A student in California protests the inclusion of Persepolis in an English course. In another case, several Duke students refused to read Fun Home because of the content. Are these examples of principled stances? Or are we simply seeing the continued exclusion of the “other”?
I believe that much of this is purely ideological. Culture is created and enforced through the selective memory of life writing. It is not enough to discredit the testimony itself – instead, there is the perceived need to exercise specific experiences from the written record of society. Such an approach would seem anathema to academic freedom, but I suspect that academic disciplines are also guilty of the selective privileging of discipline-specific narratives. We primarily see this in the choices of what “counts” as data, but sources are themselves privileged based upon the accreditation practices of the discipline. Such accreditation is, by its very nature, a form of autobiography. To what degree may the writer refer to specific personal experiences? In what ways are credentials positioned to show a writers personal “credentials” long before the job interview has begun?