titled, "Group targets 6 on UK staff." I bet the editors were high fiving after they cooked that one up. The story itself is not that bad.

The Family Foundation of Kentucky published several issues of its "Insight" publication to legislators featuring several members of the UK staff. The university's website waxed eloquent about their involvement in Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and their cutting edge scholarship in faux academic disciplines like "Queer Theory." That was the origin of the "group targets 6" headline. The Foundation never said anything bad about these individuals, didn't call for them to be fired. All it did was republish what was on UK's website. The story quoted both myself and Family Foundation executive director Kent Ostrander.

And do you think the university was appreciative of our assistance in drawing attention to the qualifications of their faculty? Apparently not. Here is a little example of the Orwellian Newspeak produced by one of its professors in response to the Family Foundation:

But Ostrander's assertions drew direct crossfire from one of UK's
best-known faculty, Joan Callahan, a philosophy professor and former director of
gender and women's studies.

Callahan likened the foundation's effort to U.S. Sen. Joseph McCarthy's
controversial ”witch-hunting“ for alleged Communists in the early 1950s.”

"It's an attempt to stigmatize and undermine these particular faculty members," Callahan said of the foundation. "It's an attempt to play on fear in the community and the state."

That's right: "witch-hunting." Now this is news to me. I was actually unaware that there were witches on the UK staff, but, hey, given all the other exotic things their faculty are into, why should I be surprised?

But the charge of McCarthyism is truly ironic. Here is a department on which there is not a single, solitary conservative, and it is accusing other people of engaging in intolerance. It seems like the only "fear" going on here is a fear that the public might find out about the hypocrisy at UK.

This is a university that blathers on about "diversity" and yet can't seem to bring itself to practice real diversity on its staff.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why is Professor Callahan using pejorative language to demean Wiccan-Americans?

Art said...

Hi Martin,

Is the following quote from the H-L article accurate?

"The Family Foundation of Kentucky issued the fliers, which question the need to spend state funds supporting the six individuals, to state lawmakers who were in Frankfort last week for a special session on pension reform."

Anonymous said...

Why don't you make the pamphlets available on this blog so we can see what the FF said about the faculty members?

Art said...

There is more than just a bit of irony here, that a Discovery Institute associate would be making assertions about some fields being "faux academic disciplines". I would argue that someone who considers Intelligent Design to be something even remotely resembling an academic discipline isn't going to be able to recognize "faux" when it does exist.

Martin Cothran said...

And where did I say say Intelligent Design was an academic "discipline"?

Art said...

Hi Martin,

Maybe it's your association with the Discovery Institute, an organization that most definitely argues that ID is a valid field of study. Or maybe it's your favorable view of Ben Stein's movie. After all, if ID is not an academic discipline, there's no reason to take issue with the expulsion of IDists from the academy. (Hmm... maybe you're arguing that the faux disipline of ID should not be expelled, out of some sense of ... fairness? inclusiveness? academic freedom??? But then why are you apparently arguing otherwise about Gay Studies? My head is spinning, trying to sort this out.)

But hey, if you are going to disagree with the DI, Stein, and the ID vanguard, I'm happy to be corrected.

Martin Cothran said...

Art,

Where did I say that ID should be an academic "discipline"?

Art said...

Hi Martin,

You stated: "Here is a department on which there is not a single, solitary conservative, and it is accusing other people of engaging in intolerance."

I trust that TFF will provide the documentation for this claim in some easily-accessible location on the internet. Maybe you could give your loyal readership a sneak-preview.

Martin Cothran said...

Art,

We have asked the department to produce a conservative on their staff. So far, they have failed to do so. I'm waiting for them to falsify my hypothesis. Karl Popper. Check it out.

Martin Cothran said...

Oh, and where did I say ID should be an academic discipline?