An Exchange on the Bowdoin Report: Harvey Mansfield and Bowdoin's Paul Franco

National Association of Scholars

In a recent exchange in the Claremont Review of Books, Harvey Mansfield and Bowdoin professor of government Paul Franco disagree (and agree) about the National Association of Scholars’ 2013 What Does Bowdoin Teach?

They disagree about its authors. According to Franco, Peter Wood and Michael Toscano are “narrow,” “mean-spirited” and trapped in the culture war. According to Mansfield, “Peter Wood and Michael Toscano in their report have understood Bowdoin better than Bowdoin understands itself.”

They disagree about the value of critiquing the "politicized" contemporary classroom. According to Franco, “The obvious problem with [Mansfield’s and NAS’s] critique of the politicization of higher education is that it is, well, highly politicized.” According to Mansfield, “the defense of a non-political classroom is indeed political but in the higher, nobler sense.”

They agree that the report identifies real problems to be solved. According to Franco, Bowdoin suffers from “the specialization and fragmentation of college curricula; the need for a more thoughtful and robust set of general education requirements; the excessive number of courses devoted to race, gender, and sexuality.” According to Mansfield, Bowdoin and Harvard suffer from a “willingness to…sacrifice their standards of excellence and their practices of free discussion to serve the policies of political correctness.”

  • Share

Most Commented

October 31, 2023

1.

University of Washington Violated Non-Discrimination Policy, Internal Report Finds

A faculty hiring committee at the University of Washington “inappropriately considered candidates’ races when determining the order of offers,” provided “disparate op......

January 24, 2024

2.

After Claudine

The idea has caught on that the radical left overplayed its hand in DEI and is now vulnerable to those of us who seek major reforms. This is not, however, the first time that the a......

December 9, 2023

3.

The Presidents and Academic Freedom

What are the boundaries of “free speech?” They are pretty much the same as the boundaries of civilization. Savages need not apply....

Most Read

May 15, 2015

1.

Where Did We Get the Idea That Only White People Can Be Racist?

A look at the double standard that has arisen regarding racism, illustrated recently by the reaction to a black professor's biased comments on Twitter....

October 12, 2010

2.

Ask a Scholar: What is the True Definition of Latino?

What does it mean to be Latino? Are only Latin American people Latino, or does the term apply to anyone whose language derived from Latin?...

September 21, 2010

3.

Ask a Scholar: What Does YHWH Elohim Mean?

A reader asks, "If Elohim refers to multiple 'gods,' then Yhwh Elohim really means Lord of Gods...the one of many, right?" A Hebrew expert answers....