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College bans professor’s “Men in Literature” course for being too positive about men

May 13, 2016

From my latest blog post for the Independent Women’s Forum:

Springfield College: No Great Gatsby, please

“Women in Literature” is now an entire academic subfield–but just try teaching a course titled “Men in Literature.”

The course will be banned.

That was the fate of Dennis Gouws, an associate professor of English at Springfield College in Massachusetts. Gouws had been teaching his “Men in Literature” course since 2005, and according to Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, Springfield had officially approved the course as a humanities offering in 2010. But then–uh oh!–it became apparent that Gouws was teaching the class from a perspective that was positive toward men. That’s a no-no in much of academia, where “women’s studies” is a perfectly acceptable scholarly pursuit because it’s typically approached from the feminist perspective that women are the oppressed and men are the oppressors. Gouw’s apparent heresy was that his approach was that men are often oppressed these days and feminists are the oppressors.

Furthermore, Gouw didn’t set much stock in the feminist mantra that one out of every five college women is sexually assaulted on campus–a claim that has been criticized as misleading even by the researchers who conducted the study on which it’s based.

Then, in the fall of 2015, according to Wood, writing on the NAS website, Gouws got into more trouble because the reading list for his “Men in Literature” included such books as Christina Hoff Sommers’s The War Against Boys, and Until Proven Innocent, an account of the Duke lacrosse case by Stuart Taylor and K.C. Johnson.

“Professor Gouws’ departmental chair told him in September 2015 that he had to change the readings in ‘Men in Literature.’ The ostensible aim of these changes was to assign more of what the chair termed ‘traditional literature.’ Professor Gouws agreed to the changes and presented his new readings to the chair in February 2016, who forwarded the changes to Dean [Anne] Herzog. The new readings Professor Gouws added were a collection of World War I poetry, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, and Andy Weir’s The Martian.”

That apparently wasn’t good enough. Herzog, who, Wood says, already had it in for Gouws because he had failed to attend a “sexual harassment prevention” seminar (from which he had been excused) among other things, purged the course from the Springfield curriculum.

Read the whole thing here.

Posted by Charlotte Allen



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