Dispatches from the Creation Wars

I have to agree with Sandefur that this professor deserves an award for lunacy. A Dartmouth professor is threating to sue her students for not being sufficiently in awe of her silly post-modernist theories about the world.

The latest spectacle is an Ivy League professor threatening to sue her students because, she claims, their “anti-intellectualism” violated her civil rights.

Priya Venkatesan taught English at Dartmouth College. She maintains that some of her students were so unreceptive of “French narrative theory” that it amounted to a hostile working environment. She is also readying lawsuits against her superiors, who she says papered over the harassment, as well as a confessional exposé, which she promises will “name names.”


Here’s what this poor woman had to endure:

Ms. Venkatesan lectured in freshman composition, intended to introduce undergraduates to the rigors of expository argument. “My students were very bully-ish, very aggressive, and very disrespectful,” she told Tyler Brace of the Dartmouth Review. “They’d argue with your ideas.”

Oh my God! Your students would argue with your ideas? How ever did you survive, you poor sensitive creature? And gosh, why would anyone argue with this?

Ms. Venkatesan’s scholarly specialty is “science studies,” which, as she wrote in a journal article last year, “teaches that scientific knowledge has suspect access to truth.” She continues: “Scientific facts do not correspond to a natural reality but conform to a social construct.”

While no doubt typing her lectures on computers which operate on well understood principles discovered by scientists. But silly me, the computer itself is probably just a “social construct” too. Or something. This is my favorite part:

After a winter of discontent, the snapping point came while Ms. Venkatesan was lecturing on “ecofeminism,” which holds, in part, that scientific advancements benefit the patriarchy but leave women out. One student took issue, and reasonably so – actually, empirically so. But “these weren’t thoughtful statements,” Ms. Venkatesan protests. “They were irrational.” The class thought otherwise. Following what she calls the student’s “diatribe,” several of his classmates applauded.

Ms. Venkatesan informed her pupils that their behavior was “fascist demagoguery.” Then, after consulting a physician about “intellectual distress,” she cancelled classes for a week. Thus the pending litigation.

Perhaps the next paper she submits to one of those fashionable and ridiculous lit-crit journals can deconstruct this drama queen act of hers. Gee, there I go being a “fascist demagogue” again.