Conservatives on Campus

Myths and Realities, a Freedom Project Panel Discussion

Thursday, March 10, 2016 - 6:00pm
Margaret Clapp Library Lecture Room

Conservative activists often portray colleges and universities as bastions of liberal indoctrination with professors openly hostile to conservative students and colleagues. Liberals often reply that the lack of conservative presence on campus is a result of anti-intellectual attitudes among conservatives themselves. Eschewing the usual polemics, panelists will share their empirical work on these questions and discuss their implications for current debates on politics on campus. This event will feature a panel discussion of the professors' varying political and philosophical views. 

Please note that this event will be streamed live for guests that are unable to attend.

About the panelists: 

Amy Binder, Professor of Sociology, University of California, San Diego

Binder's principal research interests are in the areas of cultural sociology, higher education, politics, and organizations. Professor Binder’s recent book, Becoming Right: How Campuses Shape Young Conservatives, was published in January 2013. Co-authored with Kate Wood, the book looks at how today’s right-leaning college students experience life on two university campuses—one an elite private institution, the other a major public university—and how students belong to a web of national and local conservative organizations which provide considerable resources to them. Professor Binder’s current project is a case study of Harvard and Stanford’s effects on students’ career aspirations, with a particular emphasis on students’ trajectories into finance, consulting, and high tech careers. Professor Binder was elected to serve as the 2014-2015 Chair of the Sociology of Education section of the American Sociological Association; is a member of the Scholars Strategy Network with San Diego organizers John Skrentny and David Fitzgerald; and is a deputy editor of the journal Sociology of Education. At UC San Diego she is a founding member and organizer of an interdisciplinary workshop called The Workshop for the Study of Conservative Movements and has co-organized four UCSD Culture Conferences, resulting in a widely read special issue of The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science called “Cultural Sociology and Its Diversity.”


Neil Gross, Professor of Sociology, Colby College

Gross works primarily on sociological theory and the sociology of intellectual life. He is the author of Why Are Professors Liberal and Why Do Conservatives Care? (Harvard, 2013) and Richard Rorty: The Making of an American Philosopher (Chicago, 2008). Gross’s articles have been published in the American Sociological ReviewAnnual Review of SociologyTheory & Society, and other leading journals of the field. From 2009-2015 he edited Sociological Theory, the theory journal of the American Sociological Association. Gross is currently working on pragmatist philosophy and the social sciences; on a biography of Seymour Martin Lipset, the mid-20th century sociologist and political scientist; on a study of politics and views of science; and on a host of other topics. He joined the Colby faculty in 2015 as chair of the Department of Sociology, and he taught previously at Princeton, the University of British Columbia, Harvard, and the University of Southern California. (


John Shields, Associate Professor of Government, Claremont McKenna College

Jon Shields is associate professor of government at Claremont McKenna College and coauthor (with Joshua Dunn) of Passing on the Right: Conservative Professors in the Progressive University (Oxford University Press). His first book, The Democratic Virtues of the Christian Right, was published by Princeton University Press. Shields’ work has been featured in the New York Times, New Yorker, National Public Radio, and National Review. He currently serves on the Editorial Advisory Board Society, and is a past dissertation fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture and the Miller Center of Public Affairs.


Cosponsored by the Knapp Social Science Center. Free and open to the public.