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Academics Expose ‘Grievance Studies’ Field by Submitting Hoax Papers to Journals

Old Campus at Yale University (Michelle McLoughlin/Reuters)

Three academics spent more than a year submitting absurd “hoax” papers to preeminent journals focusing on race, gender, sexuality, and other politically fraught disciplines that the academics call “grievance studies.”

The self-identified “left-leaning liberal” academics, told the Wall Street Journal that they undertook the project out of concern “that certain aspects of knowledge production in the United States have been corrupted” by a hesitance among academics to question research that’s based on privilege and identity for fear of accusations of bigotry.

Since August 2017, the academics — James Lindsay, a math doctorate; Peter Boghossian an assistant professor of philosophy at Portland State University; and Helen Pluckrose, a London-based scholar of English literature and history — submitted 20 papers to various peer-reviewed journals under pseudonyms, and seven were accepted.

In one particularly telling example, the academics submitted a paper to the feminist geography journal Gender, Place & Culture detailing the“rape culture” supposedly prevalent within dark parks.

The paper — which argues that dog parks are “petri dishes for canine ‘rape culture’” — issues “a call for awareness into the different ways dogs are treated on the basis of their gender and queering behaviors, and the chronic and perennial rape emergency dog parks pose to female dogs.” The data for the study “was constructed to look outlandish on purpose. So asking us for the data would not have been out of sorts. It would have been appropriate, and we would have been exposed immediately,” Lindsay said.

Afilia, a peer-reviewed feminist journal, also accepted one of their papers, “Our Struggle Is My Struggle: Solidarity Feminism as an Intersectional Reply to Neoliberal and Choice Feminism,” which is a rewrite of one chapter of “Mein Kampf.”

In defending themselves against charges of unethically deceiving their colleagues, the perpetrators argue they were conducting legitimate research on a particular culture, which they would not otherwise have been able to access.

“We understood ourselves to be going in to study it as it is, to try to participate in it,” Pluckrose said. “The name for this is ethnography. We’re looking at a particular culture.”

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