In this episode of New Ideal Live, Onkar Ghate and Aaron Smith discuss the recent incident at Hamline University, where art history professor Erika López Prater was dismissed for showing her students a fourteenth-century painting of the prophet Mohammed. They analyze the administrators’ charge of “Islamophobia,” the issue of “academic freedom” in terms of which the controversy has been viewed, and how the aversion to teaching allegedly offensive topics is destroying higher education.
Among the topics covered:
- What happened at Hamline;
- Hamline’s dishonest response to public criticism of their actions;
- The incident as an unfortunate sign of how universities are less willing to teach topics deemed as offensive;
- How diversity offices, far from helping students navigate controversial topics, cater to irrational worldviews;
- How the smear of “Islamophobia” destroys the distinction between rational and irrational criticism of Islam;
- Why religion, being openly irrational, receives a privileged treatment;
- Why suppressing controversial subjects is a disservice to any active-minded student;
- How the framing of “academic freedom” ignores that the government’s control of education makes it impossible to solve conflicts between academics and the administration;
- Government interference in education as a cause of increasing self-censorship.
The podcast was recorded on January 20, 2023. Listen to the discussion below. Listen and subscribe from your mobile device on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher. Watch archived podcasts here.