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Smoke, Mirrors and Other Sociobabble DIscourse

Reader comment on item: Academic Malfeasance: The Case of Christopher Bail

Submitted by Pied Piper (Saudi Arabia), Sep 13, 2016 at 02:42

I'll be frank. I never heard of him. Dr. Chris Bail, I mean....out of Duke U. So I'm always grateful to be alerted when a new star on the "Clash of Civilizations" horizon makes an appearance. Then if I have time, I do my own research.

Dr. Bail has an impressive resume, to be sure. I mean it. I'm not being sarcastic.....it's 6 pages long! I mean....you really should read it. You can find it online at

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Byvk0A8Ic21YMExSY1NiSFJmSlk/view

But after scrutinizing his resume quite closely, I was left with the question: Why is this guy tackling and pontificating on an Islamic issue at all? His background shows no study, affiliation, commitment , expertise, experience and so on with anything to do with "Islam" or the Middle East.

To begin with, his resume shows that his teaching duties in 2015 and 2016 consisted of courses in sociology: "Computational Sociology", "Introduction to Sociology" and so forth. Not a peep about "Islam". The very last line of his resume under the category LANGUAGES reads:
"French, Mandarin Chinese (conversational), R, Python, Stata, LaTeX"

Oh, ok. But I mean, what about, you know, something like Persian or Arabic or any of the 5 or 6 important languages that are defined by "Islam"? Not a one is present.

This reminds me of a chap that was hired by our institute. He had a PhD from a US university and his major was a redoubtable "Native American Studies". (He was hired not because of his major, by the way, but because he had a PhD and that was the crucial factor). When I innocently asked him which native American languages he could speak or had studied, I was rebuffed vociferously with "you don't have to speak an Indian language" to get an academic degree in the field.

I see.

To end: you can actually see Dr. Bail speaking on his "Terrorism" book here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQAM5cGZQPE

I dunno. He seems like a respectable enough individual. Actually, he reminds me of another sociologist, Richard Sennett. What he says sounds important but at the end of the day, it all sounds inauthentic and superficial and I leave wondering what it was all about. I can only listen to this kind of sociobabble for so long and then I doze off.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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