Mark Bauerlein is Senior Editor at First Things and Professor of English at Emory University, where he has taught since earning his PhD in English at UCLA in 1989. For two years (2003-05) he served as Director of the Office of Research and Analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts. His books include Literary Criticism: An Autopsy (1997), The Pragmatic Mind: Explorations in the Psychology of Belief (1997), and The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (2008). His essays have appeared in PMLA, Partisan Review, Wilson Quarterly, Commentary, and New Criterion, and his commentaries and reviews in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Weekly Standard, The Guardian, Chronicle of Higher Education, and other national periodicals.

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Use the Buycott

From First Thoughts

As the Indiana RFRA episode last spring demonstrated all-too-well, corporate America is no longer non-partisan. When it comes to social issues, it has responded to pressure from social progressives and abandoned social and religious conservative positions.As Patrick Deneen argued in First . . . . Continue Reading »

Peggy Noonan's Worry

From First Thoughts

Peggy Noonan’s new book, The Time of Our Lives: Collected Writings, is a volume bound to draw readers who are interested American politics and media. She is one of the most devotedly-followed columnists in the country, and this collection contains 83 of her commentaries going back to 1981. . . . . Continue Reading »

When Teachers Don't Matter

From the November 2015 Print Edition

It is only 2 p.m. on a mild afternoon in February, but the hallways are quiet and dim. Dozens of students stroll and chatter and text on the quad outside, but here in the Humanities Building at UCLA, the air is still. It’s a pleasing brick structure in the Romanesque Revival style, four stories high at the center of campus. Passages are wide and ceilings low, benches and administrative rooms on one side, faculty offices on the other, all in soft Mediterranean tones. It has a small library and fourteen classrooms outfitted with the latest audio and video tools, but few teachers and students are in sight. The English department spreads over three floors, and by my count only one out of eight office doors is open. The department has 1,400 majors, and barely a half-dozen of them wait for a chance to speak with a professor. In my slow circuit up and down the corridors, I hear just three lively exchanges between student and teacher.It didn’t used to be so. When I started the English major in Westwood in 1980, it seemed that half the office doors were open each afternoon in Rolfe Hall where the department was then located. Here and there you had to step over the outstretched legs of undergraduates on the floor waiting for consultations. Some of the professors were off-putting, a few downright mean, but even so they were a presence in the hallways. Classrooms were nearby in the other wing, the English Reading Room beneath them on the ground floor, the department office on the bridge between, and an auditorium where the required English 10 A-B-C series met (Beowulf to Joyce) but a few yards away. It made for a coherent experience. Continue Reading »

The Parenting Problems of Age Segregation

From First Thoughts

It has been more than a half-century since James Coleman and his team surveyed students in ten high schools to determine their values and interests and attitudes toward learning. The conclusion was that a new social formation was upon us: the adolescent society. That was the title of the book . . . . Continue Reading »

Sex and Campus

From First Thoughts

The results of a survey of female college students came out this week, and the numbers are distressing. The Association of American Universities commissioned a “Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct,” focusing on “the incidence, prevalence and characteristics of . . . . Continue Reading »

The Flock vs. the Shepherd

From First Thoughts

A poll taken of Long Island Catholics and reported in Newsday has a finding that has become customary in media discussions. While 88 percent of Catholic respondents regard religion as “very important” or “fairly important” in their lives, they aren’t that happy with Church doctrine. . . . . Continue Reading »

The Derridean Echo

From Web Exclusives

When I read this story on the University of Tennessee Office for Diversity and Inclusion asking students and teachers to stop imposing gendered pronouns on one another, I didn’t think about the silliness of trying to create linguistic change by bureaucratic fiat. Or about one more exercise in . . . . Continue Reading »

Bret Stephens and Trump

From First Thoughts

The Donald Trump phenomenon continues, and so does the commentary upon it. In the Wall Street Journal, Bret Stephens termed the latter “a parade of semi-sophisticated theories that act as bathroom deodorizer to mask the stench of this candidacy.” Rusty Reno took note of Stephens’s . . . . Continue Reading »