What the ‘Grievance Studies’ Hoax Means

 As the hoaxers explained in Areo, they targeted fields they pejoratively dub “grievance studies” — “gender studies, masculinities studies, queer studies, sexuality studies, psychoanalysis, critical race theory, critical whiteness theory, fat studies, sociology, and educational philosophy” — which they consider peculiarly susceptible to fashionable nonsense. Does the hoax identify something uniquely rotten in gender and sexuality studies, or could it just as easily have targeted other fields? Is it a salutary correction or a…

Opinion | Fake News Comes to Academia

The three academics call themselves “left-leaning liberals.” Yet they’re dismayed by what they describe as a “grievance studies” takeover of academia, especially its encroachment into the sciences… The trio say they’ve proved that higher ed’s fixation on identity politics enables “absurd and horrific” scholarship. Their submissions were outlandish—but no more so, they insist, than others written in earnest and published by these journals.

Gender, Place & Culture, for instance, published a 2017 paper that wasn’t a hoax analyzing the “feminist posthumanist politics” of what squirrels eat. This year Hypatia, a journal of feminist philosophy, published an analysis of a one-woman show featuring “the onstage cooking of hot chocolate and the presence of a dead rat.” The performance supposedly offers “a synthaesthetic portrait of poverty and its psychological fallout.”

Star Wars: The Last Jedi abuse blamed on Russian trolls and ‘political agendas’

More than half of the hostile responses to The Last Jedi, episode eight of the Star Wars saga, were politically motivated trolling or the result of non-human bot activity, according to an academic paper published by a US digital media expert. Morten Bay, a research fellow at the University of Southern California (USC), analysed Twitter activity about the film and concluded that more than 50% of posts are by “bots, trolls/sockpuppets or political…

Photograph by Ellen Cantor from her Prior Pleasures series © The artist. Courtesy dnj Gallery, Santa Monica, California (Harper's)

The Printed Word in Peril: The age of Homo virtualis is upon us

Who, I thought, besides a multidisciplinary team in search of research funding, could possibly imagine that a digital account of the impact of reading digital print on human cognition would be effective? For such an account rests on the supremacy of the very thing it seeks to counteract, which can be summarized as a view of the human mind/brain that is itself computational in form.

Standardized Test Scores Don’t Really Measure Learning

There are ways to raise a child’s test scores that have nothing to with helping that child learn. In the past 10 years I have seen far more students — even the most capable, most brilliant students — paralyzed with fear about grades. In high school, you got good grades if you followed instructions and did exactly what the teacher told you to do. At the college level, I don’t…