Call for Authors: *Anti-intellectualism and Elitism in America: An Encyclopedia of Conflict*

Tim Lacy's picture
Call for Papers
January 15, 2020
United States
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Intellectual History, Political History / Studies, Religious Studies and Theology



Anti-intellectualism and Elitism in America: An Encyclopedia of Conflict


Editor: Tim Lacy, PhD





With this call, I am pleased to announce the initiation of work on Anti-intellectualism and Elitism in America: An Encyclopedia of Conflict. This compilation will serve as an objective accounting of past and present issues related to anti-intellectualism and elitism. Both topics will be considered independently and together, with the latter covering conflicts, tensions, and intersections between each. The encyclopedia will demonstrate how elitism and anti-intellectualism feed present problems and dispositions, but have also existed from the earliest days of the American project.


Essays will be based on the topics listed below. The finished product, to be published by ABC-CLIO, will span two volumes—inclusive of essays and primary source materials. The entry list consists of 120 items. We expect each essay to average 2000 words (total, including text, title, and brief bibliography). The primary audience for this reference work is upper-level secondary school students and undergraduates, so objectivity and the ability to write for a lay audience is essential.


Approved contributors will receive, for each entry, (a) an author byline; (b) access to the e-book version of the encyclopedia; and (c) either 120 CLIO dollars or $40 (US) per completed entry. Please note that authors are allowed to write more than one entry. Contributors can, for instance, obtain a hardcopy of the two-volume encyclopedia by writing two entries to meet the needed hardcopy cost of $60 (US). All contributor payments will be made only after publication of the work, estimated to be in early 2021.


All entries must be submitted in completed form by January 15, 2020, without exceptions. Contributors will receive a set of author guidelines with their assignments. These guidelines will provide details on style, format, and content expectations for entries.


To be considered for authorship of any of the topics listed below, please contact Tim Lacy, Editor (




(As of 7/31/2019)


[Note: A strikethrough indicates the entry is already taken.]




  1. The Anti-Elitists Roots of the Mayflower Compact (1620)
  2. The Founding of Harvard University (1636): Elite Fears of an Illiterate Ministry and the Lights of Reason
  3. Salem Witchcraft Trials (1692-1693)




  1. First Great Awakening: Sermons and Responses (1740s to 1750s, Tennent, Davenport)
  2. America’s English Class Inheritance: Cultural and Economic
  3. Thomas Paine’s Common Sense and Critiques of Radical Egalitarianism (reactions to Paine’s "Vulgar" Style
  4. The French Revolution in America and the Fear of Mobocracy
  5. Jeffersonian Elitism (actions by him or allies) and Reactions
  6. Federalist Era Conspiracy Theories




  1. The Second Great Awakening (1820s-1830s): Meetings and Style
  2. Antebellum Slavery and Miseducation
  3. The Jacksonian Era (Rhetoric and Campaign Stops, Spoils System, Expertise, and “Gentlemen,” Racial Elitism and anti-Native American Sentiment)
  4. The Anti-Masonic Party and Political Paranoia in the 1820s-30s & 1870s
  5. Responses to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s The American Scholar (1837)
  6. Receptions and Perceptions of Frederick Douglass in 19th-Century America
  7. The Astor Place Riot (5/10/1849): Nativism, Immigrants, Anti-Anglophilia, and Elites
  8. Actions of The Know-Nothing Party (1850s)
  9. Quacks and Patent/Fake Medicines: Production and Responses
  10. Acts of Reconstruction, White Supremacy, & Jim Crow (Literacy Tests, Lynching, Voting Rights)
  11. Mark Twain (one entry, two components): (a) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884): Reactions, Bans, and Censorship (vulgar and uncouth language, vernacular); (b) Reception and Reactions to Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court (1889)
  12. Remember the Maine! and Yellow Journalism
  13. The Rise of Country Clubs: The Idea of, Ideals, and Reality


1900s   Progressive Era


  1. The Progressive Era Growth of Expertise and Professionalism
  2. The Washington-Du Bois Debate (1900-1910): Elitism and Racial Progress
  3. Billy Sunday: Evangelical Anti-Intellectualism
  4. William James On Intellectuals and Academic Snobbery (“The PhD Octopus,” 1903 and the Dreyfus Affair)
  5. WWI: Woodrow Wilson, the Draft, and the Professor President
  6. Reactions to Suffragists (1900-1920)
  7. Native American Federal Guardianship Program: 1900-1978: Paternalism and Elitism


The Roaring Twenties


  1. Eugenics: Scientific Racism (e.g. reactions to Kallikak family study, popularity and responses to Madison Grant’s Passing of the Great Race)
  2. Anti-Semitism and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (1903, 1919 in English, The Actions of Henry Ford)
  3. John Dewey and Anti-Intellectualism
  4. H.L. Mencken’s Career: Events, Writings, and Legacy
  5. The 1920s and the Decline of Progressivism: Critiques of Experts as Elites
  6. Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s: Klaverns, Kleagles, White Supremacy, and Scandal
  7. The Fundamentals and Anti-Intellectualism
  8. Advertising: Fooling and Hoodwinking Consumers
  9. 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial
  10. Al Smith and Anti-Catholicism in 1928


The Depression Era & WWII


  1. Radio Broadcasts of Charles Coughlin (1930s, anti-Semitism, fascism support, censorship)
  2. The New Deal: Experts and Reactionaries (1930s)
  3. Events of Communist Suppression (1920-1960)
  4. Fighting Anti-Intellectualism through Great Books and Education Reform: Robert Hutchins and Mortimer J. Adler
  5. Pre-WWII rallies around America First Nationalism
  6. WWII and Scientific Triumphalism (1940s)


The Cold War & Its Anxieties


  1. Spies and Fears (one entry, two components): (a) he Alger Hiss Trial (1948-50); (b) Julius and Ethel Rosenberg (1950-53)
  2. The 1952 Presidential Election: Eisenhower v. Stevenson
  3. McCarthyism (speeches and hearings)
  4. Liberalism, Expertise, & Distrust of Common Person and Populism (w/a summary/Analysis of Jacques Barzun, House of Intellect (1959))
  5. John Birch Society speeches and events (conspiracy theories)
  6. UFO sightings and public responses
  7. Hollywood Culture (hearings, censorship, & antisemitism)
  8. The Roots of Pseudoscience and Immanuel Velikovsky: Expertise, Peer Review, End-times sensationalism
  9. Catholic Intellectuals and Anti-Catholicism in Public Life: John Tracy Ellis, Henry Wallace, and Paul Blanshard
  10. Short-wave Radio: Propaganda and Misinformation: 1920s to the 1950s
  11. Television: Newton Minow and the Vast Wasteland (1961) of Programming
  12. The Popularity of Ayn Rand and Conservative Ideology
  13. William F. Buckley’ God and Man at Yale/Conservative Elitism


The Long Sixties


  1. Anti-Catholicism, JFK, and the 1960s Presidential Campaign
  2. The Best and the Brightest: Perceptions of JFK’s Cabinet
  3. Speaking Engagements around Anti-Establishment Rebels/Berkeley Free Speech Movement
  4. Richard Hofstadter and Anti-Intellectualism in American Life (1963)
  5. The 1964 Presidential Election: Goldwater v. Johnson
  6. Responses to Malcom X’s speeches and writings on White Elites
  7. Robert McNamara as Case Study in Rationalism and New Class Technocracy
  8. The Model Minority Mythology: Asian Americans, Walter Peterson, Bootstrap Theories, and the 1960s
  9. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Popular Opinions and Perceptions
  10. Helen Gurley Brown and Cosmopolitan magazine: Founding, Reception, and Criticism
  11. Stonewall Inn (1969): Raids, Riots, and Public Legacy
  12. The Political Strategy and Public Discourse: Grievance Politics, Race, Coastal Liberals, the “Silent Majority,” and Washington Elites (Wallace, Agnew, Nixon)
  13. Misperceptions and Reactions to Black Power
  14. Hippies and The Counterculture (1960s and 1970s): Beliefs and Reactions To
  15. William Calley, Army Elitism, and Popular Militarism (post-1969)
  16. 1960s and 1970s Reactions to the Liberal Academy (one entry, two components): (a) Dudley’s Folly (1960-1964) and Anti-Semitism in the Academy; (b) Reagan and Berkeley


The Seventies


  1. The Watergate Scandal: Exaggerations, Perceptions, and Loyalties (1973-1974)
  2. Roe v. Wade (1973): Emotional Receptions and Elite Arguments
  3. The Rise of Sports Talk Radio: Entertainment, Masculinity, Politics, and Anti-Intellectualism (1960s-Present)
  4. The Moon Landing Hoax: Bill Kaysing and Capricorn One (1976-1977)
  5. 1970s Popular Culture: TV (one entry, two components): (a) All in the Family (stereotypes about Archie and Edith Bunker); (b) Gerald Ford (satire, SNL skits, Chevy Chase)
  6. 1970s Popular Culture: Music (one entry, two components): (a) Disco Demolition Night: Racism, Homophobia, and Backlash (July 12, 1979); (b) “Country” Music: From Low-Brow Entertainment to Popular Culture Mainstay (e.g. Outlaw Country & Anti-Elitism)
  7. The Roots of the Anti-Vaccination Movement (1970s and 1980s): Vaccine Damage Incidents
  8. Think Tanks, Expertise, and Alternate Knowledge
  9. The Origins and Reactions to the Myth of the Welfare Queen: Politics and Poor African American Mothers (1970s-1990s)


The Eighties


  1. Reagan’s Hyperbolic Cold War Patriotism, Ideology, and Nationalism
  2. Reception of Isaac Asimov and “A Cult of Ignorance” (Newsweek, article, 1/21/1980, p. 19)
  3. First Blood and Rambos: Militarism, Patriotism, and Anti-elitism in Popular Culture
  4. Public Responses to Institution of MLK, Jr. Holiday (1983-2000)
  5. Evangelical Discussion around the publication of Mark Noll’s Scandal of the Evangelical Mind (1985)
  6. 1980s Events around the Myths of the “Founding Fathers” in the Late Twentieth Century
  7. The Phenomenon of Allan Bloom’s Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today's Students (1987)
  8. The Simpsons (1989-Present): Controversy, Animation, & Lowbrow Entertainment
  9. Culture Wars Reactions to Gender & Race Studies (1980s/1990s)
  10. Popular Responses to Hip Hop and Rap Music


The Nineties


  1. Rush Limbaugh Radio Program: Founding, Programming, Responses to
  2. Gen X Slackers and Condescension (1991 publication and response to Douglas Coupland’s Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture)
  3. White Supremacy: Conservative and Liberal Receptions of Richard Herrnstein’s and Charles Murray’s The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life (1994)
  4. Organic Naturalism and 1990s culture
  5. Rural Brain Drain and the Rise of the Urban Creative Class (1990-Present)
  6. Signal Programs of Alex Jones (1996-Present): The Final Edition, The Alex Jones Show, and Infowars (1999)
  7. The 1992 Bush-Clinton Campaign: Characterizations and Perceptions of the Clintons’ Public Personas
  8. Climate Change Skepticism and Denialism: From Al Gore to Climategate (1992-2010)


The New Millennium & Trump


  1. The 2000 Presidential Election – Bush v. Gore
  2. Post-9/11 Truther Conspiracies
  3. Campus Watch: Daniel Pipes, The Middle East, and Professor Monitoring (2001-Present)
  4. FOX News: From Outfoxed to Hannity and Trump
  5. Idiocracy (2006): Analysis, Reception, Legacy
  6. Journalism (Decline of Print, Internet and Social Media)
  7. Portrayals of President Bush in Popular Culture (2000-2008, simple, patriot, conniving, malapropisms, SNL skits, satire)
  8. The 2008 Presidential Election – McCain v. Obama
  9. The Entrenchment of Anti-Intellectualism - Summary/Analysis of Jacoby &  Proctor-Schiebinger
  10. 2008-2016 – Ongoing Reactions to President Barack Obama: Conspiracies, Racism, and Popular Culture (focus: Tea Party, Rick Santorum, Memes)
  11. Climate Controversies: 2008-Present
  12. “Nerd culture” and Beyond: The Big Bang Theory, Etc.
  13. The Ark Encounter Museum (2016): Recent Evangelical and Fundamentalist Anti-Intellectualism
  14. The 2016 Presidential Election – Clinton v. Trump
  15. The Age of Trump: News and Politics: Alt-Facts, Tweets, Fake News, and Post-Truth Politics
  16. The Age of Trump: Education and the Poorly Educated
  17. The Age of Trump: Conspiracy Theories: Obama Birtherism, Pizzagate, Etc.
  18. The Age of Trump: Government Appointees and Elitism (on “Draining the Swamp”)
  19. The Age of Trump and White Nationalism (e.g. currents of Antisemitism, Anti-Globalization, Anti-Cosmopolitanism, Stephen Miller, domestic terrorism/vandalism)



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