The Future of the European Project, and the Future of the Eurozone: A Talk from 2013: The Honest Broker for the Week of January 25, 2015
Afternoon Must-Read: Ann Friedman: Heather Boushey on Can We Solve Our Child-Care Problem?

Live from La Farine: In Which We Watch the Daily Cal Foreclose a Discussion of the Classical Social Theory Syllabus...


As someone who thinks that the "great books" approach to classical social theory is past its sell-by date, I am now distressed. I confess that I believe that, over in sunny California, the Daily Cal is trolling us all when it decides to print this:

Rodrigo Kazuo and Meg Perrett: Occupy the Syllabus: "We are calling for an occupation of syllabi... the social sciences and humanities. This call to action was instigated by our experience last semester... [with] a standardized canon of theory that began with Plato and Aristotle, then jumped to... Hobbes, Locke, Hegel, Marx, Weber and Foucault, all of whom are white men... pretend[ing] that... economically-privileged white males from five imperial countries (England, France, Germany, Italy and the United States)... are the only people to produce valid knowledge.... We must demand the inclusion of women, people of color and LGBTQ* authors on our curricula...

And, of course, one's first reactions are:

  • Why do Kazuo and Perrett think that Plato came from Italy? Do they not know that Plato came from Athens? Or do they not know that Athens is in Greece?

  • Why do Kazuo and Perrett think that Aristotle came from Italy? Do they not know that he was born in Stagira in Greek Macedonia, where his father was physician to the Greek-speaking king of Macedon? Do they not know that after his father's death he was raised in Atarneus--a Greek-speaking city in what is now Turkey--by his uncle Proxenos? Do they not know that he then married the daughter of Hermios Tyrant of Atarneus? Or do they think that Stagira and Atarneus are somehow in Italy?

  • Do Kazoo and Perrett not know that Plato, Aristotle, and Foucault would all be coded and classified as LGBTQ* today? Or do they know and just want to hide that knowledge from their readers?

If the Daily Cal wanted to publish an article conveying the message that everyone should dismiss challenges to the focus of social theory courses on Plato-Aristotle-Hobbes-Locke-Hume-Smith-Hegel-Tocqueville-Mill-Marx-Weber-Durkheim and company are idiots, it certainly looks like they found a piece that serves that purpose.

And I think that is too bad. For, as I said, I do think that the "great books" approach to classical social theory is past its sell-by date...