Academic Questions

Fall 2020

Volume 33 Issue 3

September 30, 2020

Make Art—and Academia—Medieval Again

Rachel Fulton Brown

Much like the devotional paintings hanging in our finest museums, the Gothic architecture that adorns American college campuses fails to elicit from visitors even the slightest religious feeling.

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September 30, 2020

Decolonizing the Curriculum

James Lindsay

Decolonizing the curriculum is more than just replacing John Stuart Mill with Ta-Nehisi Coates in required reading lists. It’s about advancing a revolution in what we consider to be knowledge, h...

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September 30, 2020

How Fares Western Civ?

Daniel Pipes

Rodney Stark’s remarkable 2014 study, How the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity (2014), can help restore an appreciation for the achievements of Western civilization, and...

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September 30, 2020

Art History Gone Amuck

Michelle Marder Kamhi

An evaluation of the most widely used textbook in art history maps the slow but steady erosion of imagery in art—and the loss of meaning, purpose, and understanding that representative art in th...

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September 30, 2020

Autistic Criticism

Gorman Beauchamp

It is one thing when critics insist that racial identity is socially constructed and therefore acquired or discarded as one chooses. But it is quite another when they read black characters and racial...

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September 30, 2020

Countering the Counterculture: “A little management”

Thomas L. Jeffers

It might be true, as Irving Kristol once noted, that the culture war is over and conservatives lost. But there is always a saving remnant. “Despair is a sin.”

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September 30, 2020

Statues Come Down

Lauren Weiner

Given the speed with which authorities have acted to accommodate even acts of vandalism, it is surprising that so many protesters haven’t sought to achieve their ends democratically.

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September 30, 2020

A Broken Vessel: Identity Theory and the Fragmentation of Poetry

Jane Clark Scharl

Identity theory insists that human beings experience the world as members of the identity group to which they belong. This idea is a “revolt against the concept of poetry,” which seeks to...

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September 30, 2020

Online Learning and Higher Ed’s Dark Secret

Seth Forman

As higher education moves more of its courses online in response to a global pandemic, it will become obvious that actual course content is not what students, parents, and employers are seeking from c...

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September 25, 2020

Variation and Diversity: A Tribute to Freeman Dyson

John Staddon

A model much in need in our times, Freeman Dyson challenged received opinion, “but his criticism was always designed to increase the range of thought, rather than reduce it to orthodoxy.”

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September 30, 2020

Scholars vs. Ideologues

Julia Geran Pilon

Anti-liberal and often violent radicals from the 1960s have risen to heights of significant power and influence in our universities, positions from which they seek to impose their idea of a Marxist ut...

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September 30, 2020

Identity Politics and the New Culture Wars: Causes and Effects

Matthew Stewart

Two recent books using different methods attempt to address the question most asked by those flummoxed at the illiberal takeover of intellectual life: how did this happen?

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September 30, 2020

An Inconvenient Analysis: Title IX’s Shortcomings

Robert Maranto

A review of The Transformation of Title IX: Regulating Gender Equality in Education, R. Shep Melnick, Brookings Institution Press, 2018, 326 pp., $35.99 paper.

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September 30, 2020

A Culture for All

Daniel Asia

A review of The Ideal of Culture: Essays, Joseph Epstein, Axios, 2018, pp. 572, $17.49 hardcover.

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September 30, 2020

What is Affirmative Action?

Steve Balch

A review of The Affirmative Action Puzzle: A Living History from Reconstruction to Today, Melvin I. Urofsky, Pantheon, 2020, pp. 592, $22.68 hardcover.

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September 30, 2020

Not Very Civic Education

Stephen Baskerville

A review of The Breakdown of Higher Education: How It Happened, the Damage It Does, and What Can Be Done, John M. Ellis, Encounter, 2020, pp. 210, $21.72 hardcover.

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September 30, 2020

A Noble Warrior with Pen in Hand

Donald M. Hassler

A review of The Conversational Enlightenment: the Reconception of Rhetoric in 18th Century Thought, David Randall, Edinburgh University Press, 2019, 297 pp., $29.95 paperback.

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September 30, 2020

Seeking Diversity, Selecting Discrimination

George R. La Noue

A review of Campus Diversity: The Hidden Consensus, John M. Carey, Katherine Clayton, Yusaku Horiuchi, Cambridge University Press, 2020, pp. 274, $29.93 hardcover.

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September 30, 2020

Why Trump?

David Randall

A review of The Age of Entitlement: America Since the 1960s, Christopher Caldwell, Simon and Schuster, 2020, pp. 352, $17.39 hardcover.

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September 30, 2020

Fishing for the First Amendment

Michael Rectenwald

A review of The First: How to Think About Hate Speech, Campus Speech, Religious Speech, Fake News, Post-Truth, and Donald Trump, Stanley Fish, Atria/One Signal Publishers, 2019, pp. 228, $20.99 hardco...

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September 30, 2020

Responses Past and Present

Jonathan Chaves

"How have we lost our courage, O my Muse! / The daily headlines surely must confuse / The reader who’s aware of how men acted / In history when not by fear distracted."

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September 30, 2020

Hard Sonnet in a Hard Time

Donald M. Hassler

"But perhaps if we can use the time to climb / The peaks of loneliness the view will clear / And style can yield a little fruit."

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September 25, 2020

Plague Day

Robert Maranto

"The mayor tells us we have to go away / the bailout comes tomorrow, not today / unless we’re rich enough to pay to play / and then the government will find a way"

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