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Heterodox Academy’s Writers Group Members

The Writers Group is a team of HxA Members 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


  • Ilana Redstone headshot

    Ilana Redstone, Ph.D.

    Faculty Fellow, joined November 2018

    “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.

  • Larry Amsel, M.D., M.P.H.

    Writing Fellow, joined July 2021

    “I had the good fortune of being an undergraduate at the City College of New York and at Columbia in the student activism era of the 1960-70s. The vigorous debate across a really wide diversity of opinion, during that time, was my intoxicating introduction to vigorous intellectual debate and was addictive. I have a watched that debate deteriorate in the American Academy, with sadness and fear. Sadness, because students were being deprived of a genuine intellectual debate among respectful adversaries with diverse opinions. Fear because of what this lost intellectual training will mean for our democracy and our world. Fortunately, in the Writers Group of Heterodox Academy I have re-found that intellectual spirit, it is a homecoming for which I will forever be grateful.”

    Lawrence Amsel an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. His research has focused on four areas. The applications of Game Theory and Behavioral Economics to the understanding of psychiatric phenomena such as suicide, OCD, PTSD, depression and pathologic grief. Second, understanding the long-term effects of mass trauma on children and families, including child survivors of 9/11. He recently edited a book entitled, An International Perspective on Disasters and Children’s Mental Health. Third, is research on suicide prevention based on biological, behavioral, social, and decisional determinants of suicidal behaviors. Fourth, is the application of psychiatry to legal and social issues.

  • Headshot of Patrick Casey

    Patrick Casey, Ph.D.

    Writing Fellow, joined September 2020

    “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 Ph.D. in Philosophy at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and is currently an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Holy Family University. His research interests include philosophy of religion, philosophical hermeneutics, and political philosophy.

  • Colleen Eren, Ph.D.

    Writing Fellow, joined April 2021

    “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, Ph.D., 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, Ph.D.

    Writing Fellow, joined September 2020

    “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 Tomi Gomory

    Tomi Gomory

    Writing Fellow, joined September 2021

    “I am grateful for having a fair minded platform to engage in thoughtful critical discussions about important ideas, policies and programs which very often have complex and differing alternative ways of being addressed. I believe the best way to make progress is through honest rigorous debate by the respective participants reflecting the best available science to confront all perspectives and may the best idea win.”

    Tomi Gomory has worked as a social work clinician/academic for over 30 years, 23 years spent as a tenured faculty at Florida State University. In 2013 he co-authored, “Mad Science: Psychiatric Coercion, Diagnosis, and Drugs,” a book that closely reviews psychiatry and critiques its efforts at addressing Madness through the Medical Model. His research addresses the issues of coercion, outcomes, and evaluation of treatment in mental health. Also he extends these concerns into the domains of  homelessness and higher educational pedagogy.

  • Rachel Hartman

    Writing Fellow, joined April 2021

    “The pursuit of knowledge and truth can only succeed if diverse viewpoints are expressed, but there is mounting pressure for academics to conform to a mainstream ideology that is hostile to heterodox views. I believe that welcoming and engaging with heterodox views is essential to the health of higher education, scholarly inquiry, creativity, and innovative thought. This is especially important the more homogenous academia becomes in terms of the range of ideologies represented within its disciplines.”

    Rachel Hartman is a Ph.D. student in social psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research focuses morality, political polarization, and the differences (and similarities!) between people with different political identities and beliefs. Rachel has written for Harvard Business Review and The Pipettepen.

  • Headshot of Andrew Hartz

    Andrew Hartz, Ph.D.

    Writing Fellow, joined September 2020

    “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.

  • Christina LaRose, Ph.D.

    Writing Fellow, joined April 2021

    “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 Ph.D. 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.

  • Luis Martinez-Fernandez headshot

    Luis Martínez-Fernández, Ph.D.

    Writing Fellow, joined August 2021

    “My parents left their beloved homeland of Cuba to spare their children the indignities of having to chant pro-regime slogans, attend rallies against our will, and conform to communist orthodoxy at school and at work. In exile, by the age of twenty, I decided to pursue a career as history professor and Op-Ed writer because I deemed the academy and journalism as the last true spaces open for honest and safe intellectual debate. Heterodox Academy’s Writers Group offers intellectuals a platform to promote diversity and spouse all sorts of different ideas, be they popular or not.”

