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Heterodox Academy’s Writers Group Members

The Writers Group is a team of individuals associated with higher ed or K-12 education who are interested in writing about viewpoint diversity, open inquiry, and constructive disagreement. The Writers Group is led by HxA Faculty Fellow Ilana Redstone and meets as a team every week. For more information, including how to join the Writers Group, click here


  • Headshot of Ilana Redstone

    Ilana Redstone

    Faculty Fellow

    “I am concerned about the way we teach, think, and talk about sensitive and controversial topics that touch identity and inequality. The boundaries on our public discourse have narrowed to the point that, when it comes to our most complicated social problems, we are often pressured to act as though the causes were simple and obvious. For this and other reasons, I share the HxA mission.”

    Ilana Redstone is an Associate Professor of sociology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has a joint Ph.D. in demography and sociology from the University of Pennsylvania. Ilana is the founder of Diverse Perspectives Consulting, the co-author of “Unassailable Ideas: How Unwritten Rules and Social Media Shape Discourse in American Higher Education,” a Faculty Fellow at Heterodox Academy, and the creator of the “Beyond Bigots and Snowflakes” video series, based on her course by the same name.

  • Headshot of Patrick Casey

    Patrick Casey

    Writing Fellow

    “Philosophy involves examining our own beliefs and trying to discern what is true with the ultimate purpose of learning how to live well. Viewpoint diversity is integral to this process because it is often only when we engage with sincere, intelligent, and moral individuals who happen to think very differently than we do that we become aware of and willing to question our own assumptions.”

    Patrick J. Casey earned his PhD in Philosophy at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. His research interests include philosophy of religion, philosophical hermeneutics, and political philosophy.

  • Colleen Eren

    Writing Fellow

    “As I grew up in a Muslim/Christian and interethnic household, the “heterodox” idea of respect for, and appreciation for different worldviews while honoring the inherent dignity of our common humanity, is not only familiar but deeply personal.  Looking at the history of thought and science, we see that without exposure to a diversity of thought, there is only religiosity of thought, which produces not only stagnation, repression, the stifling of curiosity and innovation, but can lead to the creation of “others” whose perspectives are dismissed, and thus to dehumanization.”

    Colleen Eren, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice at William Paterson University. Her research focuses on white-collar crime, social movements on criminal justice issues, and criminal justice education. Her book, Bernie Madoff and the Crisis: The Public Trial of Capitalism, examined how the Ponzi scheme became a vehicle through which the public discussed the financial crisis of 2008. She has been featured in several documentaries about the Madoff case and has been published in the New York Times on the subject of compassionate release. She is writing a new book, Reform-Nation: The Movement to End Over-Incarceration for Stanford University Press. She also is co-author of the textbook, The Impact of Supreme Court Decisions on U.S. Institutions: A Sociology of Law Primer.

  • Headshot of Andrew Glover

    Andrew Glover

    Writing Fellow

    “I value the mission of Heterodox Academy because I believe that no single ideology or political persuasion has a monopoly on truth. Academics are humans too, with all the biases and vulnerabilities that every human has. We need colleagues and students with diverse viewpoints to create a vibrant, productive culture of inquiry.”

    Andrew Glover is a Research Fellow at RMIT University, Australia. His academic work focuses on the social aspects of energy, sustainability, mobility, and remote work. He has written for Quillette, The Australian, and Areo Magazine.

  • Headshot of Christian Gonzalez

    Christian Gonzalez

    Writing Fellow

    “I support Heterodox Academy’s mission for many reasons, the most important one being that viewpoint diversity strengthens the quality of research and teaching. I also lament the fact that the academy so badly neglects conservative thought. The right has a very rich intellectual tradition, and I think it should be engaged with more closely and fairly.”

    Christian is a PhD student in political theory at Georgetown University. His research focuses on the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Christian is interested in the French and American revolutions, the rise of abolitionism, the expansion of the suffrage, and the birth of modern ideologies such as conservatism, liberalism, and socialism. He also writes for popular outlets, including Heterodox Academy’s blog. Christian is originally from Caracas, Venezuela, but he was raised in Miami.

  • Headshot of Andrew Hartz

    Andrew Hartz

    Writing Fellow

    “An Islamic mystic said that it’s a great sin to divide people up into groups and say only good things about some and only bad things about others. This process separates us from each other and disrupts the love that people naturally feel toward each other. It can take peaceful unified societies, and turn them into ones filled with chaos, ignorance, hatred, and division. This is a powerful teaching. Hopefully, by confronting splitting, we can overcome this dynamic and make the world a more just and enlightened place.”

