Something has gone wrong in the university—especially in certain fields within the humanities. Scholarship based less upon finding truth and more upon attending to social grievances has become firmly established, if not fully dominant, within these fields, and their scholars increasingly bully students, administrators, and other departments into adhering to their worldview. This worldview is not scientific, and it is not rigorous. For many, this problem has been growing increasingly obvious, but strong evidence has been lacking. For this reason, the three of us just spent a year working inside the scholarship we see as an intrinsic part of this problem.
We spent that time writing academic papers and publishing them in respected peer-reviewed journals associated with fields of scholarship loosely known as “cultural studies” or “identity studies” (for example, gender studies) or “critical theory” because it is rooted in that postmodern brand of “theory” which arose in the late sixties. As a result of this work, we have come to call these fields “grievance studies” in shorthand because of their common goal of problematizing aspects of culture in minute detail in order to attempt diagnoses of power imbalances and oppression rooted in identity.
In other words, the authors set out to write absolute, intentional crap, just as Alan Sokal had done over twenty years ago.
1 paper (the one about rape culture in dog parks) gained special recognition for excellence from its journal, Gender, Place, and Culture, a highly ranked journal that leads the field of feminist geography. The journal honored it as one of twelve leading pieces in feminist geography as a part of the journal’s 25th anniversary celebration. Helen Pluckrose, James A. Lindsay and Peter Boghossian, “Academic Grievance Studies and the Corruption of Scholarship” at Areo Magazine
We don’t feel too bad about that because, the trouble is, a good deal of social science is not, for any practical purpose, distinguishable from a hoax. The only significant question is whether the authors are in on it.
Hat tip: Ken Francis
See also: Post-modern science 101: How gender theory “harms” pets
Nature: Stuck with a battle it dare not fight, even for the soul of science. Excuse me guys but, as in so many looming strategic disasters, the guns are facing the wrong way.