Iowa Professor’s Syllabus: You’ll Be Dismissed If You Oppose Pro-Choice Or Black Lives Matter Positions

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A professor of English at Iowa State University issued a syllabus for her class asserting that any student who opposes the pro-choice perspective or the Black Lives Matter movement will have created “grounds for dismissal from the classroom.”

Chloe Clark gave a warning on the syllabus for her English 250 class, which was obtained by Young America’s Foundation from an anonymous source who wished to avoid retribution for giving it to YAF through YAF’s Campus Bias Tip Line, as Kara Zupkus of YAF noted.

It read:

GIANT WARNING: any instances of othering that you participate in intentionally (racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, sorophobia, transphobia, classism, mocking of mental health issues, body shaming, etc) in class are grounds for dismissal from the classroom. The same goes for any papers/projects: you cannot choose any topic that takes at its base that one side doesn’t deserve the same basic human rights as you do (ie: no arguments against gay marriage, abortion, Black Lives Matter, etc). I take this seriously.

The syllabus also stated:

A central concept in this course is that ‘arguments are all around us, in every medium, in every genre, in everything we do …. An argument can be any text —written, spoken, aural, or visual — that expresses a point of view …

As this class goes alongside WGS 201, it will view the concepts of rhetoric and arguments through the gaze of “monster theory.” Throughout history, monsters have served as the ultimate depictions of the “other.” Othering has long been one of the most effect to isolate and control groups of people. This class will hopefully give you the tools to understand “othering” in day to day life, as well as combat it in your own communication.

The syllabus continued with a note for those who might be “triggered” by the “violent or disturbing imagery” subject matter, writing, “If, at any point, you would like a Trigger Warning before viewings/readings that may contain this imagery, please let me know and I’m happy to provide them!”

In a column titled, “Wishes Gone Wrong: A Woman’s ‘Place’ in Fairy Tales,” Clark examined various fairy tales, including “The Fisherman’s Wife,” “The Two-Headed Weaver,” and “The Monkey’s Paw,” and concluded:

These types of tales can be found all around the world; I easily found examples of “man gets wish, woman makes him wish for something foolish, man loses the chance at wishes, no one is happy” tales from a huge variety of cultures. The biggest variations seem to be who the granter of wishes is and what types of wishes are made. The most common connection: the nagging woman who seeks too much … In the end, the moral of these stories doesn’t seem to just be “be careful what you wish for.” Instead, for women, it seems to be “you don’t deserve to wish for anything.”

Clark’s book “Collective Gravities” was published in July 2020. She graduated from Iowa State University in 2106.

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