Is There Indoctrination in American Universities?

“The indoctrination that occurs in American universities is one of the keys to the left holding and maintaining power in America. And it is indoctrination. If it was the other way around, the ACLU would be out there making sure there wasn’t one penny of government dollars going to colleges and universities. If they taught Judeo-Christian principles in those colleges and universities, they’d be stripped of every dollar. If they teach radical secular ideology, they get all the government support that they can possibly get.”

—Rick Santorum

I don’t know what Santorum, who thinks that a pregnancy ensuing as a result of rape is a gift from God, considers to be “Judeo-Christian values.” I don’t know if he understands the concept of values at all. I’m pretty sure, however, that he doesn’t have the slightest inkling as to what college teaching is all about.

I come into the classroom and every single time do all I can to ensure that my students feel completely free to express and explore any opinions and beliefs they have. When I was a union organizer, for example, I had a student deliver a passionate presentation on the evil nature of unions. Santorum probably thinks I, an evil commie-pinko Liberal latte-chugging college prof, eviscerated him for that. The truth that this vile ignoramus cannot even begin to comprehend is that I gave this student 100% because his presentation was extremely well-researched, well-argued and delivered in amazing Spanish. And I felt proud of him.

Last Tuesday, students in one of my courses once again tried to gang up on my sole Conservative anti-Obama student. Santorum probably believes that I encouraged my fellow Liberal students to pounce on her. The truth, however, is that I made everybody settle down and said, “Sheila has some very important and interesting things to say. Let’s listen to her and not interrupt.” And then I helped her argue her anti-Obama case. And the reason why I did this is because when I teach my course, I could care less about Obama and the elections. I care whether all students get a chance to speak and that they use the subjunctive correctly when they speak.

As much as I might want to share with my students my deep-seated belief that Santorum is a blabbering idiot and a vile jerk, I’ll never do that. Because contrary to what Santorum thinks, I don’t indoctrinate. And the reason why he finds it so impossible to imagine that thousands of professors come to work to teach their students French literature, mathematics, geography, physics, Arabic, etc. and never try to indoctrinate anybody is because Santorum thinks that everybody is as dishonest and willing to force their ideology onto others as he is.

And to conclude: when Santorum gets pregnant as a result of rape or absolutely anything else, he is entitled to treat that pregnancy as a gift from God, a Nobel Prize, or a manifestation on Judeo-Christian values. In the meanwhile, though, he should stop make pronouncements about things he knows nothing about, such as pregnancies, college education, and values.

82 thoughts on “Is There Indoctrination in American Universities?”

    1. Ok so you are 1 in 5,000 professors nationwide… Agree with it or not, there is too much evidence that America’s “high profile” secular universities are becoming more and more indoctrinated than there is evidence against it.

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  1. What a vile creepazoid. I’m a university student, and maybe Santorum thinks I’m too naive to know I’m being “indoctrinated”, but my experience at both my unis has been nothing like he describes. It’s a chance for me to exercise my brain, and think more critically about the world around me and come to my own conclusions. I guess because some of the conclusions I reached on my own don’t match Santorum’s ideas, I must just be brainwashed.

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    1. What truly bothers him is obviously that there is NO indoctrination on campus. He wants college life to be centered on people getting endlessly indoctrinated into his warped beliefs.

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      1. That’s what I tend to think, too, whenever I hear someone grouse about “liberal indoctrination” at colleges — it’s not indoctrination per se that bothers them, it’s the thought that their children might be getting the wrong kind of indoctrination.

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  2. He is so crazy. Brilliant response. What kind of person thinks education is bad. It’s so embarrassing when I think of how privileged we are that we live in a country that.. rather than struggling to improve itself and establish higher education and provide better education to all (although we do this too) like so many developing nations, we actually have people who can say “no thanks, I had homeschool, I’m full. no college for me.” It’s embarrassing to me that other developed nations might look at our education and think, okay the quality is poor in primary school, and now there is man from the US running to be “THE LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD” who doesn’t think university education is a good idea.

    Seriously, I think we are not understanding what a dire stage in our history we are at. It is literally retarded. I mean that in the sense that we have for the past two hundred years, in our own flawed way, been striving for progress and betterment. We admired education and intelligence in our leaders. Now we are at a stage where we think smart people are just show-offs and “no one liked the smartest kid in the class”, a few years ago we had a woman running for VP who can’t speak in complete sentences or understand the importance of science and fruit fly research, now we have someone running for office who thinks college is bad and rape-babies are good.

    I just don’t know anymore.. I just don’t know.

    And no, I do not indoctrinate my students either. If they make a political claim I ask them to provide evidence and reasons, whether they are liberal or conservative. I didn’t let anyone refer to the president of the united states with disrespect whether it was Pres. Bush or Pres. Obama in power. All views are respected if they are presented respectfully and with credibility. I’m teaching critical thinking, not belief and values. But are many educators liberal? Yes. Some are conservative, yes. Perhaps there are more liberals as humanities teachers because we value humanities more. What in god’s name is wrong with that?

