Learn Pedophilia at Cornell University

Students at Cornell University are used to courses like "Spike Lee Films," "Concepts of Race and Racism," "Whose Families? Whose Values?," "Domestic Television," "Music and Queer Identity," and "Introduction to Sexual Minorities."

Indeed, as Campus Report has chronicled, even the most cursory perusal of the Ithaca, New York school’s course catalog reveals a burgeoning curriculum of frivolous, politically-charged, and downright bizarre classes. The university’s administration, engaged in an indefatigable crusade for "diversity," has given free reign to the faculty to incorporate its every radical whim and every extreme agenda into the classroom. The results have been striking. There are courses at Cornell that artfully breach every imaginable—and many unimaginable—standard of most students.

One recent offering, however, has crossed the threshold from the merely absurd to the potentially dangerous.

The syllabus for "The Sexual Child" reads like a veritable who’s-who of pro-pedophilia academics and activists. Among the authors presented in the course are Theo Sandfort, formerly on the board of directors of Paidika, a pro-pedophilia magazine based in Amsterdam; Daniel Tsang, the author of AIDS Taboo, purports to deliver an "academic" analysis of pedophilia; Pat Califia, a self-proclaimed "sexual outlaw" and author of the essay "The Age of Consent: The Great Kiddy-Porn Panic of ‘77" and the book Macho Sluts; and Havelock Ellis, author of "The School Friendships of Girls" and a reputed eugenicist.

Other materials in the course include the pro-pedophilia book Child-Loving, the essay "The Hysteria of Child Pornography and Pedophilia," For a Lost Soldier, a German film about the relationship between a twelve-year-old boy and a Dutch soldier, and Sally Mann’s photographs of naked children. Students are enlightened with such lectures as "The Child as Sexual Object and Sexual Subject," "Big Bad Wolves," "Loving Children," and "Having Children" (for which one of the readings is Nabakov’s Lolita).

English Professor Ellis Hanson, the course instructor, defends the course’s content. "The erotic fascination with children is ubiquitous," he tells Campus Report. "One could hardly read a newspaper or turn on a television without feeling obliged to accept, study, and celebrate it." The course is designed, in his view, to "undermine preconceived notions about what a child is, what sexuality is, and what it means to love or desire a child." He says that the course is balanced in all areas of its treatment of the subject, with the goal of "seek[ing] to complicate our understanding of child sexuality and our rather limited strategies for interpreting it."

One of the best known readings in the course is Gayle Rubin’s "Thinking Sex." This article advances a pro-pedophile agenda within academia by appealing to the familiar catch-phrases of identity politics. "[T]hose whose eroticism transgresses generational boundaries," the feminist anthropologist writes, are not to be judged or condemned. Rather, these "different sexual cultures" are to be celebrated as "unique expressions of human inventiveness."

Her stated goal is to construct a "radical theory of sex" that "must identify, describe, explain, and denounce erotic injustice and sexual oppression" that so victimizes "the community of men who love underaged youth."

"Contemporary sexual politics," she writes, "should be reconceptualized in terms of the emergent ongoing development of this system, its social relations, the ideologies which interpret it, and its characteristic modes of conflict."

Prof. Hanson, however, disputes any suggestion that the course is an effort in propaganda. The course attempts to "interrogate received opinions, not reassert them. . . The course does not ‘adopt’ arguments," he says. He also asserts, "Every writer in the course is opposed to sexual exploitation in all its forms." Rubin declines to define "sexual exploitation." She professes that "cross-generational encounters" can involve "affection, love, free choice, kindness, or transcendence," and does not address the criticism of pedophilia that it is by definition sexual exploitation.

She also adopts and extends to pedophiles the view of the radical feminist and homosexual movements that gender and sexual practices are merely "constituted in society and history, not biologically ordained." Hence, pedophiles are merely misunderstood and oppressed by society. She complains that "boy-lovers are so stigmatized that it is difficult to find defenders for their civil liberties, let alone erotic orientation."

Like much of today’s multiculturalist canon, the piece is imbued with neo-Marxist undertones. From the premise that "sex is always political," Rubin sees the last sexual mores that remain in Western Civilization as serving only to perpetuate a corrupt cultural system "in which the state, the institutions of medicine, and the popular media have mobilized to attack and oppress all whose sexual tastes differ from those allowed by the currently dominative model of sexual correctness."

Sexuality "is organized into systems of power," according to Rubin. These "reward and encourage some individuals and activities, while punishing and suppressing others. Like the capitalist organization of labor and its distribution of rewards and powers, the modern sexual system has been the object of political struggle since it emerged and as it has evolved."

The result is that "sex shapes institutions," and so societal conflicts about sex mirror the other social struggles of the day: "The modern sexual system contains sets of these sexual populations [i.e., homosexuals, transsexuals, pedophiles, and other sexual deviants], stratified by the operation of an ideological and social hierarchy . . . the [sex] law buttresses structures of power, codes of behavior, and forms of prejudice. At worst, sex law and sex regulation are sexual apartheid."

She concludes that "sex is taken all too seriously" in our culture and that laws outlawing pedophilia represent "erotic hysteria" and are ultimately "foolish, unjust, and tyrannical."

-Michael Capel

1998, Accuracy In Academia, All Rights Reserved


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