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What's the truth about academe and political leanings?

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What's the truth about academe and political leanings? Do colleges  really care about political views when considering whether they should hire someone for a faculty position? Is it true that someone who is extremely conservative is at a disadvantage? Let me give you guys a hypothetical scenario. 

Let's  say Johny is extremely conservative and wants to go into academe. Let's say Johny

1. Gets a BA in Classics from Hillsdale College. Let's also say he does extraordinarily well grade wise, and gets an outstanding GREvscore and great recommendations.

2. Let's say Johny then goes and gets his PhD in Classics from UChicago,  Johns Hopkins, or, UVA.

3, Now, let's say that there's a tenure track position in Classics  open at a top LAC( Middlebury, Williams, Hamilton, etc)

4. Let's say that Johny is an old-school conservative, and has the same views as Pat Buchanan politically and socially . However, let's say Johny makes it very clear on his application that while he's certainly a conservative Christian, he'd be fine with working with people from diverse backgrounds. 

Does Johny get considered by the elite LAC, or do they throw his application in the trash because of his political and social  views?

 

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At most top LACs, they'd be wondering why the hell Johny decided to include his religious and political perspectives in his application. And, that failure to understand how job applications work would be a reason to toss the app, regardless of the religious or political leanings stated because it shows that the applicant doesn't understand the institution to which they are applying.

And, for the record, it's always better to show rather than tell. So rather than saying "I'd be fine with working with people from diverse backgrounds", every single person applying should make it clear how they have successfully done so in the future or what skills they have which have enabled them to do this. Again, this is regardless of one's background. 

(Oh, and I had to Google Hillsdale because I've never even heard of it. I don't generally Google undergrad college names when reading applications because I just don't care. I care far more about the PhD, research, teaching areas, and teaching experience.)

Edited by rising_star
typo fixed

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9 minutes ago, rising_star said:

At most top LACs, they'd be wondering why the hell Johny decided to include his religious and political perspectives in his application. And, that failure to understand how job applications would be a reason to toss the app, regardless of the religious or political leanings stated because it shows that the applicant doesn't understand the institution to which they are applying.

And, for the record, it's always better to show rather than tell. So rather than saying "I'd be fine with working with people from diverse backgrounds", every single person applying should make it clear how they have successfully done so in the future or what skills they have which have enabled them to do this. Again, this is regardless of one's background. 

(Oh, and I had to Google Hillsdale because I've never even heard of it. I don't generally Google undergrad college names when reading applications because I just don't care. I care far more about the PhD, research, teaching areas, and teaching experience.)

This. I have no idea why Johnny would ever choose to discuss his political opinions in his application (or interviews or meetings) one way or the other. That would be entirely unprofessional. And I don't really care where he went to undergrad, that's hardly relevant to a hiring decision. 

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I think people need to stop imagining academia as a vacuum of perfect rational objectivity. Because it's bad for science (in the German sense). To be a good scientist, you need to understand that you cannot be objective, because you are a person, and the work you do is affected by your biases, whether consciously or unconsciously. 

Of course your political and religious leanings will affect your job application, as will your syntax, or the way you dress, or what Professor X heard about you from Grad Student Y at a conference they attended. Job applications are a holistic process, which means that they look at everything. It is the same in any other industry. If you do dumb shit, like go out with your political views like guns blazing in places where this is neither needed nor appreciated (like your application materials), or write incendiary tweets under your real name, or attack students of your university at protest rallies, your views will affect you more than is necessary. On the other hand, if you can express yourself clearly and respectfully and, generally, do what Kipling recommends in his famous poem, you will ceteris paribus be in the same boat as everyone else.

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On 8/2/2016 at 6:39 PM, Augustinian122 said:

What's the truth about academe and political leanings? Do colleges  really care about political views when considering whether they should hire someone for a faculty position? Is it true that someone who is extremely conservative is at a disadvantage? Let me give you guys a hypothetical scenario. 

Let's  say Johny is extremely conservative and wants to go into academe. Let's say Johny

1. Gets a BA in Classics from Hillsdale College. Let's also say he does extraordinarily well grade wise, and gets an outstanding GREvscore and great recommendations.

2. Let's say Johny then goes and gets his PhD in Classics from UChicago,  Johns Hopkins, or, UVA.

3, Now, let's say that there's a tenure track position in Classics  open at a top LAC( Middlebury, Williams, Hamilton, etc)

4. Let's say that Johny is an old-school conservative, and has the same views as Pat Buchanan politically and socially . However, let's say Johny makes it very clear on his application that while he's certainly a conservative Christian, he'd be fine with working with people from diverse backgrounds. 

Does Johny get considered by the elite LAC, or do they throw his application in the trash because of his political and social  views?

 

It depends upon the field, the institution, and the department doing the hiring. IME, the faculty members of a history department will figure out an applicant's politics by where she studied and with whom, areas of specialization and her unpublished and published works, and other materials.

A lot of this figuring is going to be done at a glance. An applicant who focuses upon American social history during the Cold War era is going to be ASSumed to have a different set of sensibilities than a scholar focusing on the  American diplomatic/naval/military history of the twentieth century. (Or, as a mentor put it to me over a cup of coffee several years ago, I might have been able to get an academic job had I been born in the 1950s...maybe.)

In the event an applicant makes it through the interviews and is invited for a job talk, additional considerations of that person's politics POVs will be assessed. These considerations will extend beyond the hackneyed liberal/conservative blindfold that is increasingly used by non academics. An applicant can be all for this cause or that initiative and still blow it by using the wrong word in front of potential colleagues. 

An unsolicited caveat for the OP. If you're unwise enough to identify yourself as an "old school" conservative and also reference Buchanan while communicating with Classicists, you're going to end up a chew toy of your fellow graduate students, to say nothing of your professors. With very few exceptions, academics do not take intellectual cues from journalists--especially ones that masquerade as historians. 

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I agree with other posters that it might not be good to jump into your academic career with a particular political label self-assigned. Letting your understanding of 'the Classics' be clouded by a particular political identity may be unnecessary and perhaps an unhelpful practice in many regards. Be honest and truthful and rational, and most of all don't mix politics into work that doesn't require it.

 

On a further note, academe is more diverse than you seem to be willing to admit. Careful not to go down the 'victim' road to early. 

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