So, I'm putting this out here in case any humanities/social science students missed this article that caused a flurry on Twitter. I thought it was a joke, but it truly may sink this journal (Third World Quarterly) , considering they give out the 'Edward Said' award and Chomsky, among other prolific academics, are on the editorial board.
Title: The Case for Colonialism by Bruce Gilley
For the last 100 years, Western colonialism has had a bad name. It is high time to question this orthodoxy. Western colonialism was, as a general rule, both objectively beneficial and subjectively legitimate in most of the places where it was found, using realistic measures of those concepts. The countries that embraced their colonial inheritance, by and large, did better than those that spurned it. Anti-colonial ideology imposed grave harms on subject peoples and continues to thwart sustained development and a fruitful encounter with modernity in many places. Colonialism can be recovered by weak and fragile states today in three ways: by reclaiming colonial modes of governance; by recolonising some areas; and by creating new Western colonies from scratch.
It also had an altimetric of over 900 in just a few hours (due to Twitter) and over 600 views. :| Damn.
It was originally published as an article, but it seems the journal now changed it to 'viewpoint'..as if it will save it.
(I can't seem to choose the 'off topic' category for some reason)
It doesn't sound very politically correct, for sure, but I agree that in academia of all places we should have freedom of thought and of speech. Presumably it will stimulate robust debate, no doubt including some academics from the post-colonial countries in question, who I'm sure are capable of speaking for themselves. If the original premise is misguided or not supported by the evidence, it should be easy to rebut.
If the controversy generates clicks and citations, I guess that's good for the journal, far from 'sinking' it?
Wow, PM, not sure why you are so defensive. This is an issue that concerns our industry. Yes, this article is being exposed, not as nonsense, but as a dangerous editorial slip/possibly paid off. I don't have to provide an analysis, the abstract is written simply enough for anyone with a critical background to understand. Good god, look at that last sentence. Did you not read the beginning of the post, where the reason I noticed it was from the ripples in Twitter by political science and social science academics who study colonialism and international relations?
The reason for the shock is that it passed a peer-reviewed journal, where, apart from a badly written argument and lack of sources, carries a problematic assumption that Said (one of the easily cited scholars on Orientalism) tackled 30 years ago. Would something like that be acceptable in any discipline? It's not about political correctness or academic freedom of thought (especially if the thought is not well founded). Scholars right now are writing to the journal, demanding answers. The department in the author's university is also getting very bad press over this, and it can open up doors into other concerns. It's one of the bigger mistakes to happen in a while, and nothing exciting ever happens in academic journals. Third World Quarterly was on my list for an upcoming article, but now I will consider other journals for submissions if the editorial board doesn't respond, and I know I'm not the only one.
Epiphany, yes, I think that is why there is so much confusion on this article being published, there is concern that an academic journal may be more interested in being 'known' through a new medium such as twitter than contributing to scholarship. The 'sinking' will come from people not submitting to the journal, as well as taking articles that pass the peer-review with a grain of salt.
Well, my intention was to share an issue with postgraduates that professors and established, international academics are rightfully concerned about. Critiquing is not silencing. Choosing not to apply for a journal that allows for bad research is not silencing, it is our right and power as academics. When the only purpose of an academic journal is to offer well-developed scholarship that contributes to the production of knowledge, then, yet, a discussion of the actual article and possible lack of oversight is absolutely necessary. I have discussed this article with other postgrads and professors, so yes, I did expect a similiar reaction forum that considered a serious issue in academia.
However, this topic may best be suited for a person in a similar disciple to both myself and the journal, which is why I stated, "I'm putting this out here in case any humanities/social science students missed this article that caused a flurry on Twitter." Many of the posts on this forum are discipline specific (with a heavy emphasis on science, which is fine).
Getting back to the topic at hand, if anyone is curious about the article, just PM me for a share!
Lol, don't worry, it's not an attitude. I think you are misunderstanding the issue. I'm not blatantly smearing the journal, as I've written out before. I love this journal, read it with relish every month, which is why, among other political scientists, I'm stunned at a piece of work that, in the words of one professor, 'can be torn apart by undergrads'.
You can certainly engage in a debate on the merit of the article, but that does require an understanding of why just the abstract alone has shocked scholars. This would be similar if I jumped into an article the sciences, I would expect to know certain things for that discipline in order to judge a piece of work. Without a certain understanding of the theories that this article is suggesting, and the aim of the journal, it is just lamenting over censorship without considering the importance of rigorous scholarship. Please just relax, I'm not treating you like a schoolchild, I'm just confused over your vigorous defence. However, that is not what this post is about, so I'd rather not just bounce an argument around. I wish you a good day. :)
Wow! I am not trying to be funny, but maybe the usual editors were on leave and others were responsible for accepting it for publication? It is odd that they should accept it when it could bring them into disrepute (if it is really just a bad piece of work).
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