In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, Americans are discovering that they are divided more deeply, and in more ways, than they had thought. Universities have long sought to study and bridge divisions by race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexual orientation and identity, with the goal of creating welcoming and inclusive communities. But now it is clearer than ever before that the political divide must be addressed as well.
To prepare students for democratic citizenship, leadership, effective political advocacy, and success in the politically diverse workplaces they will soon inhabit, it is vital that universities expose students to a range of viewpoints, ideas, and perspectives (as many have argued throughout the ages). The Heterodox Academy Viewpoint Diversity Reading List makes it easy to do so.
We have selected a variety of essays, videos, and books that make the best ideas from progressives, conservatives, and libertarians freely available in just a few clicks from this page. Our list is designed for college students, but it may be useful in high schools, as well as in companies and other organizations that are experiencing internal conflicts over politics.
We have laid out a three-step plan for approaching political diversity. Rather than jumping right in, which is likely to lead to partisan reactions, defensive thinking, and conflicts within the classroom, we offer readings and videos to cultivate a more open mindset over the course of several hours, or during a semester-long course. Or, you can just browse the materials on your own:
Step 1: Cultivate humility and openness. Begin by reading short quotations from the ancients—East and West–who knew that progress and maturity require us to put aside our everyday pettiness and defensiveness.
Step 2: Prepare for difficult encounters. Practice some tools—such as acknowledgment and perspective taking. Learn about the value of having your beliefs challenged, or of discovering that you were wrong about something.
Step 3: Learn about political diversity. After reviewing steps 1 and 2, you should have the ability and willingness to actively listen to others- even those with whom you disagree politically.
- For instructors, see this page of resources to help you lead discussions [in process].
- If you have ideas for how to use the viewpoint diversity reading list in your school or company, or if you want to suggest additional readings, email us at: email@example.com.