Musa al-Gharbi

Paul F. Lazarsfeld Fellow in Sociology, Columbia University in the City of New York
Research Associate, Heterodox Academy

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About Musa

Al-Gharbi's research explores how we think about, talk about, and produce knowledge about social phenomena including race, inequality, social movements, extremism, policing, national security, foreign policy and domestic U.S. political contests.


In the News

"Disposable People," Musa al-Gharbi, The Baffler, April 1, 2020.
"Too Noxious for Tenure?," Musa al-Gharbi, The Chronicle of Higher Education, August 1, 2019.
"If the Midterms were a Referendum, Trump Won," Musa al-Gharbi, The Washington Post, November 9, 2018.
Musa al-Gharbi quoted by John Blake, "One Word Shows How Much We've Changed the Way We Talk About Race" CNN, June 29, 2018.
Interview on liberal bias in social science Musa al-Gharbi, National Review, May 2, 2018.
"If Conservative Views are Not Represented in Social Research, Leftists Will Suffer Most," Musa al-Gharbi, Times Higher Education, March 29, 2018.
"About That Blue Wave...," Musa al-Gharbi, New York Times, March 7, 2018.
"Is Trump the New Clinton?," Musa al-Gharbi, The Baffler, March 6, 2018.
Musa al-Gharbi quoted by Graham Vyse, "How Trump Wins Reelection" The New Republic, February 26, 2018.
Musa al-Gharbi quoted by Thomas B. Edsall, "Can Democrats Follow #MeToo to Victory?" New York Times, January 18, 2018.
Musa al-Gharbi quoted by Conor Brady, "A Rough Ride ahead with Trump as Default Driver" The Times, November 6, 2017.
Musa al-Gharbi's research on settling for the status quo discussed by Stacey Leasca, "This Behavioral Phenomenon is One of the Reasons Trump Will Probably Win Reelection in 2020," Mic, September 3, 2017.
"On the Philosophy of Conservatism," Musa al-Gharbi, Philosophy Now, August 2017.
"Trump Will Likely Win Reelection in 2020," Musa al-Gharbi, The Conversation, May 10, 2017.
"A Counter-Terrorism Approach to Trump," Musa al-Gharbi, Huffington Post, April 20, 2017.
Musa al-Gharbi quoted by Thomas B. Edsall, "Donald Trump’s Political Stew" New York Times, March 9, 2017.
"The Democratic Party is Facing a Demographic Crisis," Musa al-Gharbi, The Conversation, February 27, 2017.
"In the Age of Trump, Thank God for James Comey," Musa al-Gharbi, Huffington Post, February 3, 2017.
"Racial Profiling is a Bad Counterterrorism Strategy," Musa al-Gharbi, The American Conservative, September 21, 2016.
Musa al-Gharbi quoted by Colbert I. King, "The Decline of the Black Republican" The Washington Post, September 2, 2016.
"Why Aren’t There More Black Republicans?," Musa al-Gharbi, The American Conservative, January 18, 2016.
on NewsMax TV, Musa al-Gharbi, September 21, 2015.
"The Case for an Unprincipled Foreign Policy," Musa al-Gharbi, Wilson Quarterly, July 26, 2015.
Musa al-Gharbi's research on John Haltiwanger, "The Mexican Drug War Has Killed More Americans Than ISIS Or Ebola Ever Could," Elite Daily, October 21, 2014.
"Mexican Drug Cartels are Worse than ISIL," Musa al-Gharbi, Al Jazeera America, September 20, 2014.


"Race and the Race for the White House: On Social Research in the Age of Trump" The American Sociologist (2018): 1-24.

Demonstrates how research on Trump and his supporters has been systematically distorted by researchers' own deep revulsion towards the man and what he represents to them, and by strong priors about what kind of person would vote for Trump, and what they would be motivated by. 

"Building on Nietzsche’s Prelude: Reforming Epistemology for the Philosophy of the Future," Universal Publishers, 2013.

Demonstrates that contemporary research in psychology and cognitive science seems to radically undermine popular conceptions of rationality. As a result of our faith in misguided Enlightenment-era notions of rationality, many Western systems and institutions have been designed for idealized rational actors rather than the type of beings that people really are. This is a source of many social problems. It is imperative to reform our societal and ideological architecture to better account for the way people seem to actually think and make decisions.

"A Lack of Ideological Diversity is Killing Social Research" Times Higher Education, no. 2298 (2017): 26-27.

Highlights the high degree of political and ideological homogeneity in most social research fields, and explores both the epistemological and material costs this trend. It argues that in order for social research to remain relevant, useful or even viable—social scientists need to do a much better job engaging with policymakers, the public, and people who do not share their ideological predispositions.

"From Political Liberalism to Para-Liberalism: Cognitive Liberalism, Epistemological Pluralism & Authentic Choice" Comparative Philosophy 7, no. 2 (2016): 1-25.

Demonstrates that in these and other instances, the internal logic of (political) liberalism mandates not only tolerance, but respect for these social arrangements and ideologies, even if they transcend the bounds of liberalism, per se.

"Syria Contextualized: The Numbers Game" Middle East Policy 10, no. 4 (2013): 58-67.

Highlights six major claims being made about the Syrian Civil War and demonstrates that when the data underlying these claims is properly contextualized, it seems as though the reality on the ground may be diametrically opposed to the narratives being spun about the conflict. This has important implications vis a vis any potential intervention into the conflict by the U.S. or other outside powers.