[WSMDiscuss] Fwd: Petition to TWQ

Zor Ekologiko Batzordea (Ekologistak Martxan) zor.ekologikoa at gmail.com
Thu Sep 14 19:55:25 CEST 2017

What do they mean" Colonization"? what is happenening now then?


Dismantle Corporate Power <http://www.stopcorporateimpunity.org/>

*www.bbvagh.org <http://www.bbvagh.org>ibertrola.blogspot.com

2017-09-14 19:23 GMT+02:00 Subramanya Sastry via WSM-Discuss <
wsm-discuss at lists.openspaceforum.net>:

> WTF is a more appropriate exclamation! I mean: is this academic for real?
> Or is this trolling gone berserk?  -Subbu.
> On 09/14/2017 11:44 AM, Ashish Kothari via WSM-Discuss wrote:
> Astounding ...
> ashish
> -------- Forwarded Message --------
> Subject: Petition to TWQ
> Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2017 20:54:48 +0530
> From: Bejoy K Thomas <bejoy.thomas at atree.org> <bejoy.thomas at atree.org>
> Organization: Centre for Environment and Development, ATREE, Bangalore,
> India
> Dear friends,
> I am forwarding a note from Farhana Sultana on the recent article (read
> below for details) published in Third World Quarterly glorifying and
> arguing for a return to colonialism. You might already know about this.
> Please read the appended details if you haven't, and sign the petition if
> you agree.
> Thanks.
> Bejoy.
> -- -- --
> *Apologies for cross-postings:*
> Dear colleagues,
> I wish to bring to your attention a highly problematic practice in
> academia of not holding scholars or journals to high standards of accuracy,
> merit, or rigor. This is particularly so when they publish shoddy racist
> click-bait pieces. Some of you may already be following the debates for the
> last few days on other forums or online (there’s been a lot said on social
> media), but if you have not, I would be grateful if you could please read
> through this email and sign the petition below.
> Recently, an author published a piece calling for the return of
> colonization and white supremacy in the well-respected journal Third World
> Quarterly. [In order to *NOT* raise the view or download metrics of the
> article or the journal, which will only increase its popularity, please
> read it for free here instead: http://fooddeserts.org/images/paper0114.pdf
>  ] The article is full of inaccuracies & falsehoods, misqualifies
> existing scholarship on the topic, lacks proper citations, is poorly
> written and conceptualized, and morally reprehensible. It should’ve been
> rejected on lacking of academic merit alone, let alone the contents of its
> argument legitimizing racist brutality. The article seems like a faux
> ‘shock’ piece to manufacture controversy and very much conforms to
> click-bait practices. The piece did not undergo the regular peer-review
> process as it was submitted as a Viewpoint. Even though Viewpoints and
> Commentaries are usually reviewed by several members of the Editorial Board
> for most journals, we are not sure whether TWQ does this at all. Apparently
> some of their own Editorial Board members were completely unaware of it
> until it came out in print. Some members of the Editorial Board (e.g. Vijay
> Prashad) have publicly threatened to resign if the article is not
> retracted. The Editorial Board consists of many distinguished scholars, so
> we are not sure who authorized the publication of this particular piece.
> Clearly whichever editor or editors who sanctioned the piece did not even
> bother to read it.  Journals should be held to higher standards than
> partaking in such practices, as otherwise it is a slap to our collective
> faces as scholars who strive for rigor, integrity and accuracy in our
> scholarship. We learnt that the journal wanted more ‘traffic’ to its
> website through publishing this piece, and thus we are actively
> discouraging people from giving them that (please view or download it
> above). We are instead calling for a retraction and an apology from the
> journal, and raising awareness of such problematic practices.
> Here is a petition for this, which already has about 2000 signatures in a
> few hours. Please sign it and share widely: https://www.change.
> org/p/editors-of-the-third-world-quarterly-retract-the-
> case-for-colonialism?recruiter=409526319&utm_source=share_petition&utm_
> medium=twitter&utm_campaign=share_petition
> The author in question (a political scientist at Portland State
> University) has published white supremacist drivel in the past (e.g.
> supporting ethnic cleansing), and has made a name for himself in doing so.
> We all know there are plenty of colonial apologists in academia as well as
> overt and closeted white supremacists who enable/promote/encourage such
> success; many more support it through silence and enabling such behavior to
> go unchecked thereby allowing racism to flourish. Perhaps that is why there
> is an urge amongst many to act now. There are many other sites where
> meaningful interventions can be made about decolonizing, postcolonial
> critique, etc. (e.g. recent TIBG special issue on this, etc.). We encourage
> such endeavors as well. Engaging with this piece does not advance our
