An article by Heather Mac Donald in City Journal has alerted me to the queering of agriculture:
Another day in academia, another twist in the bizarre world of identity studies. The Center for the Study of Sexual Culture at the University of California, Berkeley, is presenting a talk next week on “Queering Agriculture,” dedicated to the proposition that “it is absolutely crucial queer and transgender studies begin to deal more seriously with the subject of agriculture.”
My first reaction, after reading the above paragraph, was: “Is it [absolutely crucial], though?” Don’t get me wrong, I believe queer studies is a legitimate field of study, to which some resources should be dedicated, but… in relation to agriculture?
But then I thought better. Even though Heather Mac Donald’s book The Burden of Bad Ideas is one of the most interesting books I’ve read in the last year, I disagree with her takedown of the queering-of-agriculture research in the City Journal article I link to above. My view on research topics is this: Let the market decide what is and what isn’t worthy of being researched. If there is a demand for it, this type of research should be conducted, published, and discussed.
My reaction stems from having encountered several people in the past who weren’t shy about letting me know that they thought the research I was doing was completely devoid of interest.
I could have chosen to become like those people, and be dismissive of what I have never spent much time thinking about. Instead, I vowed to meet others on the level, so to speak. No matter what those past naysayers thought, however, here I am still conducting the same kind of research, and getting paid even better to do so and talk about it. So my view is this: Let ideas compete openly. What’s the worst that is going to happen? Having a more diverse agricultural sector? That would be a good thing.
Still, queer studies and agriculture are two things I never thought I would witness the marriage of, as those are fairly distant corners of academia.
ht: Eddy Elmer.