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Works and Days

More Political-Correctness—Another exchange with the Monterey Herald

November 25th, 2008 - 8:24 pm

So here is an example of fifteen courses from the “changed substantially in a decade” Monetery Bay campus catalogue. I’ll let the reader decide whether such courses will enable students to be competitive in matters of literacy, critical thinking, logic, history, and broad liberal arts knowledge—or are watered down exercises in identity politics, grievance, and victimization that foster a culture of complaint rather than intellectual rigor and academic empowerment.

For purposes of brevity, let us examine just one program, something called “Human Communication”—where objectivity and unfettered thinking should be essential, as well as broad learning in literature, history, and language.

(NB, the current catalogue includes dates of offering, so there can be no mistake that such classes in the words of the Tribune are mere relics of ten years past.)

1. HCOM 226: Afro Cuba Hip Hop
Effective Aug 25, 2008 View History
Description:
Afro Cuba Hip Hop – Music and Dance in the Black Atlantic: A course about the social history of music and dance forms from throughout the African Diaspora. Students learn specific styles from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Brazil and the United States including Afro-Cuban liturgical dance, rumba, salsa, samba, and hip hop. Practice enriches theory, as students actually dance the music they study. By the end of the course students will become familiar with basic concepts in African Diaspora music and dance (e.g., call and response, improvisation, etc.), be able to identify and analyze trends therein and have developed a choreography based on the movements taught in class. Fulfills ULR outcomes in Lit and Pop Culture and Creative and Artistic Expression.

2. HCOM 244: Latino USA: Ident/Experiences
Effective Aug 27, 2007 View History
Description:
Examines and compares the political experiences, cultural practices, and literary expressions of diverse Latino populations in the U.S. Topics include immigration, citizenship, demographics, work, religion, education, language, gender, and cultural rights. Readings include ethnographies, histories, novels, and films. Students design political projects. Crosslisted with SBS 244. (Offered every other year.)

3. HCOM 250: The History of Rock & Roll
Effective Aug 22, 2005 View History
Description:
Survey United States social and cultural history of the 20th century as analyzed through some of its popular music. Students use various methods employed by ethnic studies, history, and literature frameworks to analyze the roles that popular culture plays in the modern U.S. experience. Special emphasis is placed on the experiences of communities of color. Requires successful completion of coursework that satisfies the ENGCOM A ULR. (Offered every two years.)

4. HCOM 320: Grammar, Usage, and Power
Effective Aug 27, 2007 View History
Description:
Introduces the basic elements and diverse linguistic attributes of the English language, and language theories, including universals and differences. Commonly practiced grammatical concepts and conventions and theories of language acquisition are studied and applied within the contexts of imperialism and post-colonial analysis. Explores the dynamics of current issues in language, including the roles of grammar in the schools, language in advertising, and variations in language usage. Offers built-in assessment for the concentration in Writing and Rhetoric. Required for the Single Subject in English Waiver Language Theories and Praxis Requirement. Requires successful completion of the ENGCOM ULR. (Offered every other year.)

5. HCOM 324: African American Narratives
Effective Aug 27, 2007 View History
Description:
Examines the development of African American and African diaspora literature. Explores the quintessential role African American and African diaspora literature and culture have played in the development of American mainstream literature, culture, and identity. Looks at vernacular tradition, the call and response practice, and the lyrics of the blues-infused, African American literary expression. Offers built-in assessment in HCOM MLO 6 or the concentrations in Africana Studies, Literary and Film Studies, or Comparative American Studies. Requires successful completion of the ENGCOM ULR. (Offered every other year.)

