By Samantha Apanasewicz
Pop Trends Columnist
Courtesy of Dr. Stephen Sammut, one of the esteemed psychology professors here at Franciscan University, I recently discovered a video released in 2019 entitled “The Grievance Studies Affair – REVEALED.” Although the initial concept explained in the video was exposed before the pandemic, I believe its consequences are in play now more than ever before. In totality, the findings were and continue to be disturbing.
“Grievance studies” refers to the problem of certain fields in academia prioritizing social grievances over objective truth.
“A culture has developed in which only certain conclusions are allowed, like those that make whiteness and masculinity problematic,” said academic James A. Lindsay.
Beginning in August of 2017, left-wing academics Lindsay, Peter Boghossian and Helen Pluckrose began a one-to-two-year secret project targeting the top grievance studies journals on the condition that their findings would be publicly released, independent of the outcome.
Their purpose was to expose the political corruption that has taken hold of universities at large by purposely crafting a series of broken academic papers and submitting them to highly respected journals in fields that study gender, race, sexuality and similar topics to see if these papers would be published. These researchers felt so strongly about their cause that they risked their academic reputations by purposely submitting research they knew was faulty.
After several shallow hoax papers were dismissed by the prestigious journals in question, the team retreated and began to engage with the scholarship in these fields more intensely, which led them to learn more about the inner workings of how these “grievance studies” operated.
“The best I can tap into is there’s a kind of religious architecture in their mind where privilege is sin, privilege is evil.,” explained Lindsay. “And they’ve identified education as the place where it has to be fixed.”
As long as the research is framed through the lens of overcoming privilege, horrible and degrading solutions could be accepted with open arms.
Lindsay stated in the documentary that “We have uncovered enough evidence to suggest that this corruption is pervasive among many disciplines, including women’s and genders studies, feminist studies, race studies, sexuality studies, fat studies, queer studies, cultural studies, and sociology.”
Not all of Lindsay, Boghossian and Pluckrose’s works were denied publication.
“We rewrote a section of “Mein Kampf” as intersectional feminism, and this journal has accepted it,” Lindsay stated in the documentary as he viewed the acceptance email.
This research reveals a concerning effect within college campuses and society at large. Broken academic work is taught in classes, designed within curriculums and taken up by activists; it influences media and misinforms us about culture and reality.
Lindsay argued against the idea that these types of grievance studies support the work of the civil rights movement, saying, “Grievance studies do not continue the work of the civil rights movements. It corrupts it, and it trades upon their good names to keep pushing a kind of social snake oil onto a public that keeps getting sicker. Progress is easier without grievance studies.”
This corruption has been revealed to be bigger than right- or left-wing politics. Lindsay ended the documentary by saying “these people (left-wing academics) do not speak for us.”
The problem for those who oppose grievance studies is not what is being studied, but how it is being studied. Lindsay and his colleagues did not advocate for a cease in studying gender, race, and sexuality, but for an objective and true engagement with these topics.
The main takeaway any academic should gain from this documentary is that spending time critically analyzing your research, subjects and material is essential. Only then can one decide if these grievance studies, which continue to be published today, speak the truth or not.