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  3. Writing at the Frum Forum, someone named Nils August Andreson argued in a 3-part series that Republicans had an increasing problem with the educated because of pervasive anti-intellectualism and anti-science* in their party. Basically, students and the educated weren’t indoctrinated into the Democratic Party so much as being driven away by the Republicans.

    In addition, the GOP often changes the meaning of “indoctrination” to something like “challenging my beliefs” or “saying that some aspect of my ideology is false”. I don’t mean some hot-button culture War issue like abortion, but rather demonstrably false beliefs like creationism. If someone takes a biology course at university, sees the evidence, and concludes that evolution is true and that their previous belief in creationism is false, they haven’t been indoctrinated; they’ve come to accept the actual reality.

    *I know that there are also anti-science elements in the Democratic Party, however they pretty much aren’t the base and don’t run the Democratic Party. Compare with how the Religious Right is a crucial part of the GOP base and nearly a kingmaker.

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  4. I don’t know if you are the exception to the rule, or if was taught by the exceptions, but indoctrination of the leftist, socialist agenda was FRONT AND CENTRE when I studied the humanities in University.

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    1. A good teacher makes students think and teaches them to hone their argumentative skills by arguing the opposite of what the majority believes. If I have a mostly Marxist classroom, for example, I will provoke them by strongly anti-Marxist arguments. If the class is mostly Conservative, I will provoke the students by quoting Marx and Zizek.

      Might that have been what happened?

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      1. Nope. A bunch of nodding donkey liberals, with the teachers basking in their liberal enlightenment.

        To be fair – that was in the humanities. Over in the economics department, god help you if you weren’t an Adam Smith disciple.

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      2. “indoctrination of the leftist, socialist agenda”

        Did they give you a snazzy uniform, or is that only the right-wing, fascist agenda?

        What college did you attend and what program were you in? My undergrad was a very liberal humanities college and I had some openly leftist profs but I would classify what most of them encouraged as critical thinking and evidence-based analysis. Students who just parroted ideology, be it right- or left-wing, were the ones who did poorly.

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    2. It may be a function of what you studied, Patrick. (I know you studied “the humanities,” but that is a very broad category, encompassing subjects that don’t come within a million rhetorical miles of politics, like, say, medieval history or French literature, as well as those that have to deal with the political, like women’s studies, American studies, more recent history etc.)

      I went to college fairly recently, and never encountered anything you could call indoctrination. Indeed, I was ignorant of all but one of my professors’ political views, and the one only mentioned in an aside once that he was a Republican.

      I studied both a science subject (biochemistry) — I imagine science, engineering, math etc. are all fields you can get degrees in without ever hearing anything political from your instructors — and a humanities subject (English literature, mostly old), at a big state university in a conservative Midwestern state. (Obviously, the politics of your college instructors probably also varies with where you go to school.)

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  5. There are some professors who are respectful of student’s beliefs, but others are absolutely terrible.

    I once had a sociology professor who would make up whatever facts she wanted, and then tell you to shut up if you pointed out she was wrong. I wrote down some of the least factual things she said here:

    http://www.hookingupsmart.com/forum/feminism-marriage-economics-culture/stupid-things-my-feminist-professor-said/

    I also know another professor who said she was bullied by her department head for not holding the right political beliefs. Eventually, she had to leave the university.

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    1. I can’t keep silent on the subject of the g-spot, even though it is not related to this topic. 🙂

      1. It definitely exists.
      2. Its existence has nothing whatsoever to do with needing a man to have an orgasm.
      2. Needing a man for whatever reason does not make one un-feminist or morally and sexually defective. Just like not needing a man.

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  6. Well, indoctrination doesn’t work anyway, as evidenced by the reactions in this thread of those who have undergone it or feel they have. There is no way, with 3 class hours per week, that I can counter a lifetime and 24 x 7 – 3 hours of another kind of influence … even if “indoctrination” *were* my goal.

    What Santorum is actually worried about, I think, is that people do become more rational in college – they tend to learn a lot of facts and logic – and quite a few stop being right wingers of the irrational/punitive kind (of Santorum’s kind).

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    1. “There is no way, with 3 class hours per week, that I can counter a lifetime and 24 x 7 – 3 hours of another kind of influence … even if “indoctrination” *were* my goal.”

      – Good point. It’s hard enough to get the students to stop texting and start listening.

      “What Santorum is actually worried about, I think, is that people do become more rational in college – they tend to learn a lot of facts and logic – and quite a few stop being right wingers of the irrational/punitive kind (of Santorum’s kind).”

      – Exactly.