6. HCOM 328: Latina Life Stories
Effective Mar 18, 2008 View History
Description:
Explores intersections of ethnicity, race, gender, sexuality, and class through autobiographical and testimonial writings by Chicana, Mexican-origin, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, and mixed-heritage Latinas in the U.S. Students produce multimedia digital stories about their own lives and identities. Offers built-in assessment in HCOM MLO 2 or the concentrations in History, Oral History, and New Media; Chicana/o Latina/o Studies; Comparative American Studies; Women’s Studies; or Literature and Film Studies. Meets the Single Subject in English Waiver Technology requirement. Requires successful completion of the ENGCOM ULR; a literature course from the Literature/ Popular Culture ULR is recommended. (Offered every year.) HCOM 329:

7. HCOM 338: Multicultural Adolescent Lit
Effective Aug 22, 2005 View History
Description:
Examines multicultural adolescent literature through the study of issues related to identity, race, culture, equity, and social justice/injustice over time. In particular, the course will provide opportunities to discuss the difficulties that young people have in coming to terms with these complicated issues. Required course for the Single Subject in English Waiver concentration, meeting the Multicultural Adolescent Literature Requirement. Offers built-in assessment in HCOM MLO 5 or the concentration in Literary and Film Studies. Requires successful completion of the ENGCOM and the Literature/Popular Culture ULRs. (Offered every other year.)

8. HCOM 344: Chicana/Latina Experiences
Effective Aug 27, 2007 View History
Description:
Offers an intensive introduction to the roots, forms, and impacts of Chicana and Latina feminist discourses. Explores critical analyses of historical and contemporary Chicana/Latina life experiences while presenting theoretical frameworks such as transnationalism, intersectionality, and gender studies. Offers built-in assessment in HCOM MLO 5 or the concentrations in Chicana/o-Latina/o Studies, Comparative American Studies, or Women’s Studies. Requires successful completion of the ENGCOM ULR. (Offered every other year.)

9. HCOM 348: Race, Colonialism, and Film
Effective Aug 27, 2007 View History
Description:
Provides an opportunity to analyze and discuss the ways that film has portrayed issues of colonialism, race, culture, equity, power relationships, and identity over the past 100 years. We view films from various countries around the world, and we examine the historical, social, political, and artistic background of each film. Offers built-in assessment for HCOM MLO 5 or the concentrations in Comparative American Studies, or Literary and Film Studies. Also satisfies the Liberal Studies requirement in Multicultural Literature(s). Requires successful completion of the ENGCOM ULR. (Offered every year.)

10 HCOM 352: Histry Accordng To Movies
Effective Aug 27, 2007 View History
Description:
“It comes as a great shock to see Gary Cooper killing off the Indians and, although you are rooting for Gary Cooper, that the Indians are you” (James Baldwin, African American writer, 1965). We learn a good deal about the past by watching movies. This course explores how film shapes and reflects U.S. history. Offers built-in assessment in HCOM MLO 7 or the concentrations in Comparative American Studies; History, Oral History, and New Media; Journalism and Media Studies; or Literature and Film Studies. Requires successful completion of the ENGCOM ULR. (Offered every year.)

11. HCOM 359: Sexuality,Law & Cult.Histories
Effective Aug 27, 2007 View History
Description:
Examines the historical, legal, and social construction of sexuality from the perspective of multicultural communities in the United States. Emphasis on histories of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities. Offers built-in assessment in HCOM MLO 7 or the concentrations in Pre-Law; History, Oral History, and New Media; or Comparative American Studies. Requires successful completion of the ENGCOM ULR. (Offered every other year.)

12. HCOM 405: Philosophy and Sexualities
Effective Aug 27, 2007 View History
Description:
Students explore the social construction of sexuality. Epistemological, ethical, political, and spiritual dimensions of sexuality are studied in cross-cultural contexts. Offers built-in assessment for HCOM MLO 4 or the Concentration in Practical and Professional Ethics. Requires successful completion of the ENGCOM ULR. (Offered every other year.)

