"The displacement of the idea that facts and evidence matter by the idea that everything boils down to subjective interests and perspectives is-second only to American political campaigns-the most prominent and pernicious manifestation of anti-intellectualism in our time." Larry Laudan, Science and Relativism (1990)

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Sokal & Social Text

Early in the Spring of 1996, Social Text published an essay suggesting a link in quantum mechanics and post-modernism by Professor Alan Sokal, a physicist at New York University. On the day of publication Sokal announced in Lingua Franca that the article had in fact been a hoax. In "Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity," Spring/Summer 1996 issue of Social Text, we find one of the first direct attacks in a major journal against the institution of cultural studies. This page is a brief summary of that issue.


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Commentary on the Sokal Affair.
This list includes the original hoax article from Prof. Sokal, the reply from the Social Text editors, the response from Stanley Fish and the discussions in the Nation, the Times Higher Education Supplement, Tikkun and recently, the Times Literary Supplement. In addition to these particular debates, this selection also includes various commentary available on the web.


Search Resources

Contains links for general Science Studies sites for background research. Also has some of the primary pages associated with the Sokal hoax and a search engine for these pages.
  1. Alan Sokal's Page - http://www.physics.nyu.edu/faculty/sokal/index.html
  2. Social Text - http://www.nyu.edu/pubs/socialtext/
  3. The Sokal Affair - A Physicist vs Postmodern Cultural Analysts (Based on this page is a rough bibliography (currently viewable on IE5))

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