Friday, September 07, 2007

Revolution, sexualised power, feminist objectivity

If you want a good laugh and cry, have a look at this article about what is on offer to students at the University of California at Santa Cruz. It consists mainly of excerpts from the course descriptions with comments by the article's authors. Mostly, it doesn't need comment. However, they are right to do so since the effect of reading the descriptions would be a sort of mental constipation.

Some examples

Theory and Practice of Resistance and Social Movements

“The goal of this seminar is to learn how to organize a revolution. We will learn what communities past and present have done and are doing to resist, challenge, and overcome systems of power including (but not limited to) global capitalism, state oppression, and racism.”
Luckily, American revolutionaries demonstrated long ago that they were so far removed from reality as to form no real threat to anything. Except in one area, where they have been most successful: occupying the universities.

You have a course (Women and the Law) which “examines how the law structures rights [unfairly], offers protections [to the privileged], produces hierarchies, and sexualizes power.” Another, Feminist Methods of Teaching, is run by Bettina Aptheker.
According to Aptheker, the crux of her approach is to break down the distinction between subjective and objective truth, what Aptheker refers to as “breaking down dualisms.” This old-fashioned Marxism and is particularly useful to her agendas, because it allows her to inject a “women-centered perspective” into the curriculum to correct what she claims is the “male-centered” bias of traditional university study.
Objective truth must be dethroned so that in the course called Introduction to Feminist Science Studies, science can be
“tied to militarism, capitalism, colonialism, and male supremacy” -- and calls for “a doctrine of embodied objectivity that accommodates paradoxical and critical feminist science projects,” or a what Haraway terms, in an obvious self-contradiction, “feminist objectivity.” In short, only a “science” that is consistent with feminist prejudices can be considered worthy of the name and genuinely “objective.”
There's also the History of Consciousness Program, which sounds like Monty Python, and much, much more. Read some of these out at parties - they're a sure hit.

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