Do you want to know what is really wrong with higher education in this country? Leave aside, for a moment, the financial aspects of The Bubble. Those are important, and will be decisive, as will the advent of new avenues of learning brought to you by the internet, not to mention the revitalization of old avenues of learning such as home schooling. But what is going to make the imminent collapse of the higher education establishment pass without much public sorrow is the rottenness at the core of the system.  Evidence of this rot is patent at almost all colleges and universities, wherever terms like “post colonial,” “gender studies,” and kindred lures to menacing unintelligibility litter the public square. As a mild but still minatory instance, I reproduce in its entirety this syllabus, sent to me by a friend doing missionary work among the barbarians, from Cornell University.  How much had to go wrong in how many institutions to make this festival of minatory garbage possible?

 Radical Thought on the Margins II

Cornell Theory Reading Group Conference

Organized in collaboration with the Princeton Theory Reading Group

October 4-5, 2013

*All panels will be held in 258 Goldwin Smith Hall*

FRIDAY, Oct. 4

Panel 1 (4:30-6 p.m.)

Brandon Terry (UChicago/Harvard) “Irony and Its Politics in Civil Rights Historiography”

Jasbir Puar (Rutgers) “Affective Politics: States of Debility and Capacity”

Gabriela Nouzeilles (Princeton) “Marxian Afterimages”


Breakfast: 10-10:30 a.m.

Panel 2 (10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.)

Ana Sabau (Princeton) “History at the Margins: An Interpretation of the Mayan Caste War”

Gavin Arnall (Princeton) “Marxism and Indigenismo Reconsidered”

Susana Draper (Princeton) “Staging Change: Dual Power, Motley States, and the Turn to the Commons (from René Zavaleta Mercado to Raquel Gutiérrez)”

Lunch: 12-1:30 p.m.

Panel 3 (1:30 p.m.-2:45 p.m.)

Gerardo Muñoz (Princeton) “At a Double Margin: On Trần Đức Thảo’s Phenomenological Marxism”

Naoki Sakai (Cornell) “Dislocation of the West”

Panel 4 (3-4:15 p.m.)

Efthymia Rentzou (Princeton) “Beyond the Human: Universalism, Humanism, and the French Avant-garde of the 1930s”

Nick Nesbitt (Princeton) “Fragments of a Universal History: Capitalism, Mass Revolution, and the Idea of Equality in the Black Jacobins”

Co-sponsors: Department of Romance Studies, Department of German Studies, Department of Near Eastern Studies, Department of Comparative Literature, Department of History, Department of English, Department of Government, Department of Anthropology, Department of City and Regional Planning, Department of History of Art, the Society for the Humanities, the Institute for Comparative Modernities (ICM), the Cornell Institute for European Studies (CIES), the East Asia Program, French Studies Program, the Institute for German Cultural Studies, the Africana Studies and Research Center, the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, and the Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Program.

Thank you,

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Department of Romance Studies
Cornell University
423 Morrill Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853

Two things: one, note the institutional affiliations: Princeton, University of Chicago, Cornell, Harvard, i.e., the most prestigious. Two, note the diacritical marks in the names: it’s the Häagan-Dazs or Mötley Crüe of academic chic.