Rightwing website is putting historians on its “Watchlist” for signs of apostasy

Historians in the News
tags: Heather Cox Richardson, Professor Watchlis



Heather Cox Richardson found out on Facebook. Her name was on a new website called “Professor Watchlist.”

Richardson — who is a professor of American history at Boston College, as well as a political commentator at Salon — has found her name on such lists before. But this is the first time that people she knew noticed.

“It was a punch in the gut,” Richardson said. “I can argue — and I love to argue — ideas and evidence. But that’s very different from saying you are anti-American, and an enemy to true education.”

The “Professor Watchlist“ claims to be a directory of academics “that advance a radical agenda in lecture halls.” Accompanying that is a list of dozens of people, from tenured professors to visiting lecturers. ...

Engineer Arthur Butz is on the list for his Holocaust denial. But so is the award-winning novelist Marlon James, for characterizing police killings as “state-sanctioned violence,” and so is a management professor for encouraging talk of privilege at a diversity seminar.

The site's footer shows it to be supported by Turning Point USA (TPUSA), an organization funded in part by the billionaire Foster Friess and by Bruce Rauner, the Republican governor of Illinois, and that supports conservative youth activism. (One of TPUSA's slogans: "Big Government Sucks.")


Matthew Lamb, a 23-year-old graduate student in political science at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, helped assemble the watchlist. And in his new role as TPUSA’s “director of constitutional enforcement and transparency,” he'll oversee its growth.

In an email, Lamb said the list's almost 150 members “chill free speech in the classrooms by taking radical positions that shut down debate.” ...





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