Students at Occidental College can now take a class that's genuinely daft. Critical Theory and Social Justice 180 is titled, simply, "Stupidity."
It's hard to decide which is most stupid: the very notion of a major institute of higher learning offering a (way too) serious course on stupidity, the course description (a truly masterful example of vacuous academic jargon), or the kind of dazed and confused cultural context that could give rise so such things in the first place (tellingly, "United States" is listed as the core course requirement this class fulfills).
The decussate levels of irony here are so numerous and humorous it's hard to know where or how to begin comment on them.
From the Occidental College catalog:
Stupidity is neither ignorance nor organicity, but rather, a corollary of knowing and an element of normalcy, the double of intelligence rather than its opposite. It is an artifact of our nature as finite beings and one of the most powerful determinants of human destiny. Stupidity is always the name of the Other, and it is the sign of the feminine. This course in Critical Psychology follows the work of Friedrich Nietzsche, Gilles Deleuze, and most recently, Avital Ronell, in a philosophical examination of those operations and technologies that we conduct in order to render ourselves uncomprehending. Stupidity, which has been evicted from the philosophical premises and dumbed down by psychometric psychology, has returned in the postmodern discourse against Nation, Self, and Truth and makes itself felt in political life ranging from the presidency to Beavis and Butthead. This course examines stupidity.
That's the actual course description.
Click here to see for yourself.
Copyright © 2009 Christopher R. Borland. All rights reserved.