1. MikeG

    MikeG Senior Member

    I ran across this article on Memory Hole by James Tracy, the former Florida Atlantic University professor.

    It struck me as an interesting counterpoint to my current class on conspiracy and U.S. history.

    It also offers a few insights on James Tracy. [my emphasis]


    Tracy’s premise is interesting. He is basically inverting the idea of conspiracy theory and attributing it to the global power structure. From this perspective, centers of power are actually on the fringe.

    Or, in the case of poor Noam Chomsky, a progressive academic is fashioned into an agent of powerful interests.

    His approach reminded me of what Michael Barkun called a “fact-fiction reversals” in his book A Culture of Conspiracy. (page 29)

    Part of Tracy’s class involved “a brief informal survey” that asked his students about their September 11 experiences and the sources by which they obtained information about the event.

    Frankly, I found Tracy’s application of his premise in class to be professionally appalling. [Again, my emphasis]

    There are almost too many problems to point out, but here are a few just for starters.

    Tracy indulges in an incredible amount of overgeneralization. How exactly were “tens of thousands of hours” of programming controlled and coordinated by the powers that be?

    Given the fact that he is a professor of communications, I find it unbelievable that he discounts the different type of venues that Americans use to get news, particularly younger people like his students.

    For example:

    Tracy was not following his collective bargaining agreement under Article 5 Academic Freedom and Responsibility, which specifically addresses his obligations as a faculty member to:


    It is clear that he had no interest whatsoever in any variety of opinions or perspectives.

    I will leave it at that for now. I am curious to see what other people think.
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  2. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    about what?

    that the above reads like he appeared to throw aside academic standards and brainwashed his students?

    or the fact he is saying the government story is the conspiracy? because CTs and Truthers have been saying that for quite a while. There are even a few threads here of posters that espouse that theory.
  3. MikeG

    MikeG Senior Member

    You are right, there is some pretty standard stuff in terms of his approach. The "usual suspects" crop up.

    I am looking at this class in the same way we discussed the J. Marvin Herndon article.


    In this case, I am more interested in teaching pedagogy as opposed to peer-reviewed research.

    I have been teaching long enough to understand that objectivity is difficult to achieve.

    Many education majors have passed through my classrooms. We have often talked about the need for a balanced approach with students regardless of level, K-12 or college.

    It took me awhile to understand that teaching is not about winning arguments with students. Its purpose is to give them the tools and guidance to make informed decisions.

    Tracy approaches his youngsters almost like a deprogrammer would address a cult member.

    There is an irony here.

    Any educator know that students occupy a very vulnerable place. They are dependent on the ethics and veracity of faculty to learn. Tracy has taken it upon himself to create a course "absent any contradictory information."

    In my opinion, he not only violated his CBA. He broke faith with his profession.
  4. Gary Cook

    Gary Cook Active Member

    Obviously. State education tends to teach the perspective of the state more than private education does.
  5. JRBids

    JRBids Senior Member

    Ignoring your obvious CT bend here, my friend is a professor in a Catholic college and she complains about the administration also.