The grievance studies affair, also referred to as the "Sokal Squared" scandal, was the project of a team of three authors—Peter Boghossian, James A. Lindsay, and Helen Pluckrose—to highlight what they saw as poor scholarship and eroding criteria in several academic fields. Taking place over 2017 and 2018, their project entailed submitting bogus papers to academic journals in cultural, queer, race, gender, fat, and sexuality studies to determine whether they would pass through peer review and be accepted for publication. Several of these papers were subsequently published, which the authors cited in support of their contention.
Prior to the affair, concerns about the intellectual validity of much research influenced by postmodern philosophy and critical theory were highlighted by various academics who composed nonsensical hoax articles parodying the language and content of much research in the modern humanities and succeeded in having these articles accepted for publication in academic journals. One of the most noted previous examples of this was Alan Sokal's 1996 hoax in Social Text, a cultural studies journal, which inspired Boghossian, Lindsay, and Pluckrose. The trio set out with the intent to expose problems in what they called "grievance studies", referring to academic areas where they claim "a culture has developed in which only certain conclusions are allowed … and put social grievances ahead of objective truth". As such, the trio, identifying themselves as leftists and liberals, described their project as an attempt to raise awareness of what they believed was the damage that postmodernism and identity politics-based scholarship was having on leftist political projects, but mainly Science and Academia.
Boghossian, Lindsay, and Pluckrose wrote 20 articles that promoted deliberately absurd ideas or morally questionable acts and submitted them to various peer-reviewed journals. Although they had planned for the project to run until January 2019, the trio admitted to the hoax in October 2018 after journalists from The Wall Street Journal revealed that "Helen Wilson", the pseudonym used for their article published in Gender, Place & Culture, did not exist. By the time of the reveal, 4 of their 20 papers had been published; 3 had been accepted but not yet published; 6 had been rejected; and 7 were still under review.
Included among the articles that were published were arguments that dogs engage in rape culture and that men could reduce their transphobia by anally penetrating themselves with sex toys, as well as Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf rewritten in feminist language. The first of these had won special recognition from the journal that published it.
Good times. They literally just took key passages from Mein Kampf, replaced the word 'j'ew/s' with 'patriarchy' and won awards for it.
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post didn't die in a fire!
Originally posted by Zanick
begs of us the questions, what is the most general integrity of our academic publication for its steep, steep gatekeeping? what truly is the credibility of our highest conversations about human life?