    Andrew Hartz, Ph.D. is an adjunct professor of clinical psychology at Long Island University—Brooklyn, where he teaches psychodynamic theory, cross-cultural spirituality, and viewpoint diversity and their impact on psychotherapy. His work at Heterodox Academy has focused on “splitting,” the process of framing ideas, individuals, and groups of people in all-or-nothing terms. He’s also a psychologist in private practice in New York City.

  • Headshot of Samantha Hedges

    Samantha Hedges

    Writing Fellow

    “Educating our youth is one of the most important endeavors that we undertake as a society. Whether in a K-12 or college classroom, when there are questions that cannot be asked or lines of inquiry that cannot be pursued, not only are we shortchanging our youth, we risk regressing as a society.”

    Samantha Hedges has a Ph.D. in Education Policy Studies from Indiana University. Prior to earning her Ph.D., she was an elementary school teacher for Chicago Public Schools and public policy advocate for child and youth public health programs, early childhood education, and youth afterschool programs. While pursuing her Ph.D., she studied evidence use in policymaking for K-12 education and taught an undergraduate course that prepared aspiring teachers to enter the profession. In addition to serving as a writing fellow, she works with Heterodox Academy to create tools and resources for K-12 educators.

  • Christina LaRose Headshot

    Christina LaRose

    Writing Fellow

    “I strongly support Heterodox Academy’s mission because I believe that understanding the complexities of the human condition, and our world, requires curiosity, intellectual humility, and open-mindedness. To improve society, it is necessary to honestly discuss the nature of our collective problems by engaging with a variety of perspectives. It is also important to assess proposed solutions and make changes when evidence suggests that an approach is ineffective. I believe that we all share a universal humanity that unites us, transcending our gender, ethnicity, nationality, and other characteristics. I seek to promote freedom of thought, reason, and artistic expression.”

    Christina LaRose has a PhD in English Literature and Women’s Studies from the University of Michigan. Her writing has appeared in Live Science, Humanity & Society, Third Coast literary magazine, and HAWWA: Journal of Women of the Middle East and the Islamic World, among other publications. She received the University of Michigan English Department’s Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award (2014) and has also taught writing at Purdue University Northwest and Ohio State University. Currently, she is a researcher at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where she designs curricula that improve viewpoint diversity, intellectual humility, and critical thinking.

  • Headshot of Erec Smith

    Erec Smith

    Writing Fellow

    “I became dedicated to viewpoint diversity when I saw my field of rhetoric and composition devolving into a bastion of dogmatic ideologues intolerant of opposing views, dialogue, and critical inquiry. When I, a black man, was labeled a white supremacist for pointing out the divisive and nonsensical nature of anti-racist pedagogy in my field, I realized that I had to do whatever I could to fight this new orthodoxy of intolerance and group-think.”

    Erec Smith is an Associate Professor of Rhetoric at York College of Pennsylvania. Although he has eclectic scholarly interests, Smith’s primary focuses on the rhetorics of anti-racist activism, theory, and pedagogy. In his latest book, A Critique of Anti-racism in Rhetoric and Composition: The Semblance of Empowerment, Smith addresses the detriments of anti-racist rhetoric and writing pedagogy based on identity and prefigurative politics and suggests that a more empowering form anti-racism be considered.

  • Headshot of Oliver Traldi

    Oliver Traldi

    Writing Fellow

    “I care about the Heterodox mission because it is ultimately the mission of the life of the mind: to scrutinize all of our beliefs, internally and in conversation with others, and to assess whether our confidence in them is really justified – and in so doing, to respond to intellectual fashions with independent and critical thought.”

    Oliver Traldi is a graduate student in philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. Most of his research is in epistemology, the branch of philosophy concerned with beliefs and reasons to hold them. He has studied topics like the value of knowledge, the rational response to disagreement, which beliefs are justified and which aren’t, the nature of expertise, and the question of whether some beliefs are unethical to hold. He is currently working on a textbook on the epistemology of political beliefs. His public writing has appeared in outlets like American Affairs, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Commentary, the Hedgehog Review, Quillette, and Tablet, and he is a regular contributor for ArcDigital.

Interested in joining Heterodox Academy’s Writers Group? Click here for more information.

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