#Orlando Syllabus: Blame it on Phallogocentrism


Associate Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Eng-Beng Lim

Dartmouth professor and queer theorist Eng-Beng Lim recently published an article titled “The #Orlando Syllabus” that describes a class centered around the evils of firearm ownership, Islamophobia, masculinity, and the American right. Published on a website dedicated to “Bully Bloggers,” Lim posted the syllabus without comment, but it was later confirmed in a College press release that he is teaching the course this summer.

The document, which can be viewed in its entirety here, includes a list of weekly readings for a course on the recent, tragic terrorist attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando.  The proposed title of the course, “#Orlando,” is similar to a recent Dartmouth course entitled “#BlackLivesMatter,” which presumably touched upon similar themes. The weekly topics, listed below, do not include any analysis or even mention of radical Islamic terrorism in the United States or elsewhere:

Week 1 From Gender to Gun Performativity

This week serves as an introduction to a range of topics within queer theory, including the broad field of made-up vocabulary. The syllabus has at least five such words, including “phallogocentrism.”

Week 2 Surviving Killabilities

“Killabilities” appears to reference the material in this section that details “systematic” violence against queer people and other minorities.

 Week 3 Laughing at Masculinist Rage, Corruption and Mass Shooting

As its title implies, this week is primarily third-wave feminist literature, anti-conservative rants, and accusations that firearms are phallic symbols.

Week 4 Getting Toxic and Terrifying

This week hits all the core concepts of the class. It focuses on “toxic masculinity,” which it then associates with mass shootings, attacks “Islamophobia,” and rounds everything out by attacking the police.

Week 5 Empire, Trump

If there was a wrong way to attack Trump, this week covers it. It then accuses America of being a fascist empire. Or something like that.

Week 6 Orlando

Many articles in this section, drawn largely from tabloids, fall just short of ISIS apologia. Others focus on tangential topics to the exclusion of the event itself.

Week 7 Gun Phallocracy: Colonial and Capitalist Deadlocks

Blame the guns. If that fails, blame the Republicans/NRA. This week looks like the Facebook feed of a Bernie Sanders supporter.

Week 8 Performance & Patriarchal Pathologies

Presumably, the mix of topics presented under this heading constitute The Patriarchy.

Week 9 Queer nightlife: safety, joy, erasure and complacence

Two words: safe spaces.

The biggest takeaway for any student taking such a course would presumably be that masculinity, guns, and the Republican Party are waging a systematic war against queer people and Muslims. Lim mistakenly assumes all conservatives are members of the alt-right or Donald Trump supporters who have racist or homophobic tendencies. He also seems to believe that America is some kind of quasi-imperial dictatorship run by everyone but a select group of minorities.

Dartmouth’s website describes Lim as an “Assistant Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and author of Brown Boys and Rice Queens: Spellbinding Performance in the Asias.” He has since been promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. The descriptions of his academic undertakings are so laden with buzzwords and queer theory jargon that they are nearly incomprehensible. He also sits on the steering committee of GRID (Gender Research Institute at Dartmouth), which recently hosted notorious anti-Semite Jasbir Puar. For those who have never heard of the emerging field of “queer studies,” it is a pseudo-academic field that uses post-structuralist theory to explore a range of topics from an ultra-progressive and often neo-Marxist perspective. Its overuse of meaningless rhetoric and made-up words render articles and books about it nearly unreadable, and many academics do not take it seriously. One faculty member, in a discussion with a Review staffer, described Lim’s scholarship as “ideological hackery, pure and simple” but still expressed incredulity that he would design a course consisting of not much more than “a bunch of blog posts by partisans and ideologues.”

Bully Bloggers describes itself as a “queer word art group,” and the website consists of a small group of professors who write both intentionally and unintentionally ridiculous articles on a range of topics associated with queer theory. One section of the website sets forth a mock party platform, which includes such things as abolishing the Senate, marriage, all debt, and practically everything “oppressive.” Another section, titled “Freedom to Marry Our Pets Society Page,” includes presumably fictitious accounts of people in quasi-romantic relationships with their pets. While this section is likely meant to be provocative and not a genuine account of bestiality, its inclusion definitely sends a message.

What is more terrifying than the introduction of bestiality in serious discourse is the knowledge that the professors who maintain this site, Lim included, teach at our nation’s top academic institutions. God help this nation as syllabi like Lim’s currently serve as reading lists for tomorrow’s leaders.

  • BP18

    As a student currently enrolled in this course, I argue that you are entirely misrepresenting Lin’s mission. He has provided us with a stimulating and provocative atmosphere in which we can critically examine the field of queer studies and its presence in pop-culture. You cannot reasonably assume that the material supplied for a course syllabus is a decided statement of the values impressed by that course. As any seminar course should, we debate the merits of each reading; we aren’t simply handed a singular opinion and expected to adopt it. The course has undoubtedly informed my perspective on gendered and societal issues, as I think it would yours were you a little more investigative and open-minded. Perhaps these “buzzwords” and “made-up vocabulary” to which you make reference are “incomprehensible” to an uninformed and uninterested reporter such as yourself, but not to a student who is engaged by the discourse and material. In short, don’t judge a book by its cover, or a course by its syllabus.

    • AlmostMissouri

      So, BP18, from your “critical examination of the field of queer studies” in this course, in what ways have your own opinions come to differ materially from those of Prof. Eng-Beng Lim?

      • piper60

        Anything with “Studies”in the title should be approached with caution, and an operation bull-shit alarm!

    • Old Traditions Defender

      Tell me then, why, the readings in this course are so slanted and lack any pretense of scholarly seriousness? To paraphrase Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, the “critical examination” you purport to engage in during this class allows a debate between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. It doesn’t let you question the Communist framework.

      • piper60

        Even under Stalin, the Comrades allowed their victims to criricize their shepherds and guards for screwing up, provided they didn’t question the underlying assumptions of the tyrannous state!See Crockodil, the officially permitted magazine of satire!After all, in a Communist tyranny, anybody can say whatever they want… once!

    • CommentorinChief

      You are intentionally paying a school so you can learn about homosexuality in pop culture? Good luck with life. You are going to need it.

      • piper60

        Because the demands on civil society to accommodate perversion in every possible way aren’t going to stop anytimesoon!

    • piper60

      We do not violate constitutional rights, nor tolerate among us those who do!

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  • 1st Amend.

    “teach at our nation’s top academic institutions.” Should read “teach at what used to be once our nations top academic institutions”

    • piper60

      That’s rapidly becoing a disqualification instead of a resume booster!

  • tsw

    #killallwhitemen, but I’m simply paraphrasing the colonel, er professor. What is critically important to understand is that an ideology which explicitly and uniformly demands the death of homosexuals is not the root of anti-gay violence by its born-adherent, but the ideology of those who are liberal but not moral relativists! The mullahs will be performing the second holocaust while the Dartmouth Faculty Senate issues statements condemning the US for not granting reparations.

    • Jon Boy

      Huh ???

      • piper60

        Faculty Senates arn’t about Justice. They’re about granting cover for administrations contemplatingpotentially actionable violations of student and faculty legal rights. “Well, your honor, we can do this arbitrary and capricious violation of constitutional and contractual rights because the Faculty Senate’s bow-tied throne sniffers and rump-swabs
        voted to let us!

  • ShadrachSmith

    You might be a Social Justice Warrior…if his course counts toward your degree 🙂

  • piper60

    Can you have a sexually active homosexual pair without at least ONE phallus being involved?!