‘I think that any time you introduce a social reform agenda into a discipline, intellectual standards deteriorate,’ former English professor says
“Social justice” and “English supremacy” will be some of the new focuses of Boston University’s Writing Program, according to recently announced changes.
Students now must learn how writing intersects with race, class and the environment due to the new “social justice emphasis” of the program. All students must take a first-year writing requirement through the program.
The new classes include “Linguistic Justice…Who Cares?: Domestic Labor and the Commodification of Care,” “Asians Are People of Color: Exploring the Controversy and Identity Politics,” “Deconstructing Narratives: Stories of Race and Racism in American Cultural Memory” and “Writing Environmental Justice,” according to a university announcement.
Writing Program Director Sarah Hardy stated that the five new hires are meant to address “the inadequacy of ‘business as usual,’” defined as the “predominance of white faculty in academia.” It was, according to Hardy, the killing of George Floyd in 2020 that caused the focus on the lack of non-white faculty.
Because of the writing requirement, Hardy (pictured, left) said the program has a “captive audience” and never has to “worry about enrollment.”
The cluster of classes is complemented by a new batch of racial minorities hired to teach at BU.
The associate director of the Writing Program, Gwen Kordonowy, said the hiring process was a “cluster hire.” Kordonowy (pictured, right) stated that was necessary because if only one non-white faculty member is hired, “[t]hey’re quite isolated” and “overburdened” which can lead to “burnout.”
The College Fix reached out to both Hardy and Kordonowy twice via email to ask what they most wanted students to learn in the CAS Writing Program, but neither of them responded in the past several weeks.
A lecturer in the program stated in the university news release that she wants students to “develop a language around anti-racism.”
“We call out performative wokeness culture by asking ourselves what solutions we have to problems of injustice,” Swati Rani added. “All of my students are required to develop a voice of advocacy in their final papers and projects that are directly connected to their intersectional lives at BU.”
The Fix emailed Rani twice to ask her what she means by “develop[ing] a language around anti-racism,” but she has not responded.
A former Emory University English professor told The Fix that white professors should resign if they continue to “agonize” over the racial make-up of the faculty.
“I would say that any of the white professors at BU who agonize over the racial make-up of things should immediately resign and ask that their places be filled with professors of color,” Professor Mark Bauerlein said. He is now the editor of First Things, a conservative commentary magazine.
He also predicted standards would decrease with the program’s new “social justice emphasis.”
“I think that any time you introduce a social reform agenda into a discipline, intellectual standards deteriorate,” Bauerlein said.
IMAGES: Boston University