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  7. Gudenuf –

    Actually, I think I’m going to count up upcoming presidential votes in my main subunit. To see how radical we all are.

    [Think, make tally sheet]: Result:

    – 50% say they will vote Obama or in my case, points left.
    – 25% will vote Republican for sure, always do.
    – 25% are not eligible to vote in US but would be swing voters if they were: they’re not paleoconservative types, but they vote for conservative parties back home.

    Considering that Obama is a centrist, not a lefty, this is actually a pretty moderate panorama and not atypical for faculty, in my experience.

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  8. I have noticed many students feel outraged and complain (this might be because of the area in which I live) when a professor challenges their beliefs with facts and logic. If you feel offended by any notion that your beliefs are just that – beliefs, not facts – and if you can’t handle these things being challenged, when appropriate and relevant – you don’t belong in college.

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    1. I see a lot of my old high school classmates on facebook complain about that. They’re now all either going to the local community college, or UH Manoa, and get upset whenever a professor talks about evolution or anthropology, or contradicts Christianity in any way. But they don’t challenge the professor in class, they just “put up with it” so they can get a good grade, but their beliefs remain unchanged.
      What’s scary about that is that many of them are studying to become nurses and teachers, two groups who really should have a respect for the truth above ideology.

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  9. Some things can never be un-thought. Ever since my son told me that :

    (taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campaign_for_%22santorum%22_neologism) Dan Savage began a campaign to (in Savage’s words) “memorialize the Santorum scandal […] by attaching his name to a sex act that would make his big, white teeth fall out of his big, empty head”

    Every time I hear Santorum’s name I can’t help but smile. I will leave it up to the reader to check the wiki article for the winning definition.

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  10. Why are students talking about Obama in a Spanish language class? Even if you are willing to keep the attackers off the anti-Obama student, I suspect that many teachers wouldn’t have done the same thing.

    Also maybe you and some others might be non-political, but Santorum’s case is stronger than you give him credit for. Santorum isn’t describing 100% of all college teachers. He’s referring to institutional themes.

    Look at all the number of ethnic studies departments, and the mission of women’s studies departments –they’re there to train and empower future activists. Look at the way history is taught–it often focuses on ethnic and minority groups rather than on broad political and social themes. How often do history students read anything that is critical of Woodrow Wilson or FDR, compared with how often they read things that praise them? How much do universities emphasize Keynes over Hayek. How often do professors make snarky comments about Obama compared to how often they made snarky comments about Bush?
    These questions , and others like them,are the ones that are relevant to Santorum’s point .

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    1. “How often do history students read anything that is critical of Woodrow Wilson or FDR,”

      Lies My Teacher Told Me, and just about any material relating to the Japanese internment in North America, if you’re interested in the reading list of my Intro to American History course.
      And unless you have installed microphones and cameras inside every single classroom ever, the rest is just kind of empty strawmen with no backup data.
      There appears to be an interesting double standard about academia in the conservative playbook: In one corner of their mouth, they’re complaining about “stifling academic freedom” by having students and professors demand material and resources which teach more than one world view, and in the other corner, they’re complaining about how they want their view to get equal representation among all these big bad departments which promote indoctrination.
      So, what is it? Academic freedom, or include only the views which you think are the ones worth teaching? You can’t support both without giving yourself a bad case of cognitive dissonance.

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      1. My question was how often, not what your personal practice is. There’s plenty more to put in that’s critical of Wilson and FDR than the Japanese internment, so if you’re not including any of it you’re doing your students a disservice. And no you don’t need cameras and listening devices in every classroom. You can look at a bunch of syllabi, you can look at what students complain about, you can look at what professors write in various publicatons.

        If a college has numerous courses in labor history, women’s history, gay history, ethnic history, etc. and one course in American political history (and uses Howard’s Zinn’s book at the textbook) then it tells you somehting about the agenda. If the college requires all male students to attend a screening of She Fears You like they did at Hamilton College then you know something about that college as well. If the college has a residence life program like the U of Delaware did, and maybe still does, that tells you something also. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

        I lost you on what you think is the double standard. Your take on the conservative position is a caricature of it. . I don’t know any academic conservative who’s opposed to teaching Keynes in economics for example. Nor do I know any conservative who’s opposed to teaching from sources that think that FDR did some positive things. But how can a prof claim not to be indoctrinating if the only viewpoints he teaches are those that are in vogue in academia.

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        1. “If a college has numerous courses in labor history, women’s history, gay history, ethnic history, etc. and one course in American political history (and uses Howard’s Zinn’s book at the textbook) then it tells you somehting about the agenda. ”

          – I need to hear the name of this college and also why it looms so large to you.

          “You can look at a bunch of syllabi”

          – Have you? Please list your credentials in this area.

          “you can look at what professors write in various publicatons.”

          – Which scholarly journals do you read on a regular basis and what concrete criticisms can you make of them?

