I used to think that having reached my third year at college I could no longer be shocked by the wokeness which permeates the university campus, its students and faculty. I thought I would be able to grit my teeth and just bear it. 

Up until now I have watched the SU, of which I am a part, represent and promote views, of which I do not wish to be a part. I observed fellow students pass around pictures of a conservative British politician’s daughter at house parties, encouraging each other to harass her, should she be spotted on campus. I quietly switched my undergraduate course after I was forced to declare my PPPs (Preferred Personal Pronouns). Quite the insult if you think about it, for up until that point I had thought I very obviously look like and present as a woman —perhaps the department was encouraging me to focus less on my studies and more on a boob job. 

Additionally, I had to justify to my seminar group on why I do not consider myself feminist. What more could possibly surprise me and force me to step out of my role as the silent observer?

Maybe I do not have any right to be composing this rant, especially since I was never brave enough to defend my views in the past. I am ashamed to say that I did not stick up for the aforementioned politician’s daughter at that house party. I did indeed introduce myself with “she/her” pronouns during that seminar. And on one occasion I pretended that my Louder with Crowder mug did not belong to me. But there comes a breaking point for everyone. I no longer wish to resign myself to secretly rolling my eyes, staying silent and walking away. I want to make up for my cowardice in the past, cancel culture be damned.

I study Classics. Not because I am a big history nerd but because I love the ancient languages. Obviously, I understand that ancient history is something that needs to be taught along with those languages. It cannot be left untouched. My department thinks differently. Shockingly so. My department does not merely demand that the history be touched but that it, in fact, be retouched; that it be fiddled with and remade in an image that suits the woke Zeitgeist. 

To my horror and disbelief, one of my lecturers announced during a class last year that it is important for us to be “mindful of the decolonisation of the classical world”. This statement alone was not yet enough for me to write this article. In fairness to the lecturer, the statement was ambiguous enough, so I thought. It did not hint at any indoctrination. I even managed to agree with the lecturer, for I also think that we should be “mindful” of this decolonisation (albeit that we should be mindful to avoid it at all costs). But I know that ambiguity was not intended. This became more obvious by the fact that my course was made to read Amy Richlin’s theory about slaves on the Plautine stage. 

For balance, we were also encouraged to read and explore Kathleen McCarthy, however, the bias was clear. Richlin was a mandatory part of the curriculum, McCarthy was not. Still, that was not enough to prompt this article. There will always be scholars and historians I do not agree with. College is about exposing one to all manner of opinions, and the curriculum cannot always accommodate these, or we would be reading for the rest of our lives.

The straw that broke the camel’s back came later. It seems this year is the year my department has decided to make itself redundant. They have given a platform, both on their Facebook page and in their classes, to a Classics professor at Princeton University, who during the 2019 meeting of the Society for Classical Studies (SCS) stated in relation to the field of Classics, his own field, “that it dies as swiftly as possible”. 

Other views held by this professor include the prioritisation of ethnicity over merit, when it comes to the publication of Classics scholars. To quote:

“In practical terms, this means that in an economy of academic prestige defined and governed by scarcity, white men will have to surrender the privilege they have of seeing their words printed and disseminated. They will have to take a back seat, so that people of colour, and women, and gender-non-conforming scholars of colour benefit from the privileges, career and otherwise, of seeing their words on the page.”

Not only was he applauded by the audience for that at the time, but also more recently by my fellow students. Surely, I cannot be the only one who sees the absurdity in this? This, above all, proves to me that there is not as much independent thinking taking place among my fellow students as I hoped there was. 

This professor has called for the downfall of a discipline, which my peers are passionate about. Passionate enough to dedicate at least four years of their adult lives to its pursuit. It does not take a Classics expert to see that the department itself should be encouraging its students to pursue the Classics and not to persecute it. Mary Frances Williams was the only person to stand up for the Classics at the SCS, and she was persecuted for it, as she outlined in an article for Quillette. I admire her bravery and can only strive to make as good a case for the Classics. 

For me, the girl who shrinks away from confrontation, this task is not without challenges. But this piece of writing is a first step in a new and right (no pun intended) direction. I am tired of hiding my exasperation. And besides, in a world where I attend all of my classes in front of a web-camera, there is no way I can hide my rolling eyes and indignant facial expression. I might as well turn on the microphone as well and give myself a voice.

Posted by Dawn Treader

17 Comments

  1. Love Liberty 03/03/2021 at 4:11 pm

    The choice is between being forced to lie or being abused.

    For anyone who dislikes confrontation this is a very hard choice.

    When I was a child I wondered what I would do if faced with the moral choice of going along with Nazis or trying to resist such evil.

    I hoped that I would be among the small percentage that resisted, but I feared that I would be too cowardly to resist.

    We are now facing a new form of evil, similar to that, but not identical. It could develop as terribly as happened in 1930s Germany, but it isn’t quite there yet.

    Do we take a firm stand, a moral stand, by resisting this pernicious evil or do we submit?

    There is one clear moral choice, but a very hard practical choice.

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  2. Well done on writing this excellent article.

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  3. Excellent article – how appalling to target a young English girl for what her father’s job is. There is something deeply unpleasant and for what it’s worth in my opinion as a middle-aged Irish man, deeply in-Irish about that sort of activity. I suspect I went to the same University and part read the same subject 35 years ago. I also suspect I had a lot more fun.

