This may wind up being one of the greatest hoaxes in the history of American academia, but it wasn’t pulled off by some group of political pranksters or bloggers. James Lindsay, Peter Boghossian and Helen Pluckrose are an accomplished group of academics who have grown alarmed at what they describe as “grievance studies” in contemporary universities. Most of these programs fall under the more general category of social science, women’s studies and related fields and have, in the opinion of these authors, crossed the line, substituting political correctness for actual science.
In order to test this theory, they wrote a series of papers which were intentionally ridiculous and submitted them to prominent, peer-reviewed journals. And when I say ridiculous, I mean one of the papers was composed in two parts, the second of which copied directly from one chapter of Adolph Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Another suggested keeping white and male students in chains during classes to adjust their views of entitlement and power. In what will likely not come as much of a surprise to our regular readers, a number of these papers were seriously reviewed, including suggested changes from the journals, and then published. (USA Today)
Do you think putting white and male students on the floor in chains as a form of “experiential reparations” is a good educational opportunity? How about inviting them to listen and learn in silence throughout their course? We don’t.
Within the academic fields utilizing what we’ve called “grievance studies,” however, these ideas are perfectly acceptable. We discovered this by submitting a paper on feminist educational theory to arguably the most respected feminist philosophy journal in the world, Hypatia.
We did this as a part of a year-long probe to find out how much certain political biases have taken root within a small but powerful sector of academia. Over the course of that year, we submitted 20 papers to journals that study topics of identity like gender, race, and sexuality, which we feared has been corrupted by a form of political activism that puts political grievances ahead of finding truth.
Some of these subjects have to be seen to be believed. One of their favorites was a dissertation on a study of “rape culture.” To document this phenomenon they claimed to have studied incidents of dogs humping other dogs at dog parks in Southeast Portland, Oregon. Yes… it was dog rape culture. And the paper was taken seriously. Their paper proposing that white male students be put in chains during class and made to sit on the floor claimed to “recenter the needs of the privileged.” Just to prove that these papers weren’t being published accidentally by journals where the editors were too busy to actually read them, that paper received feedback from the editors, suggesting changes to ensure that the authors, “didn’t show too much compassion to those mistreated students.”
We regularly poke fun at some of the more bizarre social justice warrior concepts such as “toxic masculinity,” “white fragility,” “cultural appropriation,” and “microaggressions.” The authors are sounding an alarm, reminding us that these are not ideas cooked up at a Bernie Sanders rally. Those terms all originated in social science programs at universities and were published in the same journals that accepted the dog rape culture paper. And they’ve been doing it for decades.
Read through the rest and let me know whether you wind up laughing or crying. It could go either way. In the meantime, this six-minute video from Mike Nayna provides a great overview of the story. Enjoy.