I have mentioned that next Fall, I shall be flying up to New York every Tuesday to co-teach a course with Todd Gitlin in the Sociology Department of Columbia University. The course is an undergraduate seminar entitled "The Mystifications of Social Reality." Today begins enrollment for the Fall ["rising seniors" today, in the jargon of the modern Academy.] Out of obsessive curiosity, I went on line to check the course and see how many seniors had signed up. To my distress, I could not find the course in the list of offerings, so I called the Department secretary. She knew from nothing, so I called the office of the Chair, Shamus Kahn and left a message. Todd emailed me to say that he had heard from Kahn who knew nothing about it. Todd and I talked, and agreed that he would get onto the department [where he is a professor] and have someone correct the list of offerings and send a message to students about a "new course."
Now, one could speculate that this is an act of political suppression, but that is clearly untrue. This is by no means the edgiest course being offered in Sociology next semester. No, alas, it is just good old fashioned incompetence, of a sort with which I am too, too familiar in the Academy.
Fortunately, Todd says, students keep signing up all Spring. But it is a good thing I am so obsessive, or we would have had no students at all.