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  4. just one cornetto. (delicious ice cream) 03/03/2021 at 8:01 pm

    whats excellent about this article exactly other than the author has eggs that you want.
    I had to read it 3 times before i came to the conclusion that while she throws a few theoretical bones and signals to a few distributed people she signals she wants praise from, she is ultimately staying neutral enough to not say anything even with a 2 page article. Typical. Bet you there’s loads of comments on this article from egg seekers. We can all virtue signal together sure, and maybe even theoretically copulate and have successful relationship based on neutral nationalism. Were part of it getting the benefits but immune from the neutrality and being a woman entitles you to white knights. Amazing you publish this and wont publish any of my articles from an actual printed nationalist newspaper that you all ignored.
    Being a woman gets you in any door i suppose. Theyre above us on the hierarchy in our inverse meritocracy west. The blonde blue eyed strong alpha man genius in his 30s on the dole gets in no door. Sure even the black comedian gets the mic instead of some fellow from ballymun being messed around by institutions. There ya go. The new nationalism has chosen its champions. Women and blacks. Its disowned the plebs at the bottom of society. Still operating by the enemies value system i see.

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  5. Well done. This is a particularly difficult time to be a student who doesn’t go along with the wokeness. Bravo.

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  6. John Draper 03/03/2021 at 9:05 pm

    Is there a better path for classics?

    I don’t claim that the article is not well argued or even poorly put. My issue is that Classics is being used by people who I find deplorable.

    That the way in which far right groups use quotes from the Greeks and Romans like they do with George Orwell is wrong. They try to use the past to justify their actions. People calling the right wing of politics the 300 of Thermopylae. This kind of thing makes it seem that those who oppose them are tyrannical oppressors. As if they have been the ones who’ve endured oppression for centuries?

    That’s what I think is why classics is in danger. Not from wokeness. I don’t dispute the articles substance as it’s an opinion based on an experience. But I disagree where the danger lies. Using others to justify action is where those who cannot argue themselves go for reassurance.

    If you want to create analogies to the past? Fine! But don’t make them for issues where the act does not equal the analogy. That is where Classicists feel most threatened, that their field is being usurped by the alt right and groups whose ideology is polarising. Not by the idea that pronouns matter or whether or not decolonising classics would actually destroy it .

    Think the article is well put and allows for discussion. Just can’t agree with the ideas.

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    1. The Real Fianna 04/03/2021 at 6:09 pm

      John Draper says : That the way in which far right groups use quotes from the Greeks and Romans like they do with George Orwell is wrong. They try to use the past to justify their actions.

      You are a weak and pacifist individual

      You are beholden to a status quo, that has being stripping the rights and freedoms from people for a long time now. Far right groups are the answer to bring about some balance, their rise was inevitable.

      Perhaps you like to have tyrannical overlords telling you how to think and feel? what to eat and drink? what you should say or don’t say? who you should be importing into your country?

      Perhaps you want the great reset? to own nothing and be happy? to be surrounded by sub saharan africans smoking cannabis and harassing women over the bones of your ancestors?

      Your masters love you for being an obedient individual, a good little pet you are. You have no bite, no teeth, no growl, no bark, nothing!

      You may think that you are free, you’re not! You are not a wolf, you are a sheep.

      Rome was built by romelus and remus, not by sheep! You do not understand such cultures.

      Reply

  7. This article clearly shows the complaisance and over-consiliatory behavior in some people, who would rather accept the cruel truth and applaud to it to show off they’re not the enemy, instead of being honest with themselves if nothing else. I think this article has a very good point and I praise the bravery of the writer for speaking out about it.

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  8. Radoslav Nedialkov 04/03/2021 at 11:15 am

    This student merits my admiration because she stood out and expressed her opinion, which does not coincide with the mass. I have been always fascinated by people who are not afraid to demonstrate and to defend their assertions . I believe we must encourage young people to do it and to covey clear messages about the current directions of political, educational and business power. Chapeau!

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  9. Perseus slaying the Medusa is now an example of misogyny against strong women, snakes for hair and all.

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  10. Cato the Censor 04/03/2021 at 5:35 pm

    Ceterum censeo intolerantiam neoliberalem delandam esse.

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  11. Radoslav Nedialkov 04/03/2021 at 6:38 pm

    Brave and intelligent Student! I admire your courage to rise against the mainstream and to express your opinion.
    We must encourage young people to convey that sort of messages and defend their point of views. Otherwise many of todays’ political and business class, including university authorities, could be seen as presumptuous. For example this professor at Princeton Uni, mentioned in the article, who said for the field of Classics “ that it dies as swiftly as possible”. What an arrogance!
    I hope there are more smart students, like the author of this article, who can disagree publicly with any “prominent” professor/politician who express similar extremes.

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  12. Derek Rosenthal 06/03/2021 at 1:04 am

    Great Article on the proposturous notion of wokeness infultrating the modern societal structure

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  13. Freedom Org Singapore 06/03/2021 at 1:06 am

    In Singapore we appreciate your very excellent views on such important matters

    Reply

  14. Pamela Clark 06/03/2021 at 1:10 am

    Brilliant article, I don’t think having slaves is a bad idea. Like think about it, everything you do in a day is just a waste of time. I can get someone else with a better stature then me to do all the box lifting for me. Maybe I can teach this slave how to make cocktails? Just imagine that! As a woman, I feel that a slave would pleasure me much better than my husband, he always leaves me disappointed!!! Great article nonetheless can’t wait for the covid sheep to become brain dead so we can enslave them for a better world for us free thinkers. xo

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  15. what is it with liberal arts? you don’t see this mad carry-on in the science or business faculties.

    Reply

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