Back in December, we reported that English majors at UCLA are now required to take gender studies and other leftist favorites.

William Murchison has a new post at See Thru Edu which looks at the faculty reaction to the story which has now been widely reported.

Faculty Shaken by Revelations of Failed Humanities Teaching

We?!!  The literature faculty of UCLA debase our mission through curricular rejiggering?  Forsooth and what are you talking about, said UCLA’s English chairman in a protest letter to the Wall Street Journal after the Journal printed Heather MacDonald’s withering attack on said changes.  Ali Behdad would like it known that the university merely consolidated required courses on the literary greats – Shakespeare, Milton, Chaucer — to reflect historical periods, at the same time broadening the conversation to include race, ethnicity, gender, etc.

Not that MacDonald, of the Manhattan Institute, had asserted that Shakespeare and Milton were out. She portrayed them (“The Humanities Have Forgotten Their Humanity,” Jan. 4, 2014) as downgraded by UCLA’s obsession with “identity and class politics.”  Which point Chairman Ali seems to have decided not to engage, preferring to note that dead white males like Shakespeare and Milton are taught “not only in single-author courses” but in historical surveys. MacDonald’s point had been that the old departmental requirement to take one course on Milton, two on Shakespeare, and on one Chaucer was no longer extant. The English department had other things on its mind.

Such as what to do with Jane Austen.  Easily enough resolved: study her “in the context of the development of her narrative technique as well as the major political and social events of her day (the French Revolution, the women’s rights campaigns and the discourses of female subjectivity, the anti-slavery campaigns, the construction of the ‘public sphere,’ and the emerging Regency culture of consumption.”  Exactly! Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy devoted great swaths of conversation–don’t you remember?—to reflection on the Trial and Execution of Louis XVI!

Well, then, there’s English 177, “The American Political Novel,” treating “such topics as slavery and its aftermath, the status of women, the rise of the radical Left in the 1930s, violence as a response to oppression, the Red Scare of the 1950s, economic inequality, and the antiwar movement of the 1960s.”