To the Editor:
I was surprised by the conclusions Peter Wood drew about my book Classics, the Culture Wars, and Beyond (2016) in his Summer 2017 Books, Articles, and Items of Academic Interest column (vol. 30, no. 2). I don’t think it’s accurate to suggest that I deem traditionalists in the academic culture wars “profoundly wrongheaded.” In fact, my book offers much support for their positions. Similarly, I attempt to show in my chapter on the American Journal of Philology controversy that academic feminists did not get Georg Luck fired, and that the controversy surrounding his editorship wasn’t really about feminism at all.
Undoubtedly, my book will disappoint stalwart proponents of either side in the academic culture wars. But I hope readers of Academic Questions will appreciate the fact that it attempts to offer a fair-minded analysis of the feuds that roiled American academia in the 1980s and 1990s. And this includes much praise for academic traditionalists such as Allan Bloom and Victor Davis Hanson, who offered many strong points about the controversies.
Associate Professor of Classics
University of Maryland, College Park
Peter Wood Responds
Academic Questions will publish a full review of Classics, the Culture Wars, and Beyond in the Winter 2017 issue. In his chapter on the Georg Luck controversy, Prof. Adler recounts that Luck was already planning to step down as editor of the American Journal of Philology when he came under gratuitous attack by a group of radical feminists. Adler offers a revisionist history that concludes that the “commonly believed story is wrong in practically all its details.” The feminists were not to blame, and “the goal of gender equity in the field” has yet to be “fulfilled.” In this instance, Adler does seem to be saying that the traditionalists were, as I wrote, “profoundly wrongheaded.” I am eager to see what our independent reviewer makes of the book.