The Critical Theory of Academia
(work in progress)
The Critical Theory of Academia places the saga of The Star Chamber of Stanford under an intellectual microscope, drawing on a range of thinkers to further illuminate the memoir’s philosophical dimensions. Building on The Star Chamber’s critique of the cognitive elites and their New Class values, Guldmann exposes the quasi-religious asceticism that animates academia’s prevailing ethos, problematizing these through the theory of modernity set forth in Conservative Claims of Cultural Oppression. Against the idolatry of expertise and professionalism, Guldmann attacks the vices of scholarly seriousness while advancing a countercultural vision of an intellect organically rooted in the whole human being. Academia exalts its technocratic drives as rigor and maturity, but Guldmann argues that humanists’ histrionic mimicry of scientists is fueled by pathologies hostile to intellectual freedom. By placing those pathologies in proper cultural and historical context, Guldmann shows how the trials and tribulations of The Star Chamber encapsulated contradictions that are intrinsic to modernity, which his gaslighting at Stanford merely amplified and articulated.