- The Washington Times - Friday, September 13, 2002

"Philosophy and Star Trek," "Seeing Queerly" and "Who is Black," are among the college courses offered this year at public and private universities, an annual study of the most outlandish and politically biased courses has found.

The study, conducted by the Young America's Foundation (YAF), also found that radical authors and philosophers including Cornel West and Karl Marx have a monopoly in the college classrooms, while conservative scholars such as Milton Friedman and Paul Johnson have been ignored.

Rick Parsons, who authored the study, said many academic institutions no longer require courses in fundamental subjects such as American history or Western civilization. Yet, they use taxpayer money to fund "eccentric, bizarre and politically correct" courses, he said.

"Americans need to realize what they're paying for," said Mr. Parsons, program officer of the conservative educational organization that saved former President Ronald Reagan's Rancho del Cielo in Santa Barbara, Calif.

"We're not saying that these courses should be banned. The point here is by offering these kinds of courses, the universities are taking away resources from traditional courses that could be taught, like American history."

Mr. Parsons relied on the course descriptions provided by colleges and universities nationwide to produce the study.

Some of the classes listed in the study are:

•"Philosophy and Star Trek" at Georgetown University. The course asks: "Is time travel possible?" "Can a person survive death," "Could we go back and kill our grandmothers?" and "Is Data a person?"

•"Seeing Queerly: Queer Theory, Film, and Video" at Brown University. The course asks, "While cinema has typically circumscribed vision along (heterosexually) normative lines, can film also empower viewers to see 'queerly'?"

•"Cultural History of Rap" at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). The class offers a discussion "on musical and verbal qualities, philosophical and political ideologies, gender representation, and influences on cinema and popular culture" in rap.

University officials defended their course selections yesterday.

UCLA officials said the university teaches more than 3,000 courses that "cover the full spectrum of liberal arts and sciences."

"And there is certainly room for adding new courses that deal with emerging social issues, music and culture, whether you like the music in this case or not," said Harlan Lebo, a university spokesman.

Mark Nickel, director of Brown's news service, said YAF knows nothing about the courses that make its list.

"To concoct a list of courses with titles that counter their ideology leaves the impression that these courses are easy, and they're not," said Mr. Nickel. "At some point, it becomes pointless to respond to their assertions."

Other classes cited by the study are:

•"Language and Sexual Diversity" at the University of Minnesota. The class teaches how language is used in "lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities" and the "ways in which sexual diversity affects language use."

•"Black Feminism" at the University of Missouri. The course examines "the multiple systems of oppression on black women's lives and black women's collective actions against social structures."

•"Ecofeminism" at the University of Florida. It explores "Western tradition's naturalization of women and feminization of nature, drawing the conclusion that the domination of women and the domination of nature are intimately connected and mutually reinforcing."


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