> knowledge of colonialism or anything else, and thus does not serve any
> purpose. Rather, it amplifies and emboldens horrific ideologies and
> practices to persist in academia and beyond.
> What the journal probably did not expect is this much push-back or threats
> of boycott in readership as well as in contributing pieces or agreeing to
> peer review. These are strategies to hold journals accountable in my
> opinion. The lack of accountability and integrity displayed in this
> instance (among many others) makes a mockery of the academic publishing
> process. Accountability, rigor, empirical evidence, sound reasoning, and
> engaging with existing scholarship are essential foundations in academic
> publishing, and this particular article did not do any of that. TWQ needs
> to be held accountable for promoting such practices.
> Whether or not the petition we started will encourage TWQ to retract the
> piece or not is up for debate. Ideally they should. That would send the
> message to all and sundry that shoddy scholarship, based on racist
> ideologies, has no place in academia. We were clear to state in our
> petition that we are not asking for curtailing of academic freedom
> (whatever that means anymore in the US), but holding the journal more
> accountable. This way we are not enabling this author to gas-light us and
> get away with click-bait. We are not engaging with him directly as he
> wants. We felt that the petition to TWQ and the publisher that produces it
> would demonstrate that we’re engaging the journal itself in order to
> improve overall scholarship and publishing processes and standards in
> academia itself. If in the process they do retract the article, then that
> author and his supporters will have hopefully learnt a lesson. This will
> put a dent in his dossier, however small. In the process of all this, it’ll
> also raise awareness that scholars and journals are responsible and can be
> held accountable.
> This particular article has caused a lot of stir among various
> disciplines, groups, and organizations in the last few days. Many folks are
> writing letters of complaint to the journal about the piece, calling for a
> retraction and an apology (as which we have done). Even more are tweeting
> about it [If you’d like to see some of the tweet thread on this, here’s one
> example among many circulating now that contains info on this author’s
> other alt-right pieces, etc.: https://twitter.com/Farhana_H2O/status/
> 907440614144462848].
> Personally, I do not want to give any more oxygen directly to this racist
> fascist author who has written for alt-right websites and
> published reprehensible material in the past (his piece justifying ethnic
> cleansing was also published by TWQ and it should have generated pushback
> then but it did not — I think that emboldened both the author and the
> journal). We will not be able to change the mind of this man or racist his
> allies. I also worry about the hundreds of students who take his courses,
> and wonder what they have learnt. I doubt his university will take any
> steps to hold him accountable (it seems that US universities only fire
> professors if they call out injustices and not the other way around), so
> while many people have left this man, his department, his university
> voicemails and messages, I highly doubt anything will come of it in terms
> of reprimands. What we can do is put pressure on TWQ and other journals who
> enable this kind of behavior to count as ‘ cholarship' to desist from doing
> so any further.  In my opinion, not doing that is a disservice to all of us
> for all the labor we put into our own publications and scholarship.
> If anyone is interested, my blog post that inspired the petition is here:
> https://www.facebook.com/farhanasultana/posts/10101130697230492  I  have
> been requested by many scholars to turn this into some sort of ‘proper’
> publication or contribution to the Chronicle of Higher Education, which I
> may do in the future, as otherwise it will ‘not count’ (again, a feature of
> our horrible metric-based system where other forms of labor go invisible
> and unrecognizable — but that’s another topic of discussion) :)
> Thank you for your support. Please feel free to forward this email on to
> other lists and people who may be interested. Thank you.
> In solidarity,
> Farhana
> --
> Bejoy K Thomas, PhD
> Fellow (Associate Professor level)
> Centre for Environment and Development
> Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE)
> Royal Enclave, Srirampura, Jakkur Post
> Bangalore, 560064, India
> Website: http://www.atree.org/bejoy_thomas
> Email: bejoy.thomas at atree.org
> Phone: +91 80 23635555
> Fax: +91 80 23530070
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> list named ‘WSFDiscuss’ started in 2005 - is an open, unmoderated, and
> self-organising forum for the exchange of information and views on the
> experience, practice, and theory of social and political movement at any
> level (local, national, regional, and global), including the World Social
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