Moby Dick Hatred is Not a Legitimate Course

Title page of the first edition of Moby-Dick, ...

Dear  Howard,

I agree with the sentiment of your recent letter. It was not appropriate for a faculty member outside of English to offer a course on Moby Dick. This was aggravated by the inflammatory title of the course, “Hating Moby Dick: Not Reading Melville in America.” I agree that such a course hardly speaks well of Willard College and it does little to help the embattled humanities. Moreover, it is understandable that a scholar such as yourself, who spent his career publishing books like “Knots: Ropes as Metaphor in Moby Dick” and “Why Were there no Women on the Pequod?: Moby Dick as Degendered Literary Space” would find the “Hating Moby Dick” course a slap in the face.

But let me also remind you that the new Faculty Curriculum Freedom Policy does stipulate that neither the College administration nor individual departments may prevent faculty from teaching any course that meets the basic curricular and assessment requirements. Furthermore, one suspects that you and the professor of record for the course, have what some consider to be a rather long and personal feud.

I hope that the two of you can resolve this without resorting to either mediation, or lawyers, as happened last year. I would also ask that you not send your letter to the New York Times or other media outlets as the topic at hand is not of national concern in anyway that I can discern.

Have a great weekend, Henry Cotton

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