13. HCOM 428: Contemporary Chicana Poetry
Effective Aug 27, 2007 View History
Description:
Analyzes the works of Chicana poets of the 20th and 21st centuries, among them Lorna Dee Cervantes, Pat Mora, Ana Castillo, Sandra Cisneros, Demetria Martinez, and Diana Garcia. From the rural to the urban experience, students study the historical, cultural, and political determinants that define the work as Chicana. Offers built-in assessment in HCOM MLO 6 or the concentrations in Literary and Film Studies; Chicana/o- Latina/o Studies; or Women’s Studies. Requires successful completion of the ENGCOM ULR. (Offered every other year.)

14. COM 436: Literature of Sexualities
Effective Aug 27, 2007 View History
Description:
Students analyze the literary criticism that offers criteria for defining multicultural gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, and transgender literary tradition(s). They then explore canonized, non-canonical, and marginalized texts in relationship to issues of sexuality and authorship, content, genre, and form. Offers built-in assessment in HCOM MLO 6 or the concentrations in Literary and Film Studies; or Comparative American Studies. Requires successful completion of the ENGCOM ULR. (Offered every other year.)

15. HCOM 443: Black Feminist Theory & Praxis
Effective Aug 27, 2007 View History
Description:
Explores the development of black feminism as both a conceptual framework and from a political practice. Examines black feminism from a comparative perspective and within a global context. Special attention will be given to black feminist thought and activism in Africa, the United States, England, and Brazil. Offers built-in assessment in HCOM MLO 5 or the concentrations in Africana Studies, Comparative American Studies, Literary and Film Studies, or Women’s Studies. Requires successful completion of the ENGCOM ULR. (Offered every other year.)

(Unfortunately this sample from a single discipline could be easily expanded tenfold as any can learn who examines the catalogue in toto. Note that the fifteen random classes were from a communication program, not ethnic studies per se.)

The Herald Continues:)

But the catalog, like the university itself, has changed substantially in a decade. The resulting uncertainty leaves us unsure whether our feelings should be hurt by this criticism of our favorite local state college.

We suspect not, however, after reading on and seeing some of the things that Hanson would like to see — a new nuclear power plant, another offshore oil well, a better road over the Sierra, some more tract housing in the Bay Area, etc., etc.

(Well, yes, a growing state that counts on instant electric power already relies on some clean-burning nuclear power (about 15%), and will need more sources very soon. The Herald editors can pick from more hydroelectric power from the Sierra and northern California dams (about 12%), or more fossil-fuel burning and imported natural gas (45% of our current electrical production), or trying more coal (16.6%), or hoping that the biomass, wind and solar share of our grid (about 12%) will magically fuel the homes of a half-million new residents each year.

Talk is cheap, but the fact is in the near future, say during the next five years, we will either have to burn more fossil fuels, build more nuclear plants, or build more dams to maintain our current standard of living, and to suggest otherwise is irresponsible.

(2) We have more cars and burn more gas than any other state. We import more oil from abroad than we produce. So why is it responsible to ban new off-shore drilling when we know we have untapped supplies, and, by our refusal to tap them, only require others in the Middle East, South America, Africa, and Asia to drill in ways far less carefully than our own?

(3) Millions in Central California, to leave the state eastward, must drive at some distance to the north or south around the Sierra. There were once plans to continue at least one route over the mountains during the winter. To suggest that we should not finish one such road is in its own way environmentally unsound (such a direct route would save millions of gallons of gasoline).

4) That the poor pay $700,000 for a modest home in Redwood City or Mountain View (and they do) is nothing to be proud of. There are open areas nearby where affordable homes could be built along rail and mass transit lines, in a manner that would allow people to stay in the region and have the same opportunities that the now entrenched wealthy enjoy. I wish to thank the editorial staff at the Herald for highlighting my postings, since I am beginning to appreciate how their logic and lack of accuracy serve as good examples of many of the themes of decline that appear on these pages–and I’m sure we will hear more from them (and my replies) in the future. I’ll try to do this as an occasional feature.

_________________________________

Here was our September exchange:

http://pjmedia.com/victordavishanson/wp-admin/post.php?action=edit&post=180

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