Announcing the winners of the biased course contest!
Campus Reform received an outpouring of submissions for its first annual Biased Course Contest, with readers identifying 37 classes currently being offered at U.S. colleges that present a skewed perspective on major political issues.
There could only be three winners, though, and after intense deliberation, the following courses have been selected as the most egregious examples of liberal bias on American campuses today:
First-Place: $500 prize
History 73S: “History of the Police in the United States: Slave Patrols to Ferguson”—submitted by Nick Sovich, Stanford University ‘17
“How did police come to have the power to use violence?” begins the online course description. History 73S purports to explore that question by examining themes such as the “growth of professional policing, creation of private police forces and vigilantism, and public portrayals of police—by Hollywood and the press.”
“The historical relationship between race and the administration of policing is a central question,” the description continues, adding that students will “examine primary sources such as police memoirs, court records, police files, detective novels, music videos, and photographs” to glean insights about that relationship.
History 73S fulfills one of three “Introduction to the Humanities” course requirements included in Stanford’s core curriculum, as well as the “Sources and Methods” requirement for history majors and minors.
Second-Place: $300 prize
Political Science 415: “Taking Marx Seriously”—submitted by Avery Riggs, Amherst College ‘18
This course, which fulfills the advanced seminar requirement for political science majors, examines the question of whether the economic theories of Karl Marx deserve “another chance” despite the repeated failure of efforts to put them into practice.
“Has Marx’s credibility survived the global debacle of those regimes and movements which drew inspiration from his work, however poorly they understood it?” the course description asks. “Or, conversely, have we entered a new era in which post-Marxism has joined a host of other ‘post-’ phenomena?”
Rather than exposing students to independent analyses of Marx’s work, the course relies exclusively on reading material written, either in whole or in part, by Marx himself.
Third-Place: $200 prize
American Studies 3731: “The Refusal to Work”—submitted by Casey Breznick, Cornell University ‘17
This elective course, also listed as Communications 3731 and English 3931 at the Ivy League university, offers a “critical reflection on the refusal of work,” which the course description defines as “attempts to remain human within modernity's regime of coerced labor.”
The work-avoidance strategies discussed in the class—to judge from the language in the description, they are portrayed as noble rejections of an exploitative economic system—include “non-cooperation with routines of production and/or reproduction (among which, strikes, sexual and otherwise), the right to laziness, malingering, shirking, doggin' it, ‘not understanding,’ sabotage, pilferage, ‘calling in well,’ [and] desertion (a.k.a. quitting).”
None of those behaviors requires any special training, work avoidance coming quite naturally to most people, but their egregious nature suggests that instruction would certainly be helpful for anyone wishing to employ such tactics without consequence.
Stay tuned to Campus Reform to find out which courses were runners-up, and for additional coverage of the winning courses. Meanwhile, continue to keep a sharp eye out for other examples of liberal bias—next year’s contest is less than a year away!