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The Victims' Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind (Hardcover)
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An eye-opening critique of the identity-based revolution that has transformed American campuses and its effect on politics and society today.
The 1960s and 70s were a time of dramatic upheaval in American universities as a new generation of scholar-activists rejected traditional humanism in favor of a radical ideology that denied esthetic merit and objective truth. In The Victims Revolution, critic and scholar Bruce Bawer provides the first true history of this radical movement and a sweeping assessment of its intellectual and cultural fruits.
Once, Bawer argues, the purpose of higher education had been to introduce students to the legacy of Western civilizationthe best that has been thought and said. The new generation of radical educators sought instead to unmask the West as the perpetrator of global injustice. Age-old values of goodness, truth, and beauty were disparaged as mere weapons in an ongoing struggle of the powerful against the powerless. Shifting the focus of the humanities to the purported victims of Western colonialism, imperialism, and capitalism, the new politicized approach to the humanities gave rise to a series of identity-based programs, including Womens Studies, Black Studies, Queer Studies, and Chicano Studies. As a result, the serious and objective study of human civilization and culture was replaced by theoretical approaches emphasizing group identity, victimhood, and lockstep progressive politics.
What have the advocates of this new anti-Western ideology accomplished?
Twenty-five years ago, Allan Bloom warned against the corruption of the humanities in The Closing of the American Mind. Bawers book presents compelling evidence that Bloom and other conservative critics were right to be alarmed. The Victims Revolution describes how the new identity-based disciplines came into being, examines their major proponents and texts, and trenchantly critiques their underlying premises. Bawer concludes that the influence of these programs has impoverished our thought, confused our politics, and filled the minds of their impressionable students with politically correct mush. Bawers book is must-reading for all those concerned not only about the declining quality of American higher education, but also about the fate of our society at large.
About 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.
Praise for The Victims' Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind…
“Bawer scores lots of entertaining points against the insufferable posturing and unreadable prose that pervades identity studies….Bawer’s is a lively, cantankerous takedown of a juicy target.”
“Bawer is passionate in his criticism of the current state of academia and its effects on broader American culture.”
“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.”
-Wall Street Journal
“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.”