Trigger Warning Contest

National Association of Scholars

This spring, students at the University of California at Santa Barbara, Rutgers, Oberlin, and George Washington University have called for “trigger warnings” on syllabi and in courses that deal with potentially “triggering” material, the New York Times reports.

A trigger warning is an alert that what follows may activate trauma. The Times mentions that some people have suggested that classic books could benefit from trigger warnings, including “Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’ (contains anti-Semitism) and Virginia Woolf’s ‘Mrs. Dalloway’ (addresses suicide).” A Rutgers student recommends that The Great Gatsby be tagged as possessing “a variety of scenes that reference gory, abusive and misogynistic violence.”

One NYU professor has revised the syllabus for his U.S. history course to include trigger warnings on every segment. In the spirit of his satire and because in the future it appears that no one will make an intellectual endeavor without first ascertaining its triggering content, we thought that we should make a practical contribution. The National Association of Scholars (NAS) is keen on helping to inspire Americans to read good books. Lest the lack of accompanying trigger warnings discourage people from such reading, we are building a collection. But we need your help.

Of what should readers be warned before reading, say, Hamlet, The Republic, Anne of Green Gables, or The Wind in the Willows?

We invite readers young and old to submit trigger warnings for well-loved books. You can do so on Twitter, including NAS’s handle and the hashtag #triggerwarningfail.

Examples:

The Iliad: warning – disturbing scene for those suffering sports injuries. #triggerwarningfail @NASorg

Oedipus Rex: warning – prejudicial treatment of alternative family structures. #triggerwarningfail @NASorg

Gulliver’s Travels: warning – size-ist. #triggerwarningfail @NASorg

You may also make submissions on NAS’s Facebook page or as a comment below this post.

NAS will review submissions and on Friday (6/6/14) will announce the top 3 trigger warnings. The top 3 will each receive a free copy of NAS president Peter Wood’s book A Bee in the Mouth: Anger in America Now (warning: not recommended for the apiphobic).

 

Image: Public Domain

  • Share

Most Commented

November 24, 2021

1.

1619 Again: Revisiting the Project's Troubled Past

New York Times editor Jake Silverstein's new essay on the 1619 Project attempts to glide past the awkwardness that accompanied the project’s early days. Let's set the reco......

December 14, 2021

2.

Confronting Woke Groupthink in Art Education

The dubious notion that the U.S. is a “systemically racist” nation has taken hold in art education, as in virtually every sphere of American life....

January 18, 2022

3.

The White House Is Undermining Science, Not Defending It

Government support of scientific research is not designed to support science, but to harness science to political ends....

Most Read

January 18, 2022

1.

The White House Is Undermining Science, Not Defending It

Government support of scientific research is not designed to support science, but to harness science to political ends....

September 21, 2010

2.

Ask a Scholar: What Does YHWH Elohim Mean?

A reader asks, "If Elohim refers to multiple 'gods,' then Yhwh Elohim really means Lord of Gods...the one of many, right?" A Hebrew expert answers....

January 12, 2022

3.

Press Release: NAS Appoints Dr. J. Scott Turner as Director of the Diversity in the Sciences Project

As project director, Dr. Turner will be conducting research on the scope and deleterious effects of DEI initiatives in STEM programs across the country....