February 22, 2020

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Heather Mac Donald on Yale against Western Art.

Barringer also claims that it was “problematic” to put European art on a pedestal when so many other regions and traditions were “equally deserving of study.” The courses that will replace the surveys will not claim to “be the mainstream with everything else pushed to the margins,” he told the Daily News. Leave aside for the moment whether the European tradition may legitimately form the core of an art history education in an American university. The premise of Barringer’s statement—that previously European art was put on a pedestal and everything else was pushed to the margins—is blatantly false. The department requires art history majors to take two introductory-level one-semester survey courses. Since at least 2012, the department has offered courses in non-Western art that can fulfill that requirement in lieu of the European surveys. Those classes include “Introduction to the History of Art: Buddhist Art and Architecture”; “Introduction to the History of Art: Sacred Art and Architecture”; “Global Decorative Arts”; “The Politics of Representation”; and “The Classical Buddhist World.” No one was forced into the two Western art courses.

Rod Dreher asks:

Are people at Yale paying for an education? Or are they paying for credentialism that allows them access to the American elite? Why would you want to be part of a class and subculture so filled with hatred toward what is beautiful, and what is one’s own? These American educational elites are pathological.

Again, Arendt:

The members of the elite did not object at all to paying a price, the destruction of civilization, for the fun of seeing how those who had been excluded unjustly in the past forced their way into it.

Exit quote: “It was only toward the middle of the twentieth century that the inhabitants of many European countries came, in general unpleasantly, to the realization that their fate could be influenced directly by intricate and abstruse books of philosophy.”

Related: Greek and Latin are hard: Oxford classics faculty proposes dropping Homer and Virgil from required curriculum so female students will do better on the tests.

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