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“White privileged hegemony has not been disrupted here …”

I liked one of the comments on this piece, which reports on a piece of feminist glaciology.

Take it away, commenter “Schacar Mevsky”.

Employing whiteness theory, I hypothesize that the authors are attracted to the glacier because it is white, especially at the “peaks” of the mountains, while the brown run off is down “low.” White privileged hegemony has not been disrupted here but infects the study from start to finish. The authors try to mask this by cultural appropriation of terms like “postcolonial analysis” and “feminist glaciology,” but they manifestly privilege phallocentric Western techno thinking. They construct binary, deontological “evidence,” having failed to consider that the glacier they are raping with their instruments is sacred to the Peruvian indigenous peoples, who have sacrificed 16-year old girls to it for millennia because its water “contains its sacred powers” (p. 95). Where, finally, in this allegedly subversive study are the Discourses of the Diasporic Imaginary of the marginalized? The authors privilege the glacier as an “icon.” But what about the Discourses of the iceberg? Of the lowly snowball? Of the ever-maligned piss hole in the snow?

This notion might attract non-comedic attention from academia. Maybe it already has.

The above mockery makes a bit too much sense to be five star academic bullshit, but the guy should stick at it. What he gets so right is the way that these idiots quite quickly reach the stage of trying to out-idiot each other. And by the way, in case you are wondering, “Diasporic Imaginary” is not a misspelling of “Diasporic Imagery”, or some such slightly less confusing thing. This is a reference to actual academic discourse.

Those piss holes in the snow take me back a few decades. I do love a bit of Michael Caine discourse.

Just how bad and how widespread is the kind of nonsense that is lampooned in the above comment? Are all academies in the Anglo-Saxon world as intellectually deranged as some parts of some of them clearly are? Or is it merely that Anglo-Saxony is huge and contains lots of academies, and so if you look for any particular sort of academic insanity you will find it?

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34 comments to “White privileged hegemony has not been disrupted here …”

  • Mr Ed

    Unfortunately, whatever scorn and ridicule this may attract, this approach will spread like slime moulds over a forest floor, eating up funding and parroting their self-referential mind-bending drivel in their vast echo chamber, as below (my emphasis added).

    feminist glaciology has four aspects: (1) knowledge producers, to decipher how gender affects the individuals producing glacier-related knowledges; (2) gendered science and knowledge, to address how glacier science, perceptions, and claims to credibility are gendered; (3) systems of scientific domination, to analyze how power, domination, colonialism, and control – undergirded by and coincident with masculinist ideologies – have shaped glacier-related sciences and knowledges over time; and (4) alternative representations, to illustrate diverse methods and ways – beyond the natural sciences and including what we refer to as ‘folk glaciologies’ – to portray glaciers and integrate counter-narratives into broader conceptions of the cryosphere. These four components of feminist glaciology not only help to critically uncover the under-examined history of glaciological knowledge and glacier-related sciences prominent in today’s climate change discussions

    It is not enough to laugh and scorn (which is a moral duty), we need to see any state funding for this stopped.

  • Matt Moore

    What this post reveals to me is that this bull-shit is actually a sort of intelligence competition. By identifying literally the most obscure interpretation of a set of events imaginable, I show what a nuanced thinker I am.

    The fact that this nuance competition comes at the cost of understanding the obvious and major forces that actually influence the world in a meaningful way doesn’t seem to matter.

  • James Hargrave

    Meanwhile, the students and, it has to be said, most of the university ‘management’ find it impossible to communicate in English, i.e. they cannot express what they mean clearly and cannot understand what is written to them.

    Overall, tertiary education in the ‘arts’ is starting to damage those parts of the brain that even tertiary syphilis cannot reach.

  • Ellen

    Obviously, glaciers should be studied by feminists. They’re both frigid.

  • Alisa

    Meet the esteemed Managing Editor of Progress in Human Geography, Noel Castree, University of Wollongong, Australia

    From the Wikipedia entry on the same:

    Noel Castree FAcSS (born 8 December 1968) is a British geographer whose research interests are in capitalism-environment relationships.
    Geographer at University of Wollongong (Marxist political economy, political economy of nature).

  • Regional

    JUST WHAT WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR

    Tim Blair – Sunday, March 06, 2016 (12:06pm)

    Academics at the University of Oregon present their feminist glaciology framework for global environmental change research:

    Glaciers are key icons of climate change and global environmental change. However, the relationships among gender, science, and glaciers – particularly related to epistemological questions about the production of glaciological knowledge – remain understudied. This paper thus proposes a feminist glaciology framework with four key components: 1) knowledge producers; (2) gendered science and knowledge; (3) systems of scientific domination; and (4) alternative representations of glaciers. Merging feminist postcolonial science studies and feminist political ecology, the feminist glaciology framework generates robust analysis of gender, power, and epistemologies in dynamic social-ecological systems, thereby leading to more just and equitable science and human-ice interactions.

