I see my old alma mater, Queen’s University, is advertising for two new faculty members in my old department, Religion. One is for an expert in “Religion and Social Justice.” A full faculty position—that means at least three courses per term. The other is for an authority on “Contemporary Jewish Religion and Globalized Identities.”
Back in my day, when you took a course in religion, you studied religion: Buddhism, Judaism, Islam. Now you study politics.
I find this entirely disturbing. To be honest, it makes me feel physically ill. One of the reasons I majored in religion when I did was because it seemed to be the one place where you could escape contemporary political jive and groupthink and cultural biases and study the eternal things, the things that are really important, from a crosscultural perspective. Now that last portal to true learning is apparently slammed shut.
Not incidentally, when you study “Religion and Social Justice,” you are studying religion from an entirely modern and Western perspective.
This is especially troublesome because academia is profoundly conservative. If you set up a chair or a department in some area, that area will necessarily persist for the rest of that person's career, because their career depends on it. And they have tenure. And they then get to choose their own replacement. Accordingly, once a bad idea is bought into, it is hugely hard to get it out. Marxism continues to be all the rage in academia, and still growing in influence, forty years after the Berlin Wall fell, and 65 years after Khrushchev publicly revealed the sins of Stalin. Nobody takes Freud seriously in the real world of psychiatry--yet his theories, long disproved, still dominate whole departments in the Humanities.
It will take generations to repair this blunder, if we ever do.
And the last sentence on the Religion department web page is “We are situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.”
Which is an ahistorical lie. When the French founded Fort Frontenac, the nearest Anishinaabe (Algonquin) settlement would have been over 160 km away, in Quebec past Renfrew. The nearest Hadenosaunee (Iroquois) settlement would have been over 130 km in the opposite direction, around Syracuse, NY. Either group might have passed through, but it would have been a very long journey, of weeks, on foot without roads or by canoe. So they would not have come by often. Certainly neither would have recognized any rights of the latter to the land.
I see other departments have gone just as political, and, apparently, hard left. Geography is seeking a faculty member who can teach “Black Geographies,” a cross-appointment with the department of Gender Studies. The Philosophy department is advertising a position in “Philosophy of Race.” As if there ever was such a thing, outside of Nazi Germany. Political Studies wants profs in the areas of “Indigenous Politics,” “Gender and Politics,” and “Politics of Race and US Politics.”
It is not as though these are just the most egregious examples picked from a larger list, either. In each of these departments, these are the ONLY positions advertised.
The current state of the academy, it seems, is beyond parody. And this is an old established school with supposedly high standards, not some diploma mill.
Where is one to go any more to get an education?
And how did we come to be so racist that race (and gender) is now the only thing we see?