Didn’t see this one coming

students walking on Princeton campus

Ok, the DoE’s investigation into Princeton’s confession of racism is a canny move, whether or not you support the motives behind it. On reading about it, I have that feeling one gets from reading a surprising haiku. We’ll be discussing this in class Thursday for sure. Coverage at City Journal, an organ of the conservative Manhattan Institute: “Show Us Your Systemic Racism, Princeton. The Department of Education calls the university’s bluff.”

Post-election violence in the streets

supporters at a Trump rally

I always look forward to Thomas Edsel’s careful, well-referenced New York Times columns. This week’s was downright harrowing, as the author cited expert after expert who thinks there is a good likelihood of unrest and public violence in the wake of November’s presidential election, regardless of who wins. Read it here: “Whose America Is It? ‘Apocalyptic terms’ have taken over the 2020 election, with potentially dangerous implications.”


Identity and anti-racism in the news

Roosevelt statue in front of American Natural History Museum

Here are three timely items relevant to our week’s topic. All three point to a lack of nuance in some current debates.

First, an essay in Commentary by an art historian about the recent efforts to remove monuments deemed racist: “Destroying the Past to Purify the Present: The Frenzy Against the Monuments.”

Second, an analysis in the New York Times of President Trump’s comments in the last week directed against critical race theory and related ideas: “More Than Ever, Trump Casts Himself as the Defender of White America.”

Third, from Reason, a brief interview with Steven Pinker about a recent effort to revoke his distinguished fellow status in the Linguistics Society of America: “Steven Pinker Survives Attempted Cancellation.”


The abiding problem of authenticity

Jessica Krug

Material relevant to our class, ripped from the headlines. We’ll be talking about authenticity as a problem in general for ingroup boundary police. Krug’s case is very like the examples of literary hoaxes we’ll look at later in the semester. Read about it at Inside Higher Ed: “White Lies: Prominent scholar outs herself as white just as she faced exposure for presenting herself as Black.”



U.S. regions of interaction

Check this front page for announcements, links to timely news items, etc.

Here’s the book you’ll need right away:
Delanty, Gerard. 2018. Community, 3rd edition. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-1138068148.