  • ams

    Why I’m an engineer: I decided long long ago that I wanted to avoid any field where the measure of success was a subjective judgement by some authority. (In my childhood when I turned that direction, pretty much every authority except my parents were invariably insane and hostile).

    With math, science, and engineering, it *doesn’t matter* that these lunatics resent you. You can be the only person in the room who thinks X or Y, and the only thing that matters to the functioning of your device or the predictiveness of your model, or the correctness of your proof is if *you are right about the world*. (Or Platonic world, in the case of math).

  • Mr Ed

    Having thought again about the piece during a country walk, with a dusting of hail, I have a grave concern that (non-STEM) academia in the USA, and what one might term US popular culture in the non-Country areas, represents a ‘cultural Chernobyl‘ for the West, in a way the EuroDisney never did in the lurid fantasies of French chauvinists.

    Whilst the US may have the military power to protect the West, that is naught given that Messrs Kerry and Obama would be the ones contemplating using it for the next 10 months, and who after?

    Perhaps if the US disintegrates in bankruptcy under another Clinton, one legacy might be a better West?

  • Paul Marks

    Yes Brian. Satire – but satire with a valid point.

    They (the academics and so on) are engaged in competition, they are trying to “out idiot” each other.

    To us they appear like a vast wall of evil.

    But they are actually a seething mass of devils – all out to torment each other (as well as us).

    Of course they hate us even more than they hate each other.

    Their objective is to utterly exterminate “capitalist society” (read – civilisation).

    The most tragic thing is that “Conservative moderates” seem utterly oblivious to all this.

    For example the Governor of Ohio (presently trying to become President) thinks that everyone can “work together”. As if Democrats, i.e. people who follow what the schools and universities teach, and Republicans had the same OBJECTIVES and politics was just some misunderstanding – not a war-to-the-death. And that “we should invest in education”.

    Translation – even more taxpayer money to American leftist teachers, academics, and other such who want to exterminate civilisation. After all real education is not likely to get tax money – as to get the money one must appeal to government officials (liberal arts graduates).

    I am sure he is a very nice man – but such people just see “Critical Theory” as a bit of silliness that should not be taken seriously.

    It may be silly – but it is also deadly. And it should not be ignored – it should be DEFUNDED.

    As Ayn Rand said – to refuse to fund this brainwashing is “The Sanction of the Victim”.

    And to use taxes to pay for this evil – takes that sanction away. Making the victims pay for the brainwashing that will produce their executioners.

  • Paul Marks

    Sadly no Mr Ed.

    The West without the United States would not be “better” – it would be dead.

    Why do you think that the left (and some of the Black Flag “right” also) concentrate their attack upon the United States?

    Destroy America and the rest of the West is dead meat.

    Open to our enemies.

    Otherwise I would be supporting such things as the secession of Texas right now.

    Such things may come – but they will be desperate measures.

    And the end of the United States may well mean the end of the West.

  • Mr Ed

    Why do you think that the left (and some of the Black Flag “right” also) concentrate their attack upon the United States?

    The vanguard of the assault on the West is within the United States and of it, the ‘fashionable’ PC notions that emerge from the USA might be considerably weakened should the USA vanish. A Republic of California might saunter on, with its tech industries, but a New England Federation under Kim Il-Saunders would soon fade.

    Result? A better world, with the Texas Nuclear National Guard on watch.

  • Eric Tavenner

    That this gibberish comes from the University of Oregon does not surprise me. Of course it could as easily come from some other instution of stupidity.

  • Regional

    Mister Ed,
    On this day in 1936 Germany began remilitarising the Rhineland in 1945 America began demilitarising the Rhineland.

  • Fred the Fourth

    It’s just another full-employment scheme for the otherwise unemployable:

    “The project also proposes five educational activities that will produce broader impacts for students, the university, and the general public: (1) creation of a Science and Society Group, the foundational step to establishing a Center for the Study of Science and Society at the University of Oregon; (2) development of an “Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program” science and society curriculum to teach undergraduates alongside prison inmates in the unique penitentiary environment; (3) construction of a new Honors College course on the history of the earth sciences; (4) employment and training of undergraduate students in specific research projects; and (5) mentoring of a postdoctoral fellow.”

