Education

‘Most Controversial’ Academic Essay Hits The Internet Again

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Rob Shimshock Education Reporter

A conservative education nonprofit announced Tuesday that it has posted the “most controversial” academic essay in the past few years.

The National Association of Scholars (NAS) republished “The Case for Colonialism,” an article by Portland State University political science professor Bruce Gilley, according to a press release obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Third World Quarterly, the journal which originally published Gilley’s piece, retracted the article after its editor, Shahid Qatir, received violent threats. Gilley also received death threats, in addition to personal and professional criticism. Before the removal of “The Case for Colonialism,” 15 of Third World Quarterly’s 34-member editorial board resigned in protest. Over 16,000 people petitioned against the essay, according to NAS.

The efforts to censor Bruce Gilley’s article and the attacks on him personally were outrageous,” NAS President Peter Wood said. “Gilley published a well-reasoned and humane perspective on the political and economic challenges that face many Third World nations. Anyone who actually reads the article will see his thoughtful tone and good will.”

NAS stressed that it was standing up for academic freedom and that Third World Quarterly had only published “The Case for Colonialism” after the essay had survived double-blind peer review. (RELATED: Journal Retracts Pro-Colonialism Essay Right Before Columbus Day)

“In our ‘age of apology’ for atrocities, one of the many conspicuous silences has been an apology for the many atrocities visited upon Third World peoples by anti-colonial advocates,” Gilley wrote in his original piece.

The professor argued in favor of colonialism with the “consent of the colonized.” He said that Western control of certain sectors of governance in impoverished countries, such as finance or criminal justice, could prove more fruitful than leaving these regions to fend for themselves.

“We live in a time when many in the academic world believe they have the right to prevent the expression of views they disagree with,” Wood stated. “The actions of those who sought to suppress Gilley’s article demonstrate this. The intolerance and anti-intellectualism displayed in this instance reached a new extreme. The NAS is pleased to restore this important article to its legitimate place in academic debate.”

Gilley did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

The National Association of Scholars has previously rebuked academia for its homogeneous curriculum. NAS communications director David Randall noted in July 2017 that the three most regularly assigned common readings for American college freshmen are all “about African Americans suffering from American racism.”

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