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relativistsRelativists are an endangered species on America’s campuses, and in 30 years they will probably be extinct—or, if not, then sequestered in made-up departments that are denigrated by the rest of the faculty and eyed predatorily by budget directors on the lookout for programs to cut.

The Yale English department is a good example. In the directory for tenured and tenure-track faculty, “Marxist literary theory” is listed by five professors among their fields of interest, “gender and sexuality” by nine, and “colonial and postcolonial” by 11, or a quarter of the 44 professors. In the graduate student directory, however, the numbers for those subjects are one, three, and a fat goose egg. That’s quite a statistical drop-off, considering that grad students outnumber professors nearly two to one. The topics favored instead by these future scholars are Romanticism (six), Victorian literature (five), Milton (seven), and, oddly enough, religious literature (also seven). Honorable mentions include “Biblical exegesis,” “conversion narratives,” and “Middle English devotional, visionary, and anchoritic writing”—they’re not just reading the Bible, they’re reading monks.

Books mentioned in this essay may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore.

Abstracted from Moral Relativism, R.I.P. with the gracious permission of The American Spectator.

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