Debating P.C.: The Controversy over Political Correctness on College Campuses

Overview

The debate over "P.C." at America's universities is the most important discussion in American education today and has grown into a major national controversy raging on the covers of our top magazines and news shows. This provocative anthology gives voice to the top thinkers of our time, liberal and conservative, as they tackle the question. From the multicultural perspective of Henry Louis Gates, Jr., who argues passionately for more diversity, to the erudition of Irving Howe, who stresses the profound value of ...

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Debating P.C.: The Controversy over Political Correctness on College Campuses

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Overview

The debate over "P.C." at America's universities is the most important discussion in American education today and has grown into a major national controversy raging on the covers of our top magazines and news shows. This provocative anthology gives voice to the top thinkers of our time, liberal and conservative, as they tackle the question. From the multicultural perspective of Henry Louis Gates, Jr., who argues passionately for more diversity, to the erudition of Irving Howe, who stresses the profound value of the literary canon, this exciting collection is required reading for thinking Americans ... and for everyone concerned with the future of higher education and the shaping of young minds.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This collection of 21 pieces covers a far broader controversy than that about ``political correctness on campus.'' (Berman, a MacArthur fellow and Tikkun magazine contributing editor, notes that the phrase originated in the 1920s for those communists and fellow travelers who towed the Leninist line.) Most of the pieces focus on the thornier issue of multiculturalism or efforts to ``deconsecrate the Eurocentrism'' (Edward Said) of the ``canon'' of great works studied in the humanities. Almost all of the essays calling for a multicultural curriculum allude to the need for more works by ``people of color'' and women, omitting such white ethnic groups as Italian and Polish Americans and such minority religions as Judaism and Islam. Yet while this volume includes too much superficial polemic and counter-polemic, Berman's excellent introduction is worthwhile, as are Irving Howe's defense of the classical canon and Katha Pollitt's provocative suggestion that the canon question evokes such strong emotions because we all assume that the books read in college are the only books most people will ever read. Enrique Fernandez makes a witty attack on the assumption that writers like Garcia Marquez are ``non-Western.'' (Feb.)
Library Journal
The 21 speeches and writings in this anthology review political correctness (PC)--an attitude towards multiculturalism in America as expressed in words, actions, and the humanities courses offered at colleges and universities. Definitions and examples of political correctness vary. Violators of PC may be called ``racist.'' The issue: does PC promote human rights, global understanding, respect for people of diverse groups; or does it promote the human rights of some at the expense of freedom of speech and necessary dialog on multicultural issues? This anthology presents PC from many viewpoints and is a ``must read'' for educators, historians, social scientists and commentators, philosophers, lawyers, and judges. Highly recommended.-- Lois F. Roets, Drake Univ., Des Moines
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385315333
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/4/1995
  • Pages: 356
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Debate and Its Origins 1
Part 1 Debating Political Correctness
1 The Big Chill? Interview with Dinesh D'Souza 29
2 On Differences: Modern Language Association Presidential Address 1990 40
3 The Periphery v. the Center: The MLA in Chicago 61
4 The Storm over the University 85
5 Public Image Limited: Political Correctness and the Media's Big Lie 124
Part 2 Politics and the Canon
6 The Value of the Canon 153
7 The Politics of Knowledge 172
8 Whose Canon Is It, Anyway? 190
9 Why Do We Read? 201
Part 3 Free Speech and Speech Codes
10 "Speech Codes" on the Campus and Problems of Free Speech 215
11 Freedom of Hate Speech 225
12 There's No Such Thing as Free Speech and It's a Good Thing, Too 231
Part 4 Texas Shoot-Out
13 The Statement of the Black Faculty Caucus 249
14 Radical English 258
15 Critics of Attempts to Democratize the Curriculum Are Waging a Campaign to Misrepresent the Work of Responsible Professors 262
Part 5 The Public Schools
16 Multiculturalism: E Pluribus Plures 271
17 Multiculturalism: An Exchange 299
Part 6 Diverse Views
18 The Prospect Before Us 315
19 P.C. Rider 322
20 Diverse New World 326
21 The Challenge for the Left 333
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