Thursday, 17 November 2011
Up for grabs...
'In a graduate seminar some years ago, one of my less accomplished students wrote a paper about the late A.J.P. Taylor, whose self-congratulatory memoir exaggerates both his socialism and his patriotism. Accordingly the student decided that Taylor was a National Socialist. When I suggested that such a sobriquet specifically applied to Hitler's Germany, he responded, "That's your opinion." So it was. Still, whatever controversy Taylor's Origins of the Second World War stirred when it was published in 1961, to call him a National Socialist reflects an appalling ignorance of a diabolical 20th-century ideology. After further protests by the student, I insisted that he was simply wrong, that A.J.P.Taylor was not a National Socialist and that it was not a matter of opinion. All of which succeeded only in costing me points in the annual evaluation, where students are asked to rate the faculty on a long list of desirable qualities, including, "Does the instructor encourage students to express opinions?"'
Posted by Casa Santa Lidia at 14:40