Thursday, October 02, 2003

HURL Follies IV -- Galvanized Foolishness 

The first three in the series are here as parts one, two, three. I apologize for the lateness of today's post but my internet connection at the office was hosed and I couldn't get to another computer until now. I assure you, this one is worth the wait.
HURL 418/518 Xenophobia. Study of xenophobic attitudes and practices and their impact on human rights in other countries. Examination of U.S. interventions and issues of torture, terrorism and related war crimes. Prereq.: 201 or 497. 3 credits. Demand.
Yes, in your local college's bulletin there would be a listing for a course that examines U.S. interventions. Nobody but the US? You mean to say, for example, there's no xenophobia in Zimbabwe? Certainly not, says our course offering.
Course Objectives:
  1. Define, recognize and analyze institutional, interpersonal and individual xenophobia and its interrelationship with other forms of oppression.
  2. Develop multiculturally informed perspectives that will allow students to comprehend the complex layers of national oppression within a global, national, state system.
  3. Discuss and define the xenophobic mind set forming process [sic] that helps galvanize the U.S. population behind the war making efforts in other countries.
The last one simply is too much to allow to stand. The course proposers are going to DEFINE the xenophobic mindset ("I don't care who wins the war as long as I get to write the definitions") that helps GALVANIZE the U.S. population??? A sweeping, bitter indictment of the entire population? Xenophobia has a definition already, but these people -- unschooled in political science and barely schooled in psychology -- intend to expand this to define a mindset. Wherein will be their proof that the mindset even exists?

Their course outline includes "militarism and the xenophobic construction of the 'savage' other" and "imperial interventions and the xenophobic mindset". Reasonable people can dissent from recent U.S. military interventions, though I hope when shown wrong they are honest enough to change their minds. But "galvanize a population" says that an entire nation is stupid, unable to discern truth, and with malign intent. And for this you receive three college semester credits????

Who will have the courage to tell them this is not a university course? Don't hold your multiculturally informed breath.

UPDATE: Thanks, Michael, I will make sure Blogger understands that mindset can be used as a single word.