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Contending perspectives in one department


  • Richard McIntyre
  • Robert Van Horn


Barone's 1991 essay stimulated a debate in our economics department. Two department members at the time, Yngve Ramstad and Richard McIntyre, proposed to reorganise the undergraduate Bachelor of Arts degree to emphasise contending perspectives. When this proposal was rejected, Ramstad then changed his (required) history of thought course to a contending perspectives course with a significant history of thought component. McIntyre has taught the course since 2008, and in 2010, in rotation with Robert Van Horn who joined the faculty in Fall 2009. The Competing Traditions course emphasises the acquisition of skills rather than the deconstruction of orthodox theory. We explain this shift in three steps: first through an interpretation of the initial departmental debate; second, by exploring student feedback on concrete learning goals and forms of assessment; and finally by considering two reflective essays, each by a university alumnus.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard McIntyre & Robert Van Horn, 2011. "Contending perspectives in one department," International Journal of Pluralism and Economics Education, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 2(1), pages 69-81.
  • Handle: RePEc:ids:ijplur:v:2:y:2011:i:1:p:69-81

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    Cited by:

    1. Mearman, Andrew, 2014. "How should economics curricula be evaluated?," International Review of Economics Education, Elsevier, vol. 16(PB), pages 73-86.
    2. Andrew Mearman, 2012. "Pluralist economics curricula: do they work; and how would we know?," Working Papers 20121203, Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol.


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