Professors don’t influence students’ politics

The Times published a story this week about studies showing that the prevalence of liberal professors has little effect on students’ actual political views. What does matter? Friends and family. And what I found interesting about the article was that a line from a CUNY professor that brought the discussion back to something that actually matters: the marginalization of critical studies programs in the humanities.

K. C. Johnson, a historian at the City University of New York, characterizes the problem as pedagogical, not political. Entire fields of study, from traditional literary analysis to political and military history, are simply not widely taught anymore, Mr. Johnson contended: “Even students who want to learn don’t have the opportunity because there are no specialists on the faculty to take courses from.”

“The conservative critics are inventing a straw man that doesn’t exist and are missing the real problem that does,” he added.

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