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Ron Robin takes an intriguing look at the shifting nature of academic and public discourse in this incisive consideration of recent academic scandals—including charges of plagiarism against Stephen Ambrose, Derek Freeman's attempt to debunk Margaret Mead's research, Michael Bellesiles's alleged fabrication of an early America without weapons, Joseph Ellis's imaginary participation in major historical events of the 1960s, Napoleon Chagnon's creation and manipulation of a "Stone Age people," and accusations that Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchú's testimony on the Maya holocaust was in part fiction. Scandals and Scoundrels makes the case that, contrary to popular imagery, we're not living in particularly deviant times and there is no fundamental flaw permeating a decadent academy.
Instead, Robin argues, latter-day scandals are media events, tailored for the melodramatic and sensationalist formats of mass mediation.
In addition, the contentious and uninhibited nature of cyberdebates fosters acrimonious exposure. Ron convincingly demonstrates that scandals are part of a necessary process of rule making and reinvention rather than a symptom of the bankruptcy of the scientific enterprise.
|Introduction : scholarly scandals : why do they happen?||1|
|Pt. I||Scandals in history|
|1||Plagiarism and the demise of gatekeepers||31|
|2||The noble lie : "arming America" and the right to bear arms||57|
|3||"A self of many possibilities" : Joseph Ellis, the protean historian||85|
|Pt. II||Scandals in anthropology|
|4||The ghost of Caliban : Derek Freeman and "the fateful hoaxing of Margaret Mead"||113|
|5||Violent people and gentle savages : the Yanomami controversy||138|
|6||The willful suspension of disbelief : Rigoberta Menchu and the making of the Maya Holocaust||166|
|Pt. III||The necessary scandal|
|7||Science fiction : Sokal's Hoax and the "linguistic left"||195|
|8||What do the scandals mean?||219|