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Yascha Mounk @Yascha_Mounk
, 16 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
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.

.@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.

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.

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!

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.

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

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


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.

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.

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.

(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


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.

*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.

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.
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