Canceled professor joins rival U.K. university to launch "common sense" course on wokeness
ยท Oct 6, 2023 ยท

A Canadian professor teaching in the U.K. has been so persecuted for his right-leaning views over the past five years that he is giving up his full professorship at the University of London to join a rival school and launch a course called "Woke: the Origins, Dynamics and Implications of an Elite Ideology."

Eric Kaufmann, 53, served as the head of Politics at Birkbeck, University of London, but quit at the end of August following a 20-year career. Since then, he has joined the University of Buckingham and will lead the Centre for Heterodox Social Science.

Kaufmann's new course is launching in January, aiming to assess woke "in an empirical and analytical manner rather than from a particular political or normative position."

The 15-week course will present a "theoretical, historical, and social scientific analysis of cultural socialism," according to the course description.

This 15-week course presents a theoretical, historical and social scientific analysis of cultural socialism. Uniquely among university courses worldwide, it focuses attention on the western cultural left and its accompanying symbolic system of wokeness - defined as the sacralization of minority identity.


The aim is to assess woke in an empirical and analytical manner rather than from a particular political or normative position.

I begin by defining terms and setting out competing theories regarding the origin and reproduction of wokeness in the West. Students will obtain a grounding in the history, ideology, organizational dynamics, public opinion, electoral implications, policy aspects and philosophy of this idea. This will involve consideration of how woke interacts with classical liberalism, populism and conservatism to produce a recursive radicalizing pattern, abetting polarization. Woke will also be examined in light of global population shifts and techno-economic developments.

Within a seven-part thread on X, Kaufmann elaborated on how his departure from Birkbeck was partly influenced by the opportunity "to help build Buckingham as the only 'free speech university' in Britain."

He wrote that there are about 150 non-leftist research centers in the U.S., but that "nothing of this kind exists in Britain."

Progressive conformity and cancel culture are distorting the teaching and research mission of universities. Between the extremely controversial and the progressive-controlled monoculture of academia is a vast and growing zone of unspoken truth.

My aim is to teach and research on topics, or from perspectives, that are difficult or hazardous in the contemporary university. This can begin to help restore truth, rebalance academia and help it regain the trust it is losing among many.


The goal is to have a politically balanced intake, to minimize self-censorship.


The aim is to promote objectivity and viewpoint diversity, not indoctrination or narrow limits on the pursuit of knowledge.

In a recent interview with The Daily Mail, Kaufmann said he was canceled by "1,000 cuts" over a five-year campaign at Birkbeck in a coordinated attack.

He said he was targeted on social media, had student letters and evaluations calling for him to be fired, and was isolated by colleagues trying to avoid "being canceled by association."

The climate at British universities has worsened because morally absolutist, often younger, illiberal progressives are using pressure, public reputational attacks and social media to limit academic freedom.

It's a target rich environment. The woke left can make your life hell and they know it. You worry about saying the wrong thing in class so you make it vanilla. You worry about getting your research grant so you self censor.

You've got to be in line with the orthodoxy, you can't deviate from dogma. It's an Orwellian threat to the enlightenment - free speech, equal treatment, due process, objective scientific truth.

I believe this new woke ideology threatens the foundations of our civilisation. Every parent in the UK - and around the world - should be concerned at how far it has penetrated into our universities, schools and elite institutions.

Today Professor Kaufmann, who is half Jewish, a quarter Chinese and a quarter Costa Rican, reveals details of how he was labelled a white supremacist and a racist apologist for holding views which he defines as 'liberal conservative.

All of this reminds me of what's happening in Florida with New College - all over, there is a backlash growing against the wokescolds that control academia.

Could this new course be the start of something new? Can you hear the tides turning in the education system yet?

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