Heterodox Academy membership has been steadily growing, as more academics become aware of the many benefits viewpoint diversity provides students, professors, and administrators. In a typical week, however, we add somewhere between 10 and 15 new members, but last week we inducted 53. Though we can’t be certain, this interest was likely motivated by media appearances by co-founder Jonathan Haidt discussing the events at Middlebury College and increased attention on the issue of political orthodoxy on campus. Here are some points to consider about our new members:
1. None of the new members are from Middlebury. This isn’t a knock against Middlebury; I expect some Middlebury professors will join in the near future. But this fact suggests that concern about the Middlebury incident isn’t localized. Even if we expand “local” to mean the Northeast where Middlebury is located, we only find 12 of the 53 new members are from that area.
2. Two new members are from Canada and one is from Spain. The rest are from American universities, which is a continuation of previous trends in membership.
3. Charles Murray was invited to Middlebury by a political scientist, but only two new members are from political science. However, Murray’s research touches on intelligence, a psychological topic, and the modal discipline among new members in psychology at 9 (or 10 if you count psychiatry). Physics and economics are tied in second place at four new members from each discipline.
4. Murray also focuses on stratification, which is traditionally sociological and economic. Three new members are from sociology departments and four are from economics departments.
5. None of these members come from foreign languages or area studies (China studies, African-American studies, etc.).
6. From their first names, I estimate that 11 new members are female and 42 are male.
7. The ideological makeup of these 53 members is 15 centrist, 22 left/progressive, and 8 libertarian/classical liberal. Five new members chose “other,” “prefer not to say,” or “unclassifiable” for the ideology question. Only three chose “right/conservative.” These proportions are representative of a cross-section of contemporary academia.
The last point, about ideological makeup, is crucial. Of the 499 members who have answered the ideology question on the membership form, here is the breakdown:
Our goal has never been to be a conservative or anti-Left organization, although some people have leveled that accusation against us. Our members are not defined by an ideology, and we will continue to ensure that professors of all ideologies are welcome here. What does unify us is an anxiety about how our research and teaching are constrained due to the political homogenization of our academic institutions. If you are concerned too, please consider joining us.