‘Journal of Controversial Ideas’ Plans to Address Academia Censorship

women protest censorship
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Several academics are planning to launch the Journal of Controversial Ideas to combat censorship in academia.

The Journal of Controversial Ideas is a proposed academic journal that could address issues of censorship in academia.

One of the journal’s would-be editors, Peter Singer, is a professor of bioethics at Princeton University. Singer has long stirred controversy for his views on abortion and euthanasia.

“I favor the ability to put new ideas out there for discussion, and I see an atmosphere in which some people may be intimidated from doing that,” Singer said in a comment to the Chronicle. “The idea is to establish a journal where it’s clear from the name and object that controversial ideas are welcome.”
Christina Hoff Sommers, a former philosophy professor, celebrated the journal’s announcement on Twitter.   “A new academic journal will allow free and open discussion of forbidden ideas. Authors can use pseudonyms. ‘The Journal of Controversial Ideas.’ Twitter scolds won’t like it,” she wrote.

Conservative Princeton Professor Robert George announced in a tweet that he would be joining the journal’s editorial board. “I’ve joined the editorial board of the Journal of Controversial Ideas. Some articles will offend progressives; others will offend conservatives (including me),” George tweeted. “The point, however, is not to offend but to open minds & provoke critical thinking on all sides.”

Musa al-Gharbi, a senior fellow for Heterodox Academy, an organization which seeks to increase political diversity on college campuses, said that the journal would expand upon his organization’s mission to “get otherwise taboo ideas into the open.”

Al-Gharbi did, however, express uncertainty about the journal’s policy on anonymous submissions. “Successfully changing the dynamics will require people not only to trade provocative ideas behind a veil of anonymity, but also to stand up and refuse to go along with the prevailing orthodoxies — to leverage, and indeed stake, their social capital on holding the line, and even pushing back against censorious trends,” al-Ghabri said.

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