          ” If the college requires all male students to attend a screening of She Fears You like they did at Hamilton College then you know something about that college as well.”

          – What is this “Hamilton College” and why do we care about some dinky place nobody knows about?

          “If a college has numerous courses in labor history, women’s history, gay history, ethnic history, etc. and one course in American political history (and uses Howard’s Zinn’s book at the textbook) then it tells you somehting about the agenda. If the college requires all male students to attend a screening of She Fears You like they did at Hamilton College then you know something about that college as well. If the college has a residence life program like the U of Delaware did, and maybe still does, that tells you something also. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

          – That’s the sloppiest, shoddiest, vaguest writing I have read in a while. Something, something, something, tip of the iceberg. Do you read your own writing? Something tells you something about something else. Seriously?

          “But how can a prof claim not to be indoctrinating if the only viewpoints he teaches are those that are in vogue in academia.”

          – Buddy, you can barely string a sentence along. Please start pretending like you know anything about academia. “Sources that think that FDR did some positive things” is a statement that is acceptable when coming from a 7-year-old. If you are older than that, you need to learn to express yourself better. At the very least, try to avoid the endless “some”, “something”, “thing”, etc.

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    2. You can talk about anything in a foreign language class. I’d rather have the topics all be on the foreign culture, but it is said, and is to a point true, that you have to let students talk about things they are familiar with and that interest them. And class gets bland and boring if you don’t allow anything controversial to be said.

      Women’s and ethnic studies departments were instituted in response to student demand.

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      1. But shouldn’t the discussion be non political. There can be plenty to talk about that won’t require you to divulge your political preferences.

        Women’s and ethnic studies might have been instituted in response to student demand, but that doesn’t mean they don’t indoctrinate.

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        1. “But shouldn’t the discussion be non political. There can be plenty to talk about that won’t require you to divulge your political preferences.”

          – Who said anything about REQUIRING people to divulge their preferences? Please read carefully. I have explained at length that the assignment consisted of describing the appearance and personality of celebrities using the new vocabulary. It is so annoying when people are too lazy to read a short post and start showering you with ridiculous accusations based on their weird fantasies. I’m seriously insulted by this.

          “Women’s and ethnic studies might have been instituted in response to student demand, but that doesn’t mean they don’t indoctrinate.”

          – maybe you should first find something out about how they work and what their mission statement is and then argue.

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    3. “Why are students talking about Obama in a Spanish language class?”

      – That’s a very strange question. How else do you think people learn to speak a language if not through talking about a variety of subjects in it? Do you think we sit there for years repeating grammar rules to each other?

      “Look at all the number of ethnic studies departments”

      – Yes, let’s look at them. The number is minimal. I can maybe think of one at my university. That is, if African-American Studies count as such.

      “and the mission of women’s studies departments –they’re there to train and empower future activists”

      – Have you read their operational papers? Because if you do, I can guarantee that this is not what they say.

      “Look at the way history is taught–it often focuses on ethnic and minority groups rather than on broad political and social themes.”

      – Erm. . . what? Where did you go to college? How many courses on history you have taken and where exactly?

      “How often do history students read anything that is critical of Woodrow Wilson or FDR, compared with how often they read things that praise them?”

      – OK, it seems like you never went to college at all. Nobody reads paeans in history courses. It just isn’t how it works. No university prof in their right mind would assign readings whose goal is “to praise” anybody.

      “How often do professors make snarky comments about Obama compared to how often they made snarky comments about Bush”

      – Have you observed any college-level class in recent decades? If so, it would be nice to know when and where that took place. Because, honestly, you betray a complete misunderstanding of how university-level teaching is conducted. You don’t even seem to realize such a basic fact as that the students choose their own critical sources. Compiling a bibliography is one of the crucial skills we teach them and then they exercise it ON THEIR OWN> So if they end up reading less Hayek than whomever, this is because they choose that on their own.

      “These questions , and others like them,are the ones that are relevant to Santorum’s point .”

      – These questions can only be asked by people who don’t have a clue about college teaching, yet think they need to have an opinion about it.

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  11. Personally I only “indoctrinate” (/spend time discussing my philosophical perspectives with) those I really like. If I don’t like someone, the last thing on my mind would be to “indoctrinate” them. I’m more likely to stand back and let them indulge in their nasty corporate drugs, their religious or sexist beliefs and so on. I’m convinced all of these horrible things do people harm, but the last thing on my mind will be to intervene to change that.

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  12. Shouldn’t discussion be non political – why, in particular?

    What university departments are there for: research and inquiry.

