Social Text

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Social Text is a postmodern cultural studies journal based at Duke University. It became notorious when it published Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity[1] by the conservative physicist Alan Sokal. This article was a blatant parody of left-wing jargon, buzz words, and catch phrases. Many of its sentences consisted of pure nonsense; others were obvious falsehoods or misrepresentations of science; mixed in were jokes that should have been evident to those "in the know."

The purpose of Sokal's hoax was to demonstrate that this journal would publish such nonsense simply because it desired the prestige lent by having a physicist parrot its liberal views, regardless of the fact that the expression of those views was so obviously nonsense. Sokal later wrote, "It's understandable that the editors of Social Text were unable to evaluate critically the technical aspects of my article (which is exactly why they should have consulted a scientist). What's more surprising is how readily they accepted my implication that the search for truth in science must be subordinated to a political agenda, and how oblivious they were to the article's overall illogic." [2]

References

  1. http://www.physics.nyu.edu/faculty/sokal/
  2. http://www.physics.nyu.edu/faculty/sokal/lingua_franca_v4/lingua_franca_v4.html
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