What do sociology, gender studies and almost all college curricula have in common?
They all come under attack from Harvard political scientist Harvey Mansfield in today’s Wall Street Journal.
Science has knowledge of fact, and this makes it rigorous and hard. The humanities have their facts bent or biased by values, and this makes them lax and soft.
What would Dr. Freud make of this?
Mansfield’s larger argument is that colleges prioritize “choice” rather than subject matter, and this leads students into the study of some areas (see above) that are “soft.”
With all due respect to Professor Mansfield—this is such a large topic, and his treatment of it so casual and reflexive and generic ( it could have been published 10 years ago, or it could be published 10 years from now), that it’s hard to think of this as a serious intellectual, um, thrust, as opposed to something Harvey Mansfield mutters at a cocktail party after a couple of scotches.
Perhaps there is something to be said on this point, but Mansfield doesn’t say it, and so the piece is ultimately just a bit of bah-humbug, not really trying to convince anyone of anything they don’t already believe.
I mean, gender studies? It’s not exactly a daring target (ditto: sociology) but how many people really major in gender studies?
Not to mention the fact that Mansfield thought gender studies important enough to write a book on “manliness.”
I wonder how “hard” that was….