Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity-and Why This Harms Everybody

Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity-and Why This Harms Everybody

by Helen Pluckrose, James Lindsay


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Have you heard that language is violence and that science is sexist? Have you read that you shouldn’t practice yoga or cook Chinese food? Are you confused by these ideas and wonder how they have managed to challenge so quickly the very logic of Western society? In this probing and intrepid volume, Helen Pluckrose and James A. Lindsay document the evolution of this dogma, from its coarse origins in French postmodernism to its refinement within activist academic fields. As Pluckrose and Lindsay warn, the unchecked proliferation of these anti-Enlightenment beliefs presents a threat not only to liberal democracy but also to modernity itself. Only through a proper understanding of the evolution of these ideas can those who value science, reason, and consistently liberal ethics successfully challenge this dangerous and authoritarian orthodoxy.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781634312028
Publisher: Pitchstone Publishing
Publication date: 08/25/2020
Edition description: None
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 21,371
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Helen Pluckrose is a liberal political and cultural writer and speaker. She is the editor of Areo Magazine and the author of many popular essays on postmodernism, critical theory, liberalism, secularism, and feminism. A participant in the Grievance Studies Affair probe, which highlighted problems in social justice scholarship, she is today an exile from the humanities, where she researched late medieval and early modern religious writing by and for women. She lives in England.

James Lindsay is a mathematician with a background in physics. He is interested in the psychology of religion, authoritarianism, and extremism and is the author of Everybody is Wrong about God. His other books include Life in Light of Death and How to Have Impossible Conversations. His essays have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Philosophers’ Magazine, Scientific American, and Time. He led the Grievance Studies Affair probe that made international headlines in 2018, including the front page of the New York Times. He lives in Tennessee.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 9

Introduction 11

1 Postmodernism A Revolution in Knowledge and Power 21

2 Postmodernism's Applied Turn Making Oppression Real 45

3 Postcolonial Theory Deconstructing the West to Save the Other 67

4 Queer Theory Freedom from the Normal 89

5 Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality Ending Racism by Seeing It Everywhere 111

6 Feminisms and Gender Studies Simplification as Sophistication 135

7 Disability and Fat Studies Support-Group Identity Theory 159

8 Social Justice Scholarship and Thought The Truth According to Social Justice 181

9 Social Justice in Action Theory Always Looks God on Paper 213

10 An Alternative to the Ideology of Social Justice Liberalism Without Identity Politics 237

Notes 271

Select Bibliography 323

Index 337

About the Authors 352

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