Plagiarism Alleged in Kruse's 2000 DissertationHistorians in the News
tags: social media, plagiarism, Kevin Kruse
PHILLIP W. MAGNESS is a senior research fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research and co-author (with Jason Brennan) of Cracks in the Ivory Tower: The Moral Mess of Higher Education (Oxford University Press).
Known for posting Twitter threads that call out both real and imagined errors of accuracy in conservative commentaries about America's past, Kruse earned the moniker of "History's Attack Dog" from The Chronicle of Higher Education. Kruse parlayed his half-million Twitter followers into a recurring opinion column on American political history at MSNBC, and he will soon be taking his Twitter threads to print in a co-edited book, which purports to catalog "distortions of the past promoted in the conservative media."
But a discovery from Kruse's past may now put Princeton's Twitter warrior under a microscope of his own, raising the question of whether he holds himself to the same standards that he imposes on his internet adversaries. A key passage from Kruse's doctoral dissertation on the history of race relations in Atlanta displays uncanny similarities to a 1996 book on the same subject by Ronald H. Bayor, a now-retired historian from Georgia Tech.
Bayor introduces his academic monograph, Race and the Shaping of Twentieth Century Atlanta, by outlining the reasons he chose to study the burgeoning Georgia metropolis: "For many reasons, Atlanta appeared to be a good city to study for such an analysis. It had a singular place in the South as a transportation and business center; it is a leading New South and Sunbelt center; it was a headquarters city for a number of civil rights organizations and is a center of black higher education; and it has hailed itself as 'a city too busy to hate'—one of progressive race relations."
Compare that to how Kruse introduces his dissertation at Cornell four years later: "Atlanta struck me as a logical site for such an analysis. It holds a singular place as the political and economic leader of the New South; it served as a headquarters for a number of civil rights organizations; it has been a center of black higher education. Furthermore, Atlanta has hailed itself as the 'city too busy to hate'—one of 'progressive' race relations."
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