We are a politically diverse group of social scientists, natural scientists, humanists, and other scholars who want to improve our academic disciplines and universities.
We share a concern about a growing problem: the loss or lack of “viewpoint diversity.” When nearly everyone in a field shares the same political orientation, certain ideas become orthodoxy, dissent is discouraged, and errors can go unchallenged.
To reverse this process, we have come together to advocate for a more intellectually diverse and heterodox academy.
Recent Blog Posts
The weekly roundup is moving to a leaner format this week. I’m featuring more articles with less commentary. As always, the roundup includes both perspectives that I agree and disagree with, so the inclusion of an article doesn’t entail its endorsement.
On the Web
Conservatives say campus speech is under threat. That’s been true for most of history by professor of journalism and sociology Todd Gitlin, in the Washington Post
Does biology explain why men outnumber women in tech? by social psychologist Alice Eagly, in The Conversation
UC Berkeley chancellor unveils ‘Free Speech Year’ as right-wing speakers plan campus events by Teresa Watanabe in the Los Angeles Times
For moral clarity, don’t look to universities by U.Va. professor of German Studies Chad Wellmon in The Chronicle of Higher Ed
In this episode, Chris Martin (@Chrismartin76) interviews Jacques Berlinerblau (@berlinerblau), a professor and director of the Center for Jewish Civilization at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Jacques talks about his new book, Campus Confidential: How College Works or Doesn’t, for Professors, Parents, and Students
0:00 Three factions in humanities departments 04:40 Advice for grads and undergrads in the humanities 11:20 How to repair the academy 13:30 Active learning and elite high school students 16:30 What should professors be like? 19:45 The secret weapon or creating intellectual diversity 24:00 The big fissure in the intellectual world 28:35 Does left-wing ideology resemble a religion?
Related Links: Campus Confidential on Amazon: When your next college free speech controversy erupts, don’t blame liberals (Washington Post) by Jacques Berlinerblau: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/g…
Quote on the Three Factions in the Humanities: People like Bill Maher strangely enough or Fox News often... Read more →
The Politics of Social Psychology, edited by Lee Jussim and Jarret Crawford is out in print and e-book formats this week. It’s a compilation of essays covering political biases that have influenced social psychological research, and it includes contributions from several HxA members. While most of the book documents the bias problem, the two concluding chapters (one ungated here) put forward some solutions.
The New York Times Education Life supplement has four articles on campus politics: More Diversity Means More Demands, which includes graphs of the the change in political orientation across college cohorts; Behind Berkeley’s Semester of Hate, featuring interviews with Antifa and alt-right protestors; Professors as Targets of Internet Outrage; and Liberal Lessons in Taking Back America.
Nicholas Dirks, former chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley argues that political actions by both the left and the right are fundamentally changing American universities for the... Read more →
The recent Google Memo on diversity, and the immediate firing of its author, James Damore, have raised a number of questions relevant to the mission of Heterodox Academy. Large corporations deal with many of the same issues that we wrestle with at universities, such as how to seek truth and achieve the kinds of diversity we want, being cognizant that we are tribal creatures often engaged in motivated reasoning, operating within organizations that are at risk of ideological polarization.In this post, we address the central empirical claim of Damore’s memo, which is contained in its second sentence. Read more →
Philosopher Nicholas Shackel coined the term “motte-and-bailey” to describe the rhetorical strategy in which a debater retreats to an uncontroversial claim when challenged on a controversial one. The structure goes something like this: Read more →
Claremont McKenna College (CMC) has highlighted their position at the top of our Guide to Colleges Top 50 Liberal Arts Schools in the United States in a new piece posted to their newsroom. Read more →
Conor Friedersdorf summarized the hearing held by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on challenges to freedom of speech on college campuses. Particularly noteworthy is HxA member Nadine Strossen’s testimony on how to differentiate between speech expressing hatred and speech presenting clear and present danger of harm.
Drawing on HxA Academy’s research and political science research by our members on viewpoint diversity, HxA’s communications director, Jeremy Willinger, writes about standing up for the heterodox academy in Spiked.
Lauren Camera covers the wave of state legislation intended to protect free speech on college campuses. At The Hill, Sarah Ruger points out some flaws with the Goldwater Institute’s model legislation.
On our blog, social psychologists Brett Mercier and Craig Blatz summarized their research on how people under-estimate how certain their political opponents are.
Lastly, here is our latest academic membership breakdown by ideology:
Read more →
We propose that political discussions often proceed poorly because when people describe their views, they describe not only their position on the issue, but also the certainty with which they hold this position. Read more →
Psychologist and emotion researcher Lisa Feldman Barrett distinguishes between provocateurs who are part of a consistent campaign of bullying, and controversial researchers whose ideas are offensive. She argues that only the former are violent.
In a response to Barrett, Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff argue that it’s a bad idea to tell students that any kind of speech is violence.
Social psychologist Mark Leary describes the association between polarization and extreme confidence in the rightness of one’s views.
In Professors in the Political Cross Hairs, The Chronicle of Higher Education features 10 articles about internet outrage against academics. Of these 10 articles, two are new articles about Texas A&M philosopher Tommy Curry—the first (paywalled) article covers Curry himself, and the second has an interactive table showing news stories about Curry in partisan and nonpartisan media.
Claremont McKenna College suspended five students who led the attempt to shut... Read more →
Wanted: Someone who cares about universities and research who can lead an effort to improve universities and research. Heterodox Academy is a rapidly growing collaboration of more than a thousand professors, evenly balanced between left and right. We have come together to discuss ways of improving the academy by enhancing viewpoint diversity and the conditions that encourage free inquiry. We have a robust membership, a popular website, and prominent media presence. To grow further we need to hire an Executive Director. The ideal candidate will understand the academic world and have the skills needed to influence it. Our dream candidate would be someone who has earned a Ph.D. and who has also run an organization. Read more →
To increase viewpoint diversity in the academy.
- We are seeking an Executive Director
- HxA Membership Surpasses 1,000 Professors
- HxA releases updated Guide to Colleges
- Announcing the Viewpoint Diversity Experience
- Van Jones’ excellent metaphors about the dangers of ideological safety
- Why progressive professors should join HxA, especially now
- HxA top ten blog posts from 2016