Campus Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know®

ISBN : 9780190627409

Jonathan Zimmerman
160 ページ
140 x 210 mm
What Everyone Needs to Know



  • Addresses current hot-button campus issues, including speech codes, sexual assault, and political correctness
  • Directly examines the rise of psychological language and argument in campus politics
  • Written in an accessible question and answer format that breaks down key issues

Universities are usually considered bastions of the free exchange of ideas, but a recent tide of demonstrations across college campuses has called this belief into question, and with serious consequences. Such a wave of protests hasn't been seen since the campus free speech demonstrations of the 1960s, yet this time it is the political Left, rather than the political Right, calling for restrictions on campus speech and freedom. And, as Jonathan Zimmerman suggests, recent campus controversies have pitted free speech against social justice ideals. 

The language of trauma—and, more generally, of psychology—has come to dominate campus politics, marking another important departure from prior eras. This trend reflects an increased awareness of mental health in American society writ large. But it has also tended to dampen exchange and discussion on our campuses, where faculty and students self-censor for fear of insulting or offending someone else. Or they attack each other in periodic bursts of invective, which run counter to the "civility" promised by new speech and conduct codes. 

In Campus Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know®, Jonathan Zimmerman breaks down the dynamics of what is actually driving this recent wave of discontent. After setting recent events in the context of the last half-century of free speech campus movements, Zimmerman looks at the political beliefs of the US professorate and students. He follows this with chapters on political correctness; debates over the contested curriculum; admissions, faculty hires, and affirmative action; policing students; academic freedom and censorship; in loco parentis administration; and the psychology behind demands for "trigger warnings" and "safe spaces." He concludes with the question of how to best balance the goals of social and racial justice with the commitment to free speech.
"Campus Politics [is] a valuable attempt to understand the protests that have swept American universities. Although Mr. Zimmerman is a man of the left who sympathizes with the protesters, [he] challenges liberal and conservative professors alike." - Wall Street Journal


Introduction: Making Sense of Campus Politics

Chapter One: The Politics of Professors and Students
Are professors mostly liberal?
Why are professors mostly liberal?
What are the politics of American college students?
What happened to student protest?

Chapter Two: The Question of Political Correctness"
What is political correctness?
Why did the early PC controversies focus on the humanities?
So how did we get from the humanities controversy to "PC"?
Does political correctness even exist?
Has the PC debate gone away?

Chapter Three: Diversity and its Discontents
Have American universities become more diverse?
Why did universities become more diverse?
Why did universities establish speech codes?
How have universities tried to improve the racial climate on campus?
Have universities' efforts to improve the racial climate worked?

Chapter Four: Professorial Speech and the Fate of Academic Freedom
What is academic freedom?
How has academic freedom fared over the past century?
Did academic freedom come under fire after the 9/11 attacks?
Did professors' opinions after 9/11 cost them their jobs?
Is there a "New McCarthyism" on American campuses?

Chapter Five: Student Bodies: Policing Sex on College Campuses
What is in loco parentis?
What happened to in loco parentis?
What happened to sex in college, after in loco parentis ended?
When did sexual assault on campus become a problem?
What is Title IX?
Are the rights of the accused sufficiently protected?
So have we entered a new era of in loco parentis?

Chapter Six: How Did That Make You Feel? Psychology and Campus Politics
When did the psychology of college students become a public issue?
What are microaggressions?
How did microaggressions become a focus of campus concern?
What are trigger warnings?
Are today's students "coddled"?

Conclusion: Campus Politics at the Administrative University



Jonathan Zimmerman, Professor of Education and History, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, New York University
Jonathan Zimmerman is Professor of Education and History in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University. He is also the author of Too Hot to Handle: A Global History of Sex Education and Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory, among other books. His academic articles have appeared in the Journal of American History, the Teachers College Record, and History of Education Quarterly. Zimmerman is also a frequent op-ed contributor to the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Republic, and other popular newspapers and magazines.