Cover: Why Are Professors Liberal and Why Do Conservatives Care?, from Harvard University PressCover: Why Are Professors Liberal and Why Do Conservatives Care? in HARDCOVER

Why Are Professors Liberal and Why Do Conservatives Care?

Add to Cart

Product Details


$40.00 • £32.95 • €36.00

ISBN 9780674059092

Publication Date: 04/09/2013


400 pages

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

3 line illustrations, 1 graph, 5 tables


Neil Gross’s Why Are Professors Liberal and Why Do Conservatives Care? enters the ongoing debate about the position and role of the academy in American life at a high-stakes moment… Until now, the characterization of a staunchly liberal professoriate has annoyed progressives and disturbed conservatives, while remaining a curiously underexamined trope in American political life. As Gross’s study shows, it is a product of long-standing misguided assumptions and overdrawn conclusions about American academics’ politics. Gross offers an impressive range of hard social scientific data to soften the hyperbole and help set straight the terms of our debate.—Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen, The American Prospect

The question is not whether college professors are liberal… The much more interesting question is why college professors are liberal, and sociologist Neil Gross has studied it for years. His results are worth considering… Gross is at his best when he’s explaining his surveys and experiments and using them to evaluate competing theories of professors’ liberalism—and fortunately, he spends a lot of time doing that. Readers will gain a nuanced understanding of the subject, and conservative readers in particular will find many interesting nuggets here.—Robert Verbruggen, National Review

[Gross] registers clearly the overwhelming ideological slant of higher education… [His thesis] leaves conservative critics with a disarming irony, though: The more critics expose liberal indoctrination and intolerance, the more they reinforce the image of academia that makes young conservatives shun it.—Mark Bauerlein, The Weekly Standard

Gross does what really good scholars do—namely, research, research, research. Through reflection on existing data and that gathered from studies of his own devising, he concludes that the liberalism of the academy is not nearly so pronounced as alarmists would like to believe, nor is it uniform.—James Williams, PopMatters

A sound analysis of the sharply partisan issue of political imbalance among university faculty.—Elizabeth Hayford, Library Journal

Persuasive… It offers a thoughtful riposte to ad hominem attacks on contemporary universities as hotbeds of radicalism.Publishers Weekly

Why Are Professors Liberal and Why Do Conservatives Care? offers a thoughtful, rigorous, and readable study of the causes and effects of liberal attitudes among college professors. Reading this book gave me an entirely new way of thinking about the interactions between political views, social attitudes, and life choices. Gross deserves a wide hearing.—Andrew Gelman, Columbia University

A major contribution to debates about the politics of academia. Neil Gross blends cutting-edge research with old-fashioned reason to explain the cultural and economic forces that send liberals into the professoriate. This is a smart, surprising, and important book.—Eric Klinenberg, New York University

Neil Gross’s work is crucial for anyone who cares about higher education and who also cares about the facts.—Louis Menand, Harvard University

In this engaging book, Neil Gross uses a dizzying range of evidence to take apart many common beliefs. He shows—among many other things—that professors are less liberal than pundits claim, that today’s younger professors are less radical than older ones, and that it is not so much that academia turns people liberal as that liberals are attracted to academia. The book cements Gross’s reputation as one of the most interesting sociologists of his generation.—Mario Small, University of Chicago

From Our Blog

Jacket: The Coming Good Society: Why New Realities Demand New Rights, by William F. Schulz and Sushma Raman, from Harvard University Press

Q&A with William F. Schulz and Sushma Raman, authors of The Coming Good Society: Why New Realities Demand New Rights

As times change so must we as a society, and that includes our conception of rights, say William F. Schulz and Sushma Raman, whose new book, The Coming Good Society: Why New Realities Demand New Rights, came out just as Black Lives Matter protesters filled the streets this summer. We spoke with them about the current view—and the future—of human rights. How do you understand the purpose of rights? What function do they serve in a society?