And what do students get of Western civilization for their $44,193.00 per annum? They get Dr. Illuzzi and her colleagues “tackling,” i.e., disparaging, Western civilization. “We are trying,” Dr. Illuzzi writes:
[T]o unearth some of the more problematic foundations of Western Civilization (particularly the pieces rooted in sexism and racism [but of course!]) and to understand how those pieces can be removed, and institutions rebuilt or reshaped on firmer foundations that take into account a wider variety of human diversity and difference.
In discussing the issue of women and work in the United States, we’ve traced the roots of Western gender assumptions back to the 12th and 13th centuries and analyzed how these historical notions WILL [?] affect each and every one of our students when they hit the workplace in two short years.
Dr. Illuzzi goes on in this vein for a few more paragraphs, cheerfully boasting that “We are doing something rare here.” In fact, this travesty of a Western civilization program is echoed in programs throughout the country. Really, it is an anti-Western civilization program. Instead of attempting to teach students about the moral, political, literary, and philosophical foundations of our civilization, it is part of a concerted effort to undermine their confidence in that tradition.
Responding to my friend’s letter to President Shanley, Dr. Morgan leapt to Dr. Illuzzi’s defense: “she is widely recognized [?] as an expert in her field of research scholarship,” he insisted, noting also that:
Providence College is fortunate to include her as part of its teaching faculty. When “All Things Considered” on NPR needed an scholar last fall to comment on current cases of children being taken by authorities from Roma (gypsy) families in Greece and Ireland, they interviewed Dr. Illuzzi. In addition to her excellent scholarship, Jennifer is an inspiring teacher who is loved by her students and a tireless worker behind the scenes on committees and as a valued member of my DWC Advisory Group.
Doubtless she is kind to her pets, too. As for being “widely recognized,” Assistant Professor Jennifer Illuzzi is, as far as I can determine, the author of one brief book, Gypsies in Germany and Italy, 1861-1914: Lives Outside the Law. According to Amazon, it was published just last month and ranks number 3,244,782. What is the book about? Here is part of the publisher’s description: “Illuzzi offers a new framework for addressing the pressing contemporary question of Roma discrimination, rooting it not in the exception of fascism, but liberal notions of equality before the law.” Left-wing academics just hate the idea of equality before the law, because it makes the substantive equality they crave so much more difficult to achieve.
Dr. Morgan objected that he had “seldom read such an uncharitable ad hominem attack” as my friend’s letter. I regret his narrow acquaintance with polemical literature, but must point out that there was nothing ad hominem about my friend’s letter to the president. Rather, he criticized Dr. Illuzzi’s ideas and her “sophomoric prose.” Res ipsa loquitur:
We hope [Dr. Illuzzi wrote] to help our students understand the structures of racism and sexism as they experience and see them each day, both here at PC and in the wider world they are about to enter. Race, like gender, is still a relevant category for every one of our students, and it is important to explore with them knowledge of their own rootedness in structures of racism and sexism, and to know that they can choose to challenge and realign those structures.
What do you think? I’d say “sophomoric” was generous.