Saturday, September 07, 2013

It's not just research on guns and such that gets slanted

by academics with an axe to grind.
Chagnon: I began to understand that a small number of colleagues were feeling “rubbed the wrong way”—as you put it—when they began criticizing some of my work in less than academically appropriate ways, like making accusations that did not follow from what I had claimed in the publications they were criticizing. Over time their criticisms increased in severity and academically unacceptable ways. Most of my critics worked in or near the Amazon Basin and among tribes similar to the Yanomamö and much of their motivation stemmed from professional jealousy, which gradually became much more political in tone, like the claim that my publications were “causing harm” to the people I studied. This eventually shifted to the claim that I was guilty of “racism” and “genocide” in my writings—they called it “academic genocide”—but it was genocide nevertheless. The “nicety” of “academic” was soon dropped. These accusations came principally from colleagues who were studying tribes in the Amazon basin who were political activists and who subscribed to Marxist anthropological views.

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