A few weeks back the world woke up to what could quite possibly be the greatest ever scandal in the modern Western academy. Three Anglo-American academics published seven hoax papers in one single year, in top-tier journals, mostly from the field of feminist and gender studies. The papers were remarkable. One of the articles literally was a paraphrase of Hitler’s Mein Kampf, albeit written in a feminist language. It got accepted in a feminist journal.
Anyone who looks up to the Western higher education model as something to be emulated, this comes as a shock and a warning. Ideological disciplines like academic feminism, gender studies, race studies, etc are not that common in other parts of the world, where primary funding for higher education still goes to science, economics and business. But with the growth of student exchanges, research collaborations, and educational departments and campuses spreading, this is a moment of reckoning.
The papers included unscientific garbage, which the hoaxers named as Grievance studies. For example, one paper mentioned fat accumulation and fat bodybuilding is a legitimate idea of health research. Another paper suggested that dog parks are grounds of patriarchy and human behaviour is observable through dogs when they exchange in carnal activities, which demonstrate power dynamics. Another paper said that feminist astrology should replace physics and astronomy. Another suggested that men should be put in chains in classrooms, as a punishment for patriarchy etc. The list goes on, and gives an idea. Unfortunately, most were either accepted or published.
This, needless to mention, is shocking. It’s unbelievable that these disciplines get funded from public tax and are taught at institutions of higher learning. One cannot imagine phrenology, craniometry, flat-earth theory or other pseudoscience will get funded like this, and yet, these disciplines are. Capital spent on these disciplines could be better spent on technology, and public welfare, instead of topics which have zero real-life relevance. However, the social cost of these disciplines is worse. These are the same disciplines which churn out young activists and students, with ideas of feminism and Me Too, and other such social change movements, which then, in turn, are spread in tech sectors and media and other professions. Some of these disciplines and courses are also made compulsory to first-year students, both domestic and foreign, which in turn act as ideological propaganda. It results in the spread of a culture and ideas, some of which will not be welcome in other parts of the globe.
Heather Mac Donald, in her latest book, The Diversity Delusion, highlights the roots to this.