Killing by Studying: The Occasional Logic of Academic Inquiry

You study what you want to undermine and critique.  That’s why we have departments of religion at universities.  That’s why Berkeley is starting a center to study “right wing movements.”

I study secularism.


5 thoughts on “Killing by Studying: The Occasional Logic of Academic Inquiry

  1. I wonder if they’ll be funding anthropologists who can then go out and do “field research”?

    I’m sure that this center will be precisely the sort of place you suppose it to be, productive of all sorts of “studies” that make conservatives out to be pathological in every way imaginable. But I don’t know that I agree with the premise, that you study what you want to undermine. To cite just one (rather big) example: Tocqueville. He seemed not interested in undermining democracy but rather in “refining” it.

    Of course, consider what I imagine will be the utter silence that meets this center and the uproar over Colorado’s proposed chair in conservative studies (where the latter was aimed at putting an avowedly conservative thinker on campus). Now, what could be the difference between the two?

  2. Perhaps the concept is that we study either what we are seeking to undermine, or we study that which seeks to undermine us. Or else, our children have no hope of becoming better than we are now.

  3. I find that this one image sums up the world-view that informs the academy altogether, including most of what happens in universities that pretend to have a religious ethos.

    Plus this panel gives a very stark picture of the relationship of the church to the drive to total power and control at the root of the entire Western project altogether.

    The images were produced in 1932-4

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