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Amy Wax is the Robert Mundheim Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she specializes in social welfare law and policy as well as the relationship of the family, the workplace, and labor markets.
Professor Wax has become a controversial figure because of her politically incorrect comments advocating in favor of bourgeois values and the WASP culture from which they stem, and in her claims that black students had generally performed at lower levels than other students in her classes in context of a conversation about the downsides of affirmative action — comments that got her ousted from teaching the first year civil procedure class for which she had previously won an award for “teaching excellence.”
I had Professor Wax on the Big Ideas podcast to discuss among other things:
- Wax’s transition from apolitical science student to conservative law professor
- The merits of bourgeois values and the primacy of culture
- What those who attribute societal outcomes almost purely to economics get wrong
- Wax’s observations on the relatively poor performance of black students in her classes, triggering her removal from teaching her mandatory first-year class
- Affirmative action and discrimination
- Why Wax believes diversity is not an “unalloyed good”
- Wax’s response to critics who would argue her classroom is an “unsafe space” for minority students
- The dangerous anti-academic freedom paradigm on college campuses of “safe spaces,” “trigger warnings,” “disinvitations” and “de-platforming,” whereby offensive speech has been deemed an act of violence, justifying a physically violent response
- The broader ramifications for society of growing illiberalism
- How Wax would like to see her case at Penn Law remedied
- The anti-Western state of the academy in the West
Full transcript here.