  • Nicholas (Excentrality!) Gray

    We here in Australia wisely outlawed glaciers, but not because of Feminist concerns. Glaciers promote Fascism. The gleaming Whiteness broadcasts racial purity, and the mass-movement of one direction shows how to get things done by ignoring the individual. Australia promotes multi-culturalism, so glaciers have no part in our future!

  • This is the funniest thing I have ever read 😀

  • thefrollickingmole

    The worst thing about this is the footnoting and sources. Every one of them represents a “credible” primary source for that gibberish.

    Uni, if you avoid the hard sciences has become a self referencing spiral of pap in some areas.

    Oh and can anyone tell me what a “woman’s studies” or for that matter any “XXX studies” actually produces? As best i can tell they are all virtue signifying buckets of crap.

  • I had a recent epiphany that the Sokal hoax was really an application of the Turing test, and this article confirms it.

  • llamas

    The money quote is at the end of the Powerline article – this kind of nonsense gives us Trump. Many a true word is spoken in jest.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Rob

    We rightly mock Lysenkoism, but we now have it x10000 in the West, and not just limited to the lunatic fringe of Feminist Academia. The ‘science’ behind current Public Health moral panics is an egregious example.

  • Dom

    This is from the article

    “In addition to glacier artwork, there is also a growing body of literature that expands understandings of the cryosphere and grapples with core issues in feminist geography. Uzma Aslam Khan’s (2010) short story ‘Ice, Mating’, for example, explores religious, nationalistic, and colonial themes in Pakistan, while also featuring intense sexual symbolism of glaciers acting upon a landscape. Khan writes: ‘It was Farhana who told me that Pakistan has more glaciers than anywhere outside the poles. And I’ve seen them! I’ve even seen them fuck!”

    The science comes alive!

  • QET

    I think people are missing the underlying career maintenance imperative that is responsible for most of this drivel. The US has thousands of colleges and universities, each one marketing itself as primarily interested in “original research.” All of the thousands of faculty and grad students are expected to publish regularly. But there can be only so much innovation, only so much true originality within any defined period. And the minds capable of that are few. Consider all of the faculty from, say, the early 20th century, and ask yourself how many of them are known and read today? Yet each faculty member and faculty-track graduate student is expected to have ideas worthy of publication on a regular basis?

    So what is a poor social science or humanities professor to do when his mind is just not capable, through no fault of his own (most of us are no more capable) of thinking original thoughts, or of genuine theorizing, yet he has a publishing deadline approaching and a tenure decision in the near future? Enter the idiom of modern academe. By mastering the modern academic lexicon he can give the appearance of thought and knowledge where none is. This is why it is so easy to parody the style. One merely has to arrange the vocabulary in any number of possible combinations and be assured of a positive reception from other faculty who are equally counting on your favorable reception of their combinations.

    It really is just an aesthetic and nothing more, developed for the purpose of maintaining as many academic careers as there are places to fill. It’s sort of an epigone of the Glass Bead Game.

  • This reminds me of an idea I had for trolling. The basic idea is a racist vampire, or a normal vampire, since it seems to me a normal vampire liked to prey on well bred Europeans. In fact the thought came with an idea for a faux paper- a vampire scientist correlating the extremely poor tasting blood with the presence of tattoos.

    Part of the fun is that it would, or should, be obvious that vampires would prefer blue blood, and that there would be some greater pleasure in corrupting the pure, whereas fooling around with the already corrupt would be rather boring.

    But even if I were independently wealthy, I would find it hard to justify trolling as an avocation.

  • lucklucky

    Like i said, Marxism wants to destroy us. The biggest proponents are journalists and academia, the madrassas of Marxism are more powerful in Anglo-Saxon countries. Starting with US the Marxist world center.

    “Whilst the US may have the military power to protect the West, that is naught given that Messrs Kerry and Obama would be the ones contemplating using it for the next 10 months, and who after?”

    US military is already taken over by the left, US military have to wear stilettos in sexual awareness classes.

  • Alsadius

    It’s a bit of both. The modern academy is biased towards bullshit, but it only really takes full bloom in comparatively few isolated, eminently rebloggable incidents.

  • Julie near Chicago

    August,

    “…there would be some greater pleasure in corrupting the pure….”

    That is the very essence of the perverse, of the obscene. The replacement of good with evil, as a source of pleasure to the spirit (sometimes to the body as well), or even I suppose as a way of trying to deaden one’s hearing to Jiminy Cricket’s interminable chirping. Evil is good, right is wrong, and random associations make for High Theory. See QET above, also.

    Not particularly talking about sexual morality, or mores, although of course it does occur there as well as in other areas of human activity. Of course Mr. Bosch painted the idea rather successfully, did he not.

    I have to say I believe Miss Rand would have understood your thought very well.

