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The Victims' Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind
     

The Victims' Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind

5.0 2
by Bruce Bawer
 

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Respected author, critic, and essayist Bruce Bawer—whose previous book, While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam Is Destroying the West from Within, was a New York Times bestseller and a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist—now offers a trenchant and sweeping critique of the sorry state of higher education since the campus

Overview

Respected author, critic, and essayist Bruce Bawer—whose previous book, While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam Is Destroying the West from Within, was a New York Times bestseller and a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist—now offers a trenchant and sweeping critique of the sorry state of higher education since the campus revolutions of the late ’60s and early ’70s. In The Victims’ Revolution, Bawer incisively contends that the rise of identity-based college courses and disciplines (Women’s Studies, Black Studies, Gay Studies, etc.) forty years ago has resulted in an impoverishment of thought and widespread political confusion, while filling the brains of students with politically correct mush. Timely, controversial, and brilliantly argued, Bawer’s The Victims’ Revolution is necessary reading for students, educators, and anyone concerned about the contemporary crisis in academia—a serious and important work that stands with other essential books on the subject, like The Shadow University by Alan Kors, Illiberal Education by Dinesh D’Souza, and  Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Postmodern academia’s cult of race-class-and-gender victimization is oppressing the rest of us, according to this feisty j’accuse. Literary critic Bawer (A Place at the Table) mounts major assaults on once trendy, now entrenched university humanities programs in feminist studies, black studies, Chicano studies, and queer theory, along the way savaging Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, Michael Eric Dyson, and other intellectual grandees. He pillories these disciplines for being anti-capitalist and anti-American; their ever more baroque subcategorizations of victimhood (he’s incensed that queer theory lumps gay white men like him in with the oppressors); their knee-jerk defense of Muslim cultures steeped in the sexism and homophobia they otherwise deplore; the stale jargon and rote clichés they substitute for original scholarship; and their vision of society as a tapestry of balkanized groups rather than discerning individualism. Bawer scores lots of entertaining points against the insufferable posturing and unreadable prose that pervades identity studies, but his critique seldom engages seriously with the intellectual content of the field; mostly he denounces the idea of dragging politics and sociology into the hallowed precincts of the humanities. Bawer’s is a lively, cantankerous takedown of a juicy target. Agent: John Talbot, the Talbot Agency. (Sept.)
Wall Street Journal
“The developments described by Mr. Bawer will not surprise readers familiar with the campus wars that broke out in the 1980s, when entire departments devoted to these fields began to be established. Where the author’s text shines is in explaining their root causes.”
National Review
“The book is terrific, exposing the academic criminality that those programs encourage — i.e., teaching naïve and impressionable students things that either are utterly false or are merely wild-eyed opinions as truth....I strongly recommend the book.”
Booklist
“This book is an adventure in American religious thought, exciting and intelligent.”
Jay Nordlinger
“This is a vital, sparkling, and truth-telling book.”
Library Journal
Since Bawer's While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam Is Destroying the West from Within was a New York Times best seller and a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, it's worth paying attention to his latest, a critique of how identity politics have shaped the academy in the last four decades. Nicely controversial; with a 50,000-copy first printing.
Kirkus Reviews
Bawer (The New Quislings: How the International Left Used the Oslo Massacre to Silence Debate About Islam, 2012, etc.) attacks the alleged takeover of American universities by identity studies faculty who turn students into close-minded, America-bashing semi-intellectuals. The author devotes the bulk of his polemic to what he sees as the undesirable academic disciplines of women's studies, black studies, Chicano studies and queer studies. (Bawer is openly gay but asserts that he is not a mainstream gay man intellectually.) He believes the corruption of entire university campuses derived from liberal/radical movements of the 1960s. The college students who grew up during that era frequently became professors, individuals guided by a belief that oppressed groups should be studied as movements, with little emphasis on individual rights. In Bawer's version of American higher education, anti-capitalist, anti-American authors such as Edward Said, Frantz Fanon, Paulo Freire and Antonio Gramsci dominate campus curricula, driving out more moderate scholars who celebrate the current strengths and future possibilities of the United States. Bawer offers copious anecdotes as representative of across-the-board reality on thousands of American college campuses. These anecdotes are purported to prove his already formed hypothesis, rather than allowing a hypothesis to grow organically from hard evidence. Toward the end of the book, Bawer throws in attacks on additional identity study realms, including disability studies, fat studies, men's studies and whiteness studies. He calls on parents of potential college students to examine curricula carefully and avoid campuses--even the Harvards and the Yales--that he believes have been hopelessly compromised. Bawer is a powerful user of language relying on weak evidence and preconceived notions to create a questionable reality.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061807374
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/04/2012
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
723,540
Product dimensions:
6.44(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.23(d)

Meet the Author

A native New Yorker who has lived in Norway since 1999, Bruce Bawer has written several influential books on a range of issues. A Place at the Table: The Gay Individual in American Society (1993) was named by columnist Dale Carpenter as the most important non-fiction book about homosexuality published in the 1990s; Publishers Weekly called Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity (1997) “a must-read book for anyone concerned with the relationship of Christianity to contemporary American culture”; While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam Is Destroying the West from Within (2006) was a New York Times bestseller and a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist; and Surrender: Appeasing Islam, Sacrificing Freedom (2009) was hailed by Booklist as “immensely important and urgent." He has also published several collections of literary and film criticism, including Diminishing Fictions and The Aspect of Eternity, and a collection of poetry, Coast to Coast, which was selected by the Dictionary of Literary Biography Yearbook as the best first book of poems published in 1993. He is a frequent contributor to such publications as The Hudson Review, City Journal, The American Scholar, Wilson Quarterly, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, and has reviewed books regularly for the New York Times Book Review, Washington Post Book World, and Wall Street Journal.

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The Victims' Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent writing and factual documentation. Unfortunately the author is probably largely preaching to the choir.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago