The Victim’s Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind

Bruce Bawer, Author
Bruce Bawer. HarperCollins/Broadside, $25.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-180737-4
Reviewed on: 07/23/2012
Release date: 09/01/2012
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-06-180735-0
Ebook - 400 pages - 978-0-06-209706-4
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Postmodern academia’s cult of race-class-and-gender victimization is oppressing the rest of us, according to this feisty j’accuse. Literary critic Bawer (A Place at the Table) mounts major assaults on once trendy, now entrenched university humanities programs in feminist studies, black studies, Chicano studies, and queer theory, along the way savaging Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, Michael Eric Dyson, and other intellectual grandees. He pillories these disciplines for being anti-capitalist and anti-American; their ever more baroque subcategorizations of victimhood (he’s incensed that queer theory lumps gay white men like him in with the oppressors); their knee-jerk defense of Muslim cultures steeped in the sexism and homophobia they otherwise deplore; the stale jargon and rote clichés they substitute for original scholarship; and their vision of society as a tapestry of balkanized groups rather than discerning individualism. Bawer scores lots of entertaining points against the insufferable posturing and unreadable prose that pervades identity studies, but his critique seldom engages seriously with the intellectual content of the field; mostly he denounces the idea of dragging politics and sociology into the hallowed precincts of the humanities. Bawer’s is a lively, cantankerous takedown of a juicy target. Agent: John Talbot, the Talbot Agency. (Sept.)
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