Insert Democratic Voting Bloc Studies are popular at most universities among faculty, the students, and the administration. On occasion, conservatives and other bad people will criticize such departments as distracting from the important public missions of those universities or of destabilizing society at large.
Any freshman will probably tell you that the classes taught by these academic departments provide easy As for little effort or even classroom attendance. This is the lure: all a student needs to do is to attend class, write some lightly-graded essays, and skim the readings if they bother to go that far.
The classes will often win some points with new students because the professors and teaching assistants are more reasonable than any nasty critics that they may have heard of had once construed them to be.
It also helps that the university administration and many other departments which aren’t formally an Insert Democratic Voting Bloc Here Studies department have, in fact, been given over to those departments. English departments teach English literature according to how well that it matches up with the precepts of social justice. A character is a good or bad character to the extent to which he matches with the new morality.
While it may alienate a small number of students who have some ideological preconditioning — a College Republican, perhaps — the average healthy person with only a passing interest in ideology as such unless learning to parrot that ideology increases their GPA and therefore their future projected earning power — will do what they’re expected to do.
Insert Democratic Voting Bloc Studies departments are also easier to stuff with various members of Democratic voting bloc racial, ethnic, gender, and behavioral groups than others. It’s difficult to dig up enough Chicano lesbian transmales to staff even a skeletal Physics department, but they’re thick on the ground when you’re trying to staff a humanities department.
Finally, academics love them because the departments simultaneously create more job opportunities while lowering overall standards in all departments throughout the institutions. It’s much easier to parrot political slogans to your students than it is to teach a real subject or hold the line on academic standards.
Conservatives, having a reasonable temperament, tend to encourage a reformist approach to universities if they consider it at all.
Others just encourage prospective students to stick to the ‘hard sciences’ and engineering, even though those departments similarly suffer from political pressures, a constant grubbing for government money, and tangential utility at best to the people who actually hire scientists for productive work.
The grievances will continue to be advanced so long as the funds continue to flow into the universities, and the funds will keep flowing into it as long as the departments serve a useful political purpose — namely to create an intellectual vanguard which revels in the destruction of the society that funds it.
I’ve been wondering for years why university administrations put up with these grievance industry rent seekers, thanks for explaining it. I guess this is why other traditional areas (engineering, etc) put up with them too, these annoying leftist morons are bringing in millions of dollars of student loan money that is probably subsidising the real research and development. The degrees cost the same, but the cost of the course for a grievance degree is only the wages of some second rate rent seeker.
Don’t forget that ethnic studies departments provide a place to put (overwhelmingly ethnic) athletes who universities (which derive great income from running what amounts to minor league sports teams) can pretend that they are actual students who are engaged in actual studies that will result in actual academic attainment.
In other words, yet another of the kind of rackets that Eric Hoffer warned us about.