The silliest academic papers that made it into print

This list of really bad academic papers that never should have seen the light of day is just the tip of the iceberg. There are thousands of papers published by less-than-mediocre professors who are forced to "publish or perish" in our system of higher education.

Hence, some of the most obscure articles are badly written by people whose unfamiliarity with English grammar and syntax becomes painfully obvious.

Daily Caller:

Twitter lost one of its leading lights earlier this month when user @Real_PeerReview, who chronicled ridiculous, useless, and unintelligible academic papers, shut down their account in an apparent effort to avoid having their real-life academic career ruined.

While @Real_PeerReview’s tweets have been deleted from Twitter, they fortunately are not gone entirely, and can still be read here.

The list of the 13 worst academic papers is hysterical - not only the subject matter but the writing as well. Here are a few examples:

1. A poetic mycology of the senses: four poems on mushrooms

John Charles Ryan, a cultural studies professor at the University of Western Australia, is very worried that poems about mushrooms are the forgotten ecopoetry, which is even worse than being the ecopoetry people remember. So he wrote about it, and got published:

As the third “f” in contemporary biodiversity conservation, languishing behind fauna and flora, fungi occupy a comparably liminal and, possibly, marginal position in literary history and ecocritical studies. In particular, fungi straddle a largely unnavigated terrian between the recent “human-animal studies” and its literary counterpart “zoocriticism” and the emergent “critical plant studies” and its budding complement “vegetal ecocriticism”. As a consequence, even amongst ecocritics, fungi have been grouped into the latter category, mirroring a tendency in the history of the biological sciences to aggregate fungi and plants.

Standing up for fungi when no one else will. How heroic!

3. Picturizing the scattered ontologies of Alzheimer’s disease: Towards a materialist feminist approach to visual technoscience studies

Jennifer Lum of the University of California, Berkeley, along with Cecilia Asberg of Sweden are convinced we need an intervention of feminist “technoscience” to properly grasp the way Alzheimer’s is portrayed on television. Or something:

The recent reconfiguration of Alzheimer’s disease is due to expanding ageing populations, an aggressive biopharmaceutical industry becoming a fast-growing material-semiotic realm that is providing powerful images of both gendered and racialized embodiment. Such a visual, and yet highly material, realm is in need of feminist interventions, engaging with the images and ideas that circulate around ageing, medicine, human and non-human embodiment.

Sorry, I don't speak stupid so I can't decipher this mess. I'd ask Jenny what this means except I'd be afraid of the answer.

7. Exposing the white avatar: projections, justifications, and the ever-evolving American racism

Forget the Klan: A team of three researchers of “Critical Race Theory and Critical Whiteness Studies” find that the “hegemonic power of whiteness” is entrenched by the avatars people use while playing Xbox:

I got "hegemonic power" when I play "Call of Duty"? Who woulda thunk it?

According to her bio, Melissa Click, the Mizzou professor who was fired for threatening the press. is now writing about "50 Shades of Grey, Lady Gaga's social media strategies, male fans of pop musicians, and class in reality television programming."

Can't wait until they come out in paperback.


 


 

This list of really bad academic papers that never should have seen the light of day is just the tip of the iceberg. There are thousands of papers published by less-than-mediocre professors who are forced to "publish or perish" in our system of higher education.

Hence, some of the most obscure articles are badly written by people whose unfamiliarity with English grammar and syntax becomes painfully obvious.

Daily Caller:

Twitter lost one of its leading lights earlier this month when user @Real_PeerReview, who chronicled ridiculous, useless, and unintelligible academic papers, shut down their account in an apparent effort to avoid having their real-life academic career ruined.

While @Real_PeerReview’s tweets have been deleted from Twitter, they fortunately are not gone entirely, and can still be read here.

The list of the 13 worst academic papers is hysterical - not only the subject matter but the writing as well. Here are a few examples:

1. A poetic mycology of the senses: four poems on mushrooms

John Charles Ryan, a cultural studies professor at the University of Western Australia, is very worried that poems about mushrooms are the forgotten ecopoetry, which is even worse than being the ecopoetry people remember. So he wrote about it, and got published:

As the third “f” in contemporary biodiversity conservation, languishing behind fauna and flora, fungi occupy a comparably liminal and, possibly, marginal position in literary history and ecocritical studies. In particular, fungi straddle a largely unnavigated terrian between the recent “human-animal studies” and its literary counterpart “zoocriticism” and the emergent “critical plant studies” and its budding complement “vegetal ecocriticism”. As a consequence, even amongst ecocritics, fungi have been grouped into the latter category, mirroring a tendency in the history of the biological sciences to aggregate fungi and plants.

Standing up for fungi when no one else will. How heroic!

3. Picturizing the scattered ontologies of Alzheimer’s disease: Towards a materialist feminist approach to visual technoscience studies

Jennifer Lum of the University of California, Berkeley, along with Cecilia Asberg of Sweden are convinced we need an intervention of feminist “technoscience” to properly grasp the way Alzheimer’s is portrayed on television. Or something:

The recent reconfiguration of Alzheimer’s disease is due to expanding ageing populations, an aggressive biopharmaceutical industry becoming a fast-growing material-semiotic realm that is providing powerful images of both gendered and racialized embodiment. Such a visual, and yet highly material, realm is in need of feminist interventions, engaging with the images and ideas that circulate around ageing, medicine, human and non-human embodiment.

Sorry, I don't speak stupid so I can't decipher this mess. I'd ask Jenny what this means except I'd be afraid of the answer.

7. Exposing the white avatar: projections, justifications, and the ever-evolving American racism

Forget the Klan: A team of three researchers of “Critical Race Theory and Critical Whiteness Studies” find that the “hegemonic power of whiteness” is entrenched by the avatars people use while playing Xbox:

I got "hegemonic power" when I play "Call of Duty"? Who woulda thunk it?

According to her bio, Melissa Click, the Mizzou professor who was fired for threatening the press. is now writing about "50 Shades of Grey, Lady Gaga's social media strategies, male fans of pop musicians, and class in reality television programming."

Can't wait until they come out in paperback.