ICYMI: The Case for Colonialism

posted
13-Sep-17, 10:13
edited about 3 minutes later
by Nad75
Avatar for Nad75
posted about 3 months ago
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
Abstract

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)
posted
13-Sep-17, 11:42
edited about 14 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 3 months ago
Quote From Nad75:
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
Abstract

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)


If this article is nonsense, it will be exposed as such.
Why dont you provide such an analysis rather than telling us what we should be thinking?
I am not sure why our modern society has such a fear of strong opinions and feels this odd obsession with closing down speech.
posted
13-Sep-17, 13:53
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 3 months ago
I only have a layperson's grasp of this subject matter, but I do believe in academic freedom of thought and writing. I see nothing wrong with this publication as one academic's take on the matter. Others are free to rebut it.
posted
13-Sep-17, 14:04
edited about 5 seconds later
by Ephiny 1 star member
Avatar for Ephiny
posted about 3 months ago
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?
posted
13-Sep-17, 14:44
by Nad75
Avatar for Nad75
posted about 3 months ago
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.
posted
13-Sep-17, 15:20
edited about 41 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 3 months ago
Quote From Ephiny:
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?


Exactly. There is no room for political correctness when it comes to academic research. It is vital that researchers are able to ask difficult questions, propose controversial solutions and then have their reputation stand or fall on that basis alone.

Silencing academic research is far more damaging than a few crackpots spouting off. I would defend the crackpots right to free speech before I would defend the original poster's apparent desire to silence any researcher.
posted
13-Sep-17, 15:26
edited about 3 minutes later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 3 months ago
Quote From Nad75:
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?



I am not being defensive. I am giving a robust rebuttal of your post.

What you are proposing is the silencing of an academic. You have also insinuated that someone has been given a bribe to publish it without feeling any obligation to provide a shred of evidence.

What you are engaging in is totally indefensible. It is academically lazy at best and intellectually bankrupt at worst. Your bribe insinuation is no better than a cheap smear campaign.
Frankly I am surprised that you are taken aback at receiving no backing for your position.

Attempting to silence researchers is crime number one as far as I am concerned.
We are all capable of reading these sorts of articles and coming to our own conclusions about their worth. I can't speak for anyone else here but I don't personally need you or anyone else telling me what I should or should not find shocking. It's pretty arrogant of you to suggest otherwise. Who decided you were the arbiter of what the truth is?

A discussion of the actual article is for another day. I offer no opinion on it.
posted
13-Sep-17, 15:42
edited about 4 minutes later
by Nad75
Avatar for Nad75
posted about 3 months ago
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!
posted
13-Sep-17, 15:51
edited about 41 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 3 months ago
Quote From Nad75:
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 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). If anyone is curious about the article, just PM me for a share.


When you insinuate that a bribe was taken to publish this article, you are doing an awful lot more than just sharing an issue.

You may not realise that you are attempting to close down an academic debate but I certainly do. You are attempting to win your argument by blatantly smearing the journal.

Now you are trying to close me out of this discussion with that patronising comment about "this topic may best be suited for a person in a similar disciple to both myself and the journal".

This attitude of yours needs to be challenged wherever it is found. You should get used to it. I am pretty sure that others online (although perhaps not on this forum) will take exception to being treated as a schoolchild.
posted
13-Sep-17, 16:05
by Nad75
Avatar for Nad75
posted about 3 months ago
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. :)
posted
13-Sep-17, 17:42
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 3 months ago
Quote From Ephiny:
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?


This is an interesting point. I have to say, I know several people of African heritage who believe that colonialism brought many advantages to their countries. However, I don't think that them having this view means that they condone or wish to see repeated the awful nuts and bolts of colonialism.

Of course, I have no idea of the intentions of the author!
posted
13-Sep-17, 18:21
edited about 9 seconds later
by Nad75
Avatar for Nad75
posted about 3 months ago

This is an interesting point. I have to say, I know several people of African heritage who believe that colonialism brought many advantages to their countries. However, I don't think that them having this view means that they condone or wish to see repeated the awful nuts and bolts of colonialism.

Of course, I have no idea of the intentions of the author!


Yes, I think researchers were expecting an engagement with what the discourses of colonialism, maybe a realistic comparison of what colonialism represents. They suspended their hesitation and read the article through, though, and such (alternative) facts like colonialism abolishing slavery, and proposing to recolonise the coast of Africa and the Middle East by a vague 'Western will' caused some concern. This is besides misusing the well-known literary critic of colonialism, China Achebe as being a colonial cheerleader. This is why it's extremely puzzling on how it got pushed through a review process.
posted
13-Sep-17, 18:33
edited about 18 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 3 months ago
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).
posted
13-Sep-17, 20:13
edited about 28 seconds later
by Nad75
Avatar for Nad75
posted about 3 months ago
Quote From Tudor_Queen:
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).


Haha, yeah that's one theory, :) but a huge mistake since it's a top journal. This isn't their first summer term/ vacation rodeo, maybe would've expected it from a new one. Someone is still getting in trouble for it, at least the two + main editor that would've been consulted for blind peer-review. Until it's resolved publicly by the editors, it's a mystery.
posted
13-Sep-17, 20:22
edited about 5 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 3 months ago
Interesting! Do update us if/when you hear more.

Postgraduate
Forum

Copyright ©2017
All rights reserved

Postgraduate Forum

Masters Degrees

PhD Opportunities

PostgraduateForum is a trading name of FindAUniversity Ltd
FindAUniversity Ltd, Sellers Wheel, 151 Arundel Street, Sheffield, S1 2NU, United Kingdom. Tel +44 (0) 114 268 4940 Fax: +44 (0) 114 268 5766