To the American Political Science Association

The American Political Science Association is now holding its 117th Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington even as woke values continue to permeate not just popular culture and the media but also academia.
My own field of political science seems to have fallen prey to the woke canon. I am not suggesting that political science is unique. Many university departments in sociology and anthropology, not to mention Middle East Studies, in Israel, the UK, the US, and elsewhere, have been hijacked by anti-Zionist campaigners. Many US campuses have become hostile environments to visibly Jewish and pro-Zionist students.

More and more lecturers seem to be using the classroom to push their opinions and assign readings to promote only one point of view—theirs. When I went to university in the 1970s and 1980s, though most professors were liberal-leaning, dissent and dialogue were tolerated, sometimes even welcomed, and required readings were often balanced.
As old school liberal baby boomers retire from academia, dogmatic wokers fill their places. Yesteryear’s liberal partiality has become today’s rigid progressive convention. As a result, the social sciences and humanities in the US, and Israel too, are often bastions of unabashedly one-sided curricula. Witch-hunts often instigated by woke students against those traduced as racists or gender offenders, are common occurrences on campus.
Academic literature more and more mirrors woke convention. The May 2021 edition of Political Science Today, a magazine of the American Political Science Association, reflected the editors’ obeisance to woke values. Obfuscation is a core element in woke-speak. Nonetheless, I was able to decipher the editors’ intention by scrutinizing this magazine. A theme that comes through is their concern that there are still too many white male political scientists about (40 percent). The editors inventoried all APSA journal authors by “Gender Self-Identification,” Again, white men dominated while non-binary persons were way down in the rankings.
An article about the often chauvinistic Black Lives Matter movement is uncritical except to question whether it fully articulates the interests of “Black LGBTQIA+ individuals.” There is no mention of antisemitism or anti-Zionism.
Another article bemoans the small numbers of “underrepresented students” in mathematically-oriented political science subfields. Turn the page, and a headline shouts: “Does Your Online Course Perpetuate Institutional Discrimination?”
A piece on “Strategies for Teaching the Insurrection and Impeachment” urges instructors to name “the insurrection for what it was.” I make no secret of my disdain for Donald Trump, nor do I play down the danger posed by the assault on the Capitol. Yet, a political science classroom is not a New York Times op-ed. Teachers should use less loaded terminology and make their lecture halls a safe space even for Trump-supporting students.
The May 2021 edition of Political Science Today also had brief agitprop about anti-Asian violence asserting these crimes were inspired by America’s white colonialist past. Boloney.
In New York City, almost all attacks in the first three months of 2021 against Chinese people were carried out by Blacks or Hispanics. Nationwide, between 1992-2014, hate crimes against Asian Americans were more likely to be committed by Blacks and Hispanics, not whites.
Further along in the magazine, a multi-page spread gives readers biographical sketches of “diversity fellows,” all of whom would appear to be students of color. Diversity? Finally, and I fear indicative of the discipline’s future, skimming the list of 2020 doctoral dissertations, I found only one by a Jewish American scholar on an Israel-related topic, and it was devoted to “settler violence.” An entire generation of students has now grown up oblivious to the fundamental issues of the Palestinian-Israel conflict. All they can do is repeat the “occupation” mantra unthinkingly. What a shame.
It is even painful to watch parodies of campus woke because they are so…real.
Poli Sci should neither be boringly abstract nor hostage to pop-political-trends. Your students need to know current events — beyond what they come away with by scrolling through their social media feeds. Courageous teachers of politics need to inculcate tolerance and Madisonian — not woke — values.

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Published by Elliot Jager

In my briefings and blog, I contextualize Israeli politics and explore Jewish civilization. As a collaborative editor, I make your writing clear & compelling.

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