Commentary: How Twitter Is Corrupting the History Profession

About a week ago I began scrutinizing how the New York Times’ 1619 Project relied upon the work of the controversial “New History of Capitalism” genre of historical scholarship to advance a sweeping indictment of free markets over the historical evils of slavery. The problems with this literature are many, and prominent among them is its use of shoddy statistical work by Cornell University historian Ed Baptist to grossly exaggerate the historical effect of slave-produced cotton on American economic development. Baptist’s unusual rehabilitation of the old Confederacy-linked “King Cotton” thesis is unsupported by evidence and widely rejected by economic historians. His book The Half Has Never Been Told has nonetheless acquired a vocal following among historians and journalists, including providing the basis of a feature article in the Times series on slavery.

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Commentary: Is Diversity an Enemy of Excellence?

by John Staddon   The National Science Foundation (NSF) was created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science….” Following a 2012 recommendation, NSF now has an Office of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I). NSF was just following the crowd, for almost every academic and research institution now has a…

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Parents Sue Over De Blasio’s Plan to Diversify NYC’s Elite Schools

by Neetu Chandak   Asian-American parents and civil rights groups filed a lawsuit against New York City officials Thursday over a plan that would increase admissions for black and Hispanic students to elite schools in the city. Black and Hispanic students make up 68 percent of the city’s population with…

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Commentary: What the Hoax Papers Tell Us About the Decline of Academic Standards

by Phillip W. Magness   By now, most followers of the higher education press have heard of the “grievance studies” or Sokal Squared hoax. In this incident, a team of three researchers successfully published several hoax papers on intentionally absurd subjects in ostensibly serious scholarly journals. Their purpose was to…

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