Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Priya Venkatesan: a mad scholar sues her students

Priya Venkatesan is a classic case of a postmodernist nutcase. She studied humanities but decided to deconstruct biology. Read her
Yin, meet yang.
What did she learn in the graduate school? Let me quote the following paragraph:
In graduate school, I was inculcated in the tenets of a field known as science studies, which teaches that scientific knowledge has suspect access to truth and that science is motivated by politics and human interest. This is known as social constructivism and is the reigning mantra in science studies, which considers historical and sociological understandings of science. From the vantage point of social constructivism, scientific facts are not discovered but rather created within a social framework. In other words, scientific facts do not correspond to a natural reality but conform to a social construct.
I think that the pseudointellectuals who are behind these anti-scientific subjects ("science studies"?) in the graduate schools should pay for the tuition that has been wasted in this way.

You might imagine that your humble correspondent is not the only person in the world who is convinced that this woman - who also wrote a book deriving biology from French literature - is an incompetent and ignorant zealot. Nevertheless, shamefully enough, she was allowed to teach at a college. Postmodernism occurred in almost every sentence of hers.

Once upon a time, a student disagreed with her opinions about two particular postmodern hot-air disciplines called "French narrative theory" and "ecofeminism". He has made a very convincing case that women have benefitted from science and technology - he dared to disagree with her thesis that women haven't benefitted. (The most outspoken students in the class were girls.)

And a group of other students clapped their hands. So she consulted her physician and cancelled the classes for a week, because of her "intellectual distress", as a form of a protest against the "fascist demagoguery" by the students. ;-) She also lowered their grades.
See: Harvard Crimson, Wall Street Journal
It is not hard to guess that this subtle tension has manifested itself in the course evaluations, too. She didn't like the comments about her class, so she decided that the students are sexists and racists and they must be sued. She sent them the following e-mail:
Date: Sat, 26 Apr 2008 20:56:35 -0400 (EDT)
From: Priya.Venkatesan@Dartmouth.EDU
To: "WRIT.005.17.18-WI08":;, Priya.Venkatesan@Dartmouth.EDU
Subject: WRIT.005.17.18-WI08: Possible lawsuit

Dear former class members of Science, Technology and Society:

I tried to send an email through my server but got undelivered messages. I regret to inform you that I am pursuing a lawsuit in which I am accusing some of you (whom shall go unmentioned in this email) of violating Title VII of anti-federal [SIC] discrimination laws.
The feeling that I am getting from the outside world is that Dartmouth is considered a bigoted place, so this may not be news and I may be successful in this lawsuit.
I am also writing a book detailing my experiences as your instructor, which will "name names" so to speak. I have all of your evaluations and these will be reproduced in the book.

Have a nice day.
Very nice! The adjective in "anti-federal discrimination" is amusing. More seriously, the code that she apparently refers to is about employment discrimination, not about (true) students' comments in course evaluation reports. And by the way, "naming the names" from the anonymous student feedback is probably the only illegal act in this story. She has also informed the individual "suspects", ending by the sentence
Please do not respond to this e-mail as it will be used against you in a court of law.
Priya Venkatesan is not the only one. The current Academia is full of this P.C. garbage that tries to blackmail you almost every day and almost everywhere.
Long interview with her, if you wish to hear the other side
Needless to say, her being incompetent - which is what the students really complained about - is an independent characteristics from being female or having Indian descent, despite the existing correlation (Indians' average IQ is 15 points below the U.S. average which makes the Indian folks who may very well be smarter than your humble correspondent more amazing than it would be otherwise).

Let me also agree with her on one point: I do agree that if they hired a person who should have been expected to promote the deconstructivist nonsense in her classes, they should have been ready to support her in doing so. In other words, they shouldn't have hired her in the first place.

Her acts are both sad and ludicrous but I agree with Joseph Rago (WSJ) that the very fact that the students have cared enough to stage a revolt against the cheap ideological indoctrination is encouraging.

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