Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Rasmea and The Radical Radicle: Where An Online Student Journal Joins ‘Fake Academia’

...One thing I am not sure of, however, is the meaning of “peer-reviewed” in this particular context: are the peers one’s students or are they faculty? If one’s fellow students, then it may be a case of the blind leading the blind, something that would seriously down-grade the value of this journal to anyone other than the authors’ proud parents. If faculty are the ones doing the peer review, then I would expect more rigourous adjudication of papers than is evident in the two examples I am critiquing here.

Sheri Oz..
Israel Diaries..
18 September '17..

Rasmea Odeh is unfairly maligned, according to a paper showcased on Reed College’s online journal. Fake academia at its best! This critique was prepared in honour of Odeh’s deportation from the USA scheduled for tomorrow. (Sept. 19th)

Providing an outlet for publishing student papers is a wonderful apprenticeship for budding academics. Misused, however, it can raise a new generation engaging in “fake academia” that I think is even more insidious and dangerous than “fake news”. Here is what Reed College says about its student journal, called Radicle (the part of the seed that sprouts):

Reed Anthropology Review is the student-powered and peer-reviewed annual journal of anthropology at Reed College. Sponsored by the Department of Anthropology and operated by students, for students, it is a space for highlighting Reed’s undergraduate work that is informed by anthropological method and theory.

Now, to be sure, I am not educated in anthropological method and theory, but I do know a thing or two or more about the Middle East and I think I am able to understand an academic paper, even one filled to the brim with jargon. If there are particular terms with which I am unfamiliar, I have no problem accessing definitions on the Web. Therefore, I anticipated an interesting read when I discovered that two articles in the 2017 volume of Radicle pertained to my favourite topic, Israel and the Middle East. Both articles were written by Sophie Spencer-Zavos.

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