Increasingly, when scholars run into others who disagree with them, they don’t resort to logic, but to demands that wrong-thinkers be punished. Instances of that have become commonplace this year. You have to wonder what students learn from such professors.
In today’s Martin Center article, Sumantra Maitra writes about a nasty occurrence in the field of political science, specifically over something called “securitiztion theory.” A pair of gender studies professors decided that this theory is “Eurocentric” and therefore racist. They wrote a paper making their claims and two professors they had attacked sought to respond.
First, they were refused space to respond to the libelous paper — which accused them of racism and Eurocentrism — and eventually offered some small space which was clearly inadequate. Buzan and Waever then wrote a short reply, while linking to a more thorough dissection of the original scholarship and its methodological flaws. Howell and Richter-Montpetit then started, predictably, a Kafkaesque open letter campaign where they claimed that the critique of them amounted to intimidation against junior scholars, and therefore needed a public denouncement.
Why not a public flogging, too?
Not only were the two professors viciously attacked, but so was the academic journal that published their work. Maitra continues, “The journal which published the original paper was also accused of editorial malpractice by not having a process of retraction due to methodological error, and for providing an uneven platform where academic critique takes the form of personal accusations of racism.”
According to Maitra, the two professor seem baffled by the vehemence and blatant dishonesty of the attack on them. He suggests that it stems from the effort by ‘woke’ scholars to take over parts of the academy. I think that’s about right.