    Luis Martínez-Fernández is Pegasus Professor of History at the University of Central Florida. He earned a Ph.D. in History from Duke University and writes and teaches on Latin America and the Caribbean. His latest books are Key to the New World: A History of Early Colonial Cuba and Revolutionary Cuba: A History. A public intellectual, Martinez-Fernandez has served on the boards of numerous organizations including the Board of Trustees of the College Board and writes weekly syndicated columns for Creators Syndicate.

  • Justin McBrayer, Ph.D.

    Writing Fellow, joined May 2021

    “Education won’t happen in an echo chamber.”

    Justin McBrayer is a Professor of Philosophy at Fort Lewis College.  His expertise is in epistemology and ethics.  His most recent book, Beyond Fake News, provides an interdisciplinary explanation for the fake news crisis that has rocked political institutions across the Western world.

  • Martha McCaughey, Ph.D.

    Writing Fellow, joined June 2021

    “As a sociologist of gender and technology, my work addresses controversial issues. Our academic conversations on these topics must occur without government, corporate, religious, or activist interference. Our educational institutions can only be trustworthy, credible sources of information if we are committed to studying, teaching, and debating issues in all their complexity.”

    Martha McCaughey has a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California – Santa Barbara. The author and editor of multiple books and articles on gender, violence, and technology, including Real Knockouts and Cyberactivism on the Participatory Web, her writing has also appeared in Academe, Ms., and The Society Pages. Throughout her 13 years directing high-profile university programs, she embraced heterodox views and academic freedom with creativity and courage.  Currently, she is a professor in sociology at Appalachian State University and research faculty in sociology at the University of Wyoming. She also consults with academic programs on strategic communications and program development.

  • Natasha Mott, Ph.D.

    Writing Fellow, joined August 2021

    “A few years ago I developed the sneaking suspicion that sooner or later, I’d have to choose sides: Science or faith? Totalitarianism or anarchy? Left or right? Like so many, I fell victim to the prevailing culture of false dichotomies that are tugging on the fabric of our society. Balance isn’t always possible, but to find it requires evidence, charitability, humility, and most of all a deeper understanding of each other. This is the HxA Way.”

    Natasha Mott received her Ph.D. in Cell Biology, Neurobiology, and Anatomy from Loyola University Chicago where she studied the molecular actions of estrogens in the brain. Natasha has also worked on science, viewpoint diversity, and democracy reform in the biotech and nonprofit sectors. She is currently writing a new book about the crossroads of science and philosophy.

  • John Louis Recchiuti Headshot

    John Louis Recchiuti, Ph.D.

    Writing Fellow, joined August 2021

    “In the United States we are embarked on a great experiment in representative democracy. The founders, in writing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, parried away authoritarian rule by monarchy, oligarchy, or theocracy in favor of the sovereignty of “We the People.” The Heterodox Academy champions the importance of speaking freely. It seeks to support and defend ideas central to liberal democracy and the project of the Enlightenment—freedom of speech, religious tolerance, and individual liberty. These are needful elements both in higher education and in our representative democracy.”

    John Louis Recchiuti has taught at Columbia University, University of Michigan, and NYU. He is currently the Saffell Endowed Chair and Professor of History at the University of Mount Union. He holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University, a B.A. from Wesleyan University, and an M.A. from Warwick University.  His book, Civic Engagement (University of Pennsylvania Press) was nominated for the Bancroft and Parkman prizes. At the invitation of the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. State Department, and Fulbright, he lectured on founding U.S. ideals and institutions at QAU in Islamabad. He created “The Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition” for the Teaching Company, and served as a founding content creator for the Khan Academy’s APUSH initiative. He has conducted history workshops for K-12 teachers across the United States with the NCHE.

  • Jukka Savolainen headshot

    Jukka Savolainen, Ph.D.

    Writing Fellow, joined August 2021

    “I became an academic because I believe in the ethos of science. For example, I believe we should use the same stringent criteria to evaluate the validity of knowledge claims regardless of how we feel about the content of those claims. I’m not so sure this is what actually happens in my fields of research and teaching. Similar to democracy, human rights, and other social institutions, academic freedom does not happen by default. It needs people willing to defend it. That’s why I joined Heterodox Academy.”

