Conservative Academics Reflect on the Relationship of Politics to Scholarship

Butler Library on the campus of Columbia University in New York City (Mike Segar/Reuters)
Is a self-consciously conservative approach to the humanities and social sciences desirable? Prominent right-leaning scholars are skeptical.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE E arlier this year, author Avi Woolf argued that right-leaning academics ought to start crafting a conservative vision for research in the humanities and social sciences. In his view, conservative academics should not limit themselves to advocating for Great Books programs. Studying the classic texts of the Western tradition is a valuable exercise, he allowed, but it is also insufficient, for such books “do not advance specifically conservative ideas.” Thus, he maintained, conservative academics should think about how to provide an explicitly conservative “direction [to] future scholarship.”

I found Woolf’s argument intriguing, and I wanted to hear what conservative professors thought about


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