There was a time when academia was controlled by pseudoscience. Ideas of phrenology and craniometry, alchemy, para-psychology, Lysenkoism, and other ideological gibberish used to be funded. A quarter-century since Richard Dawkins trashed and Alan Sokal hoaxed post-modernist academia, one might have assumed that those days of ideological and activist pseudoscientific nonsense were over.
Recently I woke up to what might be considered the biggest-ever prank perpetrated by three Anglo-American academics in an attempt to showcase the fraudulent, cancerous disciplines that are spreading within the Western academy. In a course of one year, they came out with seven peer-reviewed hoax papers, all in feminist, post-modernist, gender and race studies, and sociology journals. One is quite literally a paraphrase of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” garbed in a feminist language.
It started like this. In 2017, three academics — Helen Pluckrose from the United Kingdom, and James A. Lindsay and Peter Boghossian from the United States — together decided to test how rigorous and robust Western social sciences are. They named the project “Grievance Studies.”
The purpose was simple. There is a certain ideological section of Western academia, which includes new areas of studies like women and gender studies, race studies, peace studies, fat studies, post-colonial studies, etc, with tremendous influence in society. Academics from cultural and gender studies departments these days act as Soviet commissars and decide everything that goes on at universities.
Activist departments like these decide who will speak at a university, who will be de-platformed, and who will be protested. They write open letters signed by thousands of fellow travelers and activists to set a course of debate within academia and instigate students to violence. Their self-referential journals, often citing one another, notch up “peer reviewed” papers that are at best gobbledygook, and at worst ideological subversion. They publish inter-disciplinary papers, with which they hijack science, anthropology, economics, politics, philosophy, security, and international relations departments (one example is idiotic research on Queer International Relations theory).
That, in turn, results in their appointment in key departments, like scholarship committees, funding boards, enrollment, and doctoral training module conveners. This results in them acquiring and shaping likeminded activists as students, as well as setting a course for the institutions and gatekeepers of Western society.
Kids learning such ideological dogma then go on to tech departments, law, Silicon Valley, diversity offices at universities, journalism and media, etc. They go to TV and radio channels as “experts,” and speak in legislatures to advise on policy, such as transgender rights, based on their flawed and ideological findings, policy that ends in horrific criminal disasters.
Pluckrose et al, tried to probe this academic corruption, these ideological departments and especially their mouthpieces, the feminist and post-modernist journals. They write in their exposé:
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. We undertook this project to study, understand, and expose the reality of grievance studies, which is corrupting academic research.
So they started. With a documentary maker from Australia, chronicling the entire project (video here) for a year for future evidence, the trio embarked on writing papers, some of them written in a matter of hours, with fake names and high-sounding theoretical jargon imitating feminist, gender, and post-modern scholarship, and sent them off to top-tier sociology, race, and gender journals. The results, to risk an understatement, were frightening.
One published and retracted paper was about dogs dry-humping in a dog park, which when reflected upon gave feminists an idea on how to train men like they might train dogs. The paper was titled, “Human reactions to rape culture and queer performativity at urban dog parks in Portland, Oregon,” and was published in the journal Gender, Place and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography.
Another paper claimed that “fat bodybuilding” should be a legitimate activist idea, and was published in Fat Studies journal. The trio copied the notorious feminist glaciology paper, and wrote an exactly similar one claiming astronomy was a fake science that is western, patriarchal, and imperialist, and should be replaced with feminist astrology. Another fake paper was titled “Going in Through the Back Door: Challenging Straight Male Homohysteria, Transhysteria, and Transphobia Through Receptive Penetrative Sex Toy Use,” and published in the journal Sexuality and Culture.
Other papers were on men masturbating while thinking of women as a sexual assault, a paper exploring why men go to Hooters, titled, “An Ethnography of Breastaurant Masculinity: Themes of Objectification, Sexual Conquest, Male Control, and Masculine Toughness in a Sexually Objectifying Restaurant.” The authors wrote, “As we progressed, we started to realize that just about anything can be made to work, so long as it falls within the moral orthodoxy and demonstrates an understanding of the existing literature.”
Finally, the most dangerous of all the published papers started to come out. One was about white males in classrooms made to sit in chains, as reparations for previous crimes. The authors were asked to revise and resubmit because the reviewers didn’t think it was harsh enough for the men. The second was when authors wrote a paper for the notorious feminist journal Hypatia, infamous for publishing papers about why feminists should be like viruses and join disciplines and institutions to disrupt and destroy Western societies from within. This hoax paper essentially rewrote Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” in feminist language. It got accepted in another feminist journal called Affilia.
In an ideal world, this should be the death knell for academic feminism, race and gender studies, and other such activist departments. Their funding should dry out. But there’s already backlash, as this feminist researcher tweeted and asked other feminists to “stand by colleagues in Gender Studies/Critical Race Studies/Fat Studies & other areas targeted by this journal article hoax,” because “This is a coordinated attack from the right, supported by ‘gender critical’ feminists angry that Gender Studies is trans-inclusive.” Another “historian” tweeted this is an attempt by “straight white men” because, power.
One can only laugh, that is if one doesn’t understand how dangerous these sections of academia, and especially academic feminism and gender and race studies disciplines are. Nathan Cofnas of Oxford University summed up the danger in Quillette magazine:
The flagship feminist philosophy journal, Hypatia, accepted a paper (not yet published online) arguing that social justice advocates should be allowed to make fun of others, but no one should be permitted to make fun of them. The same journal invited resubmission of a paper arguing that ‘privileged students shouldn’t be allowed to speak in class at all and should just listen and learn in silence,’ and that they would benefit from ‘experiential reparations’ that include ‘sitting on the floor, wearing chains, or intentionally being spoken over.’ The reviewers complained that this hoax paper took an overly compassionate stance toward the ‘privileged’ students who would be subjected to this humiliation, and recommended that they be subjected to harsher treatment. Is asking people of a certain race to sit on the floor in chains better than asking them to wear a yellow star? What exactly is this leading to?
But we already know where it is leading. The resultant cancer, as they say, is fairly evident. Recently a physicist was suspended from CERN for presenting perfectly scientific slides to explain why there’s a gender gap in science. The result was a female scientist’s hysterical tweet thread, and this man was James Damore-d.
Sir Tim Hunt’s career was previously destroyed in a similar way, for a misplaced joke. Not to mention the protests, deplatforming, riots, and capitulations of a vast majority of academia by this bullying minority, and their activist student armies.
The virus has already spread. The worst part? You are paying for it, in more ways than one. The taxpayers are paying for neo-Marxists and feminists to hijack higher education and shape society, and lead us toward a frightful, dystopic future.
Sumantra Maitra is a doctoral researcher at the University of Nottingham, UK. His research is in great power-politics and neorealism. He also regularly writes for The National Interest and Quillette Magazine, and edits Bombs and Dollars blog. You can find him on Twitter @MrMaitra.