Wednesday, June 13, 2012

In the Medieval Middle, or an Academic Cult?

Some readers may have read the blog, In the Medieval Middle - http://www.inthemedievalmiddle.com/

The blog is co-written by a number of middle English faculty who have embraced a current dogma called Object Oriented Ontology (you can look that up on Wikipedia - members of the wider OOO group wrote the article.)

In short, the group proposes that the history of non-human objects/subjects (animals, rocks, etc) is as important as that of humans. It sees it self as non-humanistic, and sees humanism as a problem.

I am all for intellectual explorations, even those I disagree with. I did think their discussion of Activism and the Academy (of which I have a long and intimate knowledge) was deficient http://www.inthemedievalmiddle.com/2012/05/activism-and-academy-forum.html. They posted some of my initial comments, but as soon as I tried to good deeper with the criticism, my comments were removed.

In a recent posting of the ideas of Facebook, I found a similar pattern. Ideas that challenge the non-humanist troika were simply removed.

This willingness of the non-humanists to delete posts they do not like is really worrying.

But apparently, trespassing on the specified turf of the little group focused on In the Medieval Middle is forbidden.

They are not open to criticism. Both on Facebook and on the blog they refuse to post my comments and yet pretend to some academic respectability?

My comments did not attack anyone: they attacked the ideas they propose. But they cannot deal with that.

This is a real problem.

We seem to have little cult, who all post repeated posts in support of each other, but who will not take criticism. They have created or cooperated with their own publishers (e.g. Punctum Books), and have a small number of journals which endlessly reiterate the same ideas.

I suggest that medievalists no longer take the In the Medieval Middle blog seriously. It is not about open discussion; it is about promulgating a distinct, and very rejectable world view.

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