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(2011) Teaching theory, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.

Teaching theory

Vincent B. Leitch

pp. 14-32

The teaching of contemporary literary and cultural theory particularly in the American university has been explicitly and increasingly caught up in politics. It was during the 1980s that conservative attacks like William Bennett's To Reclaim a Legacy and Allan Bloom's notorious The Closing of the American Mind began to defend vigorously the canon of great works against the purported corrupting influences both of popular culture and of nihilistic, usually foreign, theory. While this strand of the culture wars has ebbed and flowed over the decades, it continues into the new century, for example, with the publication of David Horowitz's The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America (2006). This work names names, and it speculates there are tens of thousands of "dangerous professors." Most are melodramatically associated with "ideological fields like women's studies, African American studies, gay and lesbian studies, postcolonial studies, queer studies, whiteness studies, and cultural studies' (p. xxv). What is wrong with such recent theory, according to this paleoconservative view, is not only that it corrupts the young and undermines patriotism, but that it questions traditional notions of scholarly disinterest, objectivity, and neutrality as well as standards of good professional methodology, conduct, and integrity.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1057/9780230304727_2

Full citation:

Leitch, V. B. (2011)., Teaching theory, in R. Bradford (ed.), Teaching theory, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 14-32.

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