    . . .

    I do think that QET is right. Well put, Q. I should think you could work that thesis up into an entire book. The Marketing of Intellectual Dada in the University, or Intellectual Dada as Scholarship or some such. Of course, it ought to be a serious study of actual value to the reader, so it should have a serious title and not a merely snarky or sensationalistic one.

  • Paul Marks

    No Mr Ed.

    P.C. (and Critical Theory and so on…. all the various names for it) did not emerge in the United States. Thinkers in France, Italy and Germany (especially Germany) worked it out long ago. Some of them (especially the Germans) moved to the United States – but the local cultural elites in Europe are just as rotten with it. They did not all wander off to the United States.

    And the ones who stayed in Europe actually found LESS (yes less) resistance to their ideas in Europe than the “cultural left” found in the United States.

    Where is the Morman State in Europe?

    Where are the tens of millions of Baptists and other such?

    Where is Hillsdale Collage, or Gove City College, or Pepperdine, or St Johns…… – where are the conservative universities of Continental Europe? Do any exist at all?

    And there is still the “little” problem that without the United States what was left of the West would be utterly exterminated – there really is no other power in the West that is worth much in military (or other) terms.

    The difficulty with listening to a certain sort of “libertarian” or “conservative” (the sort that dear old Sean Gabb pushes) is that they are liars. They will tell anyone who listens to them that America is the source of all problems – military, economic, cultural (whatever) because they think that they will get rid of the American government by blaming it for everything wrong in the universe.

    In reality if they ever really did get rid of the United States government AND NO NEW ALLIANCE OF AMERICAN STATES TOOK ITS PLACE what was left of the West (hopelessly weak Europe and so on) would be exterminated.

    Utterly and completely exterminated – it would be as if it had never existed.

  • Paul Marks

    I remember the late A. Waugh complaining about the P.C. United States and saying how much he loved “Europe”.

    That most of Europe was MORE P.C. than most of the United States escaped his notice.

    As did the fact that in most of Europe (certainly Western Europe) there was no real resistance to P.C. ideas that were, after all, of European origin (existed in Europe long before they did in America).

    As for the military forces of Western Europe – and Canada, and Australia and New Zealand (and through in Japan as well).

    Weak – essentially weak.

    Without the United States Armed Forces, OR SOME REPLACEMENT, there is no West.

    Finis.

  • Julie near Chicago

    luckylucky, “the U.S. [is] the Marxist world center”? How do you figger? Historically it’s not. I believe that guy Marx was a Brit, was he not, though of the formerly-Prussian variety. And though Fabians, didn’t dear Beatrice and Sydney call England home? Not to mention Mr. Wells and Mr. Shaw. Then there were Mr. Deutscher, and Mr. Thompson, and Mr. Hobsbawm and Mr. R. Miliband and Mr. C. Hitchens and like that….

    In particular, modern American Marxism is some sort of blending of the Progressive movement (leading lights exposed to German-Prussian intellectual bad ideas) and the Frankfurt School intelligentsia who fled Germany for less dangerous political climes (and possibly more status or pay as intellectuals? Not sure about that. If so, can’t blame them, of course).

    And of course there’s the British Trade Union Movement (of course not unique to the Brits), still important I gather, though it may be somewhat under the radar at the moment. Or not, of course.

    I’m not arguing with you, and god knows Mr. Obama and the Clintons are not exactly at the forefront of the fight for individual liberty and capitalism economic or political/social, but do our elites and government really spread Marxism (or neo-Marxism) more than those of other countries? I would like to hear more about that.

    [I mention the British in particular because Marx did end up in Britain. But the philosophical juice for Marxism came I gather largely from the German and Prussian schools, especially Hegel (misunderstood or not) and Fichte, with help from people like Rousseau. ]

  • Brad

    I think people are missing the underlying career maintenance imperative that is responsible for most of this drivel.

    Well, what I’m NOT missing is this drivel is UNDERWRITTEN by my tax dollars. These “career maintaining” folks get GRANTS paid for with my tax dollars. I think MOST people understand what these people are about, we’re tired of the grant money and jacked up tuition that pays for it. I don’t give a shit if these people have to write nonsense to get a chair in their respective game of musical chairs, it’s that they are economically a parasite on the peaceful and productive.

  • mojo

    Academics. Whay are ya gonna do?

    I had assumed it was a fairly standard rip-off of the grants system.

  • […] Samizdata commenter ams, explaining why I am happy I became an engineer (of sorts) even if I was not consciously doing it for that […]

  • Fred Z

    Lower case I is persona non grata?

  • Alisa

    It looks lIke It Is…