Over the past year and a half, Peterson has gained notoriety through his open hostility toward trans rights and feminism as well as his characterization of universities as tools for indoctrinating students into what he terms neo-Marxism.
January 10, 2020 by Evidence Network Leave a Comment
By Jennifer Garrison
Like it or not, University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson is a cultural sensation. Over the past year and a half, Peterson has gained notoriety through his open hostility toward trans rights and feminism as well as his characterization of universities as tools for indoctrinating students into what he terms neo-Marxism.
He has throngs of online followers. A column in the New York Times noted hes been called the most influential public intellectual in the Western world, and academics regularly write columns seeking to discredit him.
I am an academic, but this is not one of those columns. Instead, I think we need to question our incessant need to talk about Peterson in the first place. Our obsession with Peterson reveals a larger cultural problem that threatens to cripple our universities: our adoration of the individual masculine genius.
This cult of genius comes at the expense of a vibrant intellectual life and thriving democracies in North America.
Petersons success is built on the fact that he was deemed to be a part of that special and highly nebulous category of genius a term (much like expert) that is almost exclusively reserved for men. In a recent interview, Petersons former colleague explains that Peterson was hired and promoted precisely on these grounds: he sometimes appeared to be in the thrall of his ideas and would not, or could not, constrain himself and self-monitor what he was saying. That was OK. He was eccentric.
In universities, we often take eccentric along with bad behaviour as a mark of genius: we ignore complaints about intolerance or sexual harassment because geniuses are above the rules. We really like geniuses. We hire and promote them and students want to study under them.
One problem with genius is that it is something one is rather than something one does. The concept implies that academic work is not, in fact, a form of work. When we only care if a university has its fair share of geniuses, we devalue and label as more feminine other forms of academic labour from teaching to administration to less trendy research.
In fact, the majority of teaching in North American universities is now done by contract faculty (the majority of whom tend to be women): PhD-holding subject experts who are paid per-course. If they are lucky enough to be teaching a full course load every semester, they might earn around $28,000 for working in excess of 40 hours a week.
Permanent faculty, on the other hand, are often overloaded with administrative work, such as curriculum planning and advising students. A recent study has shown that this work, too, falls largely to female faculty members keeping them from engaging in innovative teaching and ground-breaking research.
This emphasis on genius also threatens to destroy entire fields of study, particularly the softer disciplines in the Humanities (e.g., Art, English, History, etc.) since genius is typically reserved primarily for the more male-dominated STEM fields. Politicians, administrators, many members of the public, and Jordan Peterson himself regularly deride the Humanities as frivolous. (Ever heard a joke about an English major being a barista-in-training?)
On the contrary, the Humanities are vitally important in an increasingly polarized society because they help us to understand, analyze, and critique differences in human communication and culture. And (for the practical-minded) Humanities majors do get satisfying jobs. Their skills are in demand in the corporate world and they may actually have more career success than Business majors.
We need to reject this cult of the masculine genius. If we want a thriving intellectual culture, we need to start valuing all academic labor and forms of inquiry. Its not just better for universities themselves; its better for building a more tolerant and democratic society.
In order to shift this culture, we need to demand that politicians and administrators value and economically support a diversity of voices inside universities.
If we want a strong democracy and intellectual culture, lets forget genius. Instead, lets build stronger universities.
This post was previously published on Evidencenetwork.ca and is republished here under a Creative Commons license CC BY-ND 4.0.
Have you read the original anthology that was the catalyst for The Good Men Project? Buy here: The Good Men Project: Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood
All Premium Members get to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS.
Need more info? A complete list of benefits is here.
Photo credit: Istockphoto.com
See the rest here:
Jordan Peterson and the Cult of Genius - The Good Men Project
- Jordan B. Peterson Health Update: Author Is Recovering ... - May 27th, 2020
- Jordan Peterson is back at work on his next book - May 27th, 2020
- Jordan Peterson on the Resurrection | Adrian Warnock - Patheos - May 27th, 2020
- Why Hungarys Viktor Orbn is the American rights favorite strongman - Vox.com - May 24th, 2020
- Patrick Peterson says 2020 Cardinals are, on paper, best team he has been on - Cards Wire - May 24th, 2020
- Graduation 2020: Westby Area High School - The Westby Times - May 24th, 2020
- Jonathan Kay: It takes a true artist to find new ways to shock the conscience. Kent Monkman has done that - National Post - May 24th, 2020
- The Irrelevance of the Intelligence Debate - Merion West - May 18th, 2020
- There are great stories about U.S. Open qualifiers; too bad we won't have any in 2020 - GolfDigest.com - May 18th, 2020
- Bob Holliday talks about the fun day when MJ and Buzz Peterson went golfing - WRALSportsFan.com - May 15th, 2020
- Mohamed and the Mountain | Annette Poizner | The Blogs - The Times of Israel - May 15th, 2020
- What Hating Jordan Peterson Tells You (about yourself) - The Times of Israel - May 6th, 2020
- Former Vol head coach appears in ESPNs The Last Dance - Vols Wire - May 6th, 2020
- What if Michael Jordan had signed with Adidas? He very nearly did, and it haunts Gary Stokan to this day - WRALSportsFan.com - May 6th, 2020
- Why is it always the white NFL players who get a second chance? - The Guardian - May 6th, 2020
- Another Piece on How Feminism Has Ruined Men - RushLimbaugh.com - May 6th, 2020
- Dave Rubin is out of ideas - Business Insider - Business Insider - May 6th, 2020
- Justin Amash could lead conservative reformation - Spring Hope Enterprise - May 2nd, 2020
- May Day! May Day! Is Government Out of Control? What It Means to Investors - Stock Investor - May 2nd, 2020
- Jordan Peterson and Carl Jung's Worldviews Have Been Greatly Oversimplified - Merion West - May 1st, 2020
- Dave Rubin Talks To Shapiro About Learning From Jordan Peterson On Tour - The Daily Wire - May 1st, 2020
- The one player Michael Jordan was scared of in college? Buzz Peterson details it - The Athletic - May 1st, 2020
- Russell Brand And Ricky Gervais Are Just What Your Brain Needs - The Federalist - May 1st, 2020
- The Problem with Edmund Burke and Defenders of Tradition - Merion West - May 1st, 2020
- FreedomFest Urges People to 'Catch the Vision' in Las Vegas - Right Wing Watch - May 1st, 2020
- Seminal Words and the Pregnant Pause | Annette Poizner - The Times of Israel - April 22nd, 2020
- Too Hot to Handle on Netflix is undeniably Sexy in Quarantine - The TeCake - April 22nd, 2020
- What Skeptical Scholars Admit about the Resurrect... - ChristianityToday.com - April 13th, 2020
- Michael Brooks' New Book Hits the Mark - Merion West - April 13th, 2020
- How Joe Rogan and Eric Weinstein Sinned - Thrive Global - April 7th, 2020
- Understanding the Viciousness of Jordan Peterson's Critics - Merion West - March 27th, 2020
- Rosie Huntington-Whiteley Has Mastered The Art Of Waist-Up Dressing - British Vogue - March 27th, 2020
- Five hours to change your life with Jordan Peterson - Patheos - March 27th, 2020
- If people stand up in the face of the things they are afraid of, they get stronger - The Indian Express - March 27th, 2020
- Prof still fighting school's demand to call he a 'she' - OneNewsNow - March 18th, 2020
- Patrick Peterson: Cardinals 'all in' this year and 'not done' - Cards Wire - March 18th, 2020
- Tips, links and suggestions: what are you reading this week? - The Guardian - March 18th, 2020
- What Happened to Jordan Peterson? - The New Republic - March 15th, 2020
- Inside the Treatment of Jordan Peterson - InsideHook - March 15th, 2020
- Christopher Booker: Groupthink review an uncritical history of political correctness - The Arts Desk - March 15th, 2020
- 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos: Jordan B ... - March 9th, 2020
- The best recent poetry review roundup - The Guardian - March 9th, 2020
- Jordan Peterson Checks into Rehab Following Wife's Cancer ... - March 9th, 2020
- Jordan Peterson Wife: The Truth About Tammy Peterson - Who - February 28th, 2020
- Podcast giant Joe Rogan coming to Tampas Amalie Arena - Tampa Bay Times - February 28th, 2020
- Is Wall Street on the Brink of Disaster? - Stock Investor - February 28th, 2020
- The Travesty of Comparing Jordan Peterson to Hitler - Merion West - February 25th, 2020
- What Douglas Murray's Book Does Well (And Where It Falters) - Merion West - February 24th, 2020
- Jordan Peterson: the One Who Helped Me When I Most Needed It - Merion West - February 20th, 2020
- 'He could've killed somebody': Victim in Boise 11-car hit-and-run crash reacts to wild video - KTVB.com - February 20th, 2020
- A Controversial Study Claimed To Explain Why Women Dont Go Into Science And Tech. It Just Got A 1,113-Word Correction. - BuzzFeed News - February 20th, 2020
- Feb. 18: The story of Bombardier could have been easily avoided. Readers react to Bombardiers fortunes, facial recognition, Jordan Peterson, plus... - February 20th, 2020
- Meet the Petersons: the controversial family plagued by ill health - Telegraph.co.uk - February 20th, 2020
- Ex-benzodiazepine user relating to Peterson says withdrawal 'hell' needs awareness - The Chronicle Journal - February 20th, 2020
- Jordan Peterson enters rehab after wife's cancer diagnosis - February 9th, 2020
- Jordan Peterson recovering from tranquilizer addiction in Russia - New York Post - February 8th, 2020
- He nearly died several times: Controversial academic Jordan Peterson seeks to recover from addiction, daughter says - Toronto Star - February 8th, 2020
- EXCLUSIVE: Update on the health of Dr. Jordan B. Peterson - The Post Millennial - February 8th, 2020
- Is bragging about sex to other women 'emotional cheating'? - Stuff.co.nz - February 6th, 2020
- Filmmakers Discuss THE RISE OF JORDAN PETERSON On Tom Needham's SOUNDS OF FILM - Broadway World - February 2nd, 2020
- Bernie Broke My Heart When He Embraced Rogan's Endorsement - The Nation - February 2nd, 2020
- How Fox News Weaponizes Art + Two Other Illuminating Pieces of Criticism From Around the Web - artnet News - February 2nd, 2020
- The Masculinity Crisis - Unraveling the Threads - The Good Men Project - February 2nd, 2020
- Red flags: The enemies of bias - Asheboro Courier Tribune - January 30th, 2020
- It's Good That Joe Rogan Endorsed Bernie. Now We Have to Organize. - Jacobin magazine - January 26th, 2020
- Joe Rogans Endorsement: The Stain On Bernie Sanders That Some Voters Think Makes Him More Attractive - Forbes - January 26th, 2020
- Dame Sarah Connolly: Brexit will inhibit the lives of musicians - Palatinate - January 26th, 2020
- College professors donate to Democrats over Republicans by ratio of 95-to-1: Study - Washington Examiner - January 24th, 2020
- Jordan Peterson: Descensus ad inferos - January 13th, 2020
- Anti-Jordan Peterson professor accused of abuse of power by former colleague, students - The Post Millennial - January 13th, 2020
- 'No Safe Spaces' ignores the attacks on free speech from the right - INSIDER - January 13th, 2020
- Jordan Peterson in Rehab After 'Horrific' Withdrawal - January 10th, 2020
- Writing about Jordan Peterson for the First Time - Merion West - January 10th, 2020
- America Remains the Land of Opportunity. For Everything Else, Theres Gold. - Forbes - January 8th, 2020
- Make 2020 the year of your programming side hustle - Coffee Talk: Java, News, Stories and Opinions - TheServerSide.com - January 8th, 2020
- The End of Pseudo-Liberalism | John Waters - First Things - January 6th, 2020
- Jordan Peterson Destroys Q&A | 25 February 2019 - January 4th, 2020
- New at Disney World and Disneyland in 2020: Avengers Campus, Epcot updates - USA TODAY - January 4th, 2020
- Did 2019 mark a decline in the power of the transgender mob? - Lifesite - January 4th, 2020
- Jordan Peterson - Wikipedia - January 1st, 2020