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  13. Residence Life programs tell something about a university? My old university had one, and all it consisted of was weekly “floor snacks”, carving pumpkins around Halloween, a monthly fishing trip, and doing bi-annual meetings to discuss student safety, rules about alcohol and drugs in the dorm, and the contact info of all the RAs, the IT fellow, and the schedule of the cleaners. All that tells me about the university is that they like making sure the kids fresh from their parents’ house know the rules and will behave like adults.
    Quite frankly, I don’t see exactly what is so nefarious about teaching about women, LGBTQ history, or history of nonwhite people in the US. They are Americans just as much as white, straight, heterosexual cis men are, and their history isn’t a footnote to be forgotten once class is over, and students who fit those categories deserve to know what role people like them played in American history. If they don’t learn it in university, I’m afraid one Sean Penn biopic isn’t enough to offer a comprehensive alternative.
    Also, I don’t need to caricature the conservative position, Mr. Santorum & Co. do a good enough job making themselves look like clownish stereotypes of buffoonery and intellectual dishonesty without my help.

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    1. “Quite frankly, I don’t see exactly what is so nefarious about teaching about women, LGBTQ history, or history of nonwhite people in the US”

      the real history of white people would be nice also. Actual white people. And not just labor unionists. The slaves, all the groups who were thrown under the bus. Assuming that all white people are xenophobic & genocidal rich males, and that Americans/Europeans have been especially evil forces in a world of brown innocents does lead to antagonism. What did you expect? And it’s a stupid lie; people are people and power corrupts.

      And re the previous thread here on the subject; La Raza does advocate taking back the US territories that were part of Mexico and they do promote nasty anti-white racist ideas. They are not just about teaching about contributions to history, or about fighting prejudice. I have heard their representatives and followers many times being interviewed and read their letters to progressive publications. Maybe you agree with their views, but let’s not be disingenuous. These right wing politicians may be nuts, but they are not totally making this shit up.

      And why anybody lets anybody get away with demanding that anti-evolutionist, religious points of view be part of college education…why are we even discussing anything so off the wall? What’s to debate?

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      1. “the real history of white people would be nice also. ”

        – Until people provide a real list of real universities who don’t teach it, this discussion makes no sense.

        “Assuming that all white people are xenophobic & genocidal rich males, and that Americans/Europeans have been especially evil forces in a world of brown innocents does lead to antagonism. ”

        – Again, I want a list of universities where this gets taught.

        “And re the previous thread here on the subject; La Raza does advocate taking back the US territories that were part of Mexico and they do promote nasty anti-white racist ideas. They are not just about teaching about contributions to history, or about fighting prejudice. I have heard their representatives and followers many times being interviewed and read their letters to progressive publications.”

        – And this is why Shakespeare gets banned? You are not serious, are you?

        “These right wing politicians may be nuts, but they are not totally making this shit up.”

        – Until you provide a list of actual courses at actual universities, yes they are. And so are you.

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      2. “the real history of white people” is how we’ve all evolved from Jesus Christ. Who was white, as authentic portraits prove.

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  14. I have discussions about politics with my students all the time. Since they want to improve their English, it is useful to them to learn some terminology to talk about current affairs. I’m interested in whether they can express their views in a logical and articulate way.

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  15. I’m not a history teacher/professor, but I’ve taken many, many history courses during my time in university, on a wide variety of places across the globe and in time, at three different universities in three different countries on two different continents, and not once, ever, have I taken a history course where the “Us vs. Them”/”Good Guys Bad Guys”/”Perpetrators and Victims”/”Guilty and Innocent” mentality Isabel describes prevailed. Each class is different depending on the professor, the backgrounds of the students, and the material, but we never insulted the noble subject of history by taking it down to such a reductionist level.Why is it so hard to understand that not being portrayed as the unambiguous good guys is not equivalent to being demonized?

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    1. “Why is it so hard to understand that not being portrayed as the unambiguous good guys is not equivalent to being demonized?”

      – Also, why is it so hard to understand that a college prof can only talk about good guys vs bad guys in a facetious way?

      If people imagine that a professor comes into the classroom and announces: “Today, I will give you the list of good US presidents you have to like and the bad US presidents you have to dislike. memorize the list and be ready to recite it by Thursday”, then they need to talk less and listen more. This is not how college education is conducted.

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    2. “professor, the backgrounds of the students, and the material, but we never insulted the noble subject of history by taking it down to such a reductionist level”

      Nobody but you here is suggesting it is so explicit or “reductionist”. When you claim that I said it is, it is easy to dismiss of course. The views I am talking about are everywhere, and are clearly reflected in the academic blogosphere. And of course professor’s views come through when they design a syllabus!

      And yes, I’ve been in classrooms where professors mocked Bush and assumed everyone agreed. I’ve seen 6th grade “social studies” books that described the horrors of slavery in America at length without even mentioning the horrors of white indentured servitude, glossed over the actual long history of human slavery in a paragraph, mentioned south africa as the one other example of racism in the world, and described the Indian caste system as a reasonable sounding way to organize a society.

      Students are also influenced by organizations, visiting speakers, protests, and other students as part of the campus experience. In all my experiences racism has been emphasized far more than classism. I don’t find this to be rational or more factual, although I did feel that way as a young student. The idea that “my views are rational and factual and the other guy’s are ideology” is childish.

      As far as naming universities, give me a break. This is a blog thread. It’s just someone’s diary, as we are constantly reminded.

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      1. Please reread the post, Isabel, and try to realize that it has nothing whatsoever to do with 6th-hrade textbooks, protests and the blogosphere.

        You consistently fail to read even a short post and figure out what it is about. You consistently address things that have nothing whatsoever to do with the discussion at hand. Your incapacity to hear others and engage in a dialogue is frightening. This makes it impossible for me to take anything you say in this thread about profs (or was it 6th grade textbooks? Or protesters? Or visiting speakers? Or the tooth fairy?) seriously.

        The idea that what anybody writes on their private blog somehow translates into what they put on the syllabus is ludicrous. And if you don’t understand why it’s ludicrous, reread the post. If it still doesn’t sink in, reread it again.

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      2. I fully realize that the complaints about indoctrination are off base; I just don’t think they occur in a vacuum. The sixth grade example is a convenient simple example, and yes, I did get a more complex version of this view of the world in college (not serious history, but yes womens’ & ethnic studies, documentary film, etc). I hear it all the time on academic blogs also- anything racist in another country is quickly blamed on ‘colonialist history’ or whatever. I could give examples of this mind set all day. I appreciated the wider view, and still do, but I now see it as a simplistic view that I have matured beyond.

        Look, you can deny it all you want. I was just offering another explanation. I hardly think academics (who by the way write junior high and high school texts and design curricula) are all “rational” and “factual”. I happen to think that that is a dangerous form of self-flattery.

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        1. “The sixth grade example is a convenient simple example, and yes, I did get a more complex version of this view of the world in college (not serious history, but yes womens’ & ethnic studies, documentary film, etc). I hear it all the time on academic blogs also- anything racist in another country is quickly blamed on ‘colonialist history’ or whatever. I could give examples of this mind set all day. I appreciated the wider view, and still do, but I now see it as a simplistic view that I have matured beyond.”

          – A meaningless jumble of unconnected sentences.

          “Look, you can deny it all you want. I was just offering another explanation. ”

          – No, you weren’t. You were giving yet another demonstration of your complete intellectual impotence. Probably, your comments make some sense to you. They are completely incomprehensible to others, though.

          “I hardly think academics (who by the way write junior high and high school texts and design curricula) are all “rational” and “factual””

          – Factual people, eh? You are saying that you have met academics who say “I’m a factual academic”? If not, then might it be possible that you simply can’t follow what these academics say and simply ascribe your weird and confused ideas to them?

          “I happen to think that that is a dangerous form of self-flattery.”

          – You happened to think? Finally! Congratulations!!! This must be a very rare occurrence with you. Did that sudden bout of thinking help you realize that people can’t be “factual”?

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      3. “The idea that what anybody writes on their private blog somehow translates into what they put on the syllabus is ludicrous.”

        You are imagining this cartoon interpretation of what I said. And besides, you said yourself you enjoy enlightening your students about the indigenous civilizations of the Americas, the evil of the colonizers, and the satisfaction you get from turning your students into “citizens of the world”.

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        1. ” And besides, you said yourself you enjoy enlightening your students about the indigenous civilizations of the Americas, the evil of the colonizers, and the satisfaction you get from turning your students into “citizens of the world”.”

          – Isabel, I’m sorry to break it to you but your level of intellectual development does not permit you to understand things that I write.

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    3. “Why is it so hard to understand that not being portrayed as the unambiguous good guys is not equivalent to being demonized?”

      This is condescending beyond belief. You are the one stuck on a cartoon interpretation of others’ views that don’t line up exactly with your own. Hopefully you will evolve beyond this attitude one day.

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  16. So, what is it about your classes that there is only one ‘conservative’ in it, and that the rest of your students evidently feel free to attack him for his political beliefs?

    The claim made by liberals that conservatives are ‘anti-intellectual’ is completely self-serving. Liberals don’t like having their beliefs challenged either, or there would be more of them attending schools like Hillsdale College.

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    1. I already blogged about this. Why should I have any interest in repeating myself for somebody who’s only here to promote some dinky conservative place nobody ever heard about?

      Maybe people don’t go to the unknown school you mention because they get accepted to good colleges? Ever thought about that?

      As for my students, they are for the most part extremely Conservative and religious. I hope you manage to figure out what that means on your own.

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  17. You last two sound as though you want university education to be indoctrination, but of your kind; you also seem to cast the students as ultra-passive consumers with no intellectual skills of their own – no preparation to be in late elementary school, let alone college.

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  18. “- Isabel, I’m sorry to break it to you but your level of intellectual development does not permit you to understand things that I write.”

    This is pathetic, Clarissa. That’s the best you can do?

    Like

  19. “Isabel, I’m sorry to break it to you but your level of intellectual development does not permit you to understand things that I write.”

    Wow. It must be so frustrating having to deal with such inferior beings.

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    1. “Wow. It must be so frustrating having to deal with such inferior beings.”

      – “Isabel” is singular. Can you count to one and figure out that “Isabel” does not translate to “beings“?

      If anybody here expects that I will allow some ignoramus to bash my work and my profession just because it entertains them, then such people are sorely mistaken. Anybody who dares to impugn my professionalism will be insulted, humiliated and ridiculed from here to eternity.

      That’s a fair warning, folks.

      Like

      1. the comment may have been directed (this time) at Isabel, but this is what I’ve come to expect from you when you are challenged.

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        1. “the comment may have been directed (this time) at Isabel, but this is what I’ve come to expect from you when you are challenged.”

          – Challenged? Where exactly is the challenge? In the completely extraneous discussion of 6th grade textbooks?

          I’m being insulted here by somebody who can’t offer a shred of proof for her bizarre and offensive statements that my blogging somehow invades my syllabi. I insist that this statement is egregiously wrong and extremely insulting. I will not sit here and be shat on in this way by a stupid ignoramus who can’t read a simple post and write a couple of grammatically correct sentences in response. If you want to see such humongously offensive accusations as a “challenge”, then you obviously have a problem, too.

          Like

      2. “I will allow some ignoramus to bash my work and my profession just because it entertains them, then such people are sorely mistaken.”

        Wow, what the hell are you even talking about? I challenged your profession? How, by suggesting it is not perfectly unbiased and factual?

        I was also trying to add some complexity to the discussion, and point out why admitted nuts are able to get this kind of traction. Even if they are off base in the remarks about academia, they may be on to something that has primed people to be receptive to their views.

        Blaming everything on “racist, homophobic, prudish, religious” Americans gets kind of old.

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      3. “and offensive statements that my blogging somehow invades my syllabi”

        Never said that.

        I did say that the insistence that “the other guy is biased while I am rational and deal only with the facts” is childish.

        The first thing one learns in a documentary film course is that the belief in one’s own objectivity is an illusion.

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  20. I went out a few times with a man who would ask about my research. I’d explain it in layman’s terms and he’d ask questions indicating he hadn’t gotten it, so I’d re-explain in still simpler terms. It was kind of tiring. Then I discovered he actually thought he was “challenging” me and we were “debating” my research.

    Like

    1. That’s exactly it. Such people are vampires who suck one’s energy for fun. So now whenever I perceive that people are not in it for an actual discussion that can enrich ME, I stop them immediately and aggressively.

      Like

  21. Z :
    I went out a few times with a man who would ask about my research. I’d explain it in layman’s terms and he’d ask questions indicating he hadn’t gotten it, so I’d re-explain in still simpler terms. It was kind of tiring. Then I discovered he actually thought he was “challenging” me and we were “debating” my research.

    I had a similar “challenging” “debate” with a self-proclaimed anti-authoritarian, self-proclaimed leftist. He went on some more, even after I’d analysed for him the substance of his position, which was as follows:

    “You began by saying that intellectuals would give up being intellectuals if only they could experience life as a peasant. (This peasant mutated into an average worker, one who earned a statistically average pay.) You asserted that the subjectivity of a globally average-paid worker (an entity itself incoherent on any subjective level, since cultures vary very much indeed, as do human personalities) would be able to be determined ‘objectively’ by certain people with special knowledge to perform calculations of this very objective sort. These people are, presumably intellectuals or just poor people who haven’t lost the capacity to speak of intellectual things, as you asserted they would have after spending five years as a peasant. You then pulled your idea of an ‘ethical human being’ out of nowhere and asserted it as another ‘objective’ fact. When challenged to provide evidence as to why this was so, you could not do so.”

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  22. Something that occurred to me that may be relevant: the proliferation of specialty departments/programs (be it Women’s studies, ethnic studies, GBLT studies, etc. . . ) are relatively new. When I went to University, the realization that the study of literature consisted entirely of DWG’s (dead white guys) was in it’s infancy. Perhaps it’s only the cultural shift of universities to the reality that there are a multitude of realities and perceptions out there that, to someone who graduated from a traditional college 30, 40 or 50 years ago, it appears to be ‘indoctrination’, rather than the uphill climb to relevancy.

    Like

  23. Isabel :

    “I will allow some ignoramus to bash my work and my profession just because it entertains them, then such people are sorely mistaken.”

    Wow, what the hell are you even talking about? I challenged your profession? How, by suggesting it is not perfectly unbiased and factual?

    I was also trying to add some complexity to the discussion, and point out why admitted nuts are able to get this kind of traction. Even if they are off base in the remarks about academia, they may be on to something that has primed people to be receptive to their views.

    Blaming everything on “racist, homophobic, prudish, religious” Americans gets kind of old.

    A profession cannot be factual. people also cannot be factual.

    Like

  24. You make plenty of mistakes also, Clarissa. Don’t think we all don’t notice.

    You think everything you say or teach is based on facts. Others are biased; you are only describing reality. This is a monstrous, dangerous illusion.

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  25. Isabel :
    You think everything you say or teach is based on facts. Others are biased; you are only describing reality. This is a monstrous, dangerous illusion.

    There is something, the hostile media effect that basically says that people are more sensitive/perceptive towards things they (perceive) as biased against them. Although specifically concerning the media, it seems plausible that it might also apply towards instruction in a university classroom.

    Everyone is biased. The key is to be aware of your own and how it clouds your own perception (for instance, “detecting” a lack of bias in your favour is not the same thing as “detecting” a bias against you). Since everyone is biased, the key thing ought not to strive towards supposed “neutrality”. For example, I really, really hope that anyone who’s teaching or reporting on something cares enough about the issue to form their own view about it. Rather, the real goal ought to be aware of your own biases and other people’s biases so you can take them into account when making a decision or forming a judgement.

    Like

    1. When I express an opinion in class I always preface it with: “I’m not here to teach you what to think. I’m hear to teach you how to form and express your own opinion. What I’m going to share now is my own opinion and you are in no way required to adopt it, OK?”

      Students ALWAYS point out in my evaluations how much they appreciate me doing that.

      An experienced teacher has a gazillion ways of mitigating any personal bias in the classroom. Which is why this entire discussion of biased and indoctrinating college profs is a complete waste of time.

      Like

      1. I must say it’s highly pleasurable to be able to teach students, these days, who do not adopt the passive-aggressive posture of implying I’m trying to say something about them between the lines. I never did master the Western cultural sense of speaking in order, primarily, to demonstrate one’s piety. Or, perhaps this is Australian — I don’t know. Here one learns to express opinions that will identify one as making the correct moral judgments about anything. So, people are very, very concerned as to what seems to be implied “between the lines”.

        For instance, the question, “Why do you think that?” could be taken as meaning, “I think you are stupid.”

        This kind of thing used to make teaching a very fraught experience for me.

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      2. I really don’t think anyone means to say that academics order students how to think in such explicit terms. And I am not trying to cast aspersions on your teaching.

        I am referring more to assertions of being more “rational” eg from up-thread:

        ““What Santorum is actually worried about, I think, is that people do become more rational in college – they tend to learn a lot of facts and logic – and quite a few stop being right wingers of the irrational/punitive kind (of Santorum’s kind).”

        – Exactly.”

        This kind of thinking is very common in the academic blogosphere, and amongst many leftists I know personally yet in many cases the opposite is true. As just one example, I find many anti-racist, white-bashing progressives to be very irrational.

        Like

  26. Isabel :

    This kind of thinking is very common in the academic blogosphere, and amongst many leftists I know personally yet in many cases the opposite is true. As just one example, I find many anti-racist, white-bashing progressives to be very irrational.

    Yeah, I agree. They generally have guilt complexes and they are trying to transfer their sense of guilt to someone whom they believe to be more culpable.

    It’s irrational, because being historical creatures as we are, we are all implicated in some degree of oppression or some degree of sin by omission. This is what it means to live in a contingent world: we can never find perfection, because we were never born into the material conditions that would guarantee anything like that.

    So, those people are deluded at the most fundamental level — about the kind of world in which they live. Secondly, they are deluded that they can mitigate their own guilt by pointing fingers at other people.

    Like

    1. “It’s irrational, because being historical creatures as we are, we are all implicated in some degree of oppression or some degree of sin by omission.”

      – OK, I must be irrational 🙂 because I’m not seeing this. Whom am I guilty of oppressing, historically or by omission? Every group I come from is always that of the losers. 🙂

      Seriously, though?

      Like

  27. bloggerclarissa :
    “It’s irrational, because being historical creatures as we are, we are all implicated in some degree of oppression or some degree of sin by omission.”
    – OK, I must be irrational because I’m not seeing this. Whom am I guilty of oppressing, historically or by omission? Every group I come from is always that of the losers.
    Seriously, though?

    I dont know, but if you study the history of Africa going way back, it’s all about one tribe invading and exploiting another. The implicit idea held by many leftists that there was ever a stage of primeval innocence is simply wrong. In any case, it is this primeval innocence assumption that needs to be combated, not the contents of history books.

    Like

  28. “I come into the classroom and every single time do all I can to ensure that my students feel completely free to express and explore any opinions and beliefs they have.”

    Maybe that’s the indoctrination the senator (I try not to use his name, as it is obscene) is objecting to?

    Like

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