Former Williams History Professor Eric Knibbs wrote “Against Race Theology, or: Williams College is Everywhere Now,” the most scathing attack on the culture that is Williams is years. (Hat-tip to John Drew.) Let’s spend a week going through the highlights of the article, centered around last year’s controversies about White Male Vigilantes, self-CARE Now and Green/Love Black Joy. Professor Knibbs will be responding to (some) comments here.

Knibbs begins:

TLDR: What, a few years ago, seemed like the regrettable yet limited excesses of the campus left, has suddenly become a political force in the wider world. The Race Theology promoted by schools like Williams College is everywhere now. It’s important that reasonable people who are not part of this dubious religious revival voice their dissent. That is what this page is. It represents my own thoughts, and my own thoughts alone.

What do our readers think? Is “Race Theology” a useful name? I prefer The Great Awokening myself.

Politics is not what this website is about, and mainstream political debates have never interested me. In the last few weeks, however, it has become impossible to escape the indignities of political discourse. That’s particularly the case since I set up a twitter account to drive some traffic to my academic blog. My time on twitter has proved disappointing, and in some ways it has radicalized me. Judging from many tweets published there, a great part of those people who claim to be scholars in fact devote astounding energy to careening from one fashion-forward moral grievance to the next, all with a completely grating tonal confidence.

Outside of the bourgeois professorsphere, I have been amused to find people marveling at an article by Jonathan Chait in New York Magazine. It’s about an episode of progressive hyperventilation, in which a lot of race botherers and diversity brigadiers crybullied some data analyst out of his job, for the crime of summarizing a political science paper that they found inconvenient.

The emails that Chait quotes are absolutely, to the word, the tone of discussion in American academia, as I experienced it in my time as an assistant and then associate professor of history at Williams College. The people in those emails are engaging in a power process that is well-established among the American intelligentsia. If you don’t like somebody in these circles, this is one way to shut them up and shut them down. It is the way of things at faculty meetings; at talks and lectures; at student protests especially; and anywhere that administrators are likely to gather.

Surely all EphBlog readers agree that David Shor’s firing was absurd. (Right?) But it is one thing to note craziness somewhere. It is another to claim that this craziness is endemic at Williams. We have faculty readers. Is this a far description of Williams today?

Facebooktwitter
Print  •  Email