    Jukka Savolainen is a Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. Most of his academic research is focused on crime, violence, and victimization. Recent commentary and opinion articles by Dr. Savolainen have appeared in Slate, USA Today, and selected magazines in his native Finland.

  • Alex Small, Ph.D.

    Writing Fellow, joined April 2021

    “Teaching means helping people, in all their complexity, to understand ideas that took centuries of investigation and debate to develop. Many academics want to believe that there are straightforward ways to get better educational outcomes, provided that everyone just believes the right things. I think teaching is much harder than that, and that every field, regardless of its focus, needs more diversity of thought about the human condition.”

    Alex Small is a Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. His research focuses on the application of optics to biology, as well as computational and statistical physics. He has published extensively with undergraduate student co-authors, and teaches at all levels of the physics curriculum. He has been heavily involved in helping undergraduate students connect with industry professionals to better prepare for their careers after college.

  • Blake Smith, Ph.D.

    Writing Fellow, joined April 2021

    “Both academic and public intellectual life thrive when people can exchange, and therefore enlarge, their perspectives in vigorous, respectful discussion. Ensuring that a diversity of views is present at universities and in media is thus not so much about protecting, or providing ‘representation’ for, a minority opinion held by some group, as it is about allowing each of us access to the sort of enlivening conversation we need to be awakened into thinking.”

    Blake Smith is a Harper Schmidt Fellow in the Society of Fellows at the University of Chicago. A historian of modern France, and literary translator of contemporary francophone fiction, Blake is also a regular contributor to Tablet magazine.

  • Headshot of Erec Smith

    Erec Smith, Ph.D.

    Writing Fellow, joined September 2020

    “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.

  • Alex Stern Headshot

    Alex Stern, Ph.D.

    Writing Fellow, joined August 2021

    “Heterodoxy is a core part of what it means to think well. If our views are formed without rigorous consideration of the possibility that we’re wrong, they tend to fall into error and arrogance. But thinking about being wrong is not something we do naturally, especially when changing our mind might put us at odds with an overwhelming consensus. Good thinking, therefore, requires structures and institutions — like the university at its best — that support open, uncoerced, and productive dialogue around sometimes controversial or uncomfortable ideas.”

    Alexander Stern is an instructor in the Philosophy Department at Loyola University New Orleans. His book, The Fall of Language: Benjamin and Wittgenstein on Meaning, was published in 2019 by Harvard University Press. He’s also written on language, culture, and politics for a number of publications, including the Hedgehog Review, Aeon, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the LA Review of Books, and the New York Times.

  • Michael Strambler Headshot

    Michael Strambler, Ph.D.

    Writing Fellow, joined September 2021

    “There are serious and complex social problems to solve in this world that cause a great deal of suffering. The best way to understand such problems is through reason and scientific inquiry that is unafraid to face the nature and causes of these problems, whatever they may be. Likewise, we need to be open to serious and well-reasoned solutions from anyone willing to offer them. This is why I support viewpoint diversity and the mission of HxA.”

    Mike Strambler is a psychologist and an Associate Professor in the Division of Prevention and Community Research at the Yale School of Medicine. His work has two related themes. One theme focuses on the role of social environments in the academic, psychological, social, and behavioral well-being of children and youth. A second theme focuses on how education practitioners and researcher can collaborate to use data to inform school-based practices and policies for the benefit of students.

  • Headshot of Oliver Traldi

    Oliver Traldi

    Writing Fellow, joined September 2020

    “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.

  • John Wilson Headshot

    John Wilson, Ph.D.

    Writing Fellow, joined August 2021

    “I believe in the importance of not merely tolerating ideas I disagree with, but also engaging and arguing with a wide range of different views. A free society and a free university need tolerance to thrive. And we all need to challenge our own assumptions and question our beliefs.”

    John K. Wilson is an independent scholar who holds a Ph.D. in higher education administration and focuses on academic freedom in his research. He is the author of eight books, including The Myth of Political Correctness: The Conservative Attack on Higher Education and Patriotic Correctness: Academic Freedom and Its Enemies. He was a 2019-20 fellow at the University of California National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement, and is a contributing author for the AAUP’s AcademeBlog.org.


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

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