Richard Hofstadter's Anti-Intellectualism In American Life reviewed. THIS STORY WAS PUBLISHED IN THE SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2014 ISSUE OF CJR WITH THE HEADLINE, "THE AMERICAN WAY."
Covering politics in a “post-truth” AmericaSusan B. Glasser. (2016, December 2). Covering politics in a “post-truth” America. Retrieved from https://www.brookings.edu/essay/covering-politics-in-a-post-truth-america/
In a new Brookings Essay, Politico editor Susan Glasser chronicles how political reporting has changed over the course of her career and reflects on the state of independent journalism after the 2016 election.
Ben Carson’s rise to the top of the Republican presidential field shows that many Republicans, especially Christian fundamentalists, have decoupled from the real world — and are proud of it. The more that GOP candidates embrace “anti-knowledge” the more popular they become, as Mike Lofgren explains.
An interview is presented with political scientist Elvin T. Lim discussing the rise of anti-intellectualism within the rhetoric of U.S. politics in the 21st century. Questions include the persuasive advantage of appearing simple while enacting a complex strategy, the role of marketable speech-writing in the decline, and the application of such concepts to the candidates of the 2008 presidential election.
The Oval Office is up for grabs between Clinton and Trump, and I can’t remember the last time that I, living in a capitalist society, as a consumer, somehow ran out of options. If I can get my beer non-alcoholic and my ice cream fat-free, surely I can get my presidential candidate ...
Days after Republicans in the US Congress agreed to raise the nation's debt ceiling in exchange for huge cuts to the federal budget only hours before the moment when, economists had predicted, the world's superpower would go into default, Maher asked his guest why politicians and the public had been so quick to dismiss the warnings of such well-educated experts. Like the scientists who have over decades built a huge body of evidence and a consensus about global warming but find their work still rejected as fiction, economists all along the political spectrum had warned in vain that failing to raise the debt ceiling would harm the nation's credit rating. Yet when US presidential candidates make egregious errors of historical fact (in addition to guaranteeing that the debt-limit debate would not damage the nation's credit rating, Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann erroneously said that the country's founding fathers opposed slavery, and was wrong about the town where the American Revolution began; while Tea Party favourite Sarah Palin, who recently declared that she would not seek the Republican nomination, said American patriot Paul Revere rode through the countryside at the beginning of that war to warn the British - not, as was actually the case, his fellow colonial rebels - to arm themselves), their supporters respond by trying to change Wikipedia entries to make the candidates appear correct.
The Anti-Intellectual Presidency by Elvin T. LimIn The Anti-Intellectual Presidency, Elvin Lim draws on interviews with more than 40 presidential speechwriters to investigate this relentless qualitative decline, over the course of 200 years, in our presidents' ability to communicate with the public. Lim argues that the ever-increasing pressure for presidents to manage public opinion and perception has created a "pathology of vacuous rhetoric and imagery" where gesture and appearance matter more than accomplishment and fact. Lim tracks the campaign to simplify presidential discourse through presidential and speechwriting decisions made from the Truman to the present administration, explaining how and why presidents have embraced anti-intellectualism and vague platitudes as a public relations strategy. Lim sees this anti-intellectual stance as a deliberate choice rather than a reflection of presidents' intellectual limitations. Only the smart, he suggests, know how to dumb down. The result, he shows, is a dangerous debasement of our political discourse and a quality of rhetoric which has been described, charitably, as "a linguistic struggle" and, perhaps more accurately, as "dogs barking idiotically through endless nights." Sharply written and incisively argued, The Anti-Intellectual Presidency sheds new light on the murky depths of presidential oratory, illuminating both the causes and consequences of this substantive impoverishment.
Americans pride themselves on their high ideals. On national holidays Americans delight in quoting phrases like “all men are created equal” and “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The ideologies of freedom of religion, democratic government, and socio-economic mobility are ingrained in American children beginning in pre-K educational settings. While these ideologies are admired from a distance, real progress in reaching these goals is undercut by a growing national trend: anti-intellectualism.
A Humbling of Higher EdStripling, J. (2016). A Humbling of Higher Ed. Chronicle of Higher Education, 63(13), A14–A18.
The article reports on how higher education became the determining factor in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Topics discussed include the populist message effectively promoted by Republican candidate Donald Trump to voters with no college degrees and the public resentment toward the elitism and insularity that higher education is often thought to represent. The disparity between economically depressed areas and the relative prosperity of public universities is mentioned.
The author discusses the spirit of anti-intellectualism as presented in historian Richard Hofstandter's book "Anti-Intellectualism in American Life." The author examines the changing public sentiment towards intellectuals. The author responds to two arguments regarding liberal education and developing knowledge of history and critical thinking among students. He asserts that liberal education is essential for enriching the individual experience.
Deals with an argument raised by the book `Anti-Intellectualism in American Life,' by Richard Hofstadter. How the subject of anti-intellectualism is reflected in the November 2000 United States presidential election; Highlights of the book; Impact of the argument on the nation's popular culture; Changes brought by the emergence of television on anti-intellectualism.
Standard media coverage of higher education hasn't changed that much since the 1940s, and it doesn't serve the core functions of higher education well. US news media could not maintain their anti-intellectualism without widespread public acceptance, but schools of journalism must accept their share of the blame. The author contends that US colleges and universities, including their journalism schools, need to improve their products: their curricula and their graduates.
The BBC’s Sherlock – along with most contemporary adaptations – seems to indicate that the values of the intellect are not those of society.
How Liberal Professors Are Ruining College| C. S. (2017, January). How Liberal Professors Are Ruining College. Boston Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/article/2016/12/20/liberal-professors/
In New England, they outnumber conservatives 28 to 1. Why that’s bad for everyone.
The Science of Intellectual TribalismJonah Goldberg. (2017, January 20). The Science of Intellectual Tribalism. Retrieved January 26, 2017, from http://www.nationalreview.com/article/444042/david-gelernter-science-adviser-candidate-lefts-latest-smear-campaign
Regardless, saying that Gelernter is “fiercely anti-intellectual” is a bit like saying Tiger Woods is fiercely anti-golf. So what on earth could the Washington Post mean with that headline?
Why Are Professors Liberal and Why Do Conservatives Care? by Neil GrossThe politics of American professors -- Why are they liberal?: the standard explanations -- Political self-selection and the academic profession -- Political differences among professors -- The knowledge-politics problem -- The campaign against "liberal bias" -- Why conservatives care.
Call Number: 378.12 G914w
Publication Date: 2013-04-09
Civil Discourse in the Classroom
Advice for My Conservative StudentsHanlon, A. (2017, February 16). Advice for My Conservative Students. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/16/opinion/advice-for-my-conservative-students.html
The theory of deliberative democracy places public deliberations at the heart of democracy. In order to participate in democratic deliberations, citizens need certain skills, attitudes, and values. Within the field of education for deliberative democracy, it is assumed that these are learned through participation in democratic deliberation. Thus, one way to educate future citizens for deliberative democracy is by constructing democratic deliberations in the classroom. In this article, four strategically chosen examples of discussions taking place inside classrooms are analyzed, in order to flesh out the abstract criteria of democratic deliberations and to create an empirically based typology of classroom discussions. In this article I also aspire to contribute to classroom practices by pointing out how teachers can steer classroom discussions toward democratic deliberation: They can use questions that open up space for disagreement, while at the same time present opportunities to reach collective conclusions.
The author discusses aspects of civil discourse and the crucial need for colleges and universities to commit strongly to its survival. He ponders how college education can foster the important skill to become adept civil discoursers for their own good and the good of democracy. The author believes that a credible academy's leadership is vital in addressing the gap in civil discourse at the core of undergraduate education.
The article discusses the trend in student's views of the nature of science as a body of facts and offers an in-depth analysis of the responsibilities of biology educators and their students regarding the delivery of science content. Topics include an in-depth analysis of the role of popular media in the biology classroom, the framing effect, which is the alteration of details by some form of communication that shapes an individual's attitude, and examples of biology issues framed by the media including abortion and reproductive rights, animal rights, and artificial insemination. Also discussed is how teachers can design teaching methods that enable students to recognize frames when receiving information from the media.
The article suggests the reflective classroom teaching approach to enable students engagement in learning political issues and civic education. It is noted that reflective classroom community approach will facilitate students in creating a sense of trust in civics, listening and knowledge sharing skills, and student reflection. The reflective classroom community methods includes group discussion, debates in civil discourse, and knowledge sharing.
Can librarians help solve the fake news problem?Donald Barclay. (2017, January 6). Can librarians help solve the fake news problem? PBS NewsHour. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/column-can-librarians-help-solve-the-fake-news-problem/
As a long-time academic librarian, I have spent a good part of my career teaching college students to think critically about information. For me, the recent spate of stories about large segments of the population falling for fake news stories was no surprise.
Let me begin with four fake truths that I hold to be self-evident. What follows...
How Fake News Goes Viral: A Case StudyMaheshwari, S. (2016, November 20). How Fake News Goes Viral: A Case Study. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/20/business/media/how-fake-news-spreads.html
The term "post-truth" has beaten out words like "alt-right" and "Brexiteer" to become the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year. The word evokes a much more uncertain worldview than last year's pick, a smiling emoji crying tears of joy. While the 2015 symbol was a more controversial recognition of a form of communication unconfined by traditional lettering, "post-truth" reflects a more somber, even academic reflection on 2016.
Consider for a moment the oxymoronic concept of “fake news,” which we have been hearing so much about lately. This isn’t your typical disinformation or misinformation — generated by the government, or foreign adversaries, or corporations — to advance an agenda by confusing the public. It isn’t even the familiar dystopian idea of manipulated fact designed to keep people lobotomized and malleable in some post-human autocracy. Those scenarios assume at least an underlying truth against which nefarious forces can take aim.
Over the last year and a half, the Stanford History Education Group has prototyped, field-tested, and validated a bank of assessments that tap civic online reasoning—the ability to judge the credibility of information that foods young people’s smartphones, tablets, and computers.
This paper presents findings about the challenges today’s college freshmen face, and the information-seeking strategies they develop, use, and adapt as they make the transition from high school to college and begin to complete college-level research assignments.
Stanford researchers assessed students from middle school to college and found they struggled to distinguish ads from articles, neutral sources from biased ones and fake accounts from real ones.
Truthy Lies and Surreal Truths: A PleaKris Shaffer. (2016, December 8). Truthy Lies and Surreal Truths: A Plea. Retrieved December 8, 2016, from http://www.digitalpedagogylab.com/hybridped/truthy-lies-surreal-truths/
This study investigates patterns in classroom incivilities among pre-tenure geography faculty at US colleges and universities. The analysis considers experiences of different groups of faculty, and societal and institutional contexts for faculty and student expectations. Most respondents reported experiencing minor incivilities, a minority outright hostility. Women reported experiencing more incivilities than other demographic groups. Large class size increased reports of misbehaviours. Instructors' physical appearance was also noted as influencing student-faculty interactions. Instructors' approaches to incivilities differed among groups. Non-White and international instructors reported fewer instances of confronting misbehaviours. Mentoring and sharing expertise are identified as key ways to support instructors.
Political scientists have noted that, in a variety of communication settings, people are less receptive to information that comes from a politically disagreeable source. Yet, there is little research on patterns of communication across lines of political difference in an educational setting, which we argue is unique in a number of ways. Using a large-scale national survey of college students enrolled in political science courses, we examine how perceptions of professors' political orientations contribute to student learning, interest in politics, and effort in the course. We consider both direct effects of partisan difference on education and indirect effects, which work through a number of source credibility measures. Our analysis indicates that students who believe their professor to be a political ally report more learning, higher levels of effort, and greater interest in the subject than those who believe their professor to be a political foe.
The AAUP and the American Federation of Teachers prepared and distributed resources addressing frequently asked questions about discussing the 2016 election in the classroom, responding to intimidation and threats, and other issues. Following an unprecedented spike in hate crimes and threats, both physical and verbal, on college and university campuses in the United States after the election, it includes information on what is protected classroom speech and conduct and what is not and gives attention to non-tenure-track faculty members, saying that they “may be especially vulnerable in a highly politicized environment. All faculty must commit to ensuring that nontenured colleagues are supported and protected through enforcement of collective bargaining agreements, faculty handbooks, and other actions from political and popular pressures that lead to arbitrary dismissals or nonrenewal of contracts.”
The article discusses the growth of diversity education in the U.S. and what sorts of resistance the minority faculty members may be experiencing from white college students. It is noted that minority college teachers can find themselves in the uncomfortable position as outsiders-within, who are both marginalized and privileged in their environment. The role of identity politics on the teacher-student relationship is considered. Several of the professors included in the study reported that their credibility had been questioned by their white students.
This research examines predictors of uncivil classroom behavior. Uncivil behaviors are disrespectful and disruptive and may include carrying on conversations with others during class, leaving class early, talking on cell phones, etc. Data from a survey of undergraduate students revealed that students who possessed a consumerism orientation, narcissistic tendencies and viewed uncivil behaviors as appropriate were more likely to engage in such behaviors. Additionally, females and students planning to attend graduate school were less likely to engage in uncivil conduct. Suggestions for minimizing uncivil classroom behavior are provided.
Almost all faculty, even those in graduate public affairs programs, will at some time encounter incivility in the classroom. How we respond sends an important message about how we as individuals, programs, and a profession value civility. Master's of Public Administration and Master's of Public Policy programs have a particular responsibility to graduate individuals who not only have substantive expertise but also meet the highest standards of civility. In this essay, we present a series of recommendations for how individuals, programs, and institutions might respond to incivility. While not all of these recommendations will be appropriate for all programs, and some may be perceived as more troubling than the problem they are intended to address, we hope that they will to serve as the starting point in stimulating discussion of this issue within programs and across the profession.
Student EntitlementLippmann, S., Bulanda, R. E., & Wagenaar, T. C. (2009). Student Entitlement. College Teaching, 57(4), 197–204.
While not representative of all students, those who demonstrate a sense of entitlement demand a great deal of instructors' time and energy. Our article places student entitlement in its social context, with specific attention to the prevalence of the consumer mentality, grade inflation, and the self-esteem of the student generation. We then outline several strategies for dealing with entitlement behavior. We suggest that greater clarity in standards and assessment, combined with specific requirements guiding teacher-student interactions and general efforts to resocialize students and faculty, will help to curb these behaviors.
Classroom incivility is a major concern in higher education today. Yet little study has been done of student perceptions of behavior in the classroom. Based on a survey of 3,616 students at a Midwestern public university, the present study provides useful information to faculty members and administrators about the behaviors students find most uncivil and how frequently they are experiencing these behaviors. In general, it appears that students are experiencing a fair amount of at least moderately uncivil behavior in their classes. These results have implications for how faculty and administrators develop policies designed to guide students toward appropriate behavior.