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Wed Oct 3, 2018, 10:42 AM

Three intrepid academics perpetrate a giant version of the Sokal Hoax, placing scores of fake papers

ShoutyJobSeekingHat Retweeted:

Three intrepid academics just perpetrated a giant version of the Sokal Hoax, placing scores of fake papers in major academic journals. Call it Sokal Squared.

The result is hilarious and delightful. It also showcases a serious problem with big parts of academia.

(Thread.)



.@HPluckrose, @ConceptualJames and @PeterBoghossian set out to show that ideology reigns supreme in what they call “Grievance Studies”: academic areas organized around victim groups,and often more motivated by a political agenda than a serious search for the truth.

2/n



If you have doubts about this enterpris - which makes sense since these fields of study do investigate very important topics, like race and gende- take a look at the papers they got published in leading journals. They are… quite something.

3/n



In a year, three scholars managed to get seven papers accepted into top journals. If this was the record of an actual academic, it would put them on track for tenure at a major university.

And, deary me, what papers these are!

4/n



There's the paper that doesn’t just advocate stopping white males from speaking in class; it encourages teachers to institute a form of “experiential reparation” by making their white students sit on the ground bound in chains.

5/n



There is the paper that labels men who masturbate while thinking about a woman without gaining her prior consent as perpetrators of sexual violence.

6/n



There is the paper that dismisses western astronomy as sexist and imperialist, making a case for physics departments to study feminist astrology instead.

7/n



There is the paper that’s LITERALLY A RE-WRITE OF SECTIONS OF MEIN KAMPF.

8/n



And then there’s the coup de grace: a paper, already published in Gender, Place & Culture, which claims to be based on in situ observation of canine rape culture in a Portland dog park.

9/n



The authors rightly emphasize that topics like race, gender, or sexuality should be the object of serious study.

Their problem is that the kind of bullshit that now counts as scholarship in some quarters of the academy does not constitute anything like that.

10/n



More
Most likely, the authors will be denounced. Most likely, these areas of "scholarship" won't change. Most likely, deans will keep pretending that their emperor are fully clothed.

But after today, there's no more excuse for calling this bullshit out when you see it.

11/11



(for *not* calling this bullshit out when you see it.)



Sorry, folks. I loosely used "scores" to mean "lots." The stats as I understand them:

Out of 20 papers
7 accepted for publication
7 in process (e.g. R&R, etc.)
6 rejected

Impressive.

To show you how seriously the hoaxers take the truth, @HPluckrose was first to point this out.



Last point: Where these "major" journals?

These weren't the *best* journals in sociology or poli sci. They won't get you tenure in traditional fields at most Ivies.

It's worth stating the obvious: by and large, academia remains a serious search for truth.

(Contd.)



*But* I do stand by the claim that they were "major" journals in their fields.

If you want to get tenure in newer departments, like Gender Studies, at serious liberal arts colleges or well-known research universities, publication in these journals will help. A lot.

(Contd.)



And that's the crucial point.

Though most parts of academia retain serious intellectual standards, Sokal Squared suggests that you can now be made a professor, and get to teach college kids, by spewing absurd, ideological bullshit.

Anyone who waves that off is in deep denial.



Academic Grievance Studies and the Corruption of Scholarship

Posted on October 2, 201847 minute read by Helen Pluckrose, James A. Lindsay and Peter Boghossian

This essay, although hopefully accessible to everyone, is the most thorough breakdown of the study and written for those who are already somewhat familiar with the problems of ideologically-motivated scholarship, radical skepticism and cultural constructivism.

Part I: Introduction


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.

We undertook this project to study, understand, and expose the reality of grievance studies, which is corrupting academic research. Because open, good-faith conversation around topics of identity such as gender, race, and sexuality (and the scholarship that works with them) is nearly impossible, our aim has been to reboot these conversations. We hope this will give people—especially those who believe in liberalism, progress, modernity, open inquiry, and social justice—a clear reason to look at the identitarian madness coming out of the academic and activist left and say, “No, I will not go along with that. You do not speak for me.”

This document is a first look at our project and an initial attempt to grapple with what we’re learning and what it means. Because of its length and detail, it is organized as follows, putting the factual information up front and more detailed explanations thereafter.
....

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Reply Three intrepid academics perpetrate a giant version of the Sokal Hoax, placing scores of fake papers (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves Oct 2018 OP
exboyfil Oct 2018 #1
Igel Oct 2018 #4
zipplewrath Oct 2018 #2
exboyfil Oct 2018 #3

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Wed Oct 3, 2018, 11:06 AM

1. Not anymore

If you want to get tenure in newer departments, like Gender Studies, at serious liberal arts colleges or well-known research universities, publication in these journals will help. A lot.

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Response to exboyfil (Reply #1)

Thu Oct 4, 2018, 08:42 PM

4. But the claim wasn't quite relevant.

The journals weren't the big ones for sociology or political science, but gender studies isn't quite either of those. There's overlap, there's certainly that, but they have come to be quite distinct sorts of things in many ways.

Often minor journals in a field are where a subfield grows to full field-hood; and often minor journals are where issues are raised that may not seem important but grow to importance. (That said, minor journals are usually where a lot of lesser research gets published. Publications in those journals may not get you tenure at the "Ivies" but may go a long way to get you tenure at a lot of state schools or smaller schools.)

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Wed Oct 3, 2018, 11:15 AM

2. Saw this first hand

An "in-law" asked me to review a paper prior to submission. It was roughly about culturally based education. I was appalled. References were circular. Definitions seemed to be fluid. The repetition was excessive, it appeared to be done in order to lengthen the paper. There was precious little actual "research" done, it was closer to a literature search than anything. I made a few comments and they weren't well received. They ended up saying something about "just wanting me to review format and language".

I was shocked that it got published.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Wed Oct 3, 2018, 11:23 AM

3. This is what I saw when I was in engineering graduate school in the 1990s

The last time I really spent serious time studying academic papers. I found a lot of the papers mostly consisted of boiler plating prior research with very little new content. This was in the area of biomechanics.

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