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The Grievance Studies crew, beyond having suspect intentions, are sloppy thinkers and bad readers. They're so rigidly committed to their critique that they dump all sorts of contrary evidence into the pot. Ironically, that's what they accuse critical theorists of doing.
In the past, one of their primary gripes has been that postmodernism says that truth is radically subjective. Thus, rather than looking for material causes to problems, they say, pomos blame vast abstract conspiracies (patriarchy, racism, capitalism).
Does postmodernism, or poststructuralism, or whatever random medley of ideas and thinkers you want to blame, really have the power to reconfigure our politics in such a powerful and totalizing way? I dunno, but you certainly can't claim to be a *materialist* and think so.
And there's a great irony! They claim to be the pure empiricists, giving studied attention to material cause and effect, but their whole argument is premised on the overpowering agency of *ideas* to transform reality.
There are, indeed, some strong materialist objections to some of the ideas traversing left critical theory. There are good materialist critiques of Robin Diangelo and, more broadly, the role that corporatized "inclusivity and equity" play in consolidating the grip of capital.
And I've written extensively (and tweeted) about the role that neoliberal higher education policy (particularly the casualization of academic labor) has played in weakening the always limited value peer review has had for the humanities.
But the faults of the peer review system aren't primarily (or even marginally) because there is a woke conspiracy of indoctrinated elevating bad scholarships; it's because there are too many articles, too few reviewers, and nobody's getting paid.
You'd never know that from the Grievance Studies crew. They're so engaged in obsessive and sloppy bad faith reading as a method of reveal, that they can't be bothered to do real materialist analysis: what is the political economy of knowledge production?
It all illustrates a point I make to my students: too much strong theory and paranoid reading (in the Sedgwickean sense) will make you a bad reader and sloppy thinker. It's good to think about texts as symptoms (of what tho?) but you also must engage them *on their terms.*
If, armed with bad faith, limited knowledge, and limitless chutzpah, you go trolling the vast corpus of published texts we call our intellectual culture, you can find ample quotations to support any theory. But that doesn't make you right. It definitely makes you a shit reader.
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