Cornell University is looking for a tenure track assistant professor whose only qualification is diversity; actual field of study is irrelevant. The job listing says that the candidate can apply for “some area of the humanities or qualitative social sciences.” Might that area be French literature? Or field methods for anthropology? Who cares! Such nit-picking disciplinary distinctions harken back to a bygone era when universities thought of themselves as the guardians of knowledge. Today, when they are focused overwhelmingly on the expansion of identity politics, the most important academic qualification is the claim of victimhood. And in Cornell’s case, victimhood is now the only academic qualification required. The Cornell listing goes on to explain: “We are especially interested in considering applications from members of underrepresented groups, those who have faced economic hardship, are first-generation college graduates, or work on topics related to these issues.”
In other words, as long as you are black or Hispanic, or claim to be underprivileged, we want you, no matter what your field is. If you are not in that favored category, forget it.
Note that quantitative social sciences and the hard sciences are not included. For the moment, they still have some remainder of intellectual standards that are independent of the usual diversity pressures — though few are the science departments that are not under relentless pressure from their administrations to hire on the basis of gender. (Hiring by race is a pure pipe dream, so few are the remotely qualified “diverse” candidates.)
It is hard to imagine a more revealing demonstration of how thoroughly the academic endeavor has been hijacked by narcissistic irrelevancies. Parents thinking of sending a child to Cornell should be on notice: He may be taught by someone chosen purely on the basis of skin color, with no attention given to that professor’s contribution to Cornell